Personal Experiment puts Apple M1 chip inside iMac

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It works surprisingly well in spite of a few drawbacks

Apple’s new M1-powered MacBooks and Mac Mini have received brilliant reviews. Many outlets have praised the surprising performance that makes x86 powered computers run for their money. However, Apple has yet to upgrade its iMac and Mac Pro lineups to a new silicon, so the entrepreneur YouTuber has decided to take matters into his own hands.

Luke Miani attempted to upgrade his Intel-powered iMac by disassembling it, but he ended up bricking it instead. He decided to build one himself after lamenting the lack of an M1-powered iMac. The project itself is impressive and, all things considered, relatively simple. He basically just pops an M1 Mac Mini’s logic board into an iMac shell (sans all the original parts).

To begin, Miani stripped his 2011 iMac of all of its internals, reducing it to a mostly empty shell. He then added a converter board to the iMac, effectively turning it into a fake-Cinema Display. To demonstrate that it could be used as a monitor, he connected the M1 Mac Mini to it. That, of course, was insufficient. He used existing standoffs to screw the logic board from the Mac Mini into the iMac case. He had successfully MacGuyvered a homemade M1-powered iMac once that was completed.

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There were a few “wrinkles” after the build, according to Miani. Because only two of the three antennas were connected at first, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals were weak. He was able to avoid this by repurposing the original iMac antenna bands and connecting them to the motherboard via the same connectors.

Furthermore, because he only put the Mac Mini logic board into an iMac husk, he was left with no ports. Turning on the computer also necessitated him removing the entire screen, which is obviously inconvenient.

It’s an interesting video to watch, and it only fuel speculation as to how Apple’s chips are designed to work in a much larger chassis like the iMac or Mac Pro. The extra thermal headroom will allow Apple to cram larger and more powerful silicone and compete seriously against Intel’s and AMD’s best chips while being considerably less power-hungry.

 

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