iMac 2010 HDD replacement: HDD vs SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mmweber, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. mmweber macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2015
    Hey all!
    So my buddy just gave me his old 2010 iMac from his office because the hard drive failed. He says it hasn't seen such heavy use, just moderate. My primary computer is a 2013 macbook pro retina, but I would use this as more of backup computer/larger screen computer for movies and stuff.
    The question: Is this even worth fixing at this point? (not a very complicated replacement, I would just do it myself) I know those iMacs only have an i3 do they run? . If it is, should I use an SSD or and HDD? I know the SSD would run a lot faster, but is it worth investing the extra money into an old computer?
    Any advice would be great!
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    If it's only a HD, then I'd recommend installing a SSD to replace it and upgrade the RAM to 8 or 16GB using Crucial or OWC RAM. The machine runs well however we have no idea how you would use it so asking how it would run is an incomplete question.

    You possibly could replace the HD yourself, however it might be worth paying a AASP to do it instead.
  3. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    2010 iMac could be a decent machine, but you must get that SSD. It will be unpleasant with a platter.

    Also, if you try to swap it out yourself, be aware that for some install jobs, you may need an aftermarket bracket, and you may also need to replace or work around the thermal sensor. See this for example.
  4. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    If you can get use out of it as a secondary machine then definitely an SSD. I'm actually surprised how much the HDD in my 27" 2010 iMac impacts usability for someone used to an SSD, it badly needs an upgrade.

    If you want to know how to replace the HDD, the guide can be found from iFixit here for the 21.5", here for the 27". As well as the SSD you will also need a thermal sensor and 3.5" to 2.5" adapter bracket.
  5. mmweber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2015
    Aha... I was reading about software options for fan that a bad idea? Is there a reason I can't just use the thermal sensor that's on the current HDD in the computer? If I need to buy one, will any thermal sensory be ok or is there a specific type I need to use?
  6. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    You might be able to decrease the fan speed through software, although I doubt it. Even if you do manage to it will boot on full blast every time.

    You can't use the existing thermal sensor because it's actually built in to the HDD. The one I linked is the one you need to use, it is specific to the late 2009/mid 2010 iMacs.
  7. mmweber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2015
    People seem to say that this works fine...

    So if I want to trust that the software will work. I just need the SSD and a 2.5 to 3.5 converter for the drive right? (It wont fit with the current bracket will it?)
    Once I replace the drive... How can I get OSX on there if I can't boot anything up? Is there a way to create a bootable thumb drive or something like that?
  8. dinggus macrumors 65816

    Jan 17, 2012
    When I get home next month and figure out if my HDD has failed on my 2009 iMac, I'll most likely go the SSD route, especially since the RAM is maxed, I'd like to see how fast it'll start up.
  9. mmweber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2015
    OK so here is my follow up question. I got a 4TB HDD from my buddy's office. Thing is I want to run OS X off an SSD. Can I use a 60GB SSD just for running the OS and the apps installed on it, and swap out the DVD drive for the 4TB HDD so that I can use it for storage? Does that make sense? Will a 60 GB SSD be enough for running the system?
  10. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    You'd have to swap the optical drive for the SSD and replace the old HDD with the new one if the HDD is a 3.5". For just the OS and apps 60 GB is probably enough, but if you want room for other things on the SSD a 120 GB is better.
  11. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    You don't need to lose the ODD if you don't want to. The 2010 should have 3 sata ports on the back of the MLB. Just need to buy an extra sata/power cable from eBay. There is also a space behind/underneath the ODD which is for mounting an SSD (although you won't have the bracket, a little velcro in this area works wonders.

    This is the 21.5, but the 27 has them too:

    If the fans kick up there is no real need to use fan control software. The hard drive wouldn't get hot enough to cause issues, and if it did, the other fans would kick up anyway. You can short the temp sensor on the logic board instead of spending $40 on a cable.
  12. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    No brainer: put an SSD in there for at least the OS and all your apps. You can put the SSD in place of the original HD and then use something like this from iFixit to put an HD in place of the optical bay (or vice-versa):

    I have a 2010 21.5"; they are excellent computers with an SSD inside. In fact, it's much faster in overall usage compared to my work laptop which is a Dell I got last year with Haswell in it (and HD).

    You can definitely control fan speed with software: I'm running HDD Fan Control right now in my iMac. I've never had the fans go full blast ever, especially during a reboot. So get that, or as stated elsewhere, short the connector.

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