Initial iFixit teardown of M1 iMac reveals big changes, tiny parts

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 24
A few days after the official launch of the M1 iMac, iFixit has published an initial teardown of the new 24-inch model, revealing quite a few changes from past iterations of the all-in-one desktop.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


The repair specialists are in the middle of tearing down a midrange M1 iMac equipped with an 8-core CPU/8-core GPU and 8GB of RAM. The internals on this particular machine will look different than the 7-core model, since the two have different cooling systems.

Before taking apart the device, iFixit noted that the iMac "looks alarmingly like an iPad on a stand." It also carried out an x-ray scan of the iMac together with Creative Electron. The x-ray images show off two metal plates that dominate the interior, as well as the fact that the built-in antenna is no longer Apple-shaped.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


Nearly all of the internal silicon is concentrated into two narrow horizontal strips at the top and bottom of the devices. iFixit also spotted two circular components that look, at first glance, like coin cell batteries.

According to iFixit, the new iMac is sealed with "classic iMac adhesive," which the site says isn't as goopy as the adhesives used on Apple's iPad lineup. Unlike previous iMacs, the new model is a single sheet of glass with no metal chin to block access to its internal components.

The M1 iMac is cooled by a pair of internal fans which blow inward across the logic board. A heatsink also draws heat away from the M1 chip with a copper heat pipe and two short heatsinks. Additionally, iFixit notes that the M1 iMac's internals appear to be secured with screws instead of glue.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit


Compared to iMacs equipped with Intel chips, the logic board in the M1 is the smallest yet. iFixit does note that the logic board appears to have a mysterious button with three LEDs beneath it.

As mentioned earlier, iFixit is still carrying out its teardown of the new 24-inch iMac. The second part of the teardown, which will be coming soon, will dive deeper into the device's circular components, speakers, and the Touch ID sensor on the Magic Keyboard.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    mike54Lonibyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 35
    swat671swat671 Posts: 93member
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    Why would it be different than the current Intel iMac's?
    Eric_in_CTwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    swat671 said:
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    Why would it be different than the current Intel iMac's?
    The old one is harder to pull out. It's a magnetic cord so I'd think it's easer to accidentally pull out. It's a strange design to be honest but if the battery provides enough power to instantaneously put the computer into hibernation without losing data, that would be a good design. From what I read, closing MacBook Pro with M1 would instantly power down or up when you open/close lid. 
    mike54Loniwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,579moderator
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    These kind of batteries are usually PRAM batteries, they don't maintain the system state, just some basic computer settings like system volume:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2389+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/6292
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

    "Settings that can be stored in NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information."

    It would have been a nice addition to have a Macbook style battery as a UPS in an iMac. Even a small 5-10Wh battery would allow safe shutdown in the event of a power outage and it avoids any problems with the power cable being pulled during a system update.
    netroxMplsPdysamoriabyronljony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Does AI have any guesses about when a larger ASi iMac might be revealed?   More ASi laptops first, then a larger iMac?    Larger iMac then more laptops?

    Mid-Year?   Holiday-shopping season?  2022?

    E.
    dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,772member
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    That's kind of an odd concern isn't it?  Sure, the Intel iMacs cord was more snug, but I've come across a handful of times where numerous screen adjustments with a tight power cord has resulted in it wiggling out, but honestly... even if it happens once, the problem isn't with the Mac. 

    I did notice that the M1 iMac appears to have what looks like two 2035 coin cell batteries where the Intel Macs have one.  That's interesting.  Maybe there is some kind of data protection?  Only one way to find out is to pull the plug and see what happens.  
    StrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    The two large metal plates look almost like acoustic chambers for the speakers which would help explain why such small speakers can produce pretty good sound. They would have to cover a large area to provide enough volume for such a thin computer. They could also just be there to strengthen the case but I'm not very convinced about that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,658member
    Marvin said:
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    These kind of batteries are usually PRAM batteries, they don't maintain the system state, just some basic computer settings like system volume:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2389+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/6292
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

    "Settings that can be stored in NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information."

    It would have been a nice addition to have a Macbook style battery as a UPS in an iMac. Even a small 5-10Wh battery would allow safe shutdown in the event of a power outage and it avoids any problems with the power cable being pulled during a system update.
    I've wanted that for a long time. Power in our area can be on the dodgy side (safe seat close to city - we get load shedded to protect the city - well that and water gets in the pits all the time - hell a building literally fell down on our block the other week), a battery would be great.

    Better still why doesn't Apple move to Hybrid RAM should improve battery life in the laptops would make power failure an annoyance not a data loose event. 

    So disappointed tear down cut just as it was getting interesting.

    Finally I wonder if the larger iMac will be the same physical Aluminium shell as the 24 just allow the glass to overhang the edges to get a larger 28" screen. Lower hinging point should allow the weight to self balance compared to centre pivot of old machine. They'd have to do something tricky with backlighting. Still one complex unit of production then services 2 products. 3 if they redesign the Mac mini to use the same base motherboard with it's own USB-c sub-card. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    "...looks alarmingly like an iPad on a stand."

    Wut? What precisely is so "alarming" about this? 
    flyingdpStrangeDaysroundaboutnowAlex_Viqatedomike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,579moderator
    mattinoz said:
    Marvin said:
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    These kind of batteries are usually PRAM batteries, they don't maintain the system state, just some basic computer settings like system volume:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2389+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/6292
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

    "Settings that can be stored in NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information."

    It would have been a nice addition to have a Macbook style battery as a UPS in an iMac. Even a small 5-10Wh battery would allow safe shutdown in the event of a power outage and it avoids any problems with the power cable being pulled during a system update.
    I've wanted that for a long time. Power in our area can be on the dodgy side (safe seat close to city - we get load shedded to protect the city - well that and water gets in the pits all the time - hell a building literally fell down on our block the other week), a battery would be great.

    Better still why doesn't Apple move to Hybrid RAM should improve battery life in the laptops would make power failure an annoyance not a data loose event. 
    Now that the power brick is external, they could also sell one with a battery pack in it as an option. There are some 3rd party options but they are pretty bulky:

    https://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Portable-Power-Station-Generator/dp/B07D29QNMJ/
    https://us.anker.com/collections/portable-power/products/a1701

    Maybe a company like Anker could make a more compact one given the low power of the Macs. Old iMacs used 100W+ of power but the M1 models must use a lot less.

    Non-volatile RAM would certainly help avoid data loss but there can still be damage during a system update and it's useful to be able to get online in a power cut to find out what happened. With a laptop you can use it as normal and connect to a mobile network via iPhone tethering or a mobile internet device. It's even possible to keep watching Netflix over it with the bandwidth dropped down.

    With the amount of power in laptops now, they effectively give this setup. A Macbook Air in a dock hooked up to a nice 24"/27" display would be a good alternative to an iMac:


    edited May 24 netroxmattinozdysamoriaiqatedowatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,356member
    sflocal said:
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    That's kind of an odd concern isn't it?  Sure, the Intel iMacs cord was more snug, but I've come across a handful of times where numerous screen adjustments with a tight power cord has resulted in it wiggling out, but honestly... even if it happens once, the problem isn't with the Mac. 

    I did notice that the M1 iMac appears to have what looks like two 2035 coin cell batteries where the Intel Macs have one.  That's interesting.  Maybe there is some kind of data protection?  Only one way to find out is to pull the plug and see what happens.  
    As long as it doesn’t come loose with routine screen adjustments I can’t see a problem. If anything I’d rather have the new iMac’s connection - it’s essentially a magsafe power cord. If someone tripped on the old cord, your iMac was on the floor. With this one you’re probably protected- I’d rather lose some data than lose my entire computer.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,275administrator
    Does AI have any guesses about when a larger ASi iMac might be revealed?   More ASi laptops first, then a larger iMac?    Larger iMac then more laptops?

    Mid-Year?   Holiday-shopping season?  2022?

    E.
    We generally use historical precedent to make these predictions. Those are all kinds of messed up, starting with Coronavirus manpower issues in Apple's manufacturing chains in 2020 and early 2021, and aggravated by a historical microchip shortage right now.

    If I had to guess, late fall, into mid-November.
    edited May 24 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,356member

    Marvin said:
    mattinoz said:
    Marvin said:
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    These kind of batteries are usually PRAM batteries, they don't maintain the system state, just some basic computer settings like system volume:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2389+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/6292
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

    "Settings that can be stored in NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information."

    It would have been a nice addition to have a Macbook style battery as a UPS in an iMac. Even a small 5-10Wh battery would allow safe shutdown in the event of a power outage and it avoids any problems with the power cable being pulled during a system update.
    I've wanted that for a long time. Power in our area can be on the dodgy side (safe seat close to city - we get load shedded to protect the city - well that and water gets in the pits all the time - hell a building literally fell down on our block the other week), a battery would be great.

    Better still why doesn't Apple move to Hybrid RAM should improve battery life in the laptops would make power failure an annoyance not a data loose event. 
    Now that the power brick is external, they could also sell one with a battery pack in it as an option. There are some 3rd party options but they are pretty bulky:

    https://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Portable-Power-Station-Generator/dp/B07D29QNMJ/
    https://us.anker.com/collections/portable-power/products/a1701

    Maybe a company like Anker could make a more compact one given the low power of the Macs. Old iMacs used 100W+ of power but the M1 models must use a lot less.

    Non-volatile RAM would certainly help avoid data loss but there can still be damage during a system update and it's useful to be able to get online in a power cut to find out what happened. With a laptop you can use it as normal and connect to a mobile network via iPhone tethering or a mobile internet device. It's even possible to keep watching Netflix over it with the bandwidth dropped down.

    With the amount of power in laptops now, they effectively give this setup. A Macbook Air in a dock hooked up to a nice 24"/27" display would be a good alternative to an iMac:


    That’s similar to what I have. The main problem is the TB/USB C monitor connection isn’t always recognized, nor is the BT keyboard and mouse, so it’s not as simple as plugging it in and getting to work. Yet another reason I wish Apple offered a wired keyboard.

    Adding a battery is a neat idea but it would be extra cost, space and expense for something many people don’t really need. An auxiliary/3rd party adapter would be perfect, although it probably wouldn’t have the same level of integration as a built-in option from. Apple
    netroxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,275administrator
    netrox said:
    What happens to iMac if the power cable is accidentally pulled out? Does the battery provide enough backup to instantly power down safely without losing data? 
    The machine immediately shuts down in an unordered fashion, the same as happens on Intel.
    netroxMplsPStrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    As for those who wonder why I worry about the magnetic power cord - I have an adjustable desk and sometimes the cord is being grabbed while raising up causing my Intel iMac to tilt back but at least it didn't disconnect the power. With the magnetic power, it's a bit of a concern and would require that I have to be more careful. Also, what about desks at schools? What if they want to move their iMacs a little and oops, they get disconnected? Or if they tilt the iMac too fast enough to cause disconnection? 

    That's why I was hoping that the battery may at least provide an immediate "hibernation" so no data is lost. 
    mike54dysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 35
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,504member
    Yup, iPad on a stick. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 35
    The power cord is harder to pull out than the old one. 
    gregoriusmfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,772member
    Is it too difficult to just buy a UPS which is (imho) a far better option than engineering a battery pack inside the iMac which could cause other problems that occur to laptops like battery swelling, wearing out, etc?  It's a desktop after all.

    Besides, in a power outage, there are other items one would want connected to a UPS as well like modem/router/switch/external peripherals/etc.. that could use the protection of a UPS, especially for brownouts which cause more damage to computers than full-on power outages.

    I have a big APC UPS1500 on both my iMacs (Office / Home) which also includes two PROMISE RAID towers, TB3 Docks, Standing Table, Audio speakers and as I live in an area of SF where the power fluctuates quite a bit, so when I see the lights dimming/flickering, I know my expensive equipment is safe and sound.
    Fidonet127StrangeDaysbaconstangjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,356member
    netrox said:
    As for those who wonder why I worry about the magnetic power cord - I have an adjustable desk and sometimes the cord is being grabbed while raising up causing my Intel iMac to tilt back but at least it didn't disconnect the power. With the magnetic power, it's a bit of a concern and would require that I have to be more careful. Also, what about desks at schools? What if they want to move their iMacs a little and oops, they get disconnected? Or if they tilt the iMac too fast enough to cause disconnection? 

    That's why I was hoping that the battery may at least provide an immediate "hibernation" so no data is lost. 
    If you’re moving it around that much I’d recommend securing the cord - 3M makes some command cord clips that would work. As for the school, see my comment above. Moving it ‘a little’ won’t affect it much. Moving it enough to pull the connector loose would pull the computer off the desk with the old connector. I’d rather have the cord come out.

    https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1212738P/command-outdoor-light-clips-17017clr-awc.jpg
    edited May 24 StrangeDaysdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 35
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 730member
    mattinoz said:
    I've wanted that for a long time. Power in our area can be on the dodgy side (safe seat close to city - we get load shedded to protect the city - well that and water gets in the pits all the time - hell a building literally fell down on our block the other week), a battery would be great.

     APC Back-UPS 650

    Set when your Mac shuts down when using a UPS
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