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Old Jan 1, 2010, 08:46 AM   #1
All Taken
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Arrow 27" - 21.5" 2009 2011 iMac SSD upgrade tutorial

This Process is the same for both the 27" and 21.5" iMac.

I have been wanting to upgrade my iMac 21.5" to a SSD drive in the optical bay for a while. Apple finally got my replacement iMac to me yesterday and I got to work...

The Slimline SATA Connection used for the SuperDrive is Sata II not Sata I. (It's the same speed as the Hard Drive SATA connection)
My OCZ Agility 128GB SSD has no problem utilising sleep connected via the SuperDrive SATA.


If anyone wishes to use a DualBoot setup then I have experienced the following:

If you try and use a USB Thumb Drive to install Windows 7 then you will need to download and install rEFIt: www.refit.sourceforge.net/

If you try and install Windows 7 with the SSD situated in the optical bay rEFIt will refuse to load the installer.

To overcome this issue format the original HDD in the iMac as free space using the DVD that came with your iMac purchase - Place the SSD in place of the hard drive and install OS X and Windows 7 as you normally would. Then proceed to follow the guide.

I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DAMAGE CAUSED TO YOUR MACHINE AS A RESULT OF FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE.

The following tools will be required:

T10 Torx Screwdriver or an Allen Key if you don't have a Torx.

2 Suction cups

T0 Posidrive Screwdriver (Eyeglasses Size)

The following Parts will be required:

A SSD drive - pick a flavour. I recommend from experience the OCZ Agility 128GB or the Intel X-25m G2.

An optical bay for that precious SSD Drive (We are not doing this in a tape and cable tie manner)

This is the optical bay I used and it is a winner, has a slimline sata to standard sata built in so no need for adapters - Great price and 2 day shipping to the UK - http://newmodeus.com/shop/index.php?...roducts_id=260

Now for the dissasembly:

Step 1

Unplug all cables and press the power button on the iMac for 30 seconds.

With the iMac still upright place a suction cup in each upper corner.

Gently pull one corner until it is clear from the magnets that hold it in place.

Proceed to pull the other corner until it is also free. With the Glass at a 45 degree angle pull upwards so the tabs at the bottom of the glass slide away from the bottom chin.

Place the Glass flat on a towel or similar to prevent the spread of dust.

Step 2

You will now have complete access to the Screen and iSight. Lay the iMac on it's back so you have easy access to the internals.

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Notice that Screws are present on all 3 sides of the Display, we will only be unscrewing 8 Screws in total - 4 from the left of the display, 4 from the right.

This can be a little awkward, best practice is to take your time and if a screw does drop inside the iMac don't worry as you can reclaim it once the display is removed.

Once unscrewed the display will simply lift from the top edge (iSight side) about 30 degrees.

Look under the Display to notice a black flat cable attached to the board. This is the backlight sync cable and simply pulls horizontally away from the board.

The next cable is the LED Backlight cable and is unplugged by pressing down on the connector and pushing, again horizontally from the board.

You can now raise the Display slightly.

The next cable is the Temperature sensor. This consists of 2 thin wires joined to a connector. The connector pulls horizontally away from the board.

The last cable is the Displayport and it's a rather wide, delicate and flat black cable. Either side of the connector is a notch which when squeezed unhooks.

The screen is now free of cables and will lift higher. Once clear pull towards you so the bottom slides out of the iMacs chin and the screen is ready to be placed downwards onto a towel or similar.

Step 3:

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The superdrive is attached via 4 screws. Firstly peel away the black soft foam Square which covers a Temp Sensor. Stick the Square somewhere safe and gently lift the sensor away from the superdrive and stick to the inside somewhere for now.

Proceed to unscrew all 4 screws and gently lift the back of the drive to pull the slimline sata connector out of the drive.

Once the superdrive is clear you will notice that it is attached on both sides via a total of 4 screws. Proceed to unscrew them and also peel away the aluminium tape slightly from the drive.

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The superdrive is now free. Place your assembled optical bay caddy in place of the drive and re-stick the aluminium tape by pressing down firmly.

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Follow the above in reverse remembering to re-stick the sensor on the SSD with the foam black square.

Step 4:

Take the Display and place it back into the chin of the iMac. Re-attach the cables in reverse order (Backlight Sync cable, Led Backlight Cable, Temperature Cable and lastly the DisplayPort Cable)

REMEMBER THE DISPLAYPORT CABLE IS DELICATE BE PATIENT AND GENTLE

Once all connected place the screen flat and proceed to replace the 8 screws.

Using Canned Air or simply the Apple iMac Cleaning Cloth wipe or blast the screen with compressed air.

Using the suction cups pick up the Glass and wipe/blast with air.

Position the bottom tabs into the chin of the iMac and move the Glass toward the iMac until magnetism takes over and "Sucks" it back into place.

Congratulations you have successfully replaced the SuperDrive with a SSD.

Proceed to install Snow Leopard via USB DVD Drive or via USB Drive.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If the Original Hard drive in the iMac is replaced then you will notice the fans get up to a high RPM very quickly and will stay at this level. This is due to a Tempreture Sensing cable attached to the original drive, at present most people simply short the cable with a peice of wire. I personally wanted to find away around this....

The Seagate Drives that come with some iMacs are standard Barracuda Drives, i.e the connection at the bottom of the Drive for the Temperature Sensor will be on the same Model range (500GB, 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB) The only difference is the apple firmware and the sticker on the drive. For some reason Apple has added a Q to the drive model under System Profile (About this Mac, more info). The sticker on the drive does not have the Q and uses a standard Barracuda model number.

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This means that the Drive can be swapped for a larger drive without shorting the temperature sensor.

Last edited by All Taken; Jan 13, 2013 at 01:59 PM.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 04:15 PM   #2
hogo
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how different would you expect this to be in the 27" model? I wanna do the same thing.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 04:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogo View Post
how different would you expect this to be in the 27" model? I wanna do the same thing.

It's the same process. The 27" iMac also uses the 12.7mm Superdrive so the caddy I linked to above will suit your needs.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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This is great, thanks dude! Any way to use the superdrive as external?
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Whiteyez View Post
This is great, thanks dude!
You're very welcome. These forums have helped me on many occasions. I noticed a guide is not available for this and figured it was time to give something back.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Whiteyez View Post
This is great, thanks dude! Any way to use the superdrive as external?
Various solutions exist - admittedly it is easier to get the parts in the US - here is a site that may be of interest:

http://www.mcetech.com/optibay/

You need an enclosure that will fit a 12.7mm superdrive.

Personally I have packaged my SuperDrive away for safe keeping (Might need it for a warranty repair). I much prefer the idea of external blu ray or a higher spec external dvd drive than Apple's own superdrive offering.

Last edited by All Taken; Jan 2, 2010 at 06:52 AM.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 05:40 PM   #7
GaresTaylan
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Nice tutorial. I would love to do this, but don't have the courage to right now. Maybe some day.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 05:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GaresTaylan View Post
Nice tutorial. I would love to do this, but don't have the courage to right now. Maybe some day.
Thanks, if you decide you are going to dive in then let me know if you require anymore assistance.
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Old Jan 3, 2010, 11:43 AM   #9
negatv1
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Looks awesome, and exactly what I want to do to my 27.

Question for you - I can't tell from the product link if the drive bay adapter has a slimline sata connector like the original superdrive. I assume so, as you mention no other adapters. Are you using the same slimline connectors pulled off the apple shipped superdrive? Thanks,
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Old Jan 3, 2010, 11:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by negatv1 View Post
Looks awesome, and exactly what I want to do to my 27.

Question for you - I can't tell from the product link if the drive bay adapter has a slimline sata connector like the original superdrive. I assume so, as you mention no other adapters. Are you using the same slimline connectors pulled off the apple shipped superdrive? Thanks,
The caddy linked above does have a slimline sata to sata built in. It will accept the Slimline Sata connection inside the iMac and convert it to a Standard Sata connection. I'll amend the tutorial accordingly.

Thanks
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 11:00 PM   #11
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Thanks. I ordered the same drive caddy kit, and installed a Corsair 128GB unit in place of my superdrive this evening. Works great.
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 11:19 PM   #12
djcorrosive
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I'd love to put a SSD in my iMac, but would be to scared so to speak!
I can build pc's no probs but this is a whole other level. Main concerns miss placing a connected and frying something and getting dust behind the screen!
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 11:28 PM   #13
Bryan Bowler
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Excellent thread.

Thank you!
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 03:23 AM   #14
hogo
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got the hard part done...

I've got a 250 gb ocz vertex me SSD in my optibay! Problem: shipped with firmware 1.10. Having a hard time flashing to 1.3 then to 1.41. Maybe it's because of external firewire dvd drive? OP: what firmware did your agility ship with? Any tips on flashing??
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 04:58 AM   #15
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I've got a 250 gb ocz vertex me SSD in my optibay! Problem: shipped with firmware 1.10. Having a hard time flashing to 1.3 then to 1.41. Maybe it's because of external firewire dvd drive? OP: what firmware did your agility ship with? Any tips on flashing??
Hi Hogo,

The best option would be to replace the iMac Hard Drive with the SSD and leave the SuperDrive in place. Perform the firmware upgrades to enable Garbage Collection and then place the SSD in the Opitbay as normal.

May I ask what happens when you try and flash the drive using and an external DVD drive? Does the iMac give you the option to boot into the Flasher tool by holding down the Option (alt) key?

If you are able to enter the flasher tool and can't flash the drive it could be that you are not using the correct image. Is it an EX drive? If so please go to system profiler and check the name of the drive for a hyphen. (see below)

ISO's that covers both 1.4 and 1.41 FW with drives named OCZ VERTEX-EX

ISO's that covers both 1.4 and 1.41 FW with drives named OCZ-VERTEX-EX

Last edited by All Taken; Jan 12, 2010 at 05:23 AM.
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 05:04 AM   #16
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If anyone finds the info in this thread help full then please use the rate button.
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 04:33 PM   #17
hogo
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Originally Posted by All Taken View Post
Hi Hogo,

The best option would be to replace the iMac Hard Drive with the SSD and leave the SuperDrive in place. Perform the firmware upgrades to enable Garbage Collection and then place the SSD in the Opitbay as normal.

May I ask what happens when you try and flash the drive using and an external DVD drive? Does the iMac give you the option to boot into the Flasher tool by holding down the Option (alt) key?

If you are able to enter the flasher tool and can't flash the drive it could be that you are not using the correct image. Is it an EX drive? If so please go to system profiler and check the name of the drive for a hyphen. (see below)

ISO's that covers both 1.4 and 1.41 FW with drives named OCZ VERTEX-EX

ISO's that covers both 1.4 and 1.41 FW with drives named OCZ-VERTEX-EX
I can choose the freeDos CD to boot, but the iMac won't actually boot off of it. It is a known issue at ocz forums.(now i know) I see your solution and will probably try it. Have you had any fan problems on your optibay? Mine is running at 2600+ rpms while everything else is normal. I wonder if I need to change the location of the sensor. I just stuck it to the top of the optibay adapter. My adapter (from ifixit) does not have an open top like yours. Any ideas?
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Last edited by hogo; Jan 12, 2010 at 04:53 PM.
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 04:54 PM   #18
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I can choose the freeDos CD to boot, but the iMac won't actually boot off of it. It is a known issue at ocz forums.(now i know) I see your solution and will probably try it. Have you had any fan problems on your optibay? Mine is running at 2400+ rpms while everything else is normal. I wonder if I need to change the location of the sensor. I just stuck it to the top of the optibay adapter. My adapter (from ifixit) does not have an open top like yours. Any ideas?
My sensor appears to be in an optimal position - The temperature readings under OS X are 30-32 degrees. Try relocating the sensor to the Hard Disk Drive instead and see if that gives you some better results.
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 07:23 PM   #19
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update:

So I took my machine apart twice! Once for the flash, once for the sensor. All is now well!! I'm on 1.41 GC firmware, and i moved the sensor directly on the SSD, which was accessible once i removed the top of the mounting caddy. Thanks again for the tip.
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Old Jan 12, 2010, 07:24 PM   #20
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So I took my machine apart twice! Once for the flash, once for the sensor. All is now well!! I'm on 1.41 GC firmware, and i moved the sensor directly on the SSD, which was accessible once i removed the top of the mounting caddy. Thanks again for the tip.
You're welcome - glad I could help and I'm sure your system now flies.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 05:31 AM   #21
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Brilliant post

Thanks for the excellent tutorial, this is exactly what I want to do.

I just have one stupid question. You say that Windows 7 won't install with the SSD in the optical bay. Is that also the case if you install MacOS first and then use Bootcamp to install Windows7?

If it is, then the only solution is to take the poor iMac apart twice, once to replace the harddrive and once to move the harddrive?

Thanks,
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 05:43 AM   #22
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Thanks for the excellent tutorial, this is exactly what I want to do.

I just have one stupid question. You say that Windows 7 won't install with the SSD in the optical bay. Is that also the case if you install MacOS first and then use Bootcamp to install Windows7?

If it is, then the only solution is to take the poor iMac apart twice, once to replace the harddrive and once to move the harddrive?

Thanks,
Bjoern
Hi Bjoern,

In my experience the SSD in the optical bay had no trouble with a OS X installation however Windows was not able to install - I did try both the disk utility (format as FAT and Free space) and bootcamp method but to no avail. Unfortunately it does look like you have to disassemble twice, You might try installing OSX and Windows onto the SSD as an external drive and then putting the drive in the iMac?

If you find a more suitable method or discover the cause of this problem then please update me and I will in turn include it in the guide.

Kind Regards
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 06:12 AM   #23
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Hi Bjoern,

In my experience the SSD in the optical bay had no trouble with a OS X installation however Windows was not able to install - I did try both the disk utility (format as FAT and Free space) and bootcamp method but to no avail. Unfortunately it does look like you have to disassemble twice, You might try installing OSX and Windows onto the SSD as an external drive and then putting the drive in the iMac?

If you find a more suitable method or discover the cause of this problem then please update me and I will in turn include it in the guide.

Kind Regards
Thanks a lot for that. As far as I can see from googling a bit, Bootcamp does not support installing W7 on an external drive, so it would be a hassle at best to make it work.

I think I'll do it your way when I get my iMac in 3 weeks time and grow the testies needed for the operation

Finally, can you just confirm that installing both OSX and W7 on the SSD in place of the HDD and then moving it to the optical location is handled fine by the iMac? I.e. it locates the boot partitions just fine even though the hardware has been moved?

Thanks,
Bjoern
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 07:28 AM   #24
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I can confirm that the iMac will find the boot partitions without problem. Just ensure that the iMac hard drive is clear of any OS and you won't have a problem. The whole procedure is fairly easy, just take your time and I wish you the best of luck - please update this thread with how you got on and any tips/advice you want to share.

Many Thanks
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 01:14 PM   #25
Bjoern42
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Thank you very much. Like I said, it's another three weeks before it arrives, but I'll return then with my experiences if I work up the courage

Bjoern
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