Has anyone tried to ADD SSD to 2011 imac for HDD+SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Crwoo, May 6, 2011.

  1. Crwoo macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
    I ordered an imac BTO with almost everything, and i have added previous gen imacs to HDD+SSD and i wonder if anyone tried or can confirm this is not possible with this version.
    I have a Intel 510 SSD waiting to install on this imac, and in the past if i did that it required jumping the temp sensor to keep the fans at a decent speed, is this still required with the new imacs?
  2. island macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2007
    I'm going to be doing this as soon as mine comes in this week.

    I think I read that you can mount it under the optical drive with cables already there but if anyone has some information concerning this then that would be awesome.

  3. maxinc, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I updated my 27" 2.7 i5 iMac last night with a 120GB Vertex 3. The process was not as easy as upgrading a PC but definitely doable with lots of patients and delicate hands. Wiring and Screw location differ from previous generation so the 2010 guides can be more confusing than helpful.

    There a 4 SATA ports on the mainboard. (edit: there are actually only 3, the 4th port is actually something else) I had to relocate the main HDD from Sata 0 to Sata 1 port on the MB, to allow the 90 degree sata cable to be inserted, as the geometry of the connector did not allow it to be plugged directly into one of the spare ports.

    The SSD is held in place with some velcro, underneath the video card's heat pipe and sits there very comfortable. For power I used a Y-splitter for sata power which powers not both HDD and SSD. There is plenty of room to accommodate the extra wiring.

    Instructions could come in handy as my heart stopped for a few moment after the monitor did not power on after reassemble. Turned out to be a connector which I have forgotten about. Easy fix but I had the remove the monitor again. So make sure you take plenty of photos and count all the connectors :))
  4. ShiftyGray macrumors regular

    May 19, 2010
  5. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2011
    As I understand it you only void the warranty on parts you replace. Meaning that if you leave the rest of the computer the same and only screw around with a hard drive then it's that part which is questionable under the warranty. Probably not a big deal if we add the SSD.

    I really want to throw a relatively small SSD in when the new OS comes out but I'll certainly need some kind of assistance when I tear apart the beautiful machine. From what I see you used the SATA cable with a straight connector and a 90degree connector, or do both connections have to be 90 degrees?

    Isn't it safe to leave the temp sensor as it is to control the fans since the SSD drives don't generate much heat? And finally, is it possible to leave the inside of the glass and screen fingerprint/dust free during the install? From the past reviews of this installation it seems like a huge problem to clean it off once debris gets on it.

    Good to know it's possible though!
  6. ShiftyGray macrumors regular

    May 19, 2010
    Good questions.
  7. maxinc, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 7, 2011

    maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    There was only one sticker I saw with a warranty warning on the CPU heatsink but did not touch that.

    There was a bit of regular, transparent sticky tape safeguarding the IR sensor and battery in place which I had to remove. I don't think it voids the warranty but I didn't bother putting it back.

    SATA cable used was 90 degree onto the MB one and and straight the other end into the SSD. Plenty of space there.

    I couldn't see the temperature sensor on the HDD. Maybe it was underneath? as I did not take out the HDD. The only sensor I could see was the ODD temp sensor which is clearly marked on the main board.

    LCD was fingerprint and dust free. A couple of fibbers on the glass but removal and some blown air cleaned it nicely. Make sure you don't sneeze or leave any fingerprints on the inside or on LCD and I'm sure you will have a hard time cleaning them off.
  8. nafai23 macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2008
    Did you have to take the mainboard out to get to the sata ports? How far to you have to disassemble to get to all the ports you need?
  9. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Yes, you would have to lift the MB which means disconnecting almost everything plugged into it. Maybe 10-11 connectors in total.

    You can lift it with just the SATA cables and PSU cables attached but those are the easy ones to put back in.

    I did struggle a bit but if I have to do it again, I would take the PSU out first as well.

    In summary this is what I did:

    1. Take glass off
    2. Take screen out
    3. Remove IR sensor
    4. Remove PSU
    5. Disconnect al cables on the MB and lift
    6. Plug SATA connector and fit MB + PSU back.
    7. Connect SSD to SATA cable and Y-Splitter for power from HDD.
    8. Reattach screen + glass
    9. Run Apple Hardware Diagnostic tool on Application disc.
  10. Crwoo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
    Thanks for the info, where did you get the cables?
    I have cables that work with the previous gen imac, will these work? what cables did you use?
  11. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I'm not sure they will fit 100% since I've seen differences in cabling between the 2 models.

    I used a 90 degree SATA 3 cable I had left from a ASUS mainboard I recently installed and purchased a £4 SATA power Y-Splitter cable.
  12. BEASTMAN macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2005
    I am confused why you would have to use a y-splitter when there is a separate sata/power plug for the SSD option.
  13. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    There are 4 SATA connectors on the mainboard but no spare SATA cables (data nor power) are present. Since power requires a new custom power loom, the Y connector is a cheaper and more accessible way to pinch some power from the existing HDD.
  14. BEASTMAN macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2005
    But if I were to buy just a combo cable that would come with a built to order machine for SSD I would be fine correct?
  15. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    As long as the cable would be indeed compatible with the 2011 model since I suspect they may differ.
  16. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2011
    This seems a little more intensive than the 2010 model in that you have to disconnect all of the motherboard. I guess that's what I'll have to do if I want to do the install. Maybe by that time someone will take some good pictures as they go.

    Also, from what I've seen elsewhere the temp sensor for the HDD is inside that unit, which is why places like OWC do the resistor trick.
  17. peregrines macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2010
    I am hoping for a "How to" aswell ... three days to go till my Imac 27 arrives:D
  18. ChargedPC macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    A few questions:

    1) What kind of Xbench score are you getting on your Vertex 3?

    2) We only saw 3 SATA connectors on the motherboard, did we miss one?


  19. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Looking at your picture I just realised I've been wrong about the 4th connector. I didn't completely remove the logic board, only lifted it enough to plus the SATA cable. From that angle, it looked like 4 connector but I now realise that was something else.
  20. centenario macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    Russia Moscow
    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    In this ( http://dl.dropbox.com/u/293880/DSC_0690-1.JPG ) slot you plug a regular cable sata (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/293880/29915_v01_m.jpg)?
    Here (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/293880/DSC_0674.JPG) you have connected Y sata power cable (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/293880/y.jpg).
    If I am mistaken in something, you can give links to the necessary cables to connect the SSD.
    I would be very grateful for the help.
  21. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    1. I moved the original HDD cable from SATA0 to SATA1 on the right connector. The left one looked like the 4th SATA port but is in fact something else as it clearly shows that is smaller.

    2. The new SATA clable has a 90degree angled connector and I pluged it into the, now available, SATA0 port, with connector pointing toward the bottom og the picture.

    3. Y-Cable yes, it is connected to the existing sata power cable feeding the existing hard drive.

    90 Degree SATA Cable
    y Splitter
  22. Crwoo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
    Can anyone confirm that its actually any differant than the 2010 model?
  23. TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2011

    ....Apple SSD it is for me then.

    Was worried enough about dust and prints, but if I'm going "all in", I'm going to break something.
  24. Mashuri macrumors member

    May 9, 2011
  25. maxinc macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Although I'm not 100% positive, I'm pretty sure the wiring loom is different. The power for the HDD comes from the logic board on a separate loom together with the the SATA cable.

    Since the video cooling is also different, I would expect the plastic adapter to differ slightly as well.

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524 May 6, 2011