Failing internal drive in late 2009 27" iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Keffek, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Keffek macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I have a slight problem, since saturday Disk Utility has informed me that my boot drive's S.M.A.R.T. status is failing, and I have noticed some random slowdowns of my computer when opening files or applications in the past week or so, which is leading me to believe it will soon die completely.

    Today I have called by local Authorized Service Provider and inquired about the cost of having the drive replaced. They told me that because of the built-in sensor for drive temperature, a special Apple drive has to be installed that will cost between €200 and €300 + €80 for the installation.

    Since this is not the newest iMac in the world, I would first like to explore some other options but I need some advice first. I would like to know the following things:
    - How easy is it to open the iMac? I'm not stranger to disassembling hardware but removing the display seems daunting?
    - Do I have to use an Apple drive or can I install a 'normal' one and use something like SMCFanControl to keep an eye on everything?
    - Does anyone have any experience of booting off of an external USB drive that is directly plugged in? (I have made a restore of my current hard drive on a new USB drive overnight, but it does not seem to want to boot off of it?)

    With regards,
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    You can either put in a 3.5" SATA drive and short the connections and then control the fan with SMC fan control, this is daunting and unless you know exactly what you're doing a recipe for disaster. Also opening an iMac is not designed for the typical end user despite what you read on this forum.

    You can easily boot from an exter HD however DO NOT repeat DO NOT use a USB drive as it will be incredibly slow. If you want to go this route purchase and external FW800 drive and use it.
  3. Keffek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    Thank you for your reply.

    The FW800 drive is a good suggestion, was there a special procedure to restore a disk onto another one and make it bootable? Because I have restored my current drive to another drive and it does not want to boot.
  4. kpgh554 macrumors regular


    Dec 29, 2011
    iver england
    you can use carbon copy cloner to copy to new drive and it can be bootable and not lose any apps etc,runs like original disc.. can get from a worthwhile app to have .
  5. loybond macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The True North, Strong and Free
    Its not hard to do. Just go buy a standard 3.5" SATA SSD drive and install it. Leave the fan plug disconnected. Install and run an application like SSDfancontrol, problem totally solved.

    I would recommend you get an SSD not only for performance reasons, but also thermal.
  6. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Check out They have instructions on how to install a new HD and the tools that you need and also the HD that will work with your model. They rate it moderate on difficulty. If you don't want to attempt it yourself there are shops that will do it. You're probably looking at about $200 for a 1 TB HD and 1 hr. labor.
  7. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    If you remove the display USE EXTREME CAUTION. If you put any pressure whatsoever on the display to motherboard connector, you're looking at an $800 repair when it breaks.

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