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Teardown of Apple's low-end iMac reveals non-upgradeable soldered RAM

Source: OWC

Hours after Apple released its low-cost 21.5-inch iMac on Wednesday, a teardown of the all-in-one desktop reveals users will be unable to easily upgrade system memory as the compute's RAM modules are soldered onto the logic board.

In a follow-up to its teardown of Apple's latest iMac model, Mac reseller Other World Computing found the $1,099 machine comes with soldered-on memory, meaning users are stuck with the 8GB of RAM installed at the factory.

That Apple chose not to include upgradeable memory is not surprising given the new iMac's internals are largely borrowed from lesser machines like the MacBook Air. Even the Online Apple Store hints at the non-upgradeable feature, saying the cheapest iMac comes with "8GB memory," while other models break out the specification by noting "8GB (two 4GB) memory," referring to two 4GB DIMMs.

While memory is not a configurable option, the new model can be fitted with a 1TB hard drive for an extra $50, while an additional $250 buys a 1TB Fusion Drive or 250GB SSD.

Apple introduced the low-end computer earlier today as "the perfect entry-level Mac desktop." In making the machine affordable, it seems the company does not want to encroach on more expensive iMac models, especially the $1,299 21.5-inch version that now fills a mid-tier role in Apple's lineup.

With Apple cutting $200 off the previous least expensive iMac model, authorized Apple resellers are already offering better deals on the computer, which comes with a 2.7GHz Core i5 CPU, 1TB HDD and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics chip. As seen in the most current AppleInsider Price Guides, the model is going for $999 after $70 mail-in-rebate (PDF) through MacMall.