Squeezing some extra life out of mid-2010 27" iMac (upgrades)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by LushMojo, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #1
    I'm a med student and I use my mid-2010 27" iMac mainly for studying and accessing school/hospital/clinic material that I need. I'd like to try and hang on to this computer for another couple of years before upgrading. It does everything I need and other than a flaky 1 TB HDD it works great. The HDD "failed" at one point and I was able to finally erase and reload it. Disk Utility reports everything as fine, but SMART Utility reports the drive is failing. To that end I'm going to remove the 1 TB HDD and replace with an SSD (only need a 128 Gig SSD as I'm using about 70 gigs of space total).

    What bracket and SSD drive are best? I've looked at Crucial and OWC. Not sure which bracket I'll need. Looks like replacing the HDD will be somewhat easier than trying to mount the SDD in addition to the HDD. I really just want the HDD out.

    I have only 4 gigs of memory and was thinking of putting in 16 gigs more (20 total). Can I just put in a couple 8 gig DIMMS into the two empty memory slots? And is there anything to be aware of when getting more memory? Does it have to match anything or be specific in some way?

    For instance, would this work?

    http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Chann...F8&qid=1354469337&sr=8-5&keywords=imac+memory

    Anything else that I could potentially upgrade while I have the thing open for the SSD install? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #2
    You have a mid-2010? So do I.

    You problem is likely the 4GB of RAM. While I do development on my machine, I found the 4GB I had was inadequate to prevent growing swap files. OWC has a 16GB upgrade for abut $95 (or you can just add 8GB for about $50 to the existing 4GB and also see remarkable improvement). RAM is cheap and upping your RAM total will be the biggest "bang for buck" upgrade.

    Additionally you should look into the 1TB HD recall Apple is currently running. It looks like you were bitten by this, and if you paid for a repair you could be reimbursed if your machine is eligible.

    Adding an SSD is a pain in the ass in these iMacs. I am sure I would see improved boot and program loading times, but all I use is typically running all the time (no longer need to close stuff to free memory) and I have plenty of RAM to spare.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #3
    The Amazon link I provided is 16 gig for only $57. Going to try that; seems like good reviews.

    I do not qualify for the Seagate 1 TB drive recall. I checked when it was announced.

    And I know the SDD install is a bit of a pain, but that's nothing compared to the tedium of a long surgical shift. ;-) I used to be a software engineer for Cisco Systems (they bought our small company years ago), so I have some small amount of technical proficiency. Doing the SSD upgrade doesn't bother me and I LOVE how fast the SSD is in my Macbook Air.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #4
    Upgrade the RAM
    Put in a SSD

    That baby will fly.

    My wife has a 2.5 year old Macbook, lowest specs she could possibly order. I put just a SSD in it and it's amazing. There's no reason why your iMac shouldn't last you a long time with those two simple upgrades. Especially if you're not doing anything intensive. The bottleneck for you isn't the CPU, it's the HDD and Memory. Take care of those two and you'll have a really nice computer.

    You can go to Crucial's website to figure out what RAM will work with your iMac. I'm not extremely educated on SSD's, though I know many people like Crucial and OCZ. Personally, I have always used Kingston SSDNow's with much success. They're typically cheaper and I get amazing speed from them. I think they even sell a package that comes with the 3.5" -> 2.5" bracket.

    Good luck!
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #5
    The i7 iMac is notoriously picky on RAM, and will core dump or otherwise act weird if you do not use the right stuff. OWC was also bitten by this when they first started selling RAM for this model (this is why they also offer the Samsung RAM Apple installs). The stuff they sell now works fine.

    BTW: I am not a shill for OWC. I only bought my memory upgrade from them and researched the problems people were having installing 3rd party RAM.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #6
    I don't have the i7. I have the 2.8Ghz i5. Is it as finicky regarding memory?

    I'll look into the OWC memory. I've used them in the past for macbook memory.

    ----------

    Thanks. I'm really looking forward to the upgrade. Love the iMac; it just needs a little new life breathed into it.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    fruitpunch.ben

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Location:
    Surrey, BC
    #7
    My late 2009 27" was getting bogged down, so I opened it up and replaced the DVD drive with an ssd and upped the ram to 8GB. After loading the OS on the SSD and files on the HDD it flies. I can see no reason to upgrade it for many years now. Do it
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #8
    I don't know about the i5 (it wasn't a concern for me at the time). Also, I am never one to discourage tinkering, so if you want to do the SSD, go right ahead!

    Be aware of the HDD fan speed issue due to the lack of a thermal sensor port as well as having to patch the kernel to enable TRIM support.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #9
    I think I read somewhere about having to short the sensor? Or can you use smcFanControl?

    I'll have to do a search on the kernel patch/TRIM support. That's all done after installing OSX? or does it need to happen somehow before installing the os?
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #10
    Is anyone thinking about upgrading the CPU? I have the 27" 2010 model too, and heard you can replace the i3 310 with an i7 870
     
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #11
    I'm going to go ahead and order memory today. If I get two 8 Gig DIMMS should I just fully replace the existing two 2 gig DIMMS or can I place the new memory along side the existing DIMMS? I think I read that the limit for this machine is 16 gigs of memory, but I also read that some are seeing the machine report more than than when installed. So, I'd have either:

    16 gigs total - 2x8Gig DIMMS with 2 empty slots
    20 gigs total - 2x8Gig DIMMS, 2x2Gig DIMMS with no empty slots

    I guess what I'm really wondering is if the older DIMMS will cause the new faster memory to be downcycled to their slower speed. One way I get 4 times the amount of existing memory and the other I'd get 5 times. Not sure which is optimal usage.

    Thanks for all the replies thus far.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #12
    Just received the memory (2x8Gig DIMMS). Installed and have gone from 4Gigs to 20Gigs total. Planning on ordering the SSD drive next week (after our next block exam) to install over holiday break. Will be quite glad to be rid of HDD once and for all.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    tonyy

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    Location:
    Dallas
    #13
    Good luck! Just upped the ram a couple weeks ago and made a big difference.

    I did the SSD upgrade last night and it was easier than I thought. Thanks to the ifixit guide.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #14
    Did you install the SSD in addition to the HDD or did you completely replace the HDD with SSD (i.e. - remove HDD)? I'm going the latter route.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #15
    I replaced the 1TB in my 27" 2009 with an SSD. The bracket needs to have the same mounting screw locations as a 3.5"

    And yes, shorting out the temp sensor works fine.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #16
    Thank you.

    To that end can anyone provide a link to a bracket on Amazon that will work with an SSD drive and the mid-2010 iMac? I'm likely getting a Crucial SSD.
     
  17. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #17
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    Hagerstown, Md
    #18
    OWC Upgrade to my 2011 27"...

    I just bought a refurb form Apple and as soon as it arrived we put in an OWC 120 Gb SSD and we increased the memory with 2 8Gbs. We ordered their upgrade kit and the whole process took about 2 hours.

    It is Blazing! :D:D I couldn't be happier. I figure this will do me well for at least 3 years.

    The kit, and their video instruction made this extremely easy - with patience:)
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #19
    So your original 1TB HDD is failing after only 2 years? That's awful and what scares me about these new iMac machines, coming over from windows yeah PC's are a pain in the butt but all 3 machines I've had lasted me 5+ years easily
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #20
    apple has issued a recall for some of those iMacs' HDD.

    Look into it, you may be due for a free replacement.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #21
    I already answered this question above; I do not qualify. Thanks though. Have a great week.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #22
    sorry I did not read the whole thread.

    have a look at this OWC

    Its the best upgrade service for the imac, that I know of. Not dirt cheap but may be what you are looking for.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #23
    No problem. I do the same thing all the time. Thanks for the OWC link. Will definitely check it out.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #24
    The SMART utility "says" it's failing, but it's working fine on a daily basis. I'm just afraid that given the past problems it WILL fail soon. That and the fact that I just don't like having anything with an HDD in it because I prefer the speed, silence and low-heat of SSD is what's compelling me to do the upgrade. This HDD might last another 5 years and I may end up putting it in a drive enclosure for backup.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #25
    Can anyone comment on which SSD drive you'd recommend and why? The prices and Amazon reviews are all pretty comparable.

    Crucial:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

    Samsung 840 (vs the older, but more proven 830):

    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Serie...D120BW/dp/B009NHAF06/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    OCZ:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

    And can someone speak specifically to the point of firmware and TRIM? Are those things that I do after I've installed the drive and loaded OSX? Or do I need to somehow console in to the drive and do before installation or OS installation?

    Thanks again.
     

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