I have a mac from mid 2010.

I want to know if I can upgrade the processor from the current 3.6 Ghz dual core i3 processor to a quad core i5 or i7.

There seems to be very little information on the subject on the internet, with most people saying "OMG IT VOIDZ YOUR WARRANTYZ". My warranty has been expired for the best part of 6 months now, so I don't really care about it.

I want to know - Can I buy a quad core i5 or i7, take out the current i3, replace it with the new i5/i7 and have the computer still work? Are all processors the same size/fitting? Is my motherboard/hardware/bios/firmware/software compatible with a different processor?

My reasoning is that this would be a much cheaper way to upgrade my current computer, rather than splashing out for a new computer.


  • 1
    Wow, I really thought this is not possible. Apple has never openly shown any intentions to make CPUs or GPUs user upgradable in the iMac - I thought. But I just learned this is not true. In this document there is a report of a successful CPU upgrade. This picture by iFixit shows a CPU socket used in an Intel iMac. Cool, i really did not expect to find these :)
    – gentmatt
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 10:58
  • Apple don't make it easy - by any standards. Thinking about installing an SSD makes me weak at the knees. But it must be possible - even if its not "user upgradable". Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 11:29
  • Installing an SSD took me 5 minutes for my MacBook Pro Unibody, and ~15 Minutes for my 2008 MacBook Pro 2008 (just a lot of screws, but really straight forward). I would never buy larger drives at Apple, it's so much cheaper to order a good SSD from a computer store and do it yourself...and additionally you have an old one to sell Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 4:48
  • What SSD did you use? I'm going to do it I think, but I've heard that SSDs are really hit and miss. Some aren't worth it, but others are lightening fast Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible. By that I mean it is not physically soldered onto the logic board. However, as you mentioned, it will void your warranty. More importantly, Apple has not divulged the inner hardware workings of their system. Since Apple makes the logic board, and does not simply order stock motherboards, we do not know the exact number of chipsets that each physical board is designed to support. I have also heard that Intel sometimes will make the number of pins on Apple processors just slightly different than the PC version of the same processor.

All of that said, while it may be possible, it is not advisable, because messing up during an undocumented, unsupported process is more expensive than buying the new system.

  • Did I just give you the same answer you've read everywhere else? :)
    – bispymusic
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 20:34
  • haha! pretty much - to summarise "It is possible, but no-one's really done it and its probably not possible. Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 11:33

I would definitely give it a try when you definitely want to upgrade - I mean: why not? Okay, it's a Mac, but I don't get the point why someone shouldn't upgrade or repair a Mac? Only because a lot of people who don't know much about computers prefer a Mac over Windows OS computer due to its simpler interface (and more uniform hardware) does not mean no one is allowed to touch it.

I never upgraded the processor so far (only RAMs and HD/SSDs), but I think this might be a good instruction for you. I guess this was something you were looking for...and yes, it looks like it is possible - even simple...but attention to the last sentence "Please note : Warranty is void with this step." ;)


  • Warranty has been void for 2 years anyway. Its about 4 years old the computer, so I guess I haven't got anything to lose! Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 13:47

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