iMac 2011 - SSD in place - what's next?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AliceDK, May 17, 2015.

  1. AliceDK macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    Hi guys and girls, Alice here.

    I'm a fashion designer student who recently just upgraded her iMac 21.5" (Mid 2011) with a Samsung EVO 850 SSD as a 2nd HD - yay! :D

    Originally, I intended to buy a new iMac but I had to prioritize so I opted for a new MacBook instead as I also work 'on the go'. Also, my iMac is still running smoothly - with the exception that the mechanical HD is its bottleneck - so I couldn't really justify buying an entirely new machine (they're also SO expensive here in Denmark!). :)

    So, the SSD is installed and formatted, OSX sees the drive and it's right there on the desktop. Now, my goal is to wipe everything from the original HD - after making a back-up - and then start from scratch with the SSD as boot volume.

    It should be noted that I only want to back-up certain files - not to create an exact "image" of the original HD. My iMac came with Lion and I want a clean install of Mavericks (or maybe Yosemite).

    My question is, how do I manage to do that?

    Thanks in advance. Have a lovely day. :)

  2. Bruno09, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 17, 2015

    Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Hi Alice,

    this is easy to do :

    1. backup your current HD (make a clone)

    2. from the App Store, download Mavericks (Purchases tab, if you already "bought" it), or Yosemite if you never bought Mavericks (no longer available)

    3. install the OS, select the SSD as destination disk for the installation

    You will then be able to :
    - select the SSD as boot disk (System Preferences / Startup Disk)
    - move what you want from the HD to the SSD
    - wipe your HD if you wish

    Please note that :
    - Yosemite runs better with more than 4 GB of RAM
    - on your iMac mid-2011, the SATA connexion of the optical bay is SATA II "only" vs SATA III for you HD, then don't expect more than ~250 Mbps for the SSD, which is much, much more than your HD, anyway.
  3. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    Hi Bruno

    Thanks for your answer.

    I have 12GB installed so I hope that's enough for Yosemite.

    Also, I've left the optical drive in place as it's still quite handy to have. The iMac 2011 has a spare SATA III input for an SSD so I've installed the EVO 850 right under the optical drive (thanks to iFixIt for their excellent guides).

  4. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Yeah I see, so you have a great configuration here.
  5. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    I'm quite happy I bought the Mid 2011 model back in the day - I really hope it can stay with me for years to come.
    As I understand, it's the last model that's user-serviceable/upgradeable without much hassle. Also, I don't believe the newer model have more than one or two SATA III inputs?
  6. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    It can also be upgraded to 32gb of memory. I have a 21.5" 2011 iMac and it's the pinnacle of that size. 2012 onwards are not, as you say, serviceable.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Ha ha ha yosemite will run fine on 2GB....
  8. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    Thanks for all the answers. :)

    I bought an AdaptaDrive and a thermal cable from OWC just in case I wanted to throw away the old mechanical HDD and replace it with a new one.
    I think I'll go with a new drive, as the one currently in my iMac is from 2011 (7200rpm). I Just can't decide whether to go for another SSD or a mechanicarddrive - or maybe even an SSHD?

    Another 512GB EVO 850 will be too expensive IMO. Maybe I should just settle for an 120-128GB SSD or go big with 2-4TB mechanical HDD.

    Any ideas?
  9. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011

    Congratulations on your project! I'll actually be doing the same to my 2011 27" iMac next week.

    Just one thing to consider. Be careful replacing the HDD that shipped in your iMac for a third-party (non-Apple) drive, HDD or SSD. The reason being that Apple drives have firmware installed on it that transmits temperature information. Third-party drives don't have this and putting one in will force your fans to spin at full speed the moment you boot it up. You could control the fans with third-party software running in the background but that may impact your iMac's performance.

    Late year the HDD that shipped in my iMac died and I needed to replace it. I considered just tossing the drive and putting an SSD in its place but was made aware of this fact. Apple Care expired a few months before but the guys at Apple did the placement for free. I'll soon be adding an SSD in addition to the HDD just as you did.
  10. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015

    I bought a cable from OWC which has built in temperature chip for 3rd party drives. That way I don't need to fiddle with software to keep the fans in control. Should work with ANY non-Apple drive. :)
  11. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    I went ahead and bought another Evo 850. This time in 250GB.

    So now, I have one 250GB SSD for my primary data and one 500GB SSD for ripped music, photos and other fillers.

    I'll begin the data migration process from my old drive next week. Can't wait to see how fast my "new" iMac performs with SSDs only.
  12. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011

    I just saw a video of that cable being installed, it looks promising.

    Please let me know if it works as advertised as I am considering replacing the HDD in my iMac for a higher quality drive. Both drives Apple put into my iMac don't seem like they're the best in class. The first one out of the factory was a Seagate that gave me the click of death after a couple years. The one inside now is a Hitachi and it's rather questionable at times.
  13. jasnw macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2013
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    I've also have a 2011 27" iMac that has an annoyingly noisy HD (always has been, Apple folks say "that's just normal HD noise") that I've been wanting to replace with an SSD, or at least pair it with one. What's held me be is the apparently daunting task of peeling the screen off the front of the box in order to do this. What's been the current experience with this operation?
  14. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    I've never encountered any issues with my HDD and it's still quite silent. However, it was getting rather slow and I didn't want to take any chances since the drive has hit its four year mark. So instead of buying a new mechanical drive I went for an SSD - well, actually, two SSDs. :)

    The operation itself takes a bit time to perform. Especially if you want access to the secondary SATA III input on the motherboard but if you make sure to follow the tutorials from OWC and iFixit then everything will most likely go smoothly. Also, remember to organise everything before dismantling your iMac. Make sure you have a lot of room to work on. I did the operation on the dining table. Oh, and there is no screen-peeling on the Mid 2011 model. Its screen is held on by magnets.

    I've never opened a PC before so there's your proof. :)
  15. jasnw macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2013
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    Thanks. I'll go take a look at these tutorials again and see if I'm up for it. I'm also considering OWC's we-do-it-for-you offer, exchanging money for peace of mind.
  16. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    The original HD in my 2011 27" iMac died the other week. I went and bought a bog-standard HD to replace it without thinking. Installed it no problem but then came the high-speed fan noise. I found a software called 'Macs Fan Control' from crystalidea - - that solved it immediately. NO impact on performance. :)
  17. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    I just think it's wiser and potentially safer to fix it via hardware rather than software.
  18. New Apple macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2012
    alice, link to the thermal cable please ?:)

    i have an imac 27 2011, ssd is already in place as secondary drive

  19. Dopeyman macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2005
    Los Angeles!
  20. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    Exactly. That's the same cable I've bought. :)
  21. AliceDK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2015
    Here's a little update:

    Received my 2nd Samsung EVO 850 today. I went for the 500GB (again) even though I initially wanted a 250GB for the OSX (main drive). However, I found a good deal on the 500GB sibling so I went ahead and ordered it.

    I have now 2x500GB SSDs installed in my iMac - just finished the reassembly. Everything went smooth except that there are some minor smudging on the LCD panel. They appear right after the display turns on. These are not fingerprints. It looks like they're behind the panel itself, not the glass. The smudges disappear after 15-30 seconds with the screen on.

    Maybe it's a loose cable/connecter but I don't think I'll risk to open the iMac again for the 3rd time.

    Besides that, the iMac is perfectly fine and dead-silent. Right now it's installing my TimeMachine backup. One hour to go. Fingers crossed.
  22. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011

    I have the feeling that something made contact and put pressure on the display while you had it aside.

    Where did you put the display during disassembly and how did you orient it? Was it covered, dropped (even slightly), etc.? Also, do you remember touching the display in an awkward manner at any point? And where are the smudges and how big are they?

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