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Old Aug 23, 2012, 07:36 PM   #1
nathanjbrown
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My 1TB SSD + Blu-ray 27" iMac

It took me quite some time to finally get this project off the ground, but my dream of cramming 1TB of SSD storage and a Blu-ray burner into an iMac has finally been realized.

I cracked open my 27" 2010 iMac yesterday and:
  • Installed a pair of 512GB Samsung 830 series SSDs (in a 2x2.5 to 3.5 adapter; replacing the stock Seagate HDD)
  • Shorted out the temp sensor in order to avoid full-RPM fans
  • Swapped out the stock optical drive for a Panasonic UJ-235a Blu-ray burner *

The end result? Damn, it's fast! Incredibly fast. Switching users and waking from sleep are where it's most noticeable. Those two actions are instantaneous; less than one second. Booting is, of course, very speedy. Loading up Final Cut Pro (which used to take a good 15 seconds) now takes approximately 3 to 5 seconds.

* I'm having problems with the Blu-ray burner and will need to open it back up to diagnose. It's failing to grab the disc and will only pull it in if I open Disk Utility on the iMac (odd, eh?). It may actually be that the eject button (which the stock optical drive does NOT have but the Panasonic DOES) is being permanently depressed in the iMac optical drive bracket.





I'll post back when I figure out how to get the Blu-ray drive functioning properly.

Nathan
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 09:44 PM   #2
Lancer
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Sounds like a good project.

Personally I wouldn't crack open a new iMac thats under Apple Care as it probably would void it. But well worth trying in a couple of years to add speed and BluRay.

Why the frak Apple can't just add BluRay is all down to the iTunes Store as we all know but it's pissing off a lot of customers. I'll probably just get an external one when I can afford to.

As for SSD, I'll check that out on the next model, if it's too costly I'll look at it in 3+ years when they'll be a lot cheaper and bigger. Swap a 2Tb HDD for a 2Tb SSD would be a fantastic update in 3 years.
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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I agree with the above poster. Bye bye warranty. You did good modding it yourself though and if you have money then its a risk that doesn't matter.
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 10:39 PM   #4
Lancer
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I agree with the above poster. Bye bye warranty. You did good modding it yourself though and if you have money then its a risk that doesn't matter.
Yes Ideally you'd have a 2nd computer to fall back on if things go wrong, or loads of money :lol:
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 11:03 PM   #5
Swordylove
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And the cost?
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 12:02 AM   #6
Lancer
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Thats one of the reasons I won't be getting SSD including in my next iMac, just too expensive for the size no matter how fast they are. I figure in 3 years you could be 1/3 the price and much bigger.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 01:10 AM   #7
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Cost is indeed a factor as those SSDs were expensive (slot load Blu-ray burners aren't so bad anymore with both Amazon and Newegg carrying models starting at $150). In fact, the only reason I decided to splurge today rather than a year or two from now is that I had a hefty gift card to Amazon.com.

Price? $500 per drive. Given my experience so far, it was well worth what I actually ended up paying after the gift card (and perhaps even worth $1,000). It takes the iMac to a new level of performance.

Given that it's a 2010 iMac, I wasn't concerned about warranty. Would I have done this during the first year (or three, had I purchased AppleCare)? No way. It was certainly an intimidating project.

I'm really hoping to get this Blu-ray drive functioning properly in the not-too-distant future. Once that works, I'll have a fantastic little audio/video production machine for hobbyist-type projects.

Nathan
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 07:35 PM   #8
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An update:

That Panasonic UJ235 Blu-ray burner never functioned properly in the iMac (it works fine, however, in an external enclosure). As I mentioned before, it would not "pull in" the disc while installed in the iMac unless I opened disk utility (at which point it violently grabbed the disc). I think it's possible that the disc eject button on the drive was being depressed by the bracket in the iMac and causing the drive to malfunction.

So I thought I'd give it another try and purchased (for $150 on Amazon) a Sony Optiarc 5850 internal Blu-ray burner. I thought this was a safe bet given the fact that the "SuperDrive" I pulled out of the iMac was also a Sony Optiarc.

And, indeed, IT WORKED! But not without a little mod. Look up that drive and you may notice that it too has an eject button. At a $150 I decided the price was low enough to risk forcibly removing the disk eject button from the face of the drive. I used a small screw driver to bend away the metal plate surrounding the eject button. I then peeled the tiny button away from the drive and used a sharp knife to cut the VERY small ribbon cable running from the eject button into the drive. And that's it! I installed it in the iMac and everything is functioning beautifully.

I'm now enjoying a lightning-fast 2010 27" iMac with 1TB+ of SSD storage and an internal Blu-ray burner. I'd say I successfully "pimped my iMac."
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 07:44 PM   #9
Occamsrazr
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wow - nice project...
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 01:08 AM   #10
nathanjbrown
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wow - nice project...
Thanks. It's been fun.
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 02:17 AM   #11
Lancer
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Nice job, it's just a shame that Apple with its $Billions refuses to put BluRay even as an option and still has quite small SSD.

I hope the at least the SSD will be better in the next iMac update.
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 04:31 AM   #12
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And the cost?
Ha! I thought the exact same thing to start with, good project though bet it flies
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 02:52 PM   #13
nathanjbrown
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Today's announcement has made me even happier with my iMac than I was before! While I completely understand Apple's departure from optical drives, I'm delighted to have a machine with in-built Blu-ray and SSD. I consider this machine to be a miniature Mac Pro of sorts; an all-in-one workstation.

Nathan
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 02:55 PM   #14
Makaveli6103
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I installed my own SSD and went in to get the screen replaced under Applecare and they did not say anything.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:09 PM   #15
Fiddler70
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Hi Nathan,

I want to do the same mod. Is tis the right BD writer?

http://www.alternate.de/html/product...0H-01/990033/?

I will also remove the eject button. DoI need to remove the face plate of the drive first?

Thanks for the info!
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 03:46 PM   #16
Yeroon
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Very cool update! Nice that you got it to work in the end.
I guess your Mac feels 'as new' now.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 01:11 AM   #17
nathanjbrown
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Originally Posted by Fiddler70 View Post
Hi Nathan,

I want to do the same mod. Is tis the right BD writer?

http://www.alternate.de/html/product...0H-01/990033/?

I will also remove the eject button. DoI need to remove the face plate of the drive first?

Thanks for the info!
That link didn't work for me. The drive is the Sony BD-5850H-01 6X SATA Internal Slim Blu-Ray Writer. The face plate does indeed need to be removed - in addition to the eject button - before installing it in the iMac.

Good luck! You'll love it. It's quite a machine.

And, yes...It feels like a new iMac!

Nathan
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 01:50 PM   #18
ub128
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Originally Posted by nathanjbrown View Post
That link didn't work for me. The drive is the Sony BD-5850H-01 6X SATA Internal Slim Blu-Ray Writer. The face plate does indeed need to be removed - in addition to the eject button - before installing it in the iMac.

Good luck! You'll love it. It's quite a machine.

And, yes...It feels like a new iMac!

Nathan
Hi, do you think it may fit into my iMac 21,5 Core i5 mid 2011 ? I just broke my superdrive and you idea is brilliant!
Thanks
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 01:47 PM   #19
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Hi, do you think it may fit into my iMac 21,5 Core i5 mid 2011 ? I just broke my superdrive and you idea is brilliant!
Thanks
Hello?
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:57 AM   #20
nathanjbrown
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Hi there!

I'm really not sure. I imagine it will work, but it's so difficult to know for sure until you try it. My guess is that both 27 and 21.5 2010 iMacs utilize the same optical drive bracket and placement.

Sorry I can't be more definitive in my response.

All the best...

Nathan

----------

Ah. You said 2011. Now I'm REALLY not sure. Sorry.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 06:11 AM   #21
ameath
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I can report that I successfully performed this upgrade on my late 2009 27-inch Core i7 model.

It basically went as planned using Nathan's valuable advice, along with the iFixit guides. I took my time and also cleaned out the iMac with compressed air. The whole installation took about 3 hours.

I installed the Samsung 830 512MB SSDs in a 3.5 inch bracket, and then the Sony Optiarc BD-5850H. While I was at it I also upped the RAM to the full 16GB capacity. I didn't bother with shorting out the hard drive temperature sensor, but just installed the HDD Fan Control software instead, along with TRIM enabler (don't know if it's needed for the Samsung 830, but just in case).

The end result? Wow!! This is the iMac it was always meant to be. Everything happens instantly and now I can watch and burn blu-rays too. I no longer stare with envy at those new 'thin' iMacs. This has breathed new life into my old iMac for quite some time I think.

My thanks to Nathan for posting his experience and advice. Very valuable, particularly for giving me the confidence to cut the eject button and cable off the brand new optical drive.. it wasn't as complicated as I had feared.

I might must just add one small caveat for those attempting this on the late 2009 iMacs. The plastic bracket for the optical drive has a few small 'pins' that hold it firmly in place on the original pre-installed DVD drive. I found that the 5850H has minor differences in the outer casing, which means the plastic pins do not fit neatly into place, causing the bracket to protrude. I found that it was safe to simply slice off the small pins with a sharp knife, and then rely on the bracket screws and metal tape to hold the drive firmly against the bracket. Other than that, everything worked perfectly.

Thanks again Nathan.

Regards,

Adam
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 02:33 AM   #22
nathanjbrown
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Ah! The plastic pins on the optical drive bracket! I forgot to mention those. My apologies. I too cut them off with a sharp knife.

I'm pleased to hear your installation went as planned. That's excellent. Like you, I have no desire to own one of the new iMacs now that I've transformed mine into an iMacPro. We'll see what hardware Apple might tempt me with down the road.

Glad I was able to help.

Nathan
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 02:46 AM   #23
chevalier433
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Originally Posted by nathanjbrown View Post
An update:

That Panasonic UJ235 Blu-ray burner never functioned properly in the iMac (it works fine, however, in an external enclosure). As I mentioned before, it would not "pull in" the disc while installed in the iMac unless I opened disk utility (at which point it violently grabbed the disc). I think it's possible that the disc eject button on the drive was being depressed by the bracket in the iMac and causing the drive to malfunction.

So I thought I'd give it another try and purchased (for $150 on Amazon) a Sony Optiarc 5850 internal Blu-ray burner. I thought this was a safe bet given the fact that the "SuperDrive" I pulled out of the iMac was also a Sony Optiarc.

And, indeed, IT WORKED! But not without a little mod. Look up that drive and you may notice that it too has an eject button. At a $150 I decided the price was low enough to risk forcibly removing the disk eject button from the face of the drive. I used a small screw driver to bend away the metal plate surrounding the eject button. I then peeled the tiny button away from the drive and used a sharp knife to cut the VERY small ribbon cable running from the eject button into the drive. And that's it! I installed it in the iMac and everything is functioning beautifully.

I'm now enjoying a lightning-fast 2010 27" iMac with 1TB+ of SSD storage and an internal Blu-ray burner. I'd say I successfully "pimped my iMac."
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