Apple's 27-inch 5K Retina iMac Has User Upgradeable RAM & CPU

Apple's highest resolution iMac ever, the new 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display, was recently announced and went on sale yesterday starting at $2,499. But even though it features the highest resolution 5K IPS display on the market at a relatively reasonable price considering there's an entire powerful computer behind it, upgrading the stock 8GB of RAM when ordering from Apple to 16GB or 32GB will cost you an additional $200 and $600, respectively. I don't know about you, but paying $600 extra for 32GB is just unacceptable.

Fortunately, just like the 2013 non-Retina 27-inch iMac, Apple's iMac with 5K Retina display features user upgradeable memory that is easily accessible from the back of the machine without any tools required. Third party memory manufacturers like Crucial offer a compatible 16GB kit that is identical to the stock RAM that Apple puts into the 27-inch 5K Retina iMac, but costs way less. The Crucial 16GB upgrade kit will cost you less than $140, and it consists of two 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz RAM modules - which is the same configuration that Apple uses. Two 16GB Crucial RAM kits will upgrade your iMac to 32GB for less than $280 compared to the absurd markup of $600 Apple charges for its RAM upgrade option.

That being said, the new Mac mini models starting at $499 aren't as fortunate as they now have soldered RAM that is no longer user upgradeable, meaning that you have no choice other than to pay Apple's ridiclously expensive RAM pricing if you want to upgrade to 8GB or 16GB. 

By upgrading the RAM yourself, you can save a considerable amount of money that you can either save or use to upgrade non-user upgradeable parts like the GPU, which we highly recommend that you do if you're looking into getting this insanely high-resolution iMac. Like the non-Retina iMac, the new 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display also features four memory module slots that you can max-out using four 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz sticks. And if you do upgrade the RAM yourself, you'll also still have the stock 8GB sticks that come with your iMac. 

Thanks to iFixit's teardown of the new 5K Retina iMac, we also know that its 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5 and 4.0 GHz Core i7 processors are also user upgradeable – in addition to a removable hard drive. But to replace the hard drive or CPU isn't as easy as swapping out a few memory sticks using a push-to-open back cover, it requires a lot more work that involves first removing the 27-inch 5K Retina display with a tool that slices it open and ruins the adhesive holding it in place.

And on that bombshell, we recommend that you upgrade the GPU, CPU and built-in storage when ordering your iMac through Apple, but never opt to upgrade the RAM. Do it yourself, it's extremely easy and it'll save you a bunch of money.