27-iMac 2TB drive failing - advice for replacement !!!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jennyp, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. jennyp macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    I have a mid-2011 iMac, 27-inch, 3.4 GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM 1333 MHz DDR3, Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048MB, 2TB HD.

    A recent backup using Carbon Copy Cloner reported some errors involving a bad sector on the startup drive, so I ran Volitans Software's "SMART Utility" software, which reported the drive as failing. Eek!

    Obviously I need to replace the drive. So I need some advice as to what drive I should replace it with, which ones would be appropriate - and reliable! It's a 2TB drive (and I need 2TB) so I guess SSD is out of the question.

    Also I have no idea about how one goes about doing the replacement. Who should replace it? Me? Is it easy? Would Apple charge a ton for doing it? Out of my depth here!

    Advice would be much appreciated ! :)
  2. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    I would advise you get someone experienced to do it, and while you are at it and they have the unit screen off, get them to up the memory for you. it looks like you only have 2gb of ram inside of there. You should be able to at least double it to 4 or go all the way and get 6gb. It will go a long way to increasing the performance and longevity of your unit.
  3. jennyp thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    I have 16GB of RAM - you're looking at the VRAM. I've changed the RAM modules twice .. I know how to do that. It's advice concerning a good 2TB replacement HD really..
  4. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Why do you say SSD is out of the question when you can simply get external storage with it?

    The replacement procedure is not exactly easy, it requires taking the front glass off with suction cups. There are step-by-step guides that detail the process. However, if you're not confident in your repair skills it may be best to get a licensed technician to do it instead.
  5. jennyp thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    I meant SSD as a complete replacement for the 2TB internal drive would be out of the question - since I'm guessing it would be mega expensive, assuming it's even available.

    Anyone know of a good reliable 2TB replacement?

    Oh dear.. Not keen on trying that!
  6. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    whatever you buy , seagate or western digital, make you sure buy the hard disk in a retail box and save your receipt. this is the only way to get a full manufacturer's warranty on that hard disk..

    if you go to the computer store and buy the hard disk in an anti static bag or as a component , " bare drive " you get no warranty

    I've read that this "retail box" rule does not apply to SSD
  7. ssls6 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2013
    I would study the guides and do it myself (and I have on a 27" 2009). I would also use a 1TB or 512GB SSD and put your other files on a 4TB external drive. Things like iTunes can easily go on an external without a performance hit. The SSD will transform that machine especially with an OS like Mavericks or Yosemite.

    The hard drive in your iMac is the bottleneck so if your going inside then fix that.
  8. fisha macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2006
    You really have a few options I suppose:

    - Replace HDD with another HDD - Big size, but can be slow compared to SSD
    - Replace HDD with an SSD - Smaller size, but very much faster
    - Replace HDD internal and add SSD behind optical drive - size+speed but a bit complicated to fit compared to other options.
    - Replace HDD with SSD and add external drive - size+speed, but a bit more desk space needed for external drive.

    Ignoring that the hard drive is failing for a moment, how do you feel about the general performance of the machine? Do you think its slow at times when loading programs, do you wish it were faster? Or are you perfectly happy with the performance and just want it back the way it was?

    If you feel it slow, the an SSD replacement is the way to go. No doubt.
    If you don't feel it slow, and are happy with the general performance, then by far the easiest option is just another HDD in the machine to get you back to where you were.
  9. jennyp thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    @fisha - thanks very much for those tips. Maybe I'm living somewhat in the past and have no idea how superfast the new iMacs are, but my iMac feels pretty fast to me, so I guess I'm just going to get my local Apple Certified Service Centre to install a new internal HDD.

    The idea of an SSD with an external drive does sound tempting for the extra speed, but then I guess that complicates backup hardware scenarios a bit.

    Thanks again :)
  10. fisha macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2006
    An SSD generally makes the computer feel quicker *in places* but to be really really honest, I really only notice the speed of an SSD over HDD at certain times such as below: (bear in mind, I have 8gb RAM)

    - a full startup / reboot
    - loading a big program for the first time. On an HDD, photoshop, illustrator, lightroom, even MS word takes a good few seconds to load and you can hear the HDD working away whilst doing it.
    - having multiple big programs open at the same time and swapping between them can leave the HDD working away for a few seconds as well.
    - coming out of sleep and the pause for the HDD to spin up

    Having an SSD eliminates the vast majority of these times. The sometimes 5 to 10 seconds of HDD working in the above areas away is now reduced to a couple of seconds, so its more like a short pause before things are complete, rather than a noticeable wait. Count out the seconds and you'll see what I mean.

    HDD: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-READY
    SSD: 1-2-READY

    However, thats really it to be honest. There area plenty of times where I don't notice having an SSD:

    Suppose I have a couple of things open such as Safari, Word, iTunes and Lightroom, and I'm working between them to do an essay whilst listening to music and then once they are all open, swapping between the programs is quick and without real pause at all (on both HDD or SSD). i.e. I notice no real improvement by having an SSD.

    So you can see why I ask about whether you feel the machine needs to be faster for you when you area using it.

    I added the SSD because I was finding at times the longer pauses annoying and it allowed me to change other aspects of backing up my data as well.

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