iMac 27" 2009 - best way to upgrade?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sparkie7, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. sparkie7 macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    So I got this iMac 27" back in 2009... I think its a 11,1 model.

    Its got a 1TB HDD, and only 4 GB RAM. Wheres the best place to get a decent SSD at reasonable price, and RAM to upgrade to at least 16GB, probably 32GB. I'm using the entire Adobe CC suite of applications - any recommendations. and links to DIY upgrading or is it better to bring it to a mac specialist?
  2. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    I'd recommend checking Amazon, Newegg, or OWC ( particularly the garage sale section) for cheap 4 or 8 GB sticks of ram. Given that your machine probably has two of its 4 slots filled with 2GB dimms, The most cost-effective solution would probably be adding 2 x 4GB for a total of 12 GB of RAM. While some people are really attached to certain brands, Id generally say that especially given the age of the machine, The cheapest option from a reputable brand should be fine.

    As for SSDs, watch slick deals ( it's a deal tracking website, google it, you'll save yourself a lot of money if you use it regularly) for a couple of days, and when you see a good deal for the capacity you want jump on it. Again given the age and inherent limitations of the machine, I wouldn't worry about speed, NAND type, or even brand, as pretty much anything should do the job way better than your crusty old HDD
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Remember if this is a late 2009 iMac, and model 11.1 is the 27" late 2009 model, it will require a heat ssensor kit from OWC otherwise without the heat sensor cable fans will roar full speed. Below is a link and it may pay to go with the OWC SSD and heat sensor kit.
  4. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    In addition to the vendors named, I'll add Data Memory Systems for RAM. Another good vendor with quality product and good pricing.
  5. danielwsmithee, Apr 2, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017

    danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    I've got that model. I've replaced the HD with an SSD, and the Oprical Drive with an SSD. They are different sizes so I set them up so one drive has the OS Install and Apps (128GB), and the second has all the user accounts and data (1TB).

    You can upgrade to 32GB of Ram as well.

    One thing to remember is the SATA interfaces are the older 3G, so that will limit SSD performance.

    I've been thinking about upgrading the 128GB SSD to 1TB and raid-0 them together, but I think I'm going to just save up instead for a new machine when the next iMac is released.

    I'm hoping Apple will announce Ryzen 7 based iMacs and Naples based Mac Pros at WWDC. Those chips would do wonders for both platforms.

    I've bought most of my upgrades from and (OWC).
  6. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    I'm tempted to upgrade the RAM to 16GB or 32GB. Is 32GB going to far, as it is an ageing machine... thoughts?

    How do OWC SSDs rate vs Sandisk SSDs?

    There's this DEMO one...

    or this Sandisk one...

    Which is would you choose
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    Thanks, yes I know about the thermal sensor issue. I will likely get this (as I think I might try to do it myself *yipes*)..
  7. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    What size can fit in the optical drive - a 2.5" SSD? But you lose the optical drive. Did yo have to get a mounting bracket for it?

    I have a Vertex 250GB SSD in my Mac Pro 2008 that I'm thinking of putting into the iMac, but then the 1TB HDD would be redundant. Unless I stick the SSD in the optical drive - but then I'd lose the optical drive, which could be handy in the future.

    Something about the EFI, to be able to use 32GB RAM. Would 10.8.6 have the correct EFI for the iMac to recognise 32GB RAM? Or do I have to use a newer OS like El Capitan?

    Good point. My Vertex 250 SSD is pretty old, so that's probably 3G. And I can get a new 500GB SSD 3G or 6G for my Mac Pro, a 6G can be down read at 3G. And I can install it on a newer machine down the line

    The trick is to not over invest in old tech but get the most out of it. The rest to be invested in a new machine

    Is the crucial RAM and SSD's better than OWC? OWC seem to be more comprehensive in range etc..
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    Looks good for the price. It can be used on Macs right? (doesn't say)
  8. sparkie7, Apr 2, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017

    sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    Also, I'm assuming I can mix and match RAM size modules?

    My iMac has 2x 2GB at present. If I install 2x 8GB in the other two slots -- this should work? and give me 20GB RAM ..

    Re fitting an SSD where the optical drive is. Thinking, this might be an option, so not to have a redundant internal 1TB HDD

    Presumably if I go this route - I don't need the sensor kit etc. which is a much more complicated install. But still need to pry open the machine.... * gulp *
  9. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    In my opinion prying open the machine is the most difficult part so if you are going to open it up you might as well replace any components you are currently thinking of replacing.

    My iMac's Optical Drive had died. Once I removed I found one of my kids had stuffed coins, SD Cards, and CDs in the slot all at the same time which ended up breaking the drive.

    So rather than replace the optical drive I chose to put an SSD in its place and get an external USB based optical drive.
    This is the external Optical drive I bought:

    This is the mounting bracket to place an SSD in the optical drive bay:

    On the crucial drive, yes it will work fine with your Mac. The two SSDs I'm using are both from Crucial (Micron), and I haven't had any problems.

    I haven't upgraded to 32GB of RAM, so I'm not sure on the EFI requirements. I'm running 8GB which is sufficient for what I'm doing. All I know is that OWC sales a 32GB configuration for this iMac Model and I trust that it will work. I do believe you need to install in matching pairs. So 2 2GB modules + 2 8GB modules should work and give you 20GB of RAM, but you will need to make sure you put the right size modules in the correct slots.
  10. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    Thanks for the links. Mine is still working, my son hasn't donated coins and lego into it yet :eek:

    But I don't want a redundant optical drive, can I get the cable and connect it via Firewire or USB with or wothout a housing?

    What's the current thinking. Is one 1TB SSD partitioned into 2x 512 SSD's better, or two physical 512 SSD's better for use as a scratch disk or RAID setup for example?

    I'm thinking just 16GB RAM upgrade (+4 = 20GB) is enough. It's an ageing machine, so rather the $$ spent on another 16GB RAM be used on a new machine in a year or two

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10 April 1, 2017