Finally did it! Late 2012 iMac HDD to SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mavis, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    Well, I finally did it.

    My iMac's 3TB HDD died about a year and a half ago; I split the Fusion drive into its individual parts and have been using the SDD (plus a NAS, obviously) for everything, while waiting for Apple to update the iMac. Since that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon :rolleyes: I finally bought an OWC upgrade kit (with this SDD) and replaced the drive.

    It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (in terms of difficulty) ... The most difficult part was reconnecting the display connectors one-handed, while holding the display up with the other hand. Totally worth it though, because the iMac just screams now!! It was pretty snappy with the 128GB SSD from the Fusion drive, but this one feels even faster - a worthwhile upgrade.

    And now, I think I'll probably skip the next iMac upgrade, again (unless I have any other issues with this one!) ... I think a 3.4GHz Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD drive (with 8TB on a NAS) should be enough to hold me over for another 3-4 years. Hopefully ... :)
  2. wardie macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2008
    That’s exactly the setup I’ve now just got with a late 2009 27” i7 upgraded to 8GB RAM 500GB SSD on High Sierra and it is really very snappy. Only real bottlenecks are that it is SATAII & USB2.
  3. PhillyGuy72 macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    I finally tackled my 2012 yesterday. The HDD in this one was starting to act extremely sluggish, show signs of failing in the past week. 3, 4 min boot times, then another 90 sec-2 min for the desktop to show up, shortcuts, applications. The mouse would stutter every 5-7 seconds as I heard the drive "chugging" I feared something was seriously wrong.

    So far, it's so much faster! One clear sign was launching Photoshop. Before it would take about 60sec, then I would have to deal with the spinning beachball at times when I was working on something. I timed it last night, opened the program in 7 seconds. NO "beachballs!"

    BUT my fear like many I've seen on the web, my fans were running at full blast, and from my old SMC fan control program it was at 4400rpm and still climbing (I did buy a thermal sensor from OWC). I know I hooked that up correctly so I have no idea what the deal is. (temp. solution I installed SSD Fan Control to keep the fans in control) I do have to go back into the computer and see what's happening.:(

    But YES, once your inside the iMac, drive swap is extremely simple with a 3.5 - 2.5 SSD converter bracket. It's the removal of the display, the very fragile cables, ribbons, tiny connections with my fat fingers - that's the hardest part of this!
  4. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I'm glad that it worked well for you guys but...

    No pix?!? Boo!

    I considered doing it for my 2010, but a FireWire 800 SSD worked fine for my purposes, until I bought my 2017. Now it doesn't matter, since I just use my 2010 as a second monitor for my 2017.
  5. PhillyGuy72 macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    I actually mean to do this, video of the BEFORE boot up time - Loading time of apps, then an AFTER video, I just totally forgot. After seeing THIS video of a 2010 (before and after) ..I was blown away and decided to dive right into it and replace the drive.

    Video comparison.

    Still need to go in there and deal with the fan/thermal issue. Right now it's contained.

    Another odd issue was when I turned the iMac on, I'd get a blank white screen for about 10-15 seconds before the Apple logo showed up - then it would boot in 10 seconds, Apps appeared immediately. I simply had to go into System Preferences > Start Up Disk > and choose this new SSD > Restart. (Didn't know I had to do that)

    Whatever the case, no more blank white screen, it just immediately shows the Apple logo when I turn it on. Boot time is insane.

    NOW..the question I have in my mind, do I stick with the old ElCapitan, or take a leap into the newer (yet older) Sierra?
    Part of me says go for it, another part say "why fix it if it ain't broke!?"
  6. Nimrooz macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2019
    I have the same iMac (iMac 2012 (Late) Core i7 3.4 GHz 27-inch (iMac13,2), replaced the 1TB HHD with this guy ( Samsung 860 PRO SATA III 2.5 inch 1TB), it works fine.

    But, I have a question, is it possible to upgrade the PCie as well? any suggestions?
  7. JWSpaceMan macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2015
    I just did this too. My late 2012 21” was slow / barely usable. I got a refurb Samsung 1tb ssd for $100. Including 16 gb of ram, several tools, the disk USB adapter, adhesive strips, and a new battery the whole job was about $200. Machine runs amazingly well now— the cpu was not the problem.

    I was ready to get a new Mac, but couldn’t believe they were still flogging the spinning drives. Makes me angry. I’d rather wait for the redesign & a proper disk on the base configuration. Now, this one will be a much better hand-me-down for my daughter next year. She’s excited;)

    I used the iFixIt guides, by the way. Completely amazing instructions. It’s very doable if you’re reasonably handy & careful... and willing to assume the risk of bricking your box. I was so frustrated with the performance it was an easy call.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2019 ---
    Here are the pics. It’s a work of art inside. I’ve been so love/hate with Apple the last couple of years. All I want is love! Why can’t they see that!

    Attached Files:

  8. PhillyGuy72 macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    The iFixIt videos are a darn lifesaver. Extremely detailed step by step instructions. I
    I've used these to replace my iPhone batteries (5, 6 Plus) after a local store totally botched that simple job. And I just rather replace it myself!

    The difference between the original HD and this new SSD is incredible. At first it looks a bit daunting, but as long as you take your time - have patience. Swapping the drive is very easy. For me...removing the display was the hardest part, you must be careful of the tiny connection cables, ribbons!!

    I did upgrade to Sierra on this old Mac, no problems at all, it didn't slow down this "ancient" computer what so ever.
    May go up to High Sierra at some point probably when security updates for Sierra end later this year. Right now, I have a few ongoing projects, this update can wait. (I've read SSD handles the new Apple File system very well, some say it has greatly improved the older Macs. Of course I've seen a few problems as well. But I see these on every OS updates)

  9. iTurbo macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    This is what I want to know too. I also have a late '12 27" iMac with the stock Fusion drive. So far so good, but eventually I would love to do this if I am going to open up the machine.
  10. Verdenshersker macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I have a late 2013 model, it should be the same right?

    Currently specced:
    3.5 GHz i7
    16 GB 1600 MHz
    GTX 780M 4 GB
    256 GB Apple Blade SSD

    I have a 500 gb Samsung 850 that I want to use in the hard disk tray. It should be possible, right? Would be nice with more internal storage
    I will also upgrade to 32 GB, so I have it maxed out.

    I use it for video production - mostly full hd ProRes, so it should be sufficient.

    Or should I be aware of something?
  11. JWSpaceMan macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2015
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2019 ---
    Hi Verdenshersker -- I would suggest reviewing the iFixit website thoroughly. They will take your model number and give 100% customized instructions.

    I would personally have been more hesitant to crack open a machine specced as nicely (and presumably working as nicely) as you described -- but, in principle, I suspect that it is very possible to make improvements at a modest financial cost, IF you are handy and have good risk tolerance (can afford to replace 100% if your hand slips, etc.).

    In general, though, I wouldn't recommend the repair to anyone who doesn't meet three conditions: 1) very unsatisfied with current performance 2) mechanically handy 3) willing to tolerate loss of machine.
  12. Verdenshersker macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I have repaired 3 iMacs from 2011, numerous MacBook Pros, replaced batteries in iPhones etc.
    Just never opened the slim iMac.

    It’s already a great machine, but I would clean it completely inside from dust, maybe re-paste CPU and GPU as well as install a 2nd SSD.

    Just to see how much more you can get out of that ol’ Fellow :)
  13. a2jack macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2013
    Dead 09. Went in and looked for possible replace with SSD, but HDD checked out OK, so no go.

    Worst was unplugging main cable from display to mother board...very flimsy connector poorly soldered to board. CAREFUL or it will tear away. All else easy.

    Tip: Mark MB with White Pac as you disconnect your cables. Makes easy to find again. a2 IMG_1765.jpg
  14. Billzabub macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2019
    What did everyone do with your fusion setups when you replaced HDD with SDD? When I reinstalled high Sierra it tried to refuse internal 128GB NVMe with external 1TB Samsung EVO and it worked for a while until I tried a Mojave update now I have dead machine I'm trying to bring back to life (see other thread).
    Also, I didn't do anything with any thermal sensor do not sure if that was needed or not...
  15. cinnabun814 macrumors member


    Apr 2, 2018
    SSD’s make a world of difference! I was blown away when I got my MacBook Pro with flash storage.

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14 March 5, 2019