2009 20" iMac HDD advice

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RedCroissant, May 28, 2012.

  1. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hi Everyone.

    I have a 2.66 GHz 2009 20" C2D iMac with a 320GB HDD. AppleCare has run out and I was trying to find the best and largest Capacity HDD to replace the original one with. I currently have all of my media on a WD 1TB external firewire/usb 2.0 (of which I have already used about 920GB)and would prefer instead to have it all on my internal drive to reduce power consumption of an extra device, and to increase read/write speeds.

    I've been looking around, but I don't know for sure which one would be the right fit. Thanks in advance.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Any 3.5" SATA drive will work. Right now the maximum capacity is 4TB.
  3. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Do you think this drive will work?


    I don't know for sure if it will and I thin Best Buy's specs might be wrong because I went to Western Digital's website and found the information on this page is different different. It's the 3TB model at the top of the list. As far as I know, even though my iMac can only read/write at 3GB/s, getting this faster one shouldn't affect anything. Am I right or not?


    Thanks for any help.
  4. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Sorry to hijack this from Hellhammer.

    6GBit/s (not 6GB!) drives are compatible with your Mac. For mechanical HDDs it doesn't even matter whether they're 3GBit/s or 6GBit/s. 3GBit/s already equals 375MB/s (a bit less in real life), 6GBit/s is twice that much.
    A mechanical HDD, however, will only push ~150MB/s max, so it doesn't even saturate the SATA2 3GBit/s interface.

    Long story short, those WD green drives will work perfectly. They're not the fastest performers, but their quieter than others.
  5. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I know it's not GB, but I was just too lazy to write out the Gbit(not too lazy to do it now though) :) And thanks for the info because trying to find the right one has been difficult, especially when price is a consideration. Now when you say they're not the fastest performers, how would they compare to a regular 7200rpm drive from WD? And is $160-ish from Best Buy too much to pay for it? I'm also being charged $65 for the actual replacement service. I personally think that's a pretty good deal considering I don't want to deal with it.
  6. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    I don't have exact numbers, but a quick search told me that WD Caviar Blue HDDs are about 30(average)-50(burst)% faster than Blues.

    For a boot drive in your iMac, you might want to use a WD Blue drive. At least I wouldn't want to use a Green as my boot drive. (sorry if this kinda contradicts my last post)
    In my opinion, WD Blacks are out of the question for iMacs. They're even faster, yes, but also pretty loud.

    If you want to take other manufacturers into consideration, make sure you get a true 7200rpm drive, not something with dynamic speed (like WD Greens), because those are generally slower and rather meant to save power than provide speed.

    65 bucks is a good deal for that service if you don't want to do it yourself.
  7. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Are you making this recommendation base solely or mostly based on the time it takes to boot? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it still reads/writes at the 3GBit/s regardless, then an extra *few* seconds at boot time should be ok. Or do you think it's just a bad idea in the first place to make it a boot drive for other reasons? Basically, I want something to perform well, be quiet, and provide more storage than my current 320GB drive. The WD Blue is not made larger that 1TB(which would require me to keep my external hooked up since my iTunes library is already at 920GB). The next is the Black, which I don't want due to the noise, but can put up with.

    If the Caviar Green is a bad idea, even though the price and storage look good, can you recommend another drive that comparably sized and priced?
  8. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    As I stated above, no 3.5" mechanical HDD reads/writes at 3GBit/s, but between 80MB/s and 150MB/s. If a drive reads/writes faster, it will do anything faster, not just booting. Remember that in any computer the HDD is the performance bottleneck.

    I'm using the following 2TB drives:
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200 2000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (ST2000DM001)
    • Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (HDS723020BLA642) (I'm actually using its 3GBit/s predecessor)

    I can't say exactly how fast they are since I'm using them in a RAID0 configuration, but they are fast enough (faster than WD Green) and quiet enough, too. Plus they are the most affordable HDDs where I live.
  9. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    So with your advice in mind, I went to new egg.com and found a Seagate barracuda 7200 rpm 3TB for $179. There are quite a few bad reviews on the drive itself, but more so for the WD Green. I also saw a few reviewers mention not to use the Green as a boot drive and I guess it took even longer than I expected it to to boot up.

    I think I might just buy the seagate and see how it goes.
  10. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    If those reviews are reviews by users on whom those drives failed, don't give too much on them. In general, users whose drives work fine (like me) don't post so on the internet, but they're there. ;)
  11. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hey, flatfoot. Even though we spoke about this a while ago, I did in fact have the 3TB HDD installed and it is awesome to not have to worry about space for a while. Everything I have ever had on my previous hard drive and separated on three other externals is now consolidated and I still have 1.83TB remaining.

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