It’s hard to believe, but my iMac is approaching its first birthday. It’s been working nicely as my main computer and generally performs nicely. I did give it a complete reinstall after Mac OS X 10.6 came out, and since then it’s been even happier. I think I mentioned that I use my old Dell 20″ monitor as a second display, which is quite handy, even if I’m just using it to park iTunes out of the way but where I can still see what it’s up to without hiding or moving the windows I’m working in.
But having recently upgraded to Photoshop CS5, and with Lightroom 3 on the way, not to mention Aperture 3, which I still need to spend more time with, I have occasionally found that the computer is a wee bit slow to start tasks, or to switch between them. When I noticed that Photoshop was using 1GB of RAM with only one not very large image open, I knew what I had to do. I had been planning to wait a while to do this, but the iMac’s been very well-behaved, and it is nearly its birthday…
So I did it:
I ordered the RAM (two 4GB modules) from the ubiquitous Crucial, and it arrived today. Adding memory is the only officially supported user upgrade you can do on an iMac – anything else involves the kind of dismantling only carried out by the truly fearless who know what they’re doing. Apple make it easy enough to do and provide not only instructions on their website, but a little diagram on the base of the stand, where you’ll be able to see it at precisely the most useful time.
It’s a simple matter of:
- Shut down
- Remove cables
- Lie iMac face down on something soft to avoid scratching the display
- Undo one screw
- Remove a cover
- Pull out flaps that cover the memory modules
- Gently tug flaps to disconnect existing memory
- Remove existing modules, making sure to notice which way round they go, and put them somewhere safe
- Inset new modules – push in firmly
- Cover modules with tabs
- Replace cover
- Tighten screw
- Return iMac to vertical
- Plug everything back in
- Switch on
Assuming you’ve done it right (and it’s hard not to), your iMac will start up as normal, only with more memory.
Not a cheap upgrade, but I think it’s a worthwhile one – it’ll actually let those 64bit applications work the way they’re designed to! And I’ll get some of my money back – I’ll be putting the removed memory on eBay.
 When your computer is disconnected and you can’t use it to check that web site, and while you’re looking at the place where the memory goes.