Harddrive Options

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Commy1, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Commy1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2013
    Hey guys,
    So in all of the laptops I've owned I've modded it with an optical drive caddy for a second hard drive, usually for storage. Does the 2011 iMac support SATA III or SATA II?

    According to iFixit there are multiple ways to go about adding more hard drives, one method I'm a bit confused about. The 3 hard drives I'm aware of are:
    1: The main HDD bay for 3.5" HDD/Fusion
    2: The Logic board has space for a second HDD SATA port placing the 2.5" form factor behind the Optical (only on the 27" iMac?)
    3: Optical Drive replacement with 2.5" SSD/HDD

    My questions are thus.
    I: The 500GB HDD that came stock with the iMac is just fine for storage but coming from an SSD the speeds are disappointing. If possible in the 21.5" iMac I would like to install an SSD on the open spare SATA port. By doing so would I still be able to boot from that drive at a decent speed?

    II: If the above option is NOT available in the 21.5" model, would it be beneficial to put an SSD into that spot? Would it be possible to boot from that drive? As far as I understand Optical drives only support SATA II, am I correct?

    III: I suppose the last option is a Fusion drive, are they worth it? As far as I understand the hard drive is identified by the computer as a single drive without access to the SSD portion. Does Apple software realize that OSX should be installed on that SSD portion or will it just do whatever it wants.


  2. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2013
    OWC has install videos for the 21.5" 2011 imac. The installation is similar to the 27" in that the connection is made on the Logic Board's second SATA connector, and the SSD is installed under the Optical Drive. The Optical Drive is returned to it's original position. Yes, the iMac has SATA III speeds if connected to the second SATA connector, and yes, you can boot from that SSD drive.

    By the way, Fusion drives consist of a SSD and a HDD that are combined into one Volume. Apple has a blade type SSD in newer iMacs (Late 2012) that is combined with the regular HDD into the Fusion Volume. You can keep your two drives separate and boot from either or they can be combined into a fusion drive using some Terminal commands. (search on this forum, or google it)

    I prefer to boot into the SSD, and keep the drives separate on my 2011 imac.

    You should watch the OWC video to see if it's something you'd want to tackle in your iMac. If you do, OWC also has the wiring kit and tools for the job. It's what I used when I did mine, and has worked fine.

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