Looking inside the "Intel iMac" - Logic Board Hides behind a Shield of Black Film

Jan 18, 2006

Tech-On! recently acquired Apple Computer, Inc.'s new iMac (17-inch model) featuring an x86 microprocessor, released on January 11. After finishing a series of benchmark tests, we finally started tearing down the Intel iMac. All the six screws holding the case together are found on the computer's bottom face.

The two screws in the center hold a cover over a memory slot. When these screws and the cover are removed, a memory slot and an eject lever show. The memory replacement process is indicated on the bottom face of the computer's leg. However, the slot's location itself does not seem to be suited for replacing the memory with the leg getting in the way during the process. We wonder why Apple could not at least move the location to either side of the case.

The other four screws on the case body use the slightly unique type called "Torx." However, nowadays Torx screw compatible tools are available from relatively large hardware stores. The Intel iMac mainly employs Torx screws inside the case as well.

We removed all these six screws, lifted the chassis from the LCD side, and took off the upper cover easily which was not our expectation. Then we disconnected the iSight camera equipped with a cover in the upper area of the display. A magnet is stuck in the bottom right on the backside of the cover. It is used to keep the packed infrared remote controller attached to the iMac body.

Even at this stage, the iMac motherboard mounting the Intel Core Duo is not seen yet. The board lies under a shield of black film below the LCD. The backside of the film is coated with aluminum, which seems to be intended to prevent electromagnetic wave reflection.

We opened the chassis by removing six screws on the bottom face of the computer. Excluding the two in the center, the other four are Torx screws. A light sensor is equipped in the second hole from left. The sensor is used to control the LCD backlight system's luminance in line with brightness around the computer.
We opened the chassis by removing six screws on the bottom face of the computer. Excluding the two in the center, the other four are Torx screws. A light sensor is equipped in the second hole from left. The sensor is used to control the LCD backlight system's luminance in line with brightness around the computer.
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The two screws in the center are also designated to hold a cover over the memory slot window. When the cover is removed, an eject lever for the memory device jumps out.
The two screws in the center are also designated to hold a cover over the memory slot window. When the cover is removed, an eject lever for the memory device jumps out.
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When the six screws are taken off, the front cover of the iMac chassis becomes removable. The area excluding the LCD panel is covered with the black shield film.
When the six screws are taken off, the front cover of the iMac chassis becomes removable. The area excluding the LCD panel is covered with the black shield film.
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An iSight camera is embedded inside the front cover of the chassis. The connection cable uses a connector with itself so the camera can be disconnected safely. The reason is unknown, but an IEEE1394 format 4-pin connector is used.
An iSight camera is embedded inside the front cover of the chassis. The connection cable uses a connector with itself so the camera can be disconnected safely. The reason is unknown, but an IEEE1394 format 4-pin connector is used.
[Click to enlarge image]
The magnet inside the cover is used to stick the remote controller on the iMac external frame (left photo).
The magnet inside the cover is used to stick the remote controller on the iMac external frame (left photo).
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Part of the motherboard shows only after removing the black shield film below the LCD. Only the bottom half of the motherboard is visible. The shield has two small holes for the power lamp (right) and to receive signal beam sent from the remote controller (middle).
Part of the motherboard shows only after removing the black shield film below the LCD. Only the bottom half of the motherboard is visible. The shield has two small holes for the power lamp (right) and to receive signal beam sent from the remote controller (middle).
[Click to enlarge image]