iMac 24'' - Replace Optical Drive With 2nd Hard Drive (For Raid 0)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sammcj, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. sammcj macrumors member


    May 10, 2009
    I was wondering if anyone had successfully installed and 2nd hard drive in their iMac?

    I have a 2 year old 2.8 24'' iMac and the performance just isn't cutting the mustard, it's all hard drive related and I already have a decent 1TB drive in there.

    I was thinking of perhaps swapping the optical drive with a second hard drive for RAID0, but not too sure if there will be space and was wondering if the optical drive is a standard SATA connector, or if there is some way I could run a SATA+power cables externally?

    FFS I wish they'd put two drive bays in these, biggest fault with the imacs.
  2. mreg376 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    People generally don't buy iMacs for their physical expandability. If you want significant performance bumps after two years you'll have to buy a new iMac or spring for a Mac Pro.
  3. sammcj thread starter macrumors member


    May 10, 2009
    Looking at Apple's pricing there's no way I'd buy another, I'd sooner make a hackintosh or just stick with linux.

    I'd be more interested in hacking my current iMac than being talked into buying a new machine, plenty of life left in the current box, just needs raid.
  4. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    dont know that model but i'd say if you have a sata optical drive then you're part way there.

    the issues you then face are physical space - ie can you fit in a 3.5" hdd - i'd guess not.

    but you can buy caddys for 2.5" hdd that fit straight in where the optical was.

    the other problem is that a 3.5" hdd needs 12V which the 2.5" optical interface wont supply. so you need to patch it from somewhere else - messy.

    if it were me i'd confirm the optical drive is sata and then look at the following;

    buy ssd and physically install it in place of the optical with the caddy.

    i'd then look to find a way to route the data cables with extensions as necessary, so that the ssd was on the primary sata port and the original 3.5" was on the optical. Leave the power feeds as they are so that you don't need to do any 12V patching.

    Hope that makes sense but i recognise it's all theoretical since i've not done it and don't know the physical layout/space etc of your imac.

    Another way to achieve something similar is to put an ssd in the primary hdd slot and move the 3.5" to a firewire external. So you get the speed of the ssd but the trade off of an external that might slow some things down.

    re raid - i'm no expert but i'd say you want the 2 hdds to be the same ie both 3.5" and same capacity - which i doubt you can do - see above comment about space.

    unless you run the optical sata cable external to the imac and mount a 3.5" externally but then you need to get power- again messy.
  5. sammcj thread starter macrumors member


    May 10, 2009
    Thanks for the reply!
    SSD is a path I was thinking of going down if the secondary drive install wasn't an easy fix.

    Problem is, I live in New Zealand and SSD's may as well be made of gold($$$) here!
  6. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    ok understood cost is an issue - have a few kiwi friends so know where you're coming from.

    my idea of getting raid like speed improvement from an ssd is a non starter then - so if you still want to raid and my assumptions about space and the 2 discs needing to be the same are correct, then the only thing you can do is go the caddy and external sata drive route - maybe find a less expensive option for the caddy on ebay.

    then find a way to take the 2nd hdd as part of the array outside the case and attach it to the imac 'foot' or the outside of the case. you can use some kiwi ingenuity here ;)

    get whatever cables you need from ebay or here (quality may not be the best you've ever seen but it's the best pricing i've seen)

    to let you get the hdd power feed out of the case as well.

    probably best to plan ahead before you order anything tho - as i suspect there's a risk that things don't work out quite the way you want, or even worse, not at all and you don't want to have spent a lot to get there.

    what i mean is that just because you get everything connected with the right cables might not be enough. there might be something in the EFI (BIOS equivalent) that stops the 2nd drive being included in a RAID array for example. ideally someone who's done it already would chime in. think it's something thats been done on the mac mini before - so that might help.

    also bear in mind your imac is still worth a lot to someone else - but as soon as you physically modify it you're likely destroying the resale value.

    so have you looked at how much you could sell it for and then how much additional to move to the latest model?

    is there an and do they offer refurbs - often a good way to reduce the cost of a new mac.
    see now you're a computer engineer which likely means you've already thought about most of the above - you really just need confirmation that EFI will let you do what you need :eek:
  7. sammcj thread starter macrumors member


    May 10, 2009
    I get regular packages from dealextream, bloody good website if you sift through the rubbish. :D

    I'd love to sell on my iMac and make a hackentosh, I'm a linux / computer technician so would be no stress for me it's all just a matter of funding.

    In NZ you can buy:

    21.5' iMac 3.06Ghz Core2Duo 4GB/500GB/Geforce9400M
    for a shockingly expensive (esp considering it's only a 1 year warranty) $1405 USD

    For only $1200 USD retail you can get:

    intel core i7 920, 4gb ddr3-1333, 1tb cavair black, very flash case and decent 620w psu, dvd rw,intel x58 mobo, geforce GTS 250 1gb, 22'' samsung 5ms lcd.
    3year warranty on the monitor, 5 year on the hard drive, lifetime on the RAM

    of course you miss out on the beauty that is software tailored to hardware, but that is a lot of grunt, especially if you're running a linux based OS.
  8. sammcj thread starter macrumors member


    May 10, 2009
    ordered my hackintosh

    Just ordered my new hackintosh!

    i7 860 2.8 quad core
    4gb DDR3 1333mhz
    2x 1TB cavair blacks (to be in raid 0)
    64GB SSD 240MB/r 140/w
    24'' HDMI 2ms viewsonic monitor
    geforce gt250 512mb

    The list goes on....


    A real Mac of the same price:

    3Ghz core2duo
    21.5'' 5ms screen
    4gb ram
    1x 500gb green WD hard drive
    geforce 9400m

    Hear the sound effect 'waa waaaaaa'

    I'll let you know how I get on :p


    Intel (BX80605I7860) Core i7 860 2.80 GHz Processor Socket 1156 (8MB L3 Cache)

    2x Kingston (KVR1333D3N9K2/4G) Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2)

    Asus (P7P55D LE) LE Intel P55 Chipset Socket 1156 Support Core i5 And i7 Processors ATX 4x DDR3-2133OC Max 16GB CrossFire 1 x PCI-E x16 GB

    2x Western Digital (WD1001FALS) 1TB(1000GB), 32MB Cache, 7200RPM, SATA2 - Black Edition

    Vantec (VAN-520C) 520W ION2 Plus,135mm Silent Fan, ATX V2.0, nVIDIA SLI Ready

    Palit. (NE3TS25NFHD52) Palit GTS 250 PCI-E 2.0 512MB DDR3 256-bit. 700/2000MHz. Dual-Link DVI. VGA. HDMI. HDCP. 3-Way SLI Ready. Fan

    Viewsonic (VX2433WM) 24" LCD, 1920x1080, DVI, Speakers, Black, HDCP, HDMI (3 Year Zero Bright Pixel Warranty)

    A-RAM (ARSSD64GBP) SSD PRO 64GB 2.5" MLC. 240/140Mb/s. Indilinx Barefoot controller. SATA II. TRIM function. 64MB of DRAM buffer. Lifetime warranty

    NZXT (M59-001) M59 Black Mid-Tower Gaming Chassis

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