How to upgrade the RAM on the 27-Inch iMac (2020)

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited August 2020
The 2020 27-inch iMac is a worthwhile upgrade to the previous version, Apple still has exorbitant prices on RAM. Fortunately, users are still able to upgrade the RAM on their own -- and here's how to do it.

Upgrade the RAM on your 27-Inch iMac (2020)
Upgrade the RAM on your 27-Inch iMac (2020)


Apple's prices on RAM are typically elevated from third-party offerings, but what makes the iMac unique is that it is one of few machines in Apple's lineup that has user-replaceable modules. With minimal effort, users can upgrade from the 8GB that comes standard up to 128GB without breaking the bank.

There are many choices for third-party RAM sticks, but we typically turn to OWC. They offer great quality, good value, and solid after-sale support.






Apple charges users a cool thousand dollars to upgrade from 8GB to 64GB and an even more mind-blowing $2,600 for the 128GB. OWC charges around $270 for 64GB of RAM and $600 for the 128GB set -- a full $2000 less for 128GB versus Apple. That's enough for another iMac.

What we're saying is -- don't buy your RAM from Apple.

How to upgrade the RAM on the 27-Inch iMac

To upgrade the RAM on the 27-Inch iMac (2020) you will need a large open surface with a soft covering, a spudger or pen, and your new RAM modules.
  • Disconnect all cables, including peripherals and power, from your 27-Inch iMac

  • Carefully place the iMac face down on the protected surface
    Place your iMac face down on a protected surface
    Place your iMac face down on a protected surface

  • Using the tip of a pen or a spudger, depress the button that is hidden above the power input
    Open the RAM cover by pressing the button
    Open the RAM cover by pressing the button

  • Press the button until the RAM cover is free, and remove the cover

  • Access the RAM by push the two light grey buttons on either side away from the RAM and slide the housing forward

  • Carefully slide the existing RAM out of its housing. This may take a good amount of force
    Remove the old RAM modules
    Remove the old RAM modules

  • Install the new RAM by sliding it into place and pressing firmly. If installing four modules, the position doesn't matter, but if you install just two, they need to be either in positions 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 for proper two-channel support

  • Slide the RAM housing forward until it is flat and no longer protruding past the surface of the iMac

  • Place the RAM cover in place and apply even pressure on each side until it goes flush
Now the new RAM is installed. Reconnect the power cables, boot up the machine, and confirm the new storage by going to the Apple icon in the top-left corner and selecting About this Mac.

Where to buy RAM for your new iMac

The 27-Inch iMac (2020)
The 27-Inch iMac (2020)


If you're looking to upgrade the RAM in your new iMac, OWC has a variety of kits for Apple's 2020 iMac models.

And if you're looking for the best deal on the systems themselves, AppleInsider readers can secure exclusive discounts on new configurations in the Mac Price Guide.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Ordered 64GB from MacSales yesterday.
    iMac arrives at month end.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,966member
    So I just looked -
    On Apple's web site, it costs $200 to upgrade 8GB (to 16GB total), $600 for 32GB total, $1000 to upgrade to 64GB, and $2600 for 128GB total RAM.

    On OWC's web site you can buy compatible RAM for $35/8GB, and 128GB costs $600. Crucial has similar prices. I'm trying to figure out what possible justification there is for a 400% markup (over another suppliers retail price, no less.)
    caladanian
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Don't buy your RAM from Apple. It’s that easy. And that ridiculous. I really don’t understand why Apple does this, irritating even fanbois like me. :smile: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,299member
    What I don’t understand is this behavior from Apple: overcharge for memory and storage like crazy. It’s not that their business depends on it - their business model is more focused on services and App Store. 
    Why in 2020 aren’t they prioritizing their brand image and providing customer service over these kinds of practices?
    And if they are, they really should offer a way to replace both storage and memory easily throughout their entire desktop product offerings. 
  • Reply 5 of 10
    These prices from Apple sound to me like they’re telling the customer “you know, we really don’t want to bother with different RAM configs and doing all this upgrade thingy for you. So if you really really want we will do it for that ludicrous price. But if you care a little for us, please please don’t buy RAM off us. Just go with the base config and have it done somewhere else.  Please.”
  • Reply 6 of 10
    thttht Posts: 5,548member
    What I don’t understand is this behavior from Apple: overcharge for memory and storage like crazy. It’s not that their business depends on it - their business model is more focused on services and App Store. 
    Why in 2020 aren’t they prioritizing their brand image and providing customer service over these kinds of practices?
    And if they are, they really should offer a way to replace both storage and memory easily throughout their entire desktop product offerings. 
    Apple’s business model is selling a system solution if you are picky. Their business is entirely about selling hardware if you don’t want to be picky.

    Everything is in service of this. The operating system, the subscription services, the retail stores, the brand, the design, everything go towards selling hardware. Even their services are not like generic digital services as they are primarily sold to their hardware customers. 

    So, in this light, think of why their sales and product strategy is such. Maybe it simply goes down to adding user replaceable hardware doesn’t really sell that much more hardware, it costs more to service the hardware, while there are significant numbers of customers (corporations, companies) that buy the RAM and SSD upgrades. So, net-net the higher upgrade prices yield more revenue and is the proper strategy for a big OEM. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    DJI_DJI_ Posts: 1member
    I just went to my local best buy and this guy working there said you cannot upgrade the ram on the 27 inch anymore, I don't know if the in-store display/sample iMac was a 2019 or 2020, Im thinking it was the 2019. I do not believe him though, I am thinking he has to say that being that he works there lol. But just to make sure, you can still upgrade the ram on the 2019 27-inch iMac right?!? I am going to anyways. I have a couple of questions in regard to the $1799 2019 27-inch 5k iMac for 4k video editing. Apologies in advance for not really knowing too much but I am learning lol.

    Question #1: Would the base model 2019 27-inch 5k iMac (6-core 10th gen. i5 processor, 8gb ram, 256gb SSD) be good enough for 4k video editing? Good enough as in a smooth editing process: timeline scrubbing, playback with no dropped frames? Im not really worried about the export rendering times, being as im not really on any time schedule or anything. I will be upgrading from the included 8gb ram to 64gb ram (owc 4x16gb). Will that upgrade help quite a bit being that it is only the base model (6-core i5)? Or will it still just be "ok" and "managable" rather than "fast" and "a smooth process"?

    Question #2: Would it be better and "safer" to just get the $2299 version (8-core 10th gen. i7 processor, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD)? And still upgrade the ram from 8gb to maybe like 40gb (owc 2x16gb + 8gb)? The type of work I will be doing are like shortfilms with grading, music, and about 30-45 minutes long.

    Thanks.



    edited August 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,447member
    DJI_ said:
    I just went to my local best buy and this guy working there said you cannot upgrade the ram on the 27 inch anymore
    Your first mistake was to go to Best Buy. Your second mistake was listening to anything someone that works there has to say. They're wrong.

    Question #1: Would the base model 2019 27-inch 5k iMac (6-core 10th gen. i5 processor, 8gb ram, 256gb SSD) be good enough for 4k video editing? Good enough as in a smooth editing process: timeline scrubbing, playback with no dropped frames? Im not really worried about the export rendering times, being as im not really on any time schedule or anything. I will be upgrading from the included 8gb ram to 64gb ram (owc 4x16gb). Will that upgrade help quite a bit being that it is only the base model (6-core i5)? Or will it still just be "ok" and "managable" rather than "fast" and "a smooth process"?

    Question #2: Would it be better and "safer" to just get the $2299 version (8-core 10th gen. i7 processor, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD)? And still upgrade the ram from 8gb to maybe like 40gb (owc 2x16gb + 8gb)? The type of work I will be doing are like shortfilms with grading, music, and about 30-45 minutes long.
    Thanks.

    Yes, the i7 or i9 are better options — especially because the GPU options are also better, and you should consider the highest end GPU for 4K video and color grading. The i5 options only offer the Radeon 5300.

    jashue
  • Reply 9 of 10
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,278member
    tht said:
    What I don’t understand is this behavior from Apple: overcharge for memory and storage like crazy. It’s not that their business depends on it - their business model is more focused on services and App Store. 
    Why in 2020 aren’t they prioritizing their brand image and providing customer service over these kinds of practices?
    And if they are, they really should offer a way to replace both storage and memory easily throughout their entire desktop product offerings. 
    Apple’s business model is selling a system solution if you are picky. Their business is entirely about selling hardware if you don’t want to be picky.

    Everything is in service of this. The operating system, the subscription services, the retail stores, the brand, the design, everything go towards selling hardware. Even their services are not like generic digital services as they are primarily sold to their hardware customers. 

    So, in this light, think of why their sales and product strategy is such. Maybe it simply goes down to adding user replaceable hardware doesn’t really sell that much more hardware, it costs more to service the hardware, while there are significant numbers of customers (corporations, companies) that buy the RAM and SSD upgrades. So, net-net the higher upgrade prices yield more revenue and is the proper strategy for a big OEM. 
    Almost every OEM overcharges you for storage, mostly for "warranty".

    Edit: I did some research and comparing Mac's SSD to other encryption-available M.2 drive, at 2TB the price is fairly competitive.  This doesn't include the RAM, however.
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 10 of 10
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,899administrator
    DJI_ said:
    I just went to my local best buy and this guy working there said you cannot upgrade the ram on the 27 inch anymore, I don't know if the in-store display/sample iMac was a 2019 or 2020, Im thinking it was the 2019. I do not believe him though, I am thinking he has to say that being that he works there lol. But just to make sure, you can still upgrade the ram on the 2019 27-inch iMac right?!? I am going to anyways. I have a couple of questions in regard to the $1799 2019 27-inch 5k iMac for 4k video editing. Apologies in advance for not really knowing too much but I am learning lol.

    Question #1: Would the base model 2019 27-inch 5k iMac (6-core 10th gen. i5 processor, 8gb ram, 256gb SSD) be good enough for 4k video editing? Good enough as in a smooth editing process: timeline scrubbing, playback with no dropped frames? Im not really worried about the export rendering times, being as im not really on any time schedule or anything. I will be upgrading from the included 8gb ram to 64gb ram (owc 4x16gb). Will that upgrade help quite a bit being that it is only the base model (6-core i5)? Or will it still just be "ok" and "managable" rather than "fast" and "a smooth process"?

    Question #2: Would it be better and "safer" to just get the $2299 version (8-core 10th gen. i7 processor, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD)? And still upgrade the ram from 8gb to maybe like 40gb (owc 2x16gb + 8gb)? The type of work I will be doing are like shortfilms with grading, music, and about 30-45 minutes long.

    Thanks.



    You got bad info. The 27-inch has a RAM door, as demonstrated in the video.

    I'd get the i7 or i9 for video editing.
    edited August 2020 fastasleep
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