enough to be dangerous

Adventures with iMacs

published: March 18, 2018, 5:50 p.m.

My peers were NOT AT ALL impressed when I announced that on a lark I had bought an <insert embarrassing model year here> iMac to restore on my own.

Gee, what could go wrong considering I'm more of a software developer gal myself and haven't had much hands on hardware experience to speak of? The answer, is NOTHING SO FAR, mwahaha! This all started when out of an interest in bettering myself, I started taking a course that aligns to CompTIA A+ certification, which if you don't know is the basic hardware/software cert provided for most techs getting into the field.

Some software people feel like that is grunt work, I'm not really that type. I always said if I start getting an ego about myself like that someone should force me to look at some of the first code I ever wrote, bring me back down to earth real fast.

At any rate, I really enjoyed this course! If you haven't spent your high schools years building computers in your garage (some of us were cheerleaders, just saying) no time like the present to finally figure out what is going on in there. I'd had the idea to build a badass Linux machine for myself and stop just clueless buying assembled machines like a total n00b.

The iMac thing came up at random like a gift from god, so I met a guy in a parking lot and bought it for cash. "There's something wrong with it OF COURSE!" my friends said. Well, NOT REALLY! The thing runs great. Pretty pristine. There was some dust inside, and it turned out to only have itty bitty baby amounts of DDR3 memory (2 GB, not all of which you actually get to USE. Some of that gets eaten up by normal system processes.)

The thing also runs a bit hot, so I buy two new fans for it and commandeer a can of compressed air out of work. I would love to make this sound like it involved more skill than it did, but in reality clearing out some dust and adding some memory was a cakewalk for the most part.

- I used a website called Crucial.com to run a system memory check and find more memory compatible with my motherboard
- When it arrived, I unscrewed a small panel on the bottom of the iMac monitor, which reveals two filmy black tabs that extend. After giving them a (surprisingly forceful!) tug to get them unstuck, out popped the four slots for memory modules.
- In doing this, you have to take care that these usually get installed in pairs, and the pairs need to contain memory modules that are of the same type. (So, no mixing the 1GB memory I had with the 4GB memory I'd just purchased. Since the first two of the four slots were already filled, this left me the easy job of filling the remaining two and knowing they were installed as a matched pair.)
-From there, you would either enter BIOS (basic input-output system) or UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) settings depending on what kind of computer you have. Although they are different things, the terms get used as a catch all. It so happens Mac doesn't use BIOS settings, so this left me to verify my new memory got recognized from the UEFI menu

Botta-bing, botta-boom, new memory! Next time around I will be doing something a little scarier, detatching the LED front panel to get some of the internal dust out and take a look at the fan situation. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.