iFixit discovered yesterday that the RAM in the new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display was upgradable, and a day later is already offering a kit to take advantage of this fact.

The firm notes that the base model 3.0GHz machine tops out at 16GB of RAM, and that the only way to get 32GB direct from Apple is buy the more expensive 3.4 GHz version …

That would be $200 extra for the faster machine, and an eye-watering $600 premium for the 32GB RAM, totalling $800 more than the base price. iFixit’s kit allows you to replace the base model’s 8GB RAM with 32GB for a total of $300.

The upgrade kit includes everything you need – the two 16GB DDR4-PC2400 2400MHz RAM modules plus all the tools required.

  • 32 GB (2x16GB) of DDR4-PC2400 2400MHz RAM
  • Replacement Display Adhesive Strips
  • iMac Opening Wheel
  • iMac Service Wedge
  • Plastic Cards
  • Spudger
  • Tweezers
  • Phillips #00, T5, T8, and T10 Bits
  • Driver Handle

You’ll need to be a reasonably confident DIY upgrader to carry out the work, however, given that Apple definitely doesn’t intend customers to open up the machine. iFixit even goes as far as labelling the process ‘potentially dangerous.’

This guide is marked “potentially dangerous” because it requires you to handle a power supply that contains large capacitors. Unplug the iMac and hold the power button down for at least 10 seconds to help discharge the capacitors. Handle the board by the edges and do not touch surface components.

If you think your existing tools are enough to get you into the iMac, you may want to think again.

The hub on the iMac Opening Tool will keep you from pushing the wheel in too far. If using a different tool, insert no more than 3/8″ into the display. Otherwise, you risk severing antenna cables and causing serious damage.

The guide is full of cautions, such as being careful not to stress the display glass too much when easing the casing opening, and being sure not to damage the iSight camera. In all, there are no fewer than 63 steps in the repair guide, with numerous warnings and cautions along the way, so you may want to review the guide before making your purchase.

iFixit also says it is working on SSD upgrade kits for the machine, and expects them to be available ‘very soon.’ It has no immediate plans to offer CPU upgrades, stating that these are not currently cost-effective, but does seem confident these will be available further down the road.

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