New $1,099 21.5-inch iMac teardown reveals that users can’t upgrade RAM

According to Other World Computing, which specializes in selling and repairing Apple hardware, a teardown of the $1,099 Apple 21.5-inch iMac reveals that the RAM cannot be upgraded, and is locked at 8GB.

Once OWC got their hands on Apple’s newest iMac, they took it apart, and discovered that the system’s RAM is soldered onto the motherboard. This means that the $1,099 iMac’s memory cannot be removed, and therefore can’t be replaced with higher capacity RAM sticks.

Apple revealed the newest addition to its line of desktop computers yesterday with very little fanfare. Aside from the 8GB of RAM, the new $1,099 iMac includes a 21.5-inch 1080p display, a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor with a Turbo Boost clock of 2.7GHz, a 500GB 5,400 rpm mechanical hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000.

Aside from the un-upgradeable RAM, factory-installed upgrade options with this new iMac are very slim. You can swap out the 500GB 5,400 mechanical hard drive for a 1TB mechanical drive ($50), a 1TB Fusion Drive ($250), or a 256GB SSD ($250), but that’s all. All of the other models let you bump up the RAM as well the hard drive, while the $1,499 and $1,999 flavors let you improve the CPU, RAM, and hard drive. The $1,999 model is the only version that lets you upgrade the GPU as well as the other three core components.

We think 8GB of RAM is plenty for what we suspect users of the $1,099 iMac will mostly be doing with the system (Web surfing, other light tasks). Either way, it would be nice to at least have the option of boosting the spec if so desired.