2009 21.5 imac hd upgrade to ssd - advice please.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mynameistom, May 1, 2011.

  1. mynameistom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    Couldn't find a topic specific to my model so please excuse me if there is one already.

    I'm considering upgrading my late 2009 imac hdd to ssd to give a bit more zip and was wondering if this was actually possible (space limitations etc), and how difficult it is. All my media/time machine is backed up to an external drive and I just want the ssd to run the OS and apps.

    I'm definitely not confident enough to attempt the teardown myself, but any info on the best ssd to go for, and how easily someone more experienced than myself could tackle this would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. lee14160 macrumors regular

    lee14160

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Location:
    Fruitland, Idaho
    #2
    Cannot express this any better then this; "Do It."

    You won't be sorry. You will see a difference as soon as you install and restart your computer.

    Been using one for almost two years now, and will never go back to the standard HDD internal drive as a installation Hard Drive.
     
  3. mynameistom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for the encouragement. I've seen the difference it can make on youtube videos etc, and with the impending release of Lion I want to futureproof my imac as much as possible so that it can handle the demands of whatever I throw at it.

    Still would love to know if it is practical with the model I have, how challenging it would be for whoever attempts it, and what hardware I should go for if anyone has past experience.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. shady28 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    #4
    I'd like to know as well, planning to get an iMac this week as the final step to going all Apple in the house.

    I put an ssd in my work laptop, home PC, and wife's laptop. I find I can no longer stand using computers that don't have an ssd. :)




    Sent from my iPad 2 using Tapatalk
     
  5. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040

    DewGuy1999

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #5
    Don't the iMacs require replacement hard drives to be the same brand as the original? How would that work with replacing the hard drive with an SSD?
     
  6. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #6
    It's as simple as replacing the drive, partitioning it, and installing SL. I am so used to SSDs that I cannot go back to traditional hard drives!

    OP, SSDs don't have much influence over how it runs software whenever you throw stuff at it. These types of stuff are handled mostly by the memory (RAM) of the iMac. Solid state drives are mostly useful when it comes to uploading/writing files, app launch times, boot up and shut down times.

    I would advise you to upgrade your RAM if you can.
     
  7. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040

    DewGuy1999

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #7
    Proprietary cable can put the brakes on upgrading Late ’09 iMacs.

    Does the above not apply to current iMacs?
     
  8. mynameistom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    #8
    Thanks for the advice, I'll certainly look into upping the RAM as well in that case. Still not crystal clear whether it is actually possible for my model though, lots of conflicting information to dig through so if anyone has managed it on the same model some clarification would be great.

    As far as the actual drive goes, some research has led me towards the intel 320 120gb. A good choice??
     
  9. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #9
    The best choices are either the intel x25-m g2 160gb or the OCZ vertex III SSD. Intel is a reliable drive and uses their own controller, I've used one in my 2010 MBP. The vertex III has very good read/write speeds but only on a SATA III connection, since your iMac has a SATA II port you won't gain that extra performance boost.

    Just to let you know, are you familiar with TRIM? You will need to increase performance of any SSD drive in your computer. Unluckily, TRIM is not yet available and supported by OS X SL, only in Windows at the moment. Ther is a hack to enable this, very easy and I would strongly recommend it. To check this feature on Your iMac, go to the apple logo and click about this mac, then click more info. After that, scroll down to SERIAL-ATA and you'll see TRIM support, next to it it says "no", just like any other stock Apple macs.

    TRIM is a feature that prevents solidmstate drives from degrading their performance over time by erasing the used space do that you get zero data.

    http://www.groths.org/?p=313

    This site will enable TRIN support, though back up your content if your computer contains important stuff just in case (mine worked like a charm without any problems). Just to add, when you get your memory, go with Crucial, they are cheap, very reliable and high quality. If and when you remove your RAM from your iMac, you'll see that Apple's stock RAM is a cheap Korean brand Hynix (mostly, but not always).

    I'm sure this has helped :)
     
  10. mynameistom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    #10
    Thanks again for the advice. The whole TRIM thing is slightly over my head, but I'll definitely look into it and have fun finding out. Regarding the RAM upgrade, I currently have the standard 4GB so i assume doubling that will show significant improvements?
     
  11. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #11
    Yes, I would strongly advise you to upgrade to at least 8GB RAM, you will most definitely notice the different when using CPU-intensive tasks like photoshop, video editing and flash/java work. 8GB of memory will also benefit playing games.

    Crucial sell this for as little as £70 - a very cheap deal compared to Apple.
     
  12. mynameistom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    #12
    Well Aperture and final cut are exactly what I mainly use my imac for so that should be a great help. Just have to find someone who can do the upgrade for me now!!
     
  13. ndraves macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Short answer, Yes.

    Long answer,
    Depends what apps you are trying to run. If all the apps you are using don't max out your RAM capacity then the extra wont do anything. Easiest way to check this is after a days use of the computer check in Activity Monitor, on the System Memory bit what your Page Outs are.

    This is an indication of how much data the system is having to take out of the RAM back to the HDD because it's run out of space. Lower number is better. Anything over 1GB and more RAM will make a big difference.

    It's only worth checking this after using your computer a lot as on startup this will be 0 bytes!

    Back to the SSD question:

    Whilst using Snow Leopard I would really recommend the TRIM enabler mentioned above. If you don't then the SSD speeds will degrade over time and you will lose the difference between the SSD and a HDD.

    There is a really comprehensive thread (below) on how to use this software, works really well!

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1125400
     
  14. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #14
    I'm really not that 100% sure that TRIM enabler 1.1 works... I mean, how do I know that the SSD in my MBA is performing TRIM, i.e. writing the rewritten data as zeros? Maybe it just changes the text partition so that it says "yes" instead of a "no" in my system profiler next to "TRIM support"?

    Is there any way to know that this hack works as said?
     
  15. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #15
    If you really want to future proof your iMac -- sell it -- and then buy a new 21" iMac with an i3 or i5 chip.

    Aperture LOVES to use the CPU and GPU to their fullest, upgrading those will be a big kick.

    If you do decide to put an SSD in your old Core 2 Duo iMac, and somehow everyone has your worried about "trim" -- then buy a drive with a Sandforce controller. And FWIW, Lion will have built in trim.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/internal_storage/Mercury_Extreme_SSD_Sandforce
     
  16. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #16
    buy an OWC SSD when there is the vertex III that uses the sand force controller? No way! Many people have also reported that OWC encounters some minor problems with macs.
     
  17. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #17
    Who are these "many people"?

    Whichever, get an OCZ then. I just linked to the one I knew I could find.
     

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