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JazzyJacck

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Jun 12, 2018
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Hello I was wondering if iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015) was compatible to have the fusion drive upgraded to SSD? Specifically the Samsung 860 PRO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD. Will it fit and work? Do I have to take both drives out (both parts of the fusion drive) or can I leave one in?
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Are you 100% sure it will work with late 2015? I have mixed read things about the late 2015 model hence why I am asking the question.

The upgrade process is exactly the same, but here are guides specifically for the Late 2014/Late 2015 model:

Instructions:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+Hard+Drive+Replacement/30522

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+Adhesive+Strip+Replacement/30512

MacSales/OWC's How to Upgrade the Main Drive in a 27-inch iMac (2012 – Current) video:

Things you will need:

OWC Complete Hard Drive Upgrade Kit Including Tools for all 27" iMacs 2012 & Later:
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD12/

iMac Service Wedge:
https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Tools/iMac-Service-Wedge/IF145-224-2

2.5" SSD of your choice

2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket
 
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JazzyJacck

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2018
23
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The upgrade process is exactly the same, but here are guides specifically for the Late 2014/Late 2015 model:

Instructions:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+Hard+Drive+Replacement/30522

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+Adhesive+Strip+Replacement/30512

Things you will need:

OWC Complete Hard Drive Upgrade Kit Including Tools for all 27" iMacs 2012 & Later:
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD12/

iMac Service Wedge:
https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Tools/iMac-Service-Wedge/IF145-224-2

2.5" SSD of your choice

2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket
Thanks for the in-depth reply, so I will need to buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket? If I have someone else do the upgrade for me I don't need to buy anything else correct? Like any additional cables?
 
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Thanks for the in-depth reply, so I will need to buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket? If I have someone else do the upgrade for me I don't need to buy anything else correct? Like any additional cables?

Well, the person who do it for you would have to buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket.

You also need the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable included with the OWC Complete Hard Drive Upgrade Kit, otherwise you fan would spin at 100% all the time.
 
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JazzyJacck

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Original poster
Jun 12, 2018
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Well, the person who do it for you would have to buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket.

You also need the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable included with the OWC Complete Hard Drive Upgrade Kit otherwise, you fan would spin at 100% all the time.
So I need In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable and 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket for sure. And I could keep the other SSD part (or is it flash?) as a second internal drive? Sorry I'm sort of a computer noob.
 
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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So I need In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable and 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket for sure. And I could keep the other SSD part (or is it flash?) as a second internal drive? Sorry I'm sort of a computer noob.

Yes, that is correct.

If you don't need the whole kit, you can just buy the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable and the adhesive strips separately.

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD12/
 
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JazzyJacck

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Jun 12, 2018
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Thanks for all the help. Is there anyway to go without buying the In-Line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable or 2.5 to 3.5 bracket? Is there another SSD that can just fit in without those things?

Well, if you don't install the In-Line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable, your iMac would sound like a vacuum cleaner.

You can use double-sided tape to attach the SSD, but I won't recommend it since the SSD could come loose and fall onto other components.
 
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JazzyJacck

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2018
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Well, if you don't install the In-Line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable, your iMac would sound like a vacuum cleaner.

You can use double-sided tape to attach the SSD, but I won't recommend it since the SSD could come loose and fall onto other components.
Do you know of a good bracket to buy?
 
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JazzyJacck

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2018
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That's actually a really good question.

Some 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive brackets won't fit.

I use this one in my iMac:

https://www.amazon.com/NewerTech-AdaptaDrive-Drive-Converter-Bracket/dp/B005PZDVF6

I also removed the red adapter at the end because it's not really useful.

Someone was saying I could just swap the small ssd in it with a larger 500 or 1tb drive, and keep the hdd in it for other files. Then reinstall on the ssd. He linked to this as an example: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-aura-pro-x-ssd

Are there any benefits to using the auro or something else like it rather than the Samsung?
 
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Someone was saying I could just swap the small ssd in it with a larger 500 or 1tb drive, and keep the hdd in it for other files. Then reinstall on the ssd. He linked to this as an example: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-aura-pro-x-ssd

Are there any benefits to using the auro or something else like it rather than the Samsung?

SSDs like the Transcend JetDrive 820 and the OWC Aura Pro X are really really expensive because they are custom NVMe drives made specifically for upgrading Macs. (Obviously, demand for such products are pretty low, hence the higher prices.)

~$600 for 1TB is nuts!

SSDs like the SanDisk Ultra 3D/WD Blue 3D, Samsung 860 EVO, and Crucial MX 500 are much cheaper because they are generic SATA SSDs that pretty much fit most PCs.

Think about it: Generic parts are almost always cheaper than specialized parts.
 
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JazzyJacck

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Jun 12, 2018
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SSDs like the Transcend JetDrive 820 and the OWC Aura Pro X are really really expensive because they are custom NVMe drives made specifically for upgrading Macs. (Obviously, demand for such products are pretty low, hence the higher prices.)

~$600 for 1TB is nuts!

SSDs like the SanDisk Ultra 3D/WD Blue 3D, Samsung 860 EVO, and Crucial MX 500 are much cheaper because they are generic SATA SSDs that pretty much fit most PCs.

Think about it: Generic parts are almost always cheaper than specialized parts.
So a Samsung 960 Pro wouldn't fit on my Late 2015 iMac because it requires an m.2 port? Could a 960 fit with some sort of jerry rigging? Like having the adapter and thermal sensor for the 860 SATA SSD?
 
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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So a Samsung 960 Pro wouldn't fit on my Late 2015 iMac because it requires an m.2 port? Could a 960 fit with some sort of jerry rigging? Like having the adapter and thermal sensor for the 860 SATA SSD?

The SSD that Apple uses in the iMac is proprietary. It's not an M.2 form factor, so the Samsung 960 Pro won't fit.

I am aware that there's an adapter out there that claims to be able to fit a standard M.2 NVMe SSD into Apple's proprietary slot, but it's not from a reputable source and has no support whatsoever, so I would not recommend it.
 
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JazzyJacck

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Jun 12, 2018
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The SSD that Apple uses in the iMac is proprietary. It's not an M.2 form factor, so the Samsung 960 Pro won't fit.

I am aware that there's an adapter out there that claims to be able to fit a standard M.2 NVMe SSD into Apple's proprietary slot, but it's not from a reputable source and has no support whatsoever, so I would not recommend it.
Alright, thanks for the all the help!
 
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JazzyJacck

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Jun 12, 2018
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You're welcome

On the MacBook Pro subforum, there's a 61 pages thread of people using the adapter along with custom drivers and hacks to get M.2 NVMe SSDs working, along with various workarounds for certain issues.

That's why I wouldn't recommend it.
So the reason I want to upgrade to SSD is for music production and I have heard that fusion drive is bad for audio. Someone else on a different forum said that I could also put an SSD in an external case and connect it via USB or thunderbolt. Would you recommend this?
 
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nambuccaheadsau

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Oct 19, 2007
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Nambucca Heads Australia
Connect it via USB3and it will work at about 85% of an internal SSD. I use identical SSDs for two backups externally, one TB and one USB3 and they do a Smart Backup using SuperDuper to within one second of each other doing the same backup.
 
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Guy Clark

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Nov 28, 2013
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Thanks for the in-depth reply, so I will need to buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket? If I have someone else do the upgrade for me I don't need to buy anything else correct? Like any additional cables?
Great advice you have been given there by tubeexperience I would like to add a couple of other options. If you were looking at replacing the drive within the iMac I thoroughly recommend a Seagate Solid State Hybrid Drive I have them installed in both of my iMacs and they offer exceptional performance. This can be fitted following the iFixit tutorial linked above. Don't forget the adhesive strips and the iFixit iMac opening tool. They come packaged together.
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/solutions/solid-state-hybrid/

If you are uncomfortable about opening up your iMac you could run macOS from an SSD externally using one of the Thunderbolt 2 ports and using the internal drive for storage. Using this method you will get very close to SSD performance if it were installed internally.
 
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Guy Clark

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First it was the Seagate SSHD Hybrid Drives to which directed me to a specific Dell site. Now it is Seagate in general that is being criticised.

Once again I am recommending Seagate Hybrid Drives through personal experience and not what I read in the press.

The highest failure rate I have personally had is with Hitachi Drives. Also HGST Drives which are manufactured by Western Digital.

Along with Seagate Hybrid Drives I do have Western Digital Black and Green Hard Drives which have proved to be reliable.
 
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wardie

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Aug 18, 2008
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Everyone has their own experiences with drives good and bad. he benefit of data from someone like Backblaze is that they use thousands so get a better sample rate to infer failure rates from - on the basis the manufacturers don’t like to talk about it!
 
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Guy Clark

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Everyone has their own experiences with drives good and bad. he benefit of data from someone like Backblaze is that they use thousands so get a better sample rate to infer failure rates from - on the basis the manufacturers don’t like to talk about it!
Very good point. Media reporting is suspect at the best of times as you never know where the funding is coming from. Supposing the sponsorship was coming from Western Digital for example it is bound to paint Seagate in a bad light. Personally I trust very few of these sites for that very reason.
 
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