iMac 27" SSD Upgrade - Important Tip!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NATO, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    For anyone interested in upgrading their new 27" iMac with an SSD drive, it's a fairly painless process, I found it to be a little easier than the previous 24" iMac (refer to the teardown guide at if you're interested in the process of taking it apart).

    I installed my SSD drive but noticed that when I was installing Snow Leopard the system fans seemed to be running very high. I discovered the 'HDD Fan' was ramped up to over 3200RPM. Remembering back to installing the SSD drive, there is a connector connected to the jumper block of the original hard drive (in addition to the SATA and Power cables). I traced this wire back to the motherboard and discovered that it is marked as 'HDD Temp'. I'm not quite sure how Apple gets a hard drive temperature from the jumper block of the hard drive but after shorting the two terminals of this connector with a little piece of wire the fans behave normally.

    So just a tip for anyone else who might be considering installing an SSD drive...
  2. C64
    macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    That sounds like a scary thing to do to a (new) Mac. Is that safe? And what if you wanted to put the original SATA drive back?

    But congrats on the SSD [​IMG] . Must be running amazingly fast now, no?
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Based on the way the connector was just connecting on to two jumper pins on the hard drive, I figured there wasn't really inherently unsafe in giving that a go. It's a sensor wire rather than something carrying any significant current so I figured it would be ok :)

    If you wanted to put your original hard drive back in it's the same process as before, there's nothing to show that you've had the computer opened up so for warranty purposes etc it's fine.

    The system is very fast, I'm totally sold on SSD drives these days (along with a suitable external HDD for stuff like movies etc which you don't necessarily need to have on the SSD).

    In retrospect I should probably have turned the computer on first when I took it out of the box to make sure it worked before cracking it open :rolleyes:
  4. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Well since it works, yes, but you should always turn it on as it comes and make sure it is ok.
  5. macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
    now the next question...
    will a SATA port multiplier allow putting 2xSSD in software RAID in the iMAC

    This is likely to max out the SATA throughput , perhaps doubling up the drives by replacing the optical drive (as suggested by ifixit) is better

    or... if there is room:

    SATA 0 - SSD
    SATA 1 -> multipler -> Optical + SSD

    This would load balance a lot nicer....

    Anyone know more about port multiploers and whether they would work??

    I am thinking there would be no reason at all to get a MP Quad for me if this is the case... (esp 'cos the iMac even has socketed CPU and GPU)
  6. macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2007
    This is all very interesting! Keep it coming!
  7. macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2009
    What brand of SSD was it, and how does it feel compared to the HD your replaced.

    SSD's should feel a real pop, are you feeling that pop-pop-pop?
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    No!!! :(

    I cried tears of pain when I read your post, as I don't have a clue what it means. For now I have the pervious 24" and I really really really want to put an SSD in it.

    My MacBook Air with its SSD does most common tasks faster than my iMac.
  9. macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
    I haven't done this yet, so take it with a grain of salt....

    iMacs are not that hard to upgrade, it's just that you have to take a little time to be careful and have a decent work space and tools.

    1) read the ifixit teardown for your model,
    2) get a set of torx screwdriver heads and suction cups from your local electronics store
    3) unscrew here, lift glass there, unplug lcd panel cable before pulling up there... (RTFTeardown)

    4) unscrew old HDD and insert SSD


    The process may be a little more complicated for CPU and GPU and one needs to consider heat dissipation (and sensors) but there is very little chance of causing problems as long as you don't yank cables out of sockets and and stick with parts that someone else has already found to be compatible...
  10. thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    I put an OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD drive in my iMac, it was picked up straight away by the OS X installer disc.

    I would agree with zeigerpuppy, iMacs aren't that hard to upgrade so long as you're careful, slow and methodical (carefully organising the screws you remove so they go back in the right place etc).

    And yeah, the iMac is a totally different beast with an SSD - start-up times are practically non-existent, application launching is instantaneous. Very impressive stuff, I wouldn't go back to a traditional HDD for a boot volume ever again.
  11. macrumors member

    Zach Schible

    Jun 19, 2009
    Just wondering. Is it possible to remove the Optical drive on the new iMac and replace that with an SSD. For me this would be great since I can't remember the last time I used a CD/DVD.

    Also if this is possible would anyone know if the performance would be worth it?

    Thanks & and congrats on you new setup.
  12. macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
  13. macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    Fascinating thread - thank you OP for starting it! My biggest objection to the new iMacs, apart from a lack of matte option, was a lack of an SSD option and no easy access to the HDD for the user.

    I have been toying with the idea of installing an SSD in the new 27" quad. I'm glad people are doing it, so I can see what experience they're having. I'm still worried by a host of issues - TRIM, what size SSD, and the weird shorting of wires the OP mentioned... hmm, maybe iFixit will have a guide at some point!

    Keep it coming folks, anyone else? I'm glad it seems easier to open up this iMac than the previous version.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    Well, I believe once you removed the glass from the iMac the screen is matte :D.
  15. macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Just had another thought,
    the iMac has a mini-PCIe port for the wireless card.
    This can also be used for storage with a mini-PCIe to SATA adapter or directly with mini-PCIe SSD cards.
    No sure if the speed will be any good.

    -- update
    these drives are fairly common for netbooks, apparently get up to 100MB/sec read/write

    not sure if the imac will boot from this drive??
  16. macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2006
    Thats a really great tip. Thank you very much!:)
  17. macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2009
    I would upgrade to an SSD drive if it didn't involve removing the glass etc. If I could somehow open it from the back I'd consider it... :(
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    This does look slightly difficult though then again I am very new at it. Considering the HDDs shipped are only 7,200 rpm, upgrading to 1 or even 2 SSDs seems worth it.
  19. macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2007
    Zwolle, the Netherlands
    I'm a bit disappointed with the fact that there still isn't an SSD option for the iMac. I'd love to have an iMac with an 80GB SSD for OS+Apps and a cool, silent and large (like, Samsung EcoGreen) HDD for /Users. Maybe even with half of the SSD configured to automagically mirror often-used data from the HDD. It would need some changes in OS X, but could work really fast without sacrificing storage space.

    With the current iMac, the HDD is by *far* the slowest part of the system.

    (btw, how fast is an SSD connected to FireWire 800? Is booting from FW still possible?)
  20. macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    opening a new imac by removing the glass really scares me

    in addition to all the wires behind the panel itself...

    if only there was absolutely 0 risk, i would do it...

    do you think that a CMAA would do it if we pay for HDD replacement ?
  21. thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    The LCD panel behind the glass is a glossy panel, very much like the glossy screens on the MacBook Pro before the new glass-fronted MacBook Pros were released.

    I agree, although unlike HDDs which have similar performance between manufacturers, SSDs are a bit of a mixed bag - performance differs wildly between manufacturers and even models made by the same manufacturer. While Apple could theoretically provide a SSD option for the iMac, it seems the fact the iMac uses a 3.5" drive rather than a 2.5" drive, Apple don't seem to think it worth their while to design a suitable bracket for holding the smaller 2.5" drive in place (I used a standard 2.5"-->3.5" bracket myself). Even if Apple did offer it, it would likely be far more expensive than buying it 3rd party, and you wouldn't know what model you were getting and it mightn't be a good performer compared to the likes of the Intel X25 or OCZ Vertex SSDs

    Another side benefit of the SSD in an iMac is that you don't have any audible noise coming from the machine. I do have an external HDD connected for storing media and other less frequently accessed files, but it only spins up when required and is off to one side. It's quite nice to have a computer that is absolutely silent!
  22. macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    what kind of 3.5" enclosure did you use to install the ssd ?
  23. macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2009
    When SSD's that perform like Intel/OCZ are cheaper and larger next year, or the year after or whenever, that is going to be a wicked stock iMac when they come with one by default.
  24. thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland

    I used one of these. You need to mount the adapter bracket in such a way so that the connectors are in approximately the same place as the original hard drive (the SATA and power cables are just long enough to reach that area).
  25. macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    Especially since its not Blu-ray. :rolleyes:
    It wouldn't be too difficult to find an external USB case for it either.

    What would really kick azz is if they offered an SSD option like the xServe where it doesn't displace the stock drive.

    Yet another option, for those that use an external sound system like me, is to put an SSD in place of one of the speaker assemblies.

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