iMac 2011 SSD+Normal drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pedroameireles, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. pedroameireles macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2015

    I'm considering buying a used iMac (mid 2011 model) which comes with a 500MB 7200rpm internal drive. I intended to swap the internal drive for an SSD (Samsung 840 Evo, which I already own) and use an external USB drive for my media, dropbox, etc. Meanwhile I read that dropbox doesn't work very well on external drives, so I looked for a solution to have two drives inside the iMac.

    So, my question is: should I replace the iMac 500MB internal drive with the SSD and buy a new 1TB or 2TB 2.5" "normal" drive to replace the optical drive (where I would put my media, dropbox, etc.), or should I leave the 500MB drive untouched and install the SSD on the optical drive bay instead? As far as I know the optical drive uses a SATA II interface, while the internal drive uses a SATA III interface. As the Samsung 840 is SATA III, I'm afraid it would be very limited by the SATA II interface.

    The solution to mount the SSD underneath the optical drive and use the "spare" SATA III port is out of question because it's way to risky and complicated.

    Any help appreciated.

    Best regards,
  2. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2013
    Connect the SSD to the unused SATA connector on the Logic Board. Then you can leave the HDD where it is, keep the Optical Drive and have an added SSD. (This is what I did in the 27")

    Just do a search. There's plenty of posts on this.

    Oh... Why is it too risky, if you're already going to open the iMac? Watch one of these videos on adding an SSD (the one that applies to your iMac, to see how easy/complicated it is.
  3. pedroameireles thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2015
    I've already watched lots of videos and read many articles about it. Using the unused SATA port means disconnecting lots of cables and it seems to be much more complicated than just replacing the internal drive or the optical drive.
  4. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2013
    In my opinion, if you've opened the imac, you've already disconnected numerous delicate connectors, and removing a few more, to me, wouldn't really be an additional issue. The only difference is that it may take additional time.

    Do what you feel comfortable with.
  5. pdafan macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2011
    I agree with macthefork. The dangerous part of dissembling the screen and fragile connectors is over. The other part to get to the 2nd SATA is not that much difficult. I did that on 2 iMacs and the result is simply satisfying.
  6. pedroameireles thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2015
    Ok. Thanks for your feedback. I'll watch those videos again!
  7. bassjunky, Jul 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015

    bassjunky macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2009
    Just as an option, I bought a used mid-2011 27" iMac this past December and immediately installed an external Thunderbolt Transcend 256GB SSD for the OS and boot from there. It flies! I use the internal 1TB HDD for storage. Works for me. I just didn't want to take apart the iMac (yet, and really don't see any need to now).
  8. meteparozzi macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008
    I did the dual drive setup a year ago. Used sticky tape and the iFixIt guide to install. Everything seemed good but I somehow damaged the CPU fan. There are a LOT of wires once you get down to the logic board and everything is very tight, so it's tough if you are a bit clumsy (like me).

    I use SMCFanControl to watch the CPU and make sure nothing is going wrong. Set the old HDD as a Time Machine backup. Computer has been running fine since the install. Definitely gave it a new lease on life. Not for the faint of heart though.

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7 July 6, 2015