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A2115 / 2019 / Processors from 3.0 GHz 6-core i5, up to 3.6 GHz 8-core i9. Released March 19, 2019.

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Is it save to upgrade to i9?

I have an iMac Retina 5K, 27“, 2019 with a 3.7GHz i5 (and a Radeon 580X with 8GB of memory). I‘ll be upgrading it‘s internal hard drives soon.

When the iMac is open I could upgrade the CPU to an i9-9900k. But is it ok? Is the cooling sufficient for the i9? Does the main board deliver enough power?

I saw a video on youtube but that doesn‘t imply that it‘s ok.

Your thoughts?

Update (01/04/2021)

So, I replaced the internal blade by a 970 EVO NVMe M.2 (1TB) which I used in an external case for some time. Additionally I replaced the internal hard disk by a MX500 (2TB) SSD. Again, I used it in an external case for a while.

Finally I replaced the i5-9600K by an i9-9900K. Both have a TDP of 95W.


Everything is working. After watching some YouTube video I was frightened a bit on replacing the CPU, but I did it.

Easier than I expected. The WiFi part on my board is different compared to the board in the instructions, but no problem.

Replacing the CPU was not that complicated. I’m writing this answer on that pimped up Mac. So,

The performance comparison: iMac (27-inch Retina Early 2019) vs iMac (27-inch Retina Early 2019)

Basically, the i5 is in GeekBench: v5/cpu/840724 and the i9: v5/cpu/5685935

Ответ на этот вопрос У меня та же проблема

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Hi, which stepping does your i9 have? Srels or srg19


$ sysctl -a | grep "machdep.cpu.stepping"

machdep.cpu.stepping: 13


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I would go straight to the website of the motherboard’ manufacturer. Try a search for your board's model#. The site will most likely list the processors that the board is designed to support.

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@dancomptia - That would be true for a DIY Windows/Linux build system and older systems. Today many PC's as well as Mac's use custom logic boards.


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Apple designs their logic board to support a range of CPU’s. Here’s the CPU options in your systems series iMac19,1 

So yes you could put in the i9-9900k. But! I’ll warn you its not easy!

If you’ve never replaced an iMac CPU I would recommend you find someone with the deeper skills to do it for you. Even I’ve had trouble as the tensioning spring is hard to place on the heatsink without having a second set of hands to screw the screws.

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Actually I finished the upgrade (blade, SSD, CPU) and posted a comment a few hours before your reply. But the comment was marked as spam (huh?) and removed.


@nullxd0cb0e5e - Happy to hear you've got it working! Don't forget to accept the answer.


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