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psymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
548
153
Removed the 2TB fusion drive from my 2017 iMac (3.8ghz) and installed the Samsung 970 EVO 500GB SSD upgrade using the Sintech Nvme-Apple adapter (shout out for great help and advise to mikehalloran and Fishrrman). R/W speeds are now about 2950/2350 vs 2100/700 for the 2TB fusion drive (i.e, Apple 128MB Nvme SSD). Did not want to deal with the relative limitations of an external Nvme SSD as well as the cost.

Easier in practice than the upgrade videos look, used the tools as shown on OWC website, took about 2 hours. The next one should only take about an hour, lol. Best advise: Don't use a CC or another tool to separate the foam tape from the display, only the spline wheel which only goes so deep and prevents any damage to display.

Things the videos on the web don't show are the cowling near the heat sink must be removed (or use a special star screwdriver to remove the HD bracket post) and removing a small connector to the front of the motherboard before pulling out.

Options I didn't think that important for my needs include keeping the internal HD as additional storage, swapping the HD out for an SSD, and a 1TB EVO SSD.

Boot up is slower, thanks I imagine to APFS, but after that the speed increase is very dramatic, everything is nearly instantaneous. Total cost= SSD $117, Spline tool=$8, OEM display tape=$8, Sintech Adapter=$14 = $147. Very much worth it, my fault though for not buying the 500GB SSD option rather than thinking I could decouple the 2TB Fusion Drive and get the same R/W speeds with the 128GB SSD. So, follow all those recommendations, get the most SSD you can afford!
 
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icemantx

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2009
518
576
So, follow all those recommendations, get the most SSD you can afford!

Quick question - what model/year iMac did you upgrade? I am looking to split mthe 3TB Fusion in my late 2014 5k 27” iMac for a 2TB SSD. I’m not worried about taking it apart, but curious what model you have?

Jeff
 

radogado

macrumors newbie
Aug 15, 2018
22
10
Sofia, Bulgaria
Very encouraging. Would it also work on the 21.5" Fusion Drive 2017 model? Does the NVMe need any cooling solution? Was it recognized by macOS Recovery or had to be formatted in Linux? Thanks!
 

psymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
548
153
Very encouraging. Would it also work on the 21.5" Fusion Drive 2017 model? Does the NVMe need any cooling solution? Was it recognized by macOS Recovery or had to be formatted in Linux? Thanks!
Yes, No, and Yes.

My understanding is that the iMac sees this as an OEM part and needs no special drivers or formatting, booted right into Recovery. Samsung has some special cooling tech according to their website description. Great upgrade, highly recommended.
 
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tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
707
674
UK
Are you sure it doesn't need cooling they tend to get hot. Many of the better Mac Pro adapters have heat sinks built into them.
 

psymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
548
153
Never heard of it, and these are nearly the same Nvme SSD as iMac OEM, both by Samsung.

From Samsung website: "Samsung’s advanced nickel-coated controller and heat spreader on the 970 EVO enable superior heat dissipation. The Dynamic Thermal Guard automatically monitors and maintains optimal operating temperatures to minimize performance drops."
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2018
2,239
666
The Sillie Con Valley
Are you sure it doesn't need cooling they tend to get hot. Many of the better Mac Pro adapters have heat sinks built into them.
This is not a 6.1 Mac Pro. There are many differences including the PCIe 2 buss vs the PCIe 3x4 buss of the 2015–current iMac. The main issue is that there are major heat issues with the 6.1 MP as Apple has acknowledged many times.

The PCIe 2 blades that OWC sells for the 6.1 with heat sinks should not be used in the 2015 and later iMac. a) being PCIe 2, they are way too slow. b) the heat sink doesn't give enough clearance. The OWC (Intel) version without the heat sink can be used in the 2013–2014 iMac as that buss is PCIe 2 like the 6.1 MP. OWC is not recommending this use, BTW, but there are many who use it.
[doublepost=1544816131][/doublepost]
...I am looking to split the 3TB Fusion in my late 2014 5k 27” iMac for a 2TB SSD. I’m not worried about taking it apart, but curious what model you have?

You can use the 970 EVO in a 2013–2014 iMac but you won't see as dramatic a speed increase because of the slower buss. It is a lot less expensive than the blade from OWC. Two things: The 970 firmware requires High Sierra or later. b) There is a wake from sleep issue in the 2013-14 unless the following Terminal Command is run: sudo pmset hibernatemode 0 standby 0
[doublepost=1544816800][/doublepost]
Very encouraging. Would it also work on the 21.5" Fusion Drive 2017 model?
Yes. The Fusion drive 2017 iMac has connectors for both busses (the HDD only version is not supposed to have the PCIe buss connector but some do).
 
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jdee2wheels

macrumors regular
Aug 15, 2007
110
42
Removed the 2TB fusion drive from my 2017 iMac (3.8ghz) and installed the Samsung 970 EVO 500GB SSD upgrade using the Sintech Nvme-Apple adapter (shout out for great help and advise to mikehalloran and Fishrrman). R/W speeds are now about 2950/2350 vs 2100/700 for the 2TB fusion drive (i.e, Apple 128MB Nvme SSD). Did not want to deal with the relative limitations of an external Nvme SSD as well as the cost.

Easier in practice than the upgrade videos look, used the tools as shown on OWC website, took about 2 hours. The next one should only take about an hour, lol. Best advise: Don't use a CC or another tool to separate the foam tape from the display, only the spline wheel which only goes so deep and prevents any damage to display.

Things the videos on the web don't show are the cowling near the heat sink must be removed (or use a special star screwdriver to remove the HD bracket post) and removing a small connector to the front of the motherboard before pulling out.

Options I didn't think that important for my needs include keeping the internal HD as additional storage, swapping the HD out for an SSD, and a 1TB EVO SSD.

Boot up is slower, thanks I imagine to APFS, but after that the speed increase is very dramatic, everything is nearly instantaneous. Total cost= SSD $117, Spline tool=$8, OEM display tape=$8, Sintech Adapter=$14 = $147. Very much worth it, my fault though for not buying the 500GB SSD option rather than thinking I could decouple the 2TB Fusion Drive and get the same R/W speeds with the 128GB SSD. So, follow all those recommendations, get the most SSD you can afford!

Do you have a link to purchase the Sintech adapter? I’m going to attempt to do this with a 21” 2017 imac and also put a SATA EVO SSD in the spinning hard drive location too. Also, do you have any sleep issues with this setup? I’ve heard this can be a problem, but seemed like it might be an issue only on pre-2017 iMacs.

Thanks!
 

psymac

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
548
153
Do you have a link to purchase the Sintech adapter? I’m going to attempt to do this with a 21” 2017 imac and also put a SATA EVO SSD in the spinning hard drive location too. Also, do you have any sleep issues with this setup? I’ve heard this can be a problem, but seemed like it might be an issue only on pre-2017 iMacs.

Thanks!
No sleep issues sofar, but I don’t use this feature very much.

The adapter can be cheaper I’ve seen on eBay, but I didn’t wanna take a chance so I ordered directly from Sinetech on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adap...id=1544996350&sr=8-2&keywords=sintech+adapter
 
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mbosse

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2015
628
196
Vienna, Austria
[...] The PCIe 2 blades that OWC sells for the 6.1 with heat sinks should not be used in the 2015 and later iMac. a) being PCIe 2, they are way too slow. b) the heat sink doesn't give enough clearance. The OWC (Intel) version without the heat sink can be used in the 2013–2014 iMac as that buss is PCIe 2 like the 6.1 MP. OWC is not recommending this use, BTW, but there are many who use it. [...]

I don't think clearance is an issue. Even if you attach a much thicker, rippled head spreader to an NVMe drive there is sufficient clearance thanks to the read port assembly, as you can see here in my 27" iMac 2015:

PC160968d.jpg
PC160969d.jpg


Best,
Magnus
 

petey2133

macrumors regular
Dec 20, 2012
109
2
I know this thread is a month old but im planning on doing this.

So basically once you remove the larger fusion drive, you pull the logic board out (flip it over) connect the new samsung 970 through the connector you posted and put it back together and its complete?
 

radogado

macrumors newbie
Aug 15, 2018
22
10
Sofia, Bulgaria
Just did it successfully on iMac 21.5 2017 Fusion Drive. Used the Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C adapter, a pizza cutter for iMac from eBay, a Philips #00 screwdriver, T5, T8 and T10 Torx screwdrivers, a couple of plastic cards, some books to level the Mac and long pliers for the power connector behind the Apple logo. And the iFixit guide, of course.

Replaced the SSD with 970 EVO and upgraded the RAM and the hard drive (7mm with 9.5mm frame adapter). Added a heatsink to the SSD, because 90º of heat doesn't sound right. It took about 2½ hours. To test the system, I glued the screen temporarily with gaffer tape. There are no problems like sleep, slow boot or anything. Getting the Mac second hand and doing this upgrade myself probably saved me half the store price. It's definitely worth it and not as hard as expected, but you need to be very careful and focused.

The difference is night and day, Fusion Drive is a ridiculously bad idea, hopefully they won't use it anymore.

Thanks and good luck.
 

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