Drive Replacement Recommendations

B-Eugen

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 26, 2014
66
16
I have a customer with a late 2011, 21.5" iMac. He was having beach balling on it so I ran a test with Scannerz (http://scsc-online.com/Scannerz.html if interested). Scannerz identified about 3 sections with bad sectors and tons of sectors that were weak. I told him we should replace the drive because I felt any attempt at repairing it would be futile. I suggested he toss the optical and let me put in a home brew fusion, but he needs/wants the optical. I suggested a big SSD since he needs over a gigabyte of storage but when he saw the price he said that whole unit is even worth that much anymore.

I'd certainly like to get him something faster than those lame HDDs that Apple is putting in their units and I'm thinking along the line of hybrids.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for a replacement?
 

AppleNewton

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Apr 3, 2007
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1 Finite Place
hybrids, in my personal opinion don't waste you're time with it. it really depends on how they manage their data, if they can get a 256-512GB SSD instead and a cheap 1-2TB external they'll be in good shape.

otherwise a western digital 1-3TB drives are pretty solid and unless they're doing editing, encoding or other intensive stuff it should be sufficient.
 
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Max(IT)

Suspended
Dec 8, 2009
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hybrids, in my personal opinion don't waste you're time with it. it really depends on how they manage their data, if they can get a 256-512GB SSD instead and a cheap 1-2TB external they'll be in good shape.

otherwise a western digital 1-3TB drives are pretty solid and unless they're doing editing, encoding or other intensive stuff it should be sufficient.
I do agree: a 250 Gb SSD and external 2 Tb is a perfect solution.
 

TheBSDGuy

macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2012
319
29
For a pure hard drive, I'd recommend the Hitachi line of drives with AF format similar to the Hitachi Z7K500. Look at the specs for each drive paying attention to the areal density and the media transfer rates Although the drive I'm mentioning is only 500GB Hitachi has an entire line of these. Here's a link to the 500GB drive:

https://www.hgst.com/products/hard-drives/travelstar-z7k500

That drive reports a maximum media transfer rate of 1.369 G bit/sec. and for reference, a SATA 1 interface can produce a maximum rate of 1.5G bit/sec Media transfer rate is the rate at which the disk can read the data off the drive and transfer it to the system. Older drives typically have a rate on the order of 400-500 Mbits/sec.

The reason for the speed increase is the increase in areal density. For example, for an older Seagate momemtus drive I have specs on it's areal density is 86 Gbits/sq. in., whereas on the newer Hitachi it's 630 Gbits/sq. in. What this means is that as the drive sweeps over the surface of the platter it can read more data, hence the higher data rate. The higher rotational speed of most of the older drives is 5400 rpm but most newer drives are 7200 rpm with bigger buffers.

One of these newer drives won't be as fast as an SSD but it will make the older drives in the iMac seem slow as molasses. Watch out for drives that seem similar because they may all cost about the same (cheap!) but they'll be using older technologies and probably only be slightly faster than what's in the system now.

I have no experience with hybrids other than for what they offer on the SSD side, they seem over priced.
 

MacRobert10

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2012
287
46
If you're in a mood for some high risk experimentation you could try the new SSD/HDD integrated unit from WD. It has a 128GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD. It's price is high, typically pushing or over $200 and it requires some WD software to "unlock" it (or something like that). To me the idea sounds interesting but I think the price is over the top and the "unlocking" software…well WD has had problems with their drivers before and who even knows if El Capitan would work allow it in rootless mode. Might be worth at least looking at though.
 

FrtzPeter

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2014
77
3
I would be very, very careful about using anything that needs device drivers if you're planning on using El Capitan. Check with the vendor first!
 

TheBSDGuy

macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2012
319
29
If you're in a mood for some high risk experimentation you could try the new SSD/HDD integrated unit from WD. It has a 128GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD. It's price is high, typically pushing or over $200 and it requires some WD software to "unlock" it (or something like that). To me the idea sounds interesting but I think the price is over the top and the "unlocking" software…well WD has had problems with their drivers before and who even knows if El Capitan would work allow it in rootless mode. Might be worth at least looking at though.
I'm not sure that drive's being made any more. I don't see it in their current line up, just regular drives and regular hybrids.
 

B-Eugen

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 26, 2014
66
16
Just an update - he went with a WD Black. I really didn't want to go that way but they were on sale locally and had the storage requirements he needed.
 

TheBSDGuy

macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2012
319
29
Just an update - he went with a WD Black. I really didn't want to go that way but they were on sale locally and had the storage requirements he needed.
Some of the WD blacks also use the newer, faster drive data rates. Toshiba is now making a 2.5" unit that's faster than the HGST I mentioned above. It's entirely possible the WD Black you got was pretty quick too.

Regarding what Apple puts in their machines, don't necessarily trust what's on their advertisements and what's in the system. We've run into several systems that were spec'd out to use older 5400 RPM drives by Apple, but on opening them up they had not only an AF type drive, but it was at 7200RPM. Much faster than what Apple said was in it. The only way to confirm is with System Profiler to get the drive part number and see what's actually there.
 

stuartak

macrumors member
Feb 21, 2016
50
3
I have a customer with a late 2011, 21.5" iMac. He was having beach balling on it so I ran a test with Scannerz (http://scsc-online.com/Scannerz.html if interested). Scannerz identified about 3 sections with bad sectors and tons of sectors that were weak. I told him we should replace the drive because I felt any attempt at repairing it would be futile. I suggested he toss the optical and let me put in a home brew fusion, but he needs/wants the optical. I suggested a big SSD since he needs over a gigabyte of storage but when he saw the price he said that whole unit is even worth that much anymore.

I'd certainly like to get him something faster than those lame HDDs that Apple is putting in their units and I'm thinking along the line of hybrids.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for a replacement?
Bit of a late response , but you can fit an SSD along with the Optical and the HDD in a 2011 machine , it already has a third SATA connector on the back of the logic board where the Optical drive plugs in , although Apple did not introduce the Fusion drive until 2012 they started fitting the extra Sata socket in mid 2011.
 

AppleNewton

macrumors 68000
Apr 3, 2007
1,697
84
1 Finite Place
Bit of a late response , but you can fit an SSD along with the Optical and the HDD in a 2011 machine , it already has a third SATA connector on the back of the logic board where the Optical drive plugs in , although Apple did not introduce the Fusion drive until 2012 they started fitting the extra Sata socket in mid 2011.
I believe they removed the SSD data and power connectors on the late 2011. Only the mid 2011 had them.

Fusion drive is software based so if you put both an SSD and hdd anything after atleast 10.8.4 should auto create it for you.
 

stuartak

macrumors member
Feb 21, 2016
50
3
I believe they removed the SSD data and power connectors on the late 2011. Only the mid 2011 had them.

Fusion drive is software based so if you put both an SSD and hdd anything after atleast 10.8.4 should auto create it for you.
That's interesting , why would they remove them? All the logic boards I have worked on from late 2009 have the pads laid out for the sockets and capacitors for the third sata . Some 2010 machines have actually got the connectors and 2011 have , never had a late 2011 though . You can actually fit the components to a late 2009 machine and the get the sata to work , as the Intel interface chip fitted supports up to 5 sata circuit ( as long as they are on the board) and you run the later OSX.
 

dogslobber

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2014
3,872
5,862
Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
That's interesting , why would they remove them? All the logic boards I have worked on from late 2009 have the pads laid out for the sockets and capacitors for the third sata . Some 2010 machines have actually got the connectors and 2011 have , never had a late 2011 though . You can actually fit the components to a late 2009 machine and the get the sata to work , as the Intel interface chip fitted supports up to 5 sata circuit ( as long as they are on the board) and you run the later OSX.
The late 2011 was the neutered core i3 variant for education market only.
 
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