Adding SSD to the new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rimmi2002, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #1
    Hi I want to buy the new thinner iMacs, but don't want to avoid paying the $250 for the SSD. I was wondering if I can install the SSD on my own, or is the SSD soldered on to these imacs to make them so thin. I read somewhere that these are not upgradable at all. Please advise. Thanks.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    located
  3. thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2011
    #3
    Rather than replacing the internal HD is there room to add the ssd in addition to the internal HD?
     
  4. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

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    #4
    The internal SSD in the new iMacs is not a common 2.5" disk sized block, it is a "blade" type SSD as also used in the Macbook Air and rMB Pro. These are also available at OWC. You can replace the internal hard disk with a SSD, but you can't add a second one ... and that involves the risk of opening the iMac case.

    If you don't want to purchase the Fusion drive and don't want to risk opening the case on your new iMac, you can add a Thunderbolt external SSD drive and boot from that. These are bus powered and can be simply velcro or foam taped to the inside back of the iMac stand to be out of the way.


    Note: some of the early disk-only 21" iMacs do not have the SSD connector soldered to the motherboard. I don't know if they are continuing to build them that way today.
     
  5. macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    DFW, TX
    #5
    You could run an SSD in an external USB 3 or Thunderbolt enclosure as a boot drive and it would be just as quick as the internal drives.

    If you're not one that likes to tinker around inside an iMac then it would be a good idea IMHO.

    The new iMacs use a blade style SSD similar to those used in the MacBook Airs as well as a 2.5" laptop hard drive for storage.
    I haven't ordered my new computer yet so I've yet to have any first hand knowledge with the internals other than what I've seen from iFixit's teardown of the 21.5" iMac.

    I'm still out on which hard drive option I'll end up with since I have a server with 20 TB of storage so I do not keep much data at all on any of my computers internal hard drives.
    I am wanting to see what kind of performance one can get from the Buffalo Ministation with a Samsung 830 inside, possibly use this as the main boot drive so I could use USB3 or TBolt and just get the 1TB drive in the iMac:confused:
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    #6
    I was wondering where you found this information or if anybody can confirm this.

    I have a disk-only entry 21" iMac which I bought early December and would like to add a blade SSD to my machine if at all possible otherwise I'd consider using an external SSD. I'd much rather have everything inside the iMac though.
     
  7. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

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    #7

    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2544+Teardown/11936/3

    Step 24:

    Looks like this is where Apple's proprietary SSD connector should reside.
    Placing the SSD from the 13" MacBook Pro Retina Display confirms this notion. If the shoe fits...
    We purchased the "bargain-basement" version of the iMac. We're assuming that the more-expensive version—one that has the built-to-order Fusion drive option—has this connector soldered onto the board, and a 128GB SSD placed into said connector.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    #8
    Thanks for the link.

    That sucks. It doesn't even have the connector to give me the option to install an SSD into it.

    With an external thunderbolt SSD and the internal HDD, will it be able to take advantage of the Fusion Drive software?

    Are there disadvantages of operating a computer this way?
     
  9. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

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    #9
    Keep in mind that there haven't been all that many iMacs taken apart to confirm that this is a continuing issue of not providing the SSD connector in the base model iMac. The iFixIt teardown was on one of the very first ones available for purchase, although you may have made your purchase around the same time. Was your's made in the USA?

    Unfortunately, you really don't know until you slice it apart and see.

    As has been pointed out, you do have through tomorrow 1/7 to return your iMac and purchase a Fusion one, now that Fusion is available in the base model.

    Good luck ...

    -howard
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    #10
    Good points. Thanks for your input. I think I'm gonna leave the iMac as stock, wait this one out and see what may change in the future.
     
  11. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

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    #11
    There have been some reports of users building Fusion drives using external devices. I would use Thunderbolt as the interface if I was going to do this.

    It should work fine as long as you don't accidentally unplug the external drive. :eek:


    I have been tempted to take one of the refurb MacMall LaCie "Little Big Disk" Thunderbolt units and replace one of the disk drives with a SSD and configure it as a self-contained Thunderbolt external Fusion Drive. May try it when I get a chance as I have a couple of them around here.

    -howard
     
  12. macrumors member

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    Location:
    PA, USA
    #12
    I'd be very interested in how that turns out. Please let us know. I'm not sure of the advantage of running a fusion drive if you're going external... I'd think a fast SSD in the 256 Gb range for OS and Scratch disks, and a Sata III HDD for Data storage would be good. I have no idea which setup would be better, and I've read a lot about it. Any thoughts or pointers?? Isn't the purpose of the Fusion drive to get SSD-like performance with a small less expensive SSD??? As I understand it, that works well up to a point... not sure how that works with big Photoshop files, or with large video files/projects (IIRC the fusion SSD saturates, then you're kind of back in HDD performance... is that correct??
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    Oklahoma
    #13
    So if boot from an external Thunderbolt SSD am I still able to use the internal drive for media files, photos, etc.? If so, booting from an external seems like a no brainer to me. I want no part of an upgrade that involves glue and suction cups.
     
  14. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

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    #14
    Sure ... no problem at all doing that.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #15
    Thanks for the info. Had no idea external SSD via USB 3.0 worked as well as internal. Thunderbolt would be nice, but all thunderbolt accessories are over priced right and there are plenty of 3.0 cradles at newegg for $15 with good reviews. I think I'll go the USB 3.0 route. Thanks!
     
  16. macrumors newbie

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  17. sna
    macrumors newbie

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    Jan 13, 2012
    #17

    you need to be carefull here ,

    USB3 harddisks cases are NOT , I repeat NOT all Sata3 to USB3 bridge

    some are SATA2 inside and USB3 output.

    so you will get only 300M/sec Sata2 performance EVEN if you put Sata3 SSD inside the box with 500m/s read write ...

    so be carefull which SATA box you choose.

    also , keep in mind that USB3 is lower speed than Sata3 , they dont reach 600M/s ...

    dont expect the same speed of Sata3 using Sata3-Usb3 bridge ...

    ----------

    here

    read this to understand :)

    and this is a 99$ Thnderbolt solution , but still it seems is using Internal Sata2 not Sata3 .. thats why it didnt reach 450M/s read

    http://www.storagereview.com/thunderbolt_storage_with_any_hard_drive_or_ssd
     

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