2011 iMac 27 SSD in optical bay question...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pacific4130, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. pacific4130 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #1
    Hi,

    I recently added an SSD into the optical bay of my new Macbook Pro and I'm very impressed with the result. So much so that my iMac now feels sorely lacking due to the HDD drive.

    Just to confirm...

    12.7mm optical caddy (off ebay) + crucial SSD will work just fine?

    I've read through the guides for reaching the spare sata connector and that looks like too much work for me. I never use my superdrive so I'm perfectly happy to lose it for the sake of an easy install. I just want to replicate what I did for my macbook, i.e. leave the HDD in place for storage and put a bootable SSD into the optical bay.

    Many thanks...
     
  2. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #2
    Thats the approach I originally took with my iMac & OCZ Vertex 2. Disassembling the iMac kind of sucked, but its the cheapest way to do it and at least doesn't involve removing the mainboard.

    Since then I swapped my optical drive back in and connected the SSD via thunderbolt - part of this was in preparation for taking the computer into Applecare, but I don't think I'm going to reinstall the SSD internally.
     
  3. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #3
    Is the SSD fast enough over thunderbolt? Are you using it as a boot disk?
     
  4. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #4
    The thunderbolt interface I'm using is SATA2 (seagate goflex) and my Vertex 2 is only SATA2 as well, so there's no slowdown. A more recent SSD should be able to go faster than 250-300MB/sec, so you might not the speed difference.

    However, the SATA interface connected to the optical drive in the iMac I believe is also only SATA2 -- apparently only the main drive & SSD connectors are SATA3.


    I do use it as a boot drive - works great. With some tricks (documented in another thread), I'm able to boot Windows on the SSD as well. Disadvantage is windows can't go to sleep when a Thunderbolt device is attached... :(

    EDIT: other disadvantage is price. Cable + adapter runs ~$150
     
  5. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #5
    Thank you for that info!
     
  6. joudbren macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    #6
    I just installed a 360GB OCZ SSD via thunderbolt and a Seagate STAE122 Desktop GoFlex adaptor. Working like a charm so far as a boot drive and smokin' fast. No disassembly of iMac required so I can highly recommend going this route. I was a little hesitant at first going external but it works really great and makes it much easier to replace or upgrade the SSD drive down the road.

    I was also able to leave my Win7 bootcamp partition on the internal hard drive and it still works perfect and doesn't waste any space on the SSD. Cheers!

    Please note: Some folks are having issues with using the $99 portable GoFlex STAE121 adaptor with drives bigger than 256GB. Apparently not enough power available in some configurations. I went with the desktop version of GoFlex for $180 as it comes with a seperate power supply and the drive sits vertical on the Sata connector just fine. It also gives you thunderbolt pass-thru unlike the portable version. Just an FYI.
     
  7. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #7
    Where do you guys buy the Thunderbolt enclosure? I poked around Newegg and didn't find anything. I have the 2011 iMac, and the internal hard drive is slow. If it's not too expensive, I might go with the Thunderbolt + SSD as some of you suggest.
     
  8. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #8
    I bought mine direct through Seagate. But it looks like amazon has them for sale now, so I'd suggest ordering through them. The version (STAE121) that I'm using is $91, desktop that joudbren mentioned (STAE122) is $189. Don't forget to also get a cable - not included in either version. :(
     
  9. pacific4130 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #9
    Unfortunately the external option is a little expensive for me. That desktop adapter is not cheap - certainly in comparison to a cheap optical bay caddy.

    I can't remember where I read the comparison, but apparently the difference between an SSD on the spare SATA3 and the optical bay is not that great. I'm not really after amazing performance as I'm just a general user. As a student it's the ability to boot quickly, opening things like ms office quickly, etc that I'm after. So I'm not prepared to pay lots more for marginal increases in speed.
     
  10. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    See my sig if you need a guide.
     
  11. pacific4130 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #11
    Thank you very much, All Taken. I have a rough idea of how to do it but a tutorial is always a great resource to follow.
     
  12. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #12
    Thank you. The price doesn't sound too bad. I prefer installing the SSD internally but I don't know if I'm comfortable taking all the different parts apart, and certainly don't want to void my 3-year AppleCare warranty. External option it is, and it seems like no performance loss. It's a win for me :)
     
  13. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #13
    If you're careful with an internal install and undo it before you take it in, it shouldn't void your warranty or Applecare.

    I was a bit worried, but I took mine into the genius bar for a panel replacement (and HD recall) under Applecare. Got it back today and they didn't say anything or charge me, so I'm assuming their either didn't know or didn't care that I had opened it up.
     

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