Consumer Electronics

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer Teardown

26 February 2010
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The 21.5-inch iMac under analysis here represents the latest evolution of Apple's popular line of all-in-one desktop computers. This marquee Apple desktop model, first introduced late October of 2009, features a new LED backlit display with full HD resolution in 16:9 widescreen format along with a redesigned wireless keyboard and the mouse set. The Bluetooth wireless mouse, marketed as the Magic Mouse, features a multi-touch surface and therefore eliminating the need for any physical buttons. The minimalist and iconic design of the iMac belies the fact that the internal electronics has undergone significant updates. Namely, the 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo based motherboard now comes standard with Nvidia's 9400M chipset [as opposed to the typical Intel based chipsets] and offers DisplayPort capabilities [for both output and input that allows users to commandeer the use of the display]. The base model iMac comes configured with a 500GB hard drive, 4GB of DDR3 memory, slot-loading 8x DVD+/-RW drive, Bluetooth and 802.11n WLAN module. Additionally, apple included a new SD memory card reader in this media-centric, all-in-one computer along with the familiar integrated iSight webcam.

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer Main ImageApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer Main Image
Target Market

Mainstream consumers


Per press releases, this specific model of the iMac was introduced October 2009.

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Motherboard TopApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Motherboard Top
Pricing and Availability

Pricing - Based on the configuration of the device under analysis, the Apple iMac retails for $1199 directly from

Availability - assumed global (availability details on

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 1M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Motherboard BottomApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Motherboard Bottom
Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~80% of total materials cost

Intel - AT80571PH0833ML - CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E7600, 3MB Cache, 3.06 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB, 45nm Process

LG Display - LM215WF3 - Display Module Value Line Item - 21.5'Diagonal, 16.7M Color TFT, 1920 x 1080 Pixels, LED Backlight

Hynix - HMT125S6BFR8C-G7 - SODIMM DDR3-1066 - 2GB, 256M x 64 (Qty:2)

Nvidia - GF-9400J-DC-I-B3 - Chipset - GeForce 9400M G, 55nm

Western Digital - WD500AAKS - Hard Drive - 500GB, 3.5' SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm, 16MB Buffer

Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. - GA11N - CD/DVD RW Drive - Slim Internal Type, Slot Load, SATA

Main Enclosure Housing - Die-Cast Aluminum, Machined, 2 Pieces, Spot Welded, Anodized, Printed, w/ 4 Internally Threaded, Machined, Metal Standoffs with Welded Mounting Plate

Display Window - Glass, Painted, w/ Tape on Edges

Wireless Keyboard Value Line Item

AcBel Polytech Inc - OT8043 - Power Supply Value Line Item

Wireless Mouse Value Line Item - Multi-Touch

8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free, Halogen Free

Total BOM Cost $697.98

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer Cost AnalysisApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer Cost Analysis

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Apple outsources 100% of their manufacturing to ODM/EMS partners in the far-east. According to the latest iSuppli's "Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Compute Platforms, Apple's computer manufacturing partners are split between Quanta, Hon Hai (Foxconn) and Pegatron (Asustek) with approximately 55%, 31% and 14% loadings respectively.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were sourced in China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as LCD display), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Block DiagramApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Block Diagram

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

All-in-One desktop computer designs are invariably complex. The iMac encompasses not only the core electronics but display module, speakers, integrated audio mic and webcam - not to mention the wireless keyboard and mouse.

With that said, the Apple iMac has an overall component count of 2513 (excluding box contents), of which, 511 are mechanical in nature.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

As with previous iMac models, the all-in-one Apple computer resembles more an electronic architecture from a mobile platform than one from a desktop pedigree. The compact double-sided motherboard assembly accepts SO-DIMM memory modules similar to other mobile platforms but do take higher power, desktop grade processor such as the Intel E7600 CPU to take advantage of the power provisions available to a plugged in computer.

Of significant note, the latest iMac is the first to feature the Nvida GPU and chipset not only as an option but standard in the base iMac model. This is a significant move by Apple to differentiate their computer lines as more graphically capable one than that of its generic PC equivalents.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Apple iMac design:



  • Intel - AT80571PH0833ML - Core 2 Duo Processor E7600, 3MB Cache, 3.06 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB, 45nm Process


  • Nvidia - GF-9400J-DC-I-B3 - GeForce 9400M G, 55nm


  • SODIMM Module - Hynix - HMT125S6BFR8C-G7 (DDR3-1066 - 2GB, 256M x 64, Quantity 2)

I/O & Interface

  • PCI-E to IEEE1394b Controller - Texas Instruments - XIO2213AZAY
  • MCU - Renesas - R4F2117LP (16-Bit, H8S/2600 CPU Core, 160KB ROM, 8KB RAM, 20MHz, 3.0 - 3.6V, 112 I/Os)
  • Codec - Cirrus Logic - CS4206ACNZ
  • Ethernet Transceiver - Realtek - RTL8251CA (10/100/1000Base-T)

Display Module

  • LG Display - LM215WF3 - 21.5'Diagonal, 16.7M Color TFT, 1920 x 1080 Pixels, LED Backlight


  • Hard Drive - Western Digital - WD500AAKS (500GB, 3.5' SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm, 16MB Buffer)
  • CD/DVD RW Drive - Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. - GA11N (Slim Internal Type, Slot Load, SATA)

WLAN Module

  • Atheros - AR5BXB92 - IEEE802.11a/b/g/n (Contains AR9280 Single-Chip Solution)

Bluetooth Module

  • Broadcom - BCM92046MD (Contains BCM2046)

Apple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Box ContentsApple iMac (MB950LLA) Desktop Computer - Box Contents

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