iMac 21.5 mid 2011 super super slow...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Giuanniello, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Giuanniello macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #1
    Something gotta be going on over here, my Late 2011 MBPro disk is going to die, it's so damn slow that even though it has a quad core i7 cpu and 16GB memory I prefer to use the tiny 11" MBAir with only 4GB memory for serious things, waiting to gather enough money to afford a 1TB SSD for the MBPro as to resurrect it but problem is also with my sis iMac 21.5 which even though only 4GB RAM and 500GB HD is too slow to be true, I did try to reinstall the OS (without wiping it out, just installing above the old one), remove startup items, checked sys info to make sure nothing is sucking out either memory or cpu but it still is so damn slow so am backing data up and wondering how difficult it is to tear it apart to install an SSD, I checked iFix tutorials and it should not be too difficult but wanted to hear from you guys before I suggest such an operation, am also wondering which frame to use to eventually install a 2.5" drive into a 3.5" bay.

    Waiting to read from you I thank you for your attention.

    Giovanni
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    You didn't tell us which version of the OS you're using.

    Does the iMac have a thunderbolt connection?

    If so, get a thunderbolt SSD and make that your "external booter". Unfortunately, these are more expensive than USB3 SSD's, but since you don't have USB3 on a 2011, your only option is thunderbolt.

    It will completely change "the feel" of the machine.
     
  3. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #3
    It's running the latest version of MacOs and I have already been told how latest releases kinda have a sympathy for solid state drives but in my sis's iMac case I am not into external devices, she wanted an iMac to keep the desk "clean" so what I look forward to is to understand how difficult is the surgery (I did already open and fix many Macs from PowerBooks to MBPros and some old iMacs but these new ones seem a bit more difficult to work on).

    Thank you
     
  4. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #4
    Check out ifixit.com for instructions on how to open and work on the iMac.
     
  5. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5
    It sounds like your hard drive is on its way out. The SSD installation is quite straightforward if you follow the OWC instructions - you should also get the OWC sensor cable. The one thing that is a little bit tricky is the LCD display cable, but take your time and you should be fine. As for a 2.5 to 3.5 caddy, I have used the NewerTech Adaptadrive on a few macs (including my 21.5 2010 iMac that I am typing this on, and my friend's 21.5 2011 iMac) with no issues ever.
     
  6. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #6
    Oh, that's an issue which scared me, the temperature sensor I just read about on another website, didn't know it's possible to get one, my problem would be that it gets difficult to order one from here (Italy) unless there is not some other source in the EU, would really appreciate suggestions with regards to this and will go and look at OWC to see what it is like.

    Thanks a lot!
     
  7. stuartak macrumors member

    stuartak

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    #7
    It sounds like your 21.5 IMAC is pre 2009? If it is you need to remove the little external temp sensor from the HDD and stick it onto your new SSD to stop the fans going too fast. If it is a post 2009 then you will have to get one of the "Temp sensors" that pretend they are inside the HDD you removed. The better option is to keep the HDD , or replace it with a larger 1TB 7200 rpm model and make a Fusion drive by removing the ODD and fitting a caddy for the SSD in its place. As long as you replace the HDD with the same make as is currently in there and fit the two little wires and plug back on the same terminals as the existing drive you wont have any problem with fans. The reason for the problem is that post 2009 the temp is monitored via firmware inside the HDD using the SMART protocol prior to 2009 it was just a little temp sensor stuck to the drive.
     
  8. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2010
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    London, UK
    #8
    I bought the OWC kit from a reseller on eBay UK. What's your iMac model?
     
  9. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

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    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
  10. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #10
    I have replaced the optical drive in a 21.5" mid 2011 model with an SSD. I have also done some "surgery" on a late 2009 27" as well as a mid 2012 27". On neither of the machines it is as bad as people make it sound like (in my opinion). If you have worked on other laptops and desktops it shouldn't bee too much of an issue. I usually follow the iFixit guide whenever opening up something. Just make sure you have what you need before starting the operation.

    Installing an SSD in these machines is a very good idea in my opinion. Brings life back to these machines.
     
  11. stuartak macrumors member

    stuartak

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    #11
    If your model is a 2011 you can fit an ssd without removing anything else , all you need is an SSD , a male sata power cable to three way female power cable . A sata data cable with a right angle and straight connector. ( both available on eBay from UK for about £3).
    Follow the OWC guide video and take your time it is easy if you study carefully and play the video on another device as you go along. The only tools you need are a decent set of "torx" screwdrivers ( number 8 and number 10 are the only ones you really need ) you don't need the suction cups , I use my finger nails and an old credit card to slip in and pull the screen cover off the magnets , you won't break it on your 2011 machine as its made of plastic . Just be careful not to mark the screen or cover , cotton gloves are a good idea . It's easy once you do your homework .
     
  12. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2010
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    London, UK
    #12
    What do you do about the sensor cable though? There is a reason the OWC kit comes with it, no?
     
  13. stuartak macrumors member

    stuartak

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    #13
    You do not need the OWC sensor if you fit the SMART cable to the correct terminals on your hard drive . The problem is that Apple fitted a variety of HDD in their machines Hitachi, Seagate and Western Digital , all of them use the SMART protocol which is an industry standard for monitoring the health of HDD. Apple used this firmware in the drive to monitor the temperature , replacing the old "stick on temp sensors" of pre 2009 machines. The issue is that all manufacturers have a slightly different plug for the two wires that take this data back to the logic board. ( where it plugs in to HDD temp) what you have to do if you change the HDD is either to make sure you buy the same make of drive you take out ( as all sizes of drive from the same manufacturer use the same terminals for the SMART connector)make sure you note which pins the connector is on before you take it off your old HDD and put it on the same ones . And you will have no problem with the fans going too fast. The OWC kit is just a way of getting round this problem , but in my view is a backward step as its going back to sticking a temp device on the drive rather than using the SMART protocol that's already in the drive.
     
  14. kgian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #14
    I do not agree with stuartak.

    There are two ways to add an internal ssd to a 2011 mid imac. The first is to remove the logic board and connect a special power cable and a standard sata cable to the back of it. Then stick the ssd with double sided tape behind the optical drive. The process is very well documented in video at the owc site. I have done it in my machine. It needs torx scredrivers and lots of patience. It is also very helpful to have another computer or ipad nearby with the video accessible. It is also a good idea to have a friend nearby to help you with cable management.

    The second way is to replace the existing hard drive with an ssd. If you do this you have to get the owc sensor cable. If you do not, the hdd fan will go full speed. You can curb the fan with software but that wont help if there is real overheating in the computer. It also fails the apple hardware test, but that doesn't matter a lot as the computer is out of warranty.

    The fans go full speed even if you replace the hard disk with another one, the same model and capacity as the one that was in the machine. The hard disk has to have special apple firmware.

    I would like to state also that El Capitan is slow in my machine, even with an SSD and 12GB of RAM with occasional slowdowns. On the contrary, windows 7 is super fast and I suppose windows 10 even faster. Haven't tried 10 yet though.
     
  15. stuartak macrumors member

    stuartak

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    #15
    Your answer about the fans is not correct . the HDD do not need special Apple firmware. All modern HDD of any manufacturer use the SMART protocol which is an industry standard the firmware is installed in all HDD currently manufactured. Using the SMART protocol you can monitor a number of variables on the "health " of the disc drive , one of them happens to be its temperature , Apple now uses this variable in place of the "old" thermal pad. If you change your drive and the fans speed up it is because you have not put the HDD temp lead ( which is actually the SMART lead) back onto the correct pins of your replacement disc drive. The confusion comes because the three main manufacturers that Apple uses ( Western Digital , Hitachi and Seagate) have a different two pin connector on the "temp" lead and it goes to different pins on the HDD. If you want to replace your drive because it failed or because you want a bigger one it is advisable ( but not essential) to select your new model from the same manufacturer that your machine currently uses that way the two pin plug will fit , and you can make sure you put it on the same two pins as the original drive. If you do this YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH SPEEDING FANS PERIOD!! I have changed many drives in Imacs and never had any problem with the fans as I understand how the machines work , even if you change the make of drive you fit , all you have to do is find out which pins that manufacturer uses for the SMART output and fit the correct plug for his pin spacings and you will have no problem. I have attached a file that shows my hard drive , note the S.M.A.R.T. status verified line in the system report , that tells me the OSX is reading the temperature of my drive so if you get this you know you are on the correct pins for the temp monitoring of your HDD. Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 20.05.40.png
    --- Post Merged, Apr 21, 2016 ---
    Having read your text again I will add this , I agree with you if you remove your hard drive and just fit an SSD you will have problems with the Fan , as there is no SMART information to read from the SSD as there is in a HDD ( there is however SMART info available from an SSD its just that Apple have not got round to using it yet) .

    However one thing to note is that however you fit your SSD you must enable "Trim" in OSX . SSD's work totally differently from HDD , where you used to "defragment" the drive to speed it up. If you dont enable trim you will eventually find your SSD starts to slow down. Trim enables the SSD to "clean up" the unused memory locations and keep the drive working at its optimum speed. Trim works in the background when the machine is quiet it requires no user interaction.
     
  16. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

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    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #16
    So, read all of the above my doubt remains the same, if I wanna change the old hard drive with an SSD I will have the problem of reporting the temperature to the operating system to regulate the fans speed?
     
  17. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #17

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