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2019 21.5 4K iMac configured with SSD only: does it retain SATA connector?

jam2morrow

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2013
11
2
If you configure 2019 21.5 inch 4K iMac with SSD only at point of purchase (that Apple connect to PCIe connector) will the iMac still contain the SATA connector and (an empty) hard drive bracket, so that you could then potentially open up the iMac and install a SATA SSD later on. For example, if needed to increase capacity, or as a cheaper option than replacing the proprietary Apple PCIe SSD blade if it fails.

I need to know this as I'm trying to decide if I should return an HDD only iMac, I just purchased, in exchange for an SSD only iMac from Apple. However, if that means the new machine wouldn't have a SATA connector, I think I'll just keep the one I have and upgrade it myself later on with SATA SSD, if necessary. I don't want to be totally reliant on just PCIe storage, as extra capacity is far more expensive than SATA, and there are compatibility issues with aftermarket non-original parts. Whereas SATA is more reliably compatible and an easier upgrade path. Thanks...

I've tried Apple about this a few times but they can't give me an answer...
 

jam2morrow

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2013
11
2
The EveryMac article for this iMac:
‘Apple iMac 21.5-Inch "Core i3" 3.6 (4K, 2019) Specs Identifiers: Retina 4K, 21.5-Inch, 2019 - MRT32LL/A - iMac19,2 - A2116 - 3195’
says:

“Standard Storage: 1 TB HDD
Std. Storage Speed: 5400 RPM
*This model has a Serial ATA (6 Gb/s) connector for a 2.5" hard drive. If configured with a "Fusion" Drive or an SSD at the initial time of system purchase, it also has a PCIe connector, but this connector is not present if the system only is configured with a hard drive.”


So I think it’s reasonable to assume the SSD only model does still retain the SATA connector, as this is implied and it’s not explicitly stated otherwise. But is there anyone who’s configured SSD only for this iMac, who’s opened it up, who can confirm? Many thanks...
 
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jam2morrow

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2013
11
2
Spoke with a mac upgrades place this morning and they told me that, of the 2012 to 2017 iMac models they’ve looked at they all have a SATA socket on the motherboard, but with the SSD only configured models, if you wanted to install a SATA SSD you’d need to add a proprietary Apple cable and power cord connector. On the 27 inch there is no bracket for a hard drive but on the 21.5 there is a bracket as it is built into the structure.

He did point out there was a qualitative difference between SATA SSD and PCIe SSD, in that Apple PCIe SSD reaches speeds of 3,000 mbps vs 550 mbps SATA SSD. So for ultimate performance go for PCIe SSD, but the difference is relatively trivial compared with the difference between HDD and SSD.

If you configure Apple PCIe SSD at point of purchase and later find you need to increase your storage capacity, his recommendation was to add an external SSD on the Thunderbolt port, which is quicker than SATA connector.

Anyhow, in the end I’ve decided to return the HDD iMac and pay extra upfront for the Apple configured PCIe 512Gb SSD. Hope this helps someone else decide. Thanks.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,431
7,246
"If you configure 2019 21.5 inch 4K iMac with SSD only at point of purchase (that Apple connect to PCIe connector) will the iMac still contain the SATA connector and (an empty) hard drive bracket, so that you could then potentially open up the iMac and install a SATA SSD later on."

This doesn't make sense.
Why would you want to pry open an iMac that already has an SSD inside?

If you need to add more storage later, get:
- A USB3 external drive
- A USB3.1 gen2 external drive (most likely have to make it yourself)
- A thunderbolt3 drive
... and then just plug it in and use it.

Again, why pry open an iMac when it has many ports on the back that are intended to be used for additional drives...?
 
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