how should i soup up my 2011 iMac 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by madeirabhoy, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    love my 2011 3.1ghz 27" iMac, but want to know what my options are for making it better.

    1. SSD. can i add one internally? easily? would this affect boot camp?
    2. is there a cost effective way of adding usb 3, or having external drives through thunderbolt or firewire?
  2. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    The SSD can be swapped out, but the process is quite tedious. I am not a very tech-savvy person, and while I easily replaced the SSD in my 2012 MBA, I wouldn't dare do the same thing for my iMac.

    It is tempting though, because SSD prices are quite cheap these days, and a new 1TB SSD would really spruce up my comp. It currently sports a 128gb SSD (plus the original 1tb HDD).
  3. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012

    see i've just got the original 1tb drive in here, and I've 2 external drives but they are usb 2, so i figure both of these are slowing me down.
  4. scottish macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2011
    I definitely recommend SSD upgrade. Check out iFixit for guides, though be sure you're happy to go ahead yourself before doing so!

    I guess you could take your external drives out of their enclosures and get a SATA to firewire/thunderbolt cable.
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    You might want to check with OWC as they offer some hardware customizing. At worse, you don't have to go through them but you get an idea of what can be done. I recall it wasn't easy to get to that page on their site but it is there. My take is SSD is a great idea as is upping RAM if you don't have much. I recall that OWC on some iMacs could put in an SSD and also create an eSATA port which is not a bad deal for external hardware with or without adapter usage.

    I think this gets you to their mod page -
  6. mhafeez macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2013

    1. follow this guide for adding SSD into your iMac
    2. I use Startech Thunderbolt Station for USB3.0 usage
  7. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    No brainer: put an SSD in it. Prices have dropped tremendously and the 2011 iMac is still a very capable machine. I'd also have at least 8GB of RAM in there; relatively cheap to do.
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    No real way to add usb 3, thunderbolt drives are expensive but fast.
  9. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    thanks ill look at the SSD guide. so would that be replacing my dvd drive then?
    would bootcamp still work and would windows have to be on the SSD?
  10. joudbren macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    OP, I sold my 27" 2011 i7 imac earlier this year and replaced it with a new 27" retina. I'm still kind of kicking myself as the performance difference is not really that noticeable. Was worth it for the screen though at least for me.

    The last couple of years I had my 2011 I added a 512GB SSD via a Seagate thunderbolt interface. Didn't have to bother opening up the iMac and it worked like a charm. Performance difference is literally NIGHT AND DAY from the old internal drive and will be the single biggest performance improvement you can add to that rig.

    It really does work well and you can boot your iMac from the thunderbolt drive. It's absolutely seamless in day to day operation. Use the internal drive for storage only and/or bootcamp if you still use windows. There are a lot of threads on here about using SSD with Thunderbolt so I'll let you research those as to what's the best TB interface these days. I used the Seagate desktop TB interface back in the day as it was powered by a wall wart so no issues with SSD drives over 256GB. Not sure if that is still an issue or not for the port powered (portable) TB interfaces. Cheers!

    P.S. Apple store sells a little silver shelf that attaches to the iMac stand. It's kind of pricy but it's sharp and I used it to hold the external SSD. It kept everything nice and neat and out of sight. If you use a portable SSD interface/case you could also just Velcro it to the back of the iMac if so inclined. I've seen that done and it looks ok.
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Soup up your iMac? Normally I find that a dash of pepper and some tomato pesto works wonders. :D

    I joke of course - back to the post! Everybody else on this thread is absolutely right. Throw in an SSD and max out the RAM - it'll be running like butter. :)

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10 June 6, 2015