Resolved 2011 iMac SSD upgrade questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Obioban, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Obioban, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012

    Obioban macrumors regular

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    Oct 19, 2011
    #1
    I have a 27" 2011 i5 iMac with a 1 tb internal drive. I'd like to add an SSD for the OS and applications, and keep the big files on the drive I have now. At first I thought this was going to be easy, but the more I read around, the more questions I have...

    Further complicating things is that fact that I already have an SSD-- a 3.5" OCZ Vertex 2. Yes, you read correctly, it's a 3.5" drive. Not 2.5". I would really, REALLY like to use this drive if possible. I understand that it's not as fast as a SATA3 drive, but I have no real need for speed. I'd like to keep using this until SSDs mature a bit (aftermarket drives get TRIM support from Apple, lower failure rates, longer life, etc etc). That said...

    1) Does the mid 2011 27" iMac have one 3.5" bay or two? As in, when Apple adds an SSD, I assume they use a 2.5" drive. Is that all there is space for?
    (this is the sole criteria that would cause me to buy a new drive instead of using the existing).

    2) To connect the drive, do I need anything other than this?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260803894476&ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:1123

    3) Is there anything else I'm overlooking? Mounting brackets, cable adaptors... anything?


    Again, I really would much rather save the money and use my current Vertex 2 if possible....

    TIA!
     
  2. paulbeattie87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    North East Scotland
    #2
    You won't be installing that into the iMac anytime soon. The 2011 iMac has 1 3.5" slot for a disk drive, this is occupied by the HDD. If you remove this HDD then the fans will run a full speed, Apple changed the way the hard drive sends temps to the logic board, when none are received then it runs at full speed as a fail safe.

    I can't see Apple implementing TRIM support for third part SSDs in the near future. They had TRIM in Snow Leopard, we're now on Lion and there is still no TRIM support for third party drives.

    I personally followed this: http://www.btobey.com/learn/imac-ssd-install.php. The Apple service manual for this iMac also helped me a lot. The velcro is stuck to the back of the iMac in the same place where the Apple SSD would be (underneath optical drive, you'll see the mounting points). This hasn't caused me any problems. As you'll see in that article other than the stuff you'll need for taking the iMac apart all you need is that one cable, I bought the same one. If you look on eBay you can find all the official parts, mounting brackets, screws, original SATA cable. That cable worked fine though, the direction of cables was fine, there is enough space in the notches in the pressure wall are large enough to accomodate that cable.

    As for waiting until SSDs are more mature, we are really at that point. The new Vertexs have had a lot of problems but they seem to have been mostly ironed out. I personally went with a Crucial m4 which has been working great for me. The latest firmware and the built in garbage collection remove the need to have TRIM enabled. Reliability hasn't been an issue for this Crucial. I'm running one in my MBP as well without a hitch.

    So bottom line is, if you're happy removing the HDD, having fans running at full speed all the time then you can use your current SSD. If not you'll need to go buying a new one. SATA 3 really is worth the extra IMO.

    Also if you're wanting to ask me any other questions directly you're best to DM me on here or drop me an email http://www.paul-beattie.com. I don't visit these parts very often.
     
  3. mmomega, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #3
    You would most likely have to do the reverse of what most people do, with that I mean. Most people have a 3.5" HDD so they then install a 3rd party 2.5" SSD in the stock location.
    This way they have the speed of the SSD + the storage space of the HDD.

    You would have to do the opposite.

    I can see you going about this 2 ways.

    1st IF you do not need the extra storage space of the HDD. Then..
    Remove the stock HDD and replace it with your 3.5" SSD.
    Download SSD Fan Control to slow the fan speed to make everything quiet again.
    You won't need the slimline cable you linked.


    2nd IF you do want extra storage space. Then ...
    Do like I suggest above but add a 2.5" high capacity notebook HDD where most people would add a 2.5" SSD.
    You will need the slimline cable for this one.
    You'll also need the SSD pressure wall to mount the drive, or do like some and use double sided tape to hold it in place.
    ----this option is cheaper than removing the optical drive to add an internal storage drive just due to the mount is roughly $70.

    You can always use an external firewire or usb for storage.

    You can also enable TRIM support for aftermarket drives with TRIM Enabler
     
  4. paulbeattie87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    North East Scotland
    #4
    The only issue with installing a laptop HDD into the stock SSD location is going to be noise and vibration. It may eventually mean the drive could fall into the fan that is below the SSD location.

    With the 2011 iMac you no longer need to buy a separate pressure wall. The back of the iMac has the mounting points for the SSD brackets. Only the 2010 iMac required a new pressure wall.
     
  5. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #5
    My '11 iMac does not have mounting points for an SSD and they do have part #'s for 2011 iMac SSD pressure walls. A few on here have ordered them.

    I ordered the pressure wall for SSD because I did not want to tape the drive down. It should be in early next week, so I'll take pics of the install.

    Mounting screws for all hard drives either screw in from the bottom or the sides. I'm not sure how it would be secured to the rear.

    Also if a 2.5" HDD was mounted with screws, there should be no way for it to fall into a fan. There is still a wall around wear the SSD mounts. Those small drives really do not vibrate much. It would also be quieter than the stock 7200rpm HDD that comes stock in the iMac which I couldn't hear either. Might just be my ears.
     
  6. paulbeattie87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    North East Scotland
    #6
    This is what I would need to officially mount an SSD inside my iMac: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/iMac-21-2...115?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19cc134c0b This is exactly the same as Apple specify in the Apple Service Manual for the 2011 iMac for mounting an SSD inside. A friend of mine also said he found no mounting points on the iMac for the SSD to go. The guide I posted originally has pictures and in there you can see three mounting points on the iMacs aluminium casing and then one plastic one which is on the existing pressure wall. AFAIK there is no 2011 SSD pressure wall, folks have been buying 2010 pressure walls and modifying them for use in the 2011 iMac.

    The pressure wall you're talking about involves removing the logic board from the iMac which is a pretty big task. The guide I posted above if you're careful you are able to just pull it up a little and forward to get the cables in, routed and the SSD installed which is A LOT easier.

    Indeed a 5400rpm drive will be quieter, although it will be slower. Also by the time you go buying SSD brackets, screws and the hard drive itself you'll be nearly at the price of a small SSD. Here in the UK those items added up would buy you a 128GB Crucial m4. Not sure what size SSD the OP has but it may be worth bearing in mind when considering that option. From what I remember the drive the OP has only came in 120GB capacities so the a HDD is going to work out much and such the same price as a new SSD except the OP would have slower SATA2 as well as a slower 5400rpm HDD and the need to control their fan speed manually all the time.
     
  7. tnewson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #7

    Just download SSD fan control, its free. Also use a TRIM support enabler. Im running snow leopard and used to run my SSD in the primary bay. Was a dodle.
     
  8. paulbeattie87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    North East Scotland
    #8
    It's likely the OP is running Lion so you can't just download any old TRIM support enabler. Download the wrong one and you'll have the Snow Leopard kext on the Lion kernel which is not good.

    I'd also rather use smcFanControl than some "SSD fan control". http://www.eidac.de/
     
  9. mmomega, Jan 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #9
    So... SMCFanControl will return the HDD fan back to normal speeds?
    It doesn't work on either of my iMacs to return the HDD fan to normal after installing an SSD.

    I have 3 27" iMacs, 2 with SSD's the third being updated to SSD next week. The 2 have had SSDFanControl installed for quite some time. 1 of them being used 12hrs a day as a main work computer for a medical office administrator running Parallels as well, this machine gets worked.

    Indeed a 5400rpm drive would be "slower" but there are millions of MacBook Pro users using these drives daily as a main drive. Using one as a storage drive would not be out of the realm of possibility. I'm merely trying to give the man options, it is up to him/her whether or not to take it.
    As for the price, you're looking at $99 for a 320 or 500GB drive, a retail box comes with screws, then $30 for the mounting hardware.
    A 64-80GB 2.5" SSD is in that price range, + you'd still have to buy the internal mounting hardware so $160ish.

    Like I said I'm just giving them options and I also stated to get an external USB or Firewire drive to use as a storage drive.
    I also use TRIM enabler on both of the Lion iMacs, it works.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #10
    Just installed the pressure wall SSD bracket from the 2010 iMac and I did not have to modify the wall whatsoever.

    On the other hand the SSD+ Power Cable I was sent was a bad cable. After checking and rechecking it 3 times, it was the cable. Had to use original cable, either way everything is installed. While I was at it I swapped out the stock Seagate 1TB HDD with a WD 1TB Black series as an internal storage drive.
     
  11. paulbeattie87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    North East Scotland
    #11
    I still don't understand why you bothered with the pressure wall. It really isn't necessary, Apple don't even list an SSD pressure wall as a part for this iMac… If you don't believe me go look up the Apple service manual for this iMac.

    As for the hard drive swap over it was a complete waste of money and time. If you're unlikely to notice the difference. Even in benchmarks the stock Seagate and the WDC black are evenly matched. Depending on who Apple used that day they even use the WDC black as the stock drive in this iMac.

    The SATA cable required is the one the OP posted it. There is also the official Apple one floating around on eBay, the only difference is the Apple one has 90° angle on the logic board side. I'm using the cable the OP posted and it works fine. Not sure what cable you were trying to use.
     
  12. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    OP, you could try and open up your 3.5" SSD, as usually the SSD inside is actually a 2.5" form factor. Its just stuffed into a 3.5" sized case for easy installation without any caddies in desktops.
    If it really is a 2.5" inside then you can take it out and install it like you would with any other SSD.
     
  13. Obioban thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    #13
    I ordered a 2.5" OCZ VERTEX 3. iMac is disassembled, waiting for the ebay cable to come.

    Planning to install the drive with double sided 3M mounting tape under the superdrive.

    Thanks for the help everyone :)
     
  14. Exirion, Jan 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012

    Exirion macrumors newbie

    Joined:
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    #14

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