A list of successful iMac 27" (2012-2019) SSD upgrades

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dobrink

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 4, 2013
99
44
Helsinki, Finland
Here you can find and discuss all the collected knowledge regarding upgrading the HDD, blade SSD and CPU of a 27" iMac 2012-2019, as well as a list of performed upgrades.

Here is a list of all 27" iMac models subjected in this thread:

Late 2012 - 13.2 - MD095LL/A (2.9Ghz i5-3470S, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2012 - 13.2 - MD096LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-3470, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2012 - 13.2 - none (3.4Ghz i7-3770, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME088LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-4570, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME089LL/A (3.4Ghz i5-4670, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2013 - 14.2 - MF125LL/A (3.5Ghz i7-4771, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2014 - 15.1 - MF886LL/A (3.5Ghz i5-4690, Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2014 - 15.1 - none (4.0Ghz i7-4790K, Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Mid 2015 - 15.1 - MF885LL/A (3.3Ghz i5-4590, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, HDD only / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+24GB blade / HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK482LL/A (3.3Ghz i5-6600, Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Late 2015 - 17.1 - none (4.0Ghz i7-6700K, Fusion HDD+24GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNE92LL/A (3.4Ghz i5-7500, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNEA2LL/A (3.5Ghz i5-7600, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNED2LL/A (3.8Ghz i5-7600K, Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Mid 2017 - 18.3 - none (4.2Ghz i5-7700K, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Early 2019 - 19.1 - MRR12LL/A (3.0Ghz i5-8500, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Early 2019 - 19.1 - MRR02LL/A (3.1Ghz i5-8600, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Early 2019 - 19.1 - MRQY2LL/A (3.7Ghz i5-9600K, Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)
Early 2019 - 19.1 - none (3.6Ghz i9-9900K, Fusion HDD+32GB blade / Fusion HDD+128GB blade / blade only)



The iMacs before 2017 have issues with the drive's power states after upgrading the blade SSD with a non-Apple NVMe. The iMacs above marked in BLUE will crash when waking from hibernation, self restart with two start-up chimes. The iMac models marked in ORANGE will either "restart because of a problem", or show a folder with question mark icon (depending on the system event produced).

Until Apple patches the bootrom with the full NVMe driver that 2017 and 2019 iMac models have, the only way to prevent your iMac from crashing is type the following command in Terminal:

For Late 2015 iMacs (disabling normal sleep) -> sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25 standby 0
For Late 2012 until Mid 2015 iMacs (disabling hibernation) -> sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0 standby 0 autopoweroff 0
(for the models in blue, alternatively, instead of standby 0, you can leave the standby at 1, and use for example standbydelayhigh 2592000 which equals to one month in seconds)



Regarding the HDD upgrade, almost all (if not all) of the reports for upgrades on 27" iMacs Late 2012 and newer, the OWC's temperature sensor is NOT needed! On older models there would be the fan-spinning-on-max-rpm issue. Perhaps, the newest OS X firmware has eliminated the issue so the temperature control no longer triggers the fan to spin at max rpm in the slim iMac models.


The tools you are going to need are color coded as follows: all, HDD, Blade, CPU.

-T8, T10 Torx screwdrivers
-wheel opening tool (€1)
-plastic card opening tool (€1) (optional)
-1-2x suction cups (€2)
-spudger tools (€1)
-tweezers (€1) (optional)
-adhesive strips (€2)


-mounting bracket (€2)
-2.5" SATA SSD (example Samsung 860 Evo)
-OWC thermal sensor (€40) (most likely NOT required!)


-adapter for the blade drive (8-13€)
-a small screw to hold the new blade drive on place (it is missing on HDD-only models)
-T5, T25 Torx s
crewdrivers
-thermal paste for the CPU and GPU (€7)
-a compatiable intel CPU from the same generation as the original


For the blade SSD upgrade it does not matter which of the three adapters you use (first, second, third), or if it is sold on ebay, amazon, or wherever else, or if it is branded as Sintech or Kalea or whatever else, they are all the same. Using an AHCI blade will never give you hibernation issues, though those are very limited and no longer manufactured. It does not mater which NVMe drive you use, except the 01.2019 released Samsung 970 Evo Plus which is not compatible with any of the adapters, so do NOT use it unless a new adapter is released.

IFixit guide for SATA HDD replacement
IFixit guide for Blade SSD replacement
IFixit guide for CPU replacement
IFixit guide for Adhesive strips application


Examples of how to report your upgrade. These two upgrades below I personally did in 02.2019:

1) HDD + CPU upgrade

Device:
Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME088LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-4570, HDD only)
HDD upgrade: 1 TB SATA HDD -> 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SATA SSD
CPU upgrade: i5-4570 -> i5-4670K
Speed test: around 500 MB/s read, 500 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.3
Location: Finland, Europe
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: everything is ok with the fan, OWC temperature sensor NOT required!
More details and problems >here<


2) Blade + CPU upgrade

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, HDD only)
Blade upgrade: none -> 1TB ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro
CPU upgrade: i5-6500 -> i7-6700K
Speed test: 3000 MB/s read, 2300 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.3
Location: Finland, Europe
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: the iMac cannot wake from normal sleep, have to use hibernate 25 instead and disable standby.
More details and problems >here<


The following is a list of upgrades performed by other people, I will update the list as new entries become available:

Blade drive upgrade by Jeden87

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+24GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 24GB Blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
Speed test: 2900 MB/s read, 2200 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: the blade drive does not wake up from sleep, have to restart, or disable sleep entirely


Blade drive upgrade by MKhan

Device:
Late 2013
Blade upgrade: ?? blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
Speed test: 756 MB/s read, 756 MB/s write
Adapter: KALEA-INFORMATIQUE
Issues after fresh OS install: the blade drive does not wake up from sleep, have to restart, or disable sleep entirely


Blade upgrade by ssdaytona

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+24GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 24GB Blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
CPU upgrade: i5-6500 -> i7-6700K
Speed test: 2930 MB/s read, 2170 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013 and ST-NGFF2013-C
Issues after fresh OS install: sleep issues with both adapters, have to disable sleep


Blade + HDD upgrade by jdee2wheels

Device: Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNE92LL/A (3.4Ghz i5-7500, Fusion HDD+32GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade -> 1TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> SanDisk 2TB 3D SATA III
Speed test: blade 2500 MB/s write, 2900 MB/s read, SATA SSD 450-ish
OS: Mojave 10.14.2
Adapter: Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter Card, OWC temperature sensor for SATA SSD
Issues after fresh OS install: NONE


HDD upgrade by uller6

Device:
Late 2014 - 15.1 - none (4.0Ghz i7-4790K, Fusion HDD+128GB blade)
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> Crucial M500 2TB SSD
Speed test: 500 MB/s read, 480 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.2

Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: NONE - everything works perfectly


Blade + CPU upgrade by mbosse

Device:
Late 2013 - 14.2 - MF125LL/A (3.5Ghz i7-4771, Fusion HDD+128GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 128GB blade -> 2TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD
Speed test: 780 MB/s read, 730 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6
Location: Austria, Europe
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: the blade drive does not wake up from sleep


Blade + HDD + CPU upgrade by macguru8

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, HDD only)
Blade upgrade: none -> 500GB Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> Seagate Barracuda Pro ST4000DM006 4TB 7200 RPM 128MB Cache
CPU upgrade: i5-6500 -> i7-6700K 4.00 GHz Unlocked Quad Core Skylake
Speed test: 3070 MB/s read, 2374 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.3
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C
Temperature sensor: required for the HDD

Issues after fresh OS install: the iMac cannot wake from normal sleep unless I press the power button, had to use hibernate 25 instead and disable standby


Blade +HDD upgrade by MBehr2

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (4.0 Ghz i7-6700K, blade only 512GB)
Blade upgrade: 512GB blade PCIe SATA -> 1TB WDS100T3X0C-00SJG0 (102000WD) PCIe NVMe (WD BLACK SN750 NVMe SSD) + a heat sink.
HDD upgrade: none -> 1TB WDC WDS100T2B0A-00SM50 (X61190WD)
Speed test: 2723 MB/s read, 2913 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013

Location: Canada, North America
Temperature sensor: works fine without, thus not required
Issues after fresh OS install:
sleep issues, have to disable sleep


Blade +HDD upgrade by rxs0

Device:
Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNE92LL/A (3.6Ghz i7-7700, Fusion HDD+32GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade -> 2TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> 1TB Samsung 960 EVO SATA SSD
Speed test: blade 2500 MB/s write, 3000 MB/s read, SATA SSD 450-ish
OS: Mojave 10.14.4
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C with additional Kapton tape
Temperature sensor: not used
Issues after fresh OS install and restore:
NONE, no sleep or hibernate issues


Blade upgrade by MacManSuite

Device:
Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade -> 2TB Sabrent Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280
Speed test: 2700 MB/s read, 2700 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.4
Location: UK, Europe
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013 (I did have to cut this slightly so the NVMe sat flat rather then slightly bent)
Issues after fresh OS install:
sleep disabled & hibernation enabled


Blade + HDD upgrade by MacManSuite

Device: Late 2013 -14.2 (3.5Ghz i7-4771)
Blade upgrade: 128GB SDNEP 655-18378 -> Intel 660P 2TB (SSDPEKNW020T8X1)
HDD upgrade: 3TB SATA ST3000DM001 HDD -> 4TB SATA ST4000DMZ04 HDD (Cold storage)
Speed test: 750 MB/s read, 750 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.4/10.14.5
Location: UK, Europe
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013

Issues after fresh OS install: working with NO tweaks to sleep mode, no crashes when resuming. Tested under both 10.14.4 and 10.14.5 with no issue


Blade+HDD upgrade by mdelrossi

Device:
Late 2014 - 15.1 (4.0Ghz i7-4790K)
Blade upgrade: 128GB Blade -> Intel 660P 1TB
HDD upgrade: HDD -> 2TB SSD Sandisk SDSSDH3-2T00-G25
OS: Mojave 10.14.5
Location: US, North America
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C
Issues after fresh OS install:
Flawless. Goes to sleep, wakes up no terminal command. Clean install, then migrated from existing T5 that I was using as main boot drive.


Blade upgrade by ProteoMX

Device:
iMac Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME089LL/A (3.4Ghz i5-4670)
Blade upgrade: none -> Samsung 970 PRO 512GB (MZ-V7P512BW)
Speed test: 780 MB/s read, 738 MB/s write.
OS: Mojave 10.14.5
Location: Venezuela, South America

Adapter: Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD (came in black color, branded as RoHS)
Issues after fresh OS install: sleeps seems to be working just fine, I can hit the "Sleep" menu entry, leave the machine alone for a while and when I press the keyboard it just comes back to life and keeps working as usual


Blade+HDD upgrade by macmanss

Device:
Early 2019 - 19.1 - MRR12LL/A (3.0GHz i5-8500)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade -> 2TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SATA SSD (old model)
Speed test: 2900 MB/s read, 2520 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.5
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C
Location: Sydney, Australia
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install:
none, sleep/wake works fine, no loud fans


Blade upgrade by iaanda

Device:
Mid 2017 - 18.3
HDD upgrade: 32GB Blade -> Intel 760P 512GB
Speed test: around 900 MB/s read, 2900 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.3
Location: New Zealand
Issues after fresh OS install:
None


Blade + HDD upgrade by natheyshaw

Device: Early 2019 - 19.1 - MRR12LL/A (3.7GHz i5-9600)
Blade upgrade: 128GB Blade -> 2TB WD Black NVME
HDD upgrade: 2TB SATA HDD -> 2TB Crucial M500
Speed test: 2970 MB/s read, 2580 MB/s write
OS: Catalina
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C
Location: London, UK
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: none, everything works good


Blade upgrade by eh1160

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, HDD only)
HDD upgrade: 1 TB SATA HDD -> None (removed it)
Blade upgrade: none -> Samsung 970 EVO SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe (MZ-V7E500BW) (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...3596277f5770ffedd227a17f4bab62&language=en_US)
Speed test: ~2390 MB/s read, ~2340 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.15.2 (Catalina)
Location: United States (US - Philadelphia area)
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013 (https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2015-MacBook/dp/B01CWWAENG)
Temperature sensor: None - Did not use the SATA interface
Adhesive strips: LeFix Replacement LCD Panel Adhesive Tape (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...34b8e536b0eb5acf5b6713460b9880&language=en_US)
Issues after fresh OS install: The iMac displayed the "blinking question mark folder" as soon as it when to sleep. It would reboot fine. Successfully resolved by running `sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25 standby 0`


Blade upgrade by Jinsang Lee

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+24GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 24GB Blade -> Western Digital pc SN520 NVME SSD 512GB M.2 2280
OS: Catalina 10.15.2 (19C57)
Location: Vietnam, Asia
Adapter: Generic SSD Controller (aliexpress)
Issues after fresh OS install: iMac restart because of a problem (IONVMeFamily .. )


Blade + HDD upgrade by iqmac

Device: Late 2013 -14.2 (3.5Ghz i7-4771), 32GB Ram, 3TB Fusion Drive
Blade upgrade: 128GB -> Intel 660P 2TB (SSDPEKNW020T8X1)
HDD upgrade: 3TB SATA ST3000DM001 HDD -> 2TB SATA Crucial MX500 SSD
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Location: NB Canada
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: Did not do a fresh OS install, cloned from old drive. No problems. Fan Normal, Sleeps as it should.


Blade upgrade by mbosse

Device: Mid 2017 - 18.3 - MNEA2LL/A (3.5Ghz i5-7600, Fusion HDD+32GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade -> 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> -/-
Speed test: ~2850 MB/s read, ~2750 MB/s write
OS: Catalina 10.15.2
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C
Heatsink: EK Water Blocks EK-M.2 NVMe Heatsink
Temperature sensor: not used
Issues after fresh OS install and restore: NONE, no sleep or hibernate issues


Blade upgrade by priva28

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, HDD only)
Blade upgrade: None -> 500GB WD Black SN750 (no heatsink)
Speed test: 2750 MB/s read, 2400 MB/s write
OS: Catalina 10.15.2
Location: Victoria, Australia
Adapter: No-brand ST-NGFF2013 from eBay + Kapton tape
Boot ROM Version: 174.0.0.0.0
Issues after fresh OS install: the iMac cannot wake from normal sleep, have to use hibernate 25 instead and disable standby.


Blade + HDD upgrade by gpbonneau

Device: iMac 27" Late 2015 Retina 5K - i7 4GHz - 32GB
Blade upgrade: 128GB blade Apple -> Sabrent Rocket NVMe 2TB (for Mojave)
HDD upgrade: 2TB HD SATA Apple -> 1 TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD SATA (for BootCamp/W10)
Speed test: 3080 MB/s read, 2840 MB/s write for the blade; 520 MB/s read, 480 MB/s write for the HDD
Adapter: Sintech NGFF (ST-NGFF2013-C)
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after upgrade: "sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25 standby 0" has been done before the upgrade


Blade upgrade by ozanyuceol

Device: iMac Late 2015, 5K Retina 27", 17.1 - (3.2 GHz i5-6500, Flash Drive 32GB blade PCIe SATA)
Blade upgrade: 32GB Blade PCIe SATA -> 500GB M.2 NVMe (WD BLACK SN750 NVMe SSD without heat sink)
Speed test: 2733 MB/s read, 2423 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter
Issues after fresh OS install: Sleep issues with adapter, solved with "sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25 standby 0"

Blade + HDD upgrade by indranrehan

Device: 2019 iMac (3.7 i5, 580X, 2tb fusion)
Blade upgrade: 128GB Apple -> 970 Pro 1TB Samsung
HDD upgrade: 2TB SATA HDD -> Micron 5210 8TB enterprise SSD
Blade Speed test: 3500/s read, 2400/s write (amorphous) 3050 read, 2600 write (Black magic)
SSD speed test: 530 read, 100 write (amorphous) 380 read, 350 write (black magic)
OS: Catalina 15.1
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: NONE - everything works perfectly


Blade + HDD upgrade by madoleo

Device:
Late 2014 27inch - (3.5Ghz i5, 1TB Fusion, 32GB RAM)
HDD upgrade: 1 TB SATA HDD -> 1TB Asseno SSD
Blade upgrade: 128GB Sandisk -> 1TB Samsung Evo 970
Speed test: around 780 MB/s read, 730 MB/s write - PCie; around 508 MB/s read, 477 MB/s write - SATA.
OS: Internet Recovery install of Catalina (from previous Mojave install).
Location: UK, Europe
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: Nothing at the moment.


Blade + HDD upgrade by Limonskyzz

Device: Late 2013 -14.2 (3.5Ghz i7-4771)
Blade upgrade: 128GB SDNEP 655-18378 -> Intel 660P 2TB (SSDPEKNW020T8X1)
HDD upgrade: 3TB SATA ST3000DM001 HDD -> 1TB SATA Evo 960 Samsung SATA
OS: CAtalina 10.15.0/10.15.1
Location: PT, Europe
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: No problems. Fan Normal, Sleeps as it should.


Blade + HDD upgrade by MadCrux

Device: 27" iMac 14,2 Late 2013 (3.5 GHz Core i7, 1Tb HDD only, 16GB)
HDD upgrade: 1TB original HDD -> 1 TB SSD Samsung Evo 860
Blade: none -> 500 GB Samsung Evo 970
Adapter: Syntech NGFF m2 nVME Adapter Card


Blade + HDD + CPU upgrade by dront_tula

Device: 27" iMac Late 2013 (3.2 GHz Core i5, 1Tb HDD only, 8GB)
CPU update: i5-4570 -> i7-4770 (thermal grease GLACIALTECH IceTherm II, thermal pads over video memory banks)
HDD upgrade: 1TB Seagate ST1000DM003 -> 4TB Seagate ST4000DM001 (same height), NO temp sensor
Blade upgrade: None -> 1TB Intel 660p series (SSDPEKNW010T8)
Adapter: aliexpress -> search "nvme a1465", then add some insulation tape over contacts
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Speed test: blade 760MB/s read, 720MB/write
Sleep issues: none


Blade upgrade by testeri

Device: 27" Retina 5K Late 2014 4 GHz i7 3Tb fusion 32GB
Blade upgrade: 128GB -> Intel 660p 1TB SSD (original HD left in)
Adapter: Sintech long black adapter
OS: Catalina
Issues after fresh OS install: After letting the computer on for the night it woke up without problem in the morning. No problems so far.


HDD upgrade by emulous

Device: Mid 2015 - 15.1 - none (3.3Ghz i5-4590, Radeon R9 M290, 1TB HDD SATA)
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> Samsung 860Evo 500GB SSD)
Speed test: 516MB/s read, 360MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: NONE - everything works perfectly


Blade + HDD + CPU upgrade by sebastienc

Device: 2017 27" - MNEA2LL/A (3.5Ghz Radeon Pro575 1TB Fusion)
CPU upgrade: Kaby Lake i5-7600 to i7-7700
Blade upgrade: Apple 32GB -> Samsung 970 EVO 1TB + Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C + Heatsink + Kapton
HDD upgrade: Samsung 860 1TB
Speed test: NVME 2600MB/s read, 2400MB/s write. SSD 510MB/s read, 480MB/s Write.
OS: Catalina 10.15
Location: Florida
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: NVME temps were very very high. Back to normal after 2 days.
Sleep issues: none.


Blade + HDD upgrade by zkmusa

Device: Late 2013 27" - ME088LL/A (3.2Ghz Blade SSD only)
Blade upgrade: Apple 256GB -> Samsung 970 EVO 1TB
HDD upgrade: none -> Crucial MX500 1TB. Purchased drive rails and SATA cable on eBay.
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Speed test: 650-750 MB/s read, 650-750 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Location: Texas
Issues after fresh OS install: none.


Blade + HDD upgrade by hmarold

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK462LL/A 3.2GHz i5-6500)
Blade upgrade: 1 TB Blade -> WD Black SN750 NVMe M.2
HDD upgrade: 4TB Seagate 3.5
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Adapter: generic.
Location: Australia
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: the iMac cannot wake from normal sleep unless I press the power button, had to use hibernate 25 instead and disable standby


Blade + HDD + CPU upgrade by JRBuchanan

Device: Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME088LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-4570, HDD only)
Blade upgrade: none -> 1TB Crucial P1 3D NAND NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD - CT1000P1SSD8
CPU upgrade: i5-4570 -> i7-4771
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Location: USA
Adapter: Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter


Blade upgrade by Jerma

Device: Late 2015 27" Retina 5K - EMC2834 (3,2Ghz HDD only)
BladeSSD upgrade: none -> Adata XPG SX8200 Pro 512Gt - M.2 SSD
Adapter: ST-NGFF2013-C
Speed test: 2010 MB/s read, 2850 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Location: Finland, Europe.
Issues after fresh OS install: Waking from sleep causes crash and have to reboot. Hibernate works ok.


Blade upgrade by tjdokken

Device: Late 2014 27" iMac, i7, 32GB, R9 M295X 4GB
SSD upgrade: 128GB SATA Express Blade -> Samsung EVO 970 2TB
HDD: Retained factory 3TB SATA from Fusion Drive
Adapter: ST-NGFF2013-C
Speed test: 775 MB/s read, 725 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Location: Woodbury, MN US
Issues after fresh OS install: None


Blade + HDD upgrade by senseiwang

Device: Late 2013 27' base model
Blade upgrade: none -> 32GB Apple blade
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> 1TB SATA HDD
Speed test: 762 MB/s read, 721MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Adapter: none
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: Hibernation issue


Blade + HDD + CPU upgrade by senseiwang

Device: 2017 27' base model
CPU upgrade: i5-7500 -> i7-7700k
Blade upgrade: 32GB -> 512GB 970 Pro
HDD upgrade: 1TB SATA HDD -> 1TB 860 Evo
Speed test: 3028 MB/s read, 2163 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.6
Adapter: unbranded from ebay.au
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: No issue so far


Blade + CPU upgrade by gilles_polysoft

Device: base 27" iMac 5K 2019 (MRQY2LL/A)
CPU upgrade: i7-9700
Blade upgrade: 2TB PNY CS3030
Speed test: 2800 MB/s read, 2700 MB/s write
Location: France
Issues after fresh OS install: no issues


Blade upgrade by antnythr

Device: Late 2015 - 17,1 - MK482LL/A (3.3GHz i5-6600)
Blade upgrade: 128GB Blade -> 1TB WD Black SN750 NVME
Speed test: 2800 MB/s read, 2650 MB/s write
OS: Catalina 10.15.3
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013 (Wasn’t listed as version “C”)
Location: Canada
Issues after fresh OS install: Sleep crashes system so I just disabled sleep
 
Last edited:

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
I have seen some discussions here about the topic, many people want to know, others have done it fully successful, while some encounter operational issues, such as non-functional sleep/SMC. The information is, however, too much scattered around.

Therefore, I feel that it is best for everyone if we can summarize the results in this discussion for people who want to upgrade their 27" iMacs and wonder what parts to order and how they will work when installed. In my opinion a form, such as the following, would explain to a big extent to everyone what has been done, what issues there have been and how to possibly improve a SSD upgrade.


1) Blade drive upgrade

Device: e.g. late 2013 (ME088)
SSD upgrade: e.g. 32GB Blade -> 1TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD
Speed test: e.g. 2900 MB/s read, 2200 MB/s write
OS: e.g. Mojave 10.14.2
Adapter: e.g. Sintech ST-NGFF2013

Issues after fresh OS install: e.g. the computer does not go to sleep
What to do: e.g. perhaps use ST-NGFF2013-C adapter instead


2) Fusion drive upgrade

Device: e.g. late 2013 (ME088)
SSD upgrade: e.g. 1 TB Fusion -> 1 TB Samsung 860 Evo SATA SSD
Speed test: e.g. 540 MB/s read, 520 MB/s write
OS: e.g. Mojave 10.14.2

Temperature sensor: e.g. none
Issues after fresh OS install: e.g. the fan spins like crazy due to no temperature readings
What to do: e.g. use this temperature sensor

In addition, you can if you want list all the tools you used for the upgrade. Links to some cheaper versions than the original OWC or IFIXIT.
Will do once completed.
 

dobrink

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 4, 2013
99
44
Helsinki, Finland
There are several upgrades from other discussions:


Blade drive upgrade by Jeden87

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+16GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 24GB Blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
Speed test: 2900 MB/s read, 2200 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013
Issues after fresh OS install: the blade drive does not wake up from sleep, have to restart, or disable sleep entirely


Blade drive upgrade by MKhan

Device: Late 2013
Blade upgrade: ?? blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
Speed test: 756 MB/s read, 756 MB/s write
Adapter: KALEA-INFORMATIQUE
Issues after fresh OS install: the blade drive does not wake up from sleep, have to restart, or disable sleep entirely


Blade upgrade by ssdaytona

Device: Late 2015 - 17.1 - MK472LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-6500, Fusion HDD+16GB blade)
Blade upgrade: 24GB Blade -> 512GB Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD
CPU upgrade: i5-6500 -> i7-6700K
Speed test: 2930 MB/s read, 2170 MB/s write
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013 and ST-NGFF2013-C
Issues after fresh OS install: sleep issues with both adapters, have to disable sleep
 
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Tommy c

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2012
339
210
Pocono PA
Its definitely possible with the 27" version.
I emailed one these iMac repair places I seen on youtube. I gave them my serial number and they said I can only do SATA SSD upgrade. Nothing about the NVME SSD. Thats a whole different ballgame then.
 

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
I emailed one these iMac repair places I seen on youtube. I gave them my serial number and they said I can only do SATA SSD upgrade. Nothing about the NVME SSD. Thats a whole different ballgame then.
Which vintage did you inquire about? A 2012? Then they are right about SATA (but even these models had an Apple-specific blade SSD port, just in the older SATA version).
 

Tommy c

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2012
339
210
Pocono PA
You can definitely upgrade to NMVe. I have the very same and can confirm first hand (I'd edit out your serial number...). Magnus
I took it off. I did not even think of it. Ok, so is it easy to upgrade to that NVME? I like that 2900/2300 read/ write speeds. Can you upgrade the GPU?
 

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
I took it off. I did not even think of it. Ok, so is it easy to upgrade to that NVME? I like that 2900/2300 read/ write speeds. Can you upgrade the GPU?
"Easy" is relative for the late 2012 and younger iMac, as the iFixit guide will show. Yes, such speeds are feasible. I don't think the GPU is upgradeable, the CPU certainly is.
 

Tommy c

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2012
339
210
Pocono PA
"Easy" is relative for the late 2012 and younger iMac, as the iFixit guide will show. Yes, such speeds are feasible. I don't think the GPU is upgradeable, the CPU certainly is.
Honestly, That would be worth it to upgrade that and the CPU to open it. I'm seeing there are complications with upgrading with the computer sleeping. I was reading the top comments.

I'm just afraid to open this up. I wish you guys lived around here.
 

dobrink

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 4, 2013
99
44
Helsinki, Finland
That was why I created the thread. For people who want to know what tools they need, and what the results are gonna be on a certain iMac model.

All updates are summarized >here< in the first post of the thread.
 
Last edited:

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
That was why I created the thread. For people who want to know what tools they need, and what the results are gonna be with a certain adapter/SSD-drive combination, i.e. are there gonna be sleep/wake issues etc.

There are certain tools required for opening the iMac:
1) screen separation tools wheel tool and plastic cards = 1.5€
2) 2x suction cup = 5€
3) adhesive strips = 2€

Materials required for the SATA drive replacement:
1) SATA SSD drive = 80-155€
2) 3.5" -> 2.5" bracket = 1.5€
3) SATA cable with integrated thermal sensor = 40€ (or then use a software Fan control app)
4) screwdrivers

Materials required for the NVMe blade drive replacement:
1) a new NVMe drive = 120-250€
2) adapter 12+16 pin to M.2 = 15€
3) a screw or a double sided tape = 0.5€ (if the adapter does not include such)
4) screwdrivers

I would like the above confirmed by people who have actually been through the procedure as they know best what pitfalls one can encounter.
I will update it as new information comes in.
Tools: I use my old frequent flyer card and suction cups from the bathroom ...;-)
 

jdee2wheels

macrumors member
Aug 15, 2007
86
9
Blade drive and Spinning drive upgrade

Device: Base model Mid 2017 27"
Blade SSD upgrade: 1TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD
SATA SSD upgrade: SanDisk 2TB 3D SATA III 2.5" Internal SSD

Speed test: 2500 write, 2900 read for Blade, 450ish for SATA SSD
OS: Mojave 10.14.2
Adapter:
Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter Card, OWC temperature sensor for SATA SSD

Issues after fresh OS install: None


Took a few hours to do this install, but everything appears to be working well and the computer sleeps fine. It was a little nerve racking pulling a brand new iMac apart but it saved a ton of money over getting a 1TB SSD from apple and really I like having another internal 2TB drive for my photos instead of using an external.

A few more notes:
- I didn't have any issues with dust getting behind the screen after it was back together
- The sintech adapter and new Samsung blade SSD fit well, and lined up perfectly with the original screw hole. Just use the same screw that secured the original blade SSD.
- The screen adhesive strips from OWC don't seem to line up perfectly with the alignment holes on this model iMac but that didn't really cause an issue. Getting the screen back on was the hardest part for me though.
- I used an ifixit tear down from here, which was missing two important points, perhaps because it was showing a 2015 tear down:
- There is a very small, thin ribbon cable on the logic board that needs to be disconnected before removing it out of the body of the iMac (step 54).
- The airport radio connectors (step 48) now have a metal band that secures them to the airport card. You need a very small torx screw to remove them which I didn't have at first - can't remember the size.

Hope this helps!
 
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uller6

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
304
200
I'll add my experience here, as I've successfully upgraded a few iMacs to SSDs. As many of the iMac's I've dealt with have physical HDD temperature sensors controlling the HDD fan, you need to download a fan control program to prevent the fans from going crazy when you swap in the SSD. I use Macs fan control (https://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control):

Spinning drive upgrades

1)
Device:
iMac 27" Late 2009 i7
SSD upgrade: TB HDD -> Crucial M550 256 SSD
Speed test: 280 MB/s read, 250 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6

Temperature sensor: none - disconnected cable from old HDD
Issues after fresh OS install: HDD fan spins like crazy due to no temperature readings from HDD sensor
What to do: download Macs fan control to tame HDD fans

2)
Device:
iMac 27" Late 2014 i7
SSD upgrade: 1T Fusion Drive -> Crucial M500 2T SSD + 128 Gb Apple Blade SSD (from fusion drive)
Speed test: 500 MB/s read, 480 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.14.2

Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: none - everything works perfectly
What to do: nothing - everything works perfectly

3)

Device: iMac 27" Late 2011 i7
SSD upgrade: 1T HDD -> Intel 330 SSD 180 Gb
Speed test: N/A
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6

Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: HDD fan spins like crazy due to no temperature readings from HDD sensor
What to do: download Macs fan control to tame HDD fans
 
Last edited:

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
I'll add my experience here, as I've successfully upgraded a few iMacs to SSDs. As many of the iMac's I've dealt with have physical HDD temperature sensors controlling the HDD fan, you need to download a fan control program to prevent the fans from going crazy when you swap in the SSD. I use Macs fan control (https://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control):

Spinning drive upgrades

1)
Device:
iMac 27" Late 2009 i7
SSD upgrade: TB HDD -> Crucial M550 256 SSD
Speed test: 280 MB/s read, 250 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6

Temperature sensor: none - disconnected cable from old HDD
Issues after fresh OS install: HDD fan spins like crazy due to no temperature readings from HDD sensor
What to do: download Macs fan control to tame HDD fans

2)
Device:
iMac 27" Late 2015 i7
SSD upgrade: 1T Fusion Drive -> Crucial M500 2T SSD + 128 Gb Apple Blade SSD (from fusion drive)
Speed test: 500 MB/s read, 480 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.14.2

Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: none - everything works perfectly
What to do: nothing - everything works perfectly

3)

Device: iMac 27" Late 2011 i7
SSD upgrade: 1T HDD -> Intel 330 SSD 180 Gb
Speed test: N/A
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6

Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: HDD fan spins like crazy due to no temperature readings from HDD sensor
What to do: download Macs fan control to tame HDD fans
(2) is interesting - no fan problems without a genuine Apple HDD on a 27" 2015 iMac?

Thanks,
Magnus
 

uller6

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
304
200
(2) is interesting - no fan problems without a genuine Apple HDD on a 27" 2015 iMac?

Thanks,
Magnus
That’s right! I was awfully surprised when I found out! But, I made a typo before; it was actually a late 2014 iMac 5k. Fixed in original post.
 
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mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
438
97
Vienna, Austria
Blade drive upgrade

Device: late 2013 i7 (ME088)
SSD upgrade: 1TB HDD -> 2TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD
Speed test: 780 MB/s read, 730 MB/s write
OS: High Sierra 10.13.6
Adapter: Sintech ST-NGFF2013

Issues after fresh OS install: the computer does not go to sleep
What to do: sleep issue unacceptable for me given minor speed boost, thus replaced Samsung blade and installed Fusion Drive with original Apple parts, sold iMac
[doublepost=1547280056][/doublepost]
Blade drive and Spinning drive upgrade

Device: Base model Mid 2017 27"

[---]

- I used an ifixit tear down from here, which was missing two important points, perhaps because it was showing a 2015 tear down:
- There is a very small, thin ribbon cable on the logic board that needs to be disconnected before removing it out of the body of the iMac (step 54).
- The airport radio connectors (step 48) now have a metal band that secures them to the airport card. You need a very small torx screw to remove them which I didn't have at first - can't remember the size.

Hope this helps!
Those screwed airport connectors were on my Late 2015 as well. Seems to be a minor revision that made its way into the iMac somewhere in between.

Best,
Magnus
 
Last edited:

dobrink

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 4, 2013
99
44
Helsinki, Finland
HDD + CPU upgrade

Device: Late 2013 - 14.2 - ME088LL/A (3.2Ghz i5-4570, HDD only)
HDD upgrade: 1 TB SATA HDD -> 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SATA SSD
CPU upgrade: i5-4570 -> i5-4670K
Speed test: around 500 MB/s read, 500 MB/s write
OS: Mojave 10.14.3
Temperature sensor: none
Issues after fresh OS install: everything is ok with the fan, OWC temperature sensor NOT required!

I have successfully performed a CPU and SSD upgrade on the basic model 27" iMac late 2013. Please note that you do NOT need the OWC temperature sensor, because the fan works just like before with its normal rpm.

Hypothesis 1: The newest OS X firmware has eliminated this issue so the temperature control no longer triggers the fan to spin at max rpm.
Hypothesis 2: Only when upgrading both the blade SSD and the HDD the iMac gets no temperature reading and thus the fan problem appears. Should either upgrade just the HDD on a fusion model, or on a HDD-only model in order to not need the OWC's temperature sensor.

Please refer to the first post in this thread for the tools needed for the upgrade.


Issues encountered:

-It is extremely challenging to screw the spring of the CPU heatsink back. If tightened too much it physically bents the CPU so that not all the pins touch the motherboard's socket. A strange electric sound was coming out of the CPU area. It took me hours to diagnose and repair the problem. I had to use pliers to straighten back the CPU. Wasted a lot of thermal paste after each disassembly/reassembly. Eventually screwed the spring very little, but better a loose working CPU than a tightened disfunctional one.
-The display cable got a bit damaged around its inserting point to the socket on the motherboard because it is delicate and I had to connect/disconnect it may be 20 times. It is easier, I think, if you would disconnected its other end (the one connected to the LCD).
-The DC inlet is very stubborn to disconnect, you have to pull with force and my fingers almost bled cos I had to do it multiple times.
-If putting/upgrading a blade drive from a non-Fusion iMac model you need a small screw which would secure the adapter+blade in place. It has to be slightly thicker than a normal stock Windows laptop case philips screw and preferably with a wider head.
-When unscrewing the motherboard's hidden T10 screw, you need a thin screwdriver that would go through the opening.
-When screwing the two T10 screws on the heatsink's side you need a short and thin T8 screwdriver in order to tighten the two screws properly, the iMac case's curve is on the way of any thick or long screwdriver.
-Note that the FAN will spin like crazy ONLY IF you do not connect the display cables back (i.e. in case you use an external display to check if everything is fine). The FAN will NOT spin on max rpm because of the newly installed SSD! You do NOT need the OWC temperature sensor.
-Note when applying thermal paste to the CPU, also put such to the GPU, but NOT to the VRAM modules, since they function differently.
-Note when putting the display back with the adhesive strips, don't only be careful about side edges's alignment, you have to look that it rests good on the base and there is no distance between it's lower edge and the iMac's base, as when I closed mine there was left a bit of a distance over the iMac logo and the LCD (not a big deal, but still could have been done better)
 
Last edited:

macgeek01

macrumors 6502a
Apr 2, 2013
841
79
I’m planning on installing a blade NVME SSD using the Sintech adapter in my 2015 27” iMac to replace the factory AHCI blade. I’m surprised to hear sleep has to be totally disabled because I thought the issue with 3rd party NVME was just with hibernate?
 

dobrink

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 4, 2013
99
44
Helsinki, Finland
You will only have issues with sleep in a 2015 iMac HDD-only model because when installing OS X its bootrom is not patched by default to work with all NVMes. If in any case you are having issues you disable sleep (and its trigger standby), you set hibernatemode to 25, the autopoweroff can be 1. The Mac will sleep and wake normally. For reference here.
 
Last edited:
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