One Final Cataclysm Upgrade

With the advent of Cataclysm, it looked like I was going to have to give our now 3 year old iMac a bit of a boost.  The minimum system requirements for the Macintosh version of the of WoW is now listed as 2GB of RAM, with 4GB recommended.  The iMac is old enough that 1GB of RAM seemed like enough when we bought it.

Other than that, the iMac was well within the WoW specs.  And, honestly, the Cataclysm beta ran well enough with only 1GB of RAM, but I figured it might be time to upgrade all the same.  Bumping the iMac up to 4GB of RAM, the maximum you can install wasn’t going to be that expensive and would probably speed things up a wee bit.

I bought the RAM then went online to get the instructions on installing RAM in an iMac, which was probably unnecessary.  In the grand tradition of printing the instructions for pouring piss out of a boot on the heel of said boot, Apple prints the RAM upgrade instructions for the iMac in pictogram form under its base, which you have to expose in order to access the bracket that covers the RAM.  The pictures are simple enough that tool using protohominids could probably perform the upgrade.

Three Easy Steps

Or they could if not for one flaw.

Apple’s manufacturer in China seemed to have taken some extra cost-cutting steps but substituting a pot-metal grade screw to hold on the cover for the RAM slot.

I am generally a careful, right tool for the job person, so I fetched a few likely Philips screw drivers and chose the on that seated in the slot firmly.

Then I turned the screw driver.  The screw, however, failed to follow suit.  It preferred to remain stationary while I scraped a good deal of metal out of its head.

I had, pretty quickly, ground out the head of the screw so that it began to bear an uncanny resemblance to that gouge dish I had to make in wood shop in 7th grade.

(Completely off topic:  I learned to use a forge, a lathe, various metal shaping tools, various wood working tools, a band saw, and an oxy-acetylene torch along with being required to draft plans… on paper… on a drafting board… with a mechanical pencil and a T-Square… for everything I made in the Wood Shop/Metal Shop course I took.  All when I was 13 years old.  In real life I was probably a level 3 craftsman, to use the EQII measure. Thank you Mr. Nevins and Mr. Tagely.  Do kids still get to do all that in Junior High these days?)

Just what you want to see when this is the one and only screw between you and finishing a task.

I began, I admit, to give off the sounds that usually tell the household “maybe we had better leave daddy alone” as I surveyed the iMac and considered my options.

I went out to the garage and grabbed the cordless drill and a 5/64″ high speed steel drill bit.  After deciding that the bit was small enough for my purposes, I centered it in the remains of the counter-sunk head of the delinquent screw and then let the drill slowly do its work.  The metal was soft enough (pot metal, I tell you) that the bit was able to bite.  The force needed to drill into the screw quickly became greater than the force needed to break the screw loose and remove it, and the screw came out without any more fight.

I was then able to install the RAM.  I found a replacement screw in the garage and put the cover back on, then started up the iMac.


So when I walked over to BestBuy today and picked up a copy of Cataclysm for my daughter, I was able to bring the box home and run the installer in good conscience.

Like Tobold, I wanted to have the box, so I got a digital download for me and a box for my daughter.  There was less in the box than there was in the Wrath of the Lich King retail box.  Well, there was no catalog of silly Blizzard accessories.  There were the obligatory guest passes to WoW and StarCraft II.

Tonight’s goal: Find the flight trainer and start flying around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.

11 thoughts on “One Final Cataclysm Upgrade

  1. Bill

    Exact same thing happened to me on a similar vintage iMac. I barely got the screw out. Not sure I’d have been brave enough to try a drill. ;)


  2. Tabathine

    /contented sigh. Best dad ever. And if anyone ever even approached my macbook pro with any sort of power tool, I have to say I would claw their eyes out. But good for you!


  3. Roger

    Congrats on the upgrade! Welcome to the ranks of the RAM-laden!

    Honestly, I’m pretty sure half the games released recently have printed such high sysreqs to cover their butts.


  4. Xyd

    You _walked_ to Best Buy. Good lord, man, I could never live within walking distance of Best Buy. I’d have to auto-deposit my paycheck to them.

    You’re brave on the screw there Wilhelm. Perhaps your Ancient self is beginning to show signs of questionable judgment? ;-) Sears sells a screw remover that does, effectively, what you did with a drill bit albeit in a little more controlled manner. Hats off to your successful if not reckless accomplishment.


  5. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Xyd – Dude, it’s Best Buy. It’s not like I work across the street from Fry’s. But maybe Best Buy is all you’ve got.

    I remember working at ComputerWare at one point… I think I ended up spending more money there than I earned… before taxes.

    As for the screw, when you’re there and you’ve stripped the head totally out of the cheapest screw you’ve seen in ages and you’ve already opened up the damn RAM package… you’re ready to take chances.


  6. Xyd

    Fry’s _is_ the mecca but I still make most of my purchases at Best Buy because their return policy is significantly better and returning an item to Fry’s – even unopened – results in disgusted sighs and angry looks. Fry’s is about 15 mins from my house and I just heard they have bacon-flavored popcorn so tomorrow it’s to Fry’s I go.


  7. Xyd

    No bacon-flavored popcorn at this Fry’s, and no Baconaise either. Maybe this store is just a bad Fry’s imposter or something. *sigh*


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