iMac 2009 27" PCIe SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PeacefulDreams, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. PeacefulDreams macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #1
    Hi there!

    Let me kick this story off by telling you how I'm new on the forum (yay!) and how my dad has this older 27" 2009 iMac he's been willing to upgrade though never has. I've built many systems over the years and have experience with opening up portable and desktop Macs. I'm looking to surprise him by upgrading his computer when he's gone for the weekend, but ran into something while looking at the possible upgrades.

    I'm looking to replace his HDD with a 512GB nvme SSD over PCIe. I realize that with an adapter, I could hook this up to the SATA connector, but that would limit the speed to 3GB/s. I'm wondering if it's at all possible to replace the PCIe Wireless Board (wifi) with an adapter (or directly) so I could gain more speed that way. My dad only uses the ethernet connection anyway, so it wouldn't be bothersome to him.

    Does anyone have experience with this?
     
  2. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #3
    Even assuming that a NVMe SSD would work in a WiFi slot (I have no idea... and how many lanes of what version of PCIe does it carry?) Is your dad doing anything (moving around large files, 4k video editing etc.) that would actually benefit significantly from speeds >3GB/s given that the CPU, GPU etc. are 10 years old?

    I feel people tend to obsess a bit too much over "sustained transfer speed" benchmarks - sure, faster is faster, but pretty much any SSD will be a night-and-day improvement over spinning rust simply because the seek times are an order of magnitude faster - which is pretty significant when accessing lots of small files & multi-tasking.

    If I were upgrading a 2009 machine, before going out on a limb with a PCIe drive that I'd check to see how many GB worth of "economy model" 2.5" SATA SSD I could get for the price of a 1TB NVMe.
     
  3. Kcetech1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    #4
    Nope, will not install and recognize, that slot is much like old laptop slots, wired up for wifi and such but not capable of storage devices.
     
  4. PeacefulDreams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #5
    You make a good point here. The reason I'm planning to go with NVMe is because I'm rather sure that he might buy a newer iMac in a few years, so I'm hoping I could transfer the NVMe over when that happens. I have no idea how many lanes the PCIe slot has or what version it is. To find out, I've looked at multiple sites such as EveryMac and iFixit with no luck so far. As you're saying, any SSD makes a difference, so it's a win-win regardless.

    My dad takes pictures with a good DSLR and likes to edit his photos in Lightroom and Photoshop, and then keep them in .raw format. After editing, he stores them on his NAS, which is why the ethernet is more suitable for his situation. I'm mostly wondering if people have done this before and how beneficial it has been compared to replacing the optical drive with a caddy or swapping out the main HDD with an SSD

    When looking at a Samsung EVO 850, I see read speeds around 550MB/s. When looking at NVMes (m2 format), I notice some of them advertising 8GB/s. Although the SATA connection/adapter would bottleneck it, it would still be faster wouldn't it?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2018 ---
    Thank you for reminding me about that! I noticed a separate BlueTooth module on an iFixit guide, but after looking up this specific model I see you're correct. He uses the Magic Mouse so that might indeed be a dealbreaker.
     
  5. mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    switzerland
    #6
    AFAIK PCIe 2.0 with 1 (one) lane. also, I'm pretty sure that this machine will not boot from an NVMe SSD.
     
  6. mj_ macrumors 6502

    mj_

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #7
    No way to get an NVMe SSD to work in this old machine, it doesn't support NVMe yet. And even if it did it would be Apple's proprietary PCIe SSD like on the 2015/2017 iMac or the iMac Pro and not the standardized NVMe everybody else uses. Because courage.

    The good news is that he will not notice the difference between a SATA and an NVMe SSD anyway. The difference between HDD and any SSD is massive, the differences between the various SSDs on the other hand are negligible in everyday use.
     
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #8
    You can always get a USB enclosure for the SSD and use it as an external on a new machine.

    As others have said, even in new iMacs the PCIe SSD slot is proprietary.

    Even today, you can't buy a new 27" iMac without a SSD fitted in the PCIe slot - if only the tiny one that comes with the 1TB Fusion option - and most clued-up iMac purchasers are plumping for at least the larger Fusion drives with 128GB SSDs if not the 256/512GB pure SSD option. "in a few years" I'd give fairly good odds that brand new iMacs will all have 256GB+ SSDs (and will probably be sealed even tighter than they are now), most decent used iMacs will already have SSDs and there may be new tech like Optane to consider.
     
  8. PeacefulDreams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Location:
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    #9
    Thanks! Good to know.

    Thank you for your reply! I'm new to the NVMe technology so I didn't know they needed specific support from the machine itself. Was hoping an NVMe to SATA adapter would do the job. Looks like I'm going with something like a Samsung EVO instead, as you're also suggesting the difference will be minimal. Nonetheless, I think he'll love it. The main reason I wanted to explore this option is because I once I'm in there, I'd rather upgrade everything at once rather than having to do it again another time.
     
  9. mj_ macrumors 6502

    mj_

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    Samsung EVO or Crucial MX will both be perfect for this use case.
    Not sure about the iMac 2009 but you might also need a 3.5-to-2.5-inch mounting bracket.
     

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