iMac 27" SSD Upgrade - Important Tip!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NATO, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. ECJ macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2006
    Memphis, TN
    Success! I finally did it. Took out the SuperDrive from my Late 2009 iMac i7, and replaced it with a 256GB Crucial M4 ($180). I used the caddy from the ebay link, which was $20. Installed and don't have any issues. I'm getting full 3gb/s via SATA, no fan issues and no issue with recognizing the drive.

    I did have some observations.

    1. You don't need suction cups to remove the screen. It's held by heavy magnets, so a credit card or fingernail will do.

    2. The caddy might not fit snugly in the old SuperDrive enclosure, so I only used two screws to secure instead of four.

    3. I removed the temp sensor from the old SuperDrive, and just attached it to the caddy for the SSD. I thought it would be better on metal, like it was on the old drive.

    Thanks for all the info and great tips in this thread.
  2. bikemd macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Super thread!

    Great thread. I am thankful all of you have added so much info on this project.

    I am fairly comfortable with the mechanical aspect of this upgrade. I want to ask a question about how best to make use of the SSD that I will install. I plan to leave the internal HDD and replace the Superdrive with an SSD.

    BTW, once I remove the Superdrive from my Late 2009 27" iMac, can I make use of it (housing/enclosure?) as an external USB Superdrive? What are people's experience with this? (Enclosure? Does the iMac still recognize the Superdrive?)

    So with the SSD, once it is installed, I plan to install OS Lion on it. (ie. it will be my boot/system drive of course). I also plan to install all of my apps on it. I know I can do this with fresh install of my apps or use Migration Assistance. However, I want to have my "home folders" and user files on the original HDD.

    At this point, I will have an SSD with OS Lion and apps on it. And my HDD will still be in its previous state with all of its original information (ie. OS Lion/apps/home folders, etc.) If I want to have my home folders (my wife and mine) left on the HDD, what is the best way to set this up? In other words, have the OS on the SSD access the folder/files on the HDD as my home folder.
    • There is probably a way to "point" the OS that is on the SSD to use the home folders on the HDD. But now how do "clean out" the HDD and remove the OS Lion system as well as all the apps which I no longer need on my HDD?
    • Can I point all the newly installed apps to data that were associated with it still on the HDD?

    • Can I still use Time Machine to easier back up my OS Lion/apps (on the SSD) and my user files/home folder (on the HDD) simultaneously?
  3. kjid macrumors regular

    May 3, 2011
    Can I update my 2011 27" iMac using the following?

    Crucial m4 CT256M4SSD2 256GB

    tools: World Computing/DIYIM27SSD11/

    With iFixit's tutorial:

    As I would only be adding a SSD, I will not get any fan issue's, right? I'm not comfortable having another app controlling my fans.

    I've still got 2 years apple care on the iMac. I figure that if I update without harming anything I won't void it? If I will have to make use of the apple care one day I'll remove the SSD before sending it in.

    Half of this is probably answered earlier in the thread but I can't find a 1:1 situation.

    Thanks for any help.
  4. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I added a SSD to my mid-2010 27" iMac with no problems using the information provided on these threads and iFixit. I left the 2TB hard disk where it was, added the SSD next to it, and left the optical SuperDrive where it was. I added a SATA cable to the spare SATA port on the motherboard for the new SSD, and added a short Y-adapter power cable to split the power from the hard disk.

    It is a bit of work ... but well worth it. :)

    FYI to the previous poster: You can get slim external USB cases from eBay and OWC to hold the SuperDrive if you decide to remove it. I did that with my MBP SuperDrive when I removed it to make room for both the SSD and hard disk in the MBP. The now external SuperDrive works find in the USB case and you don't suffer any performance penalties with the USB interface since the data rates are pretty slow.

    I have read that AppleCare is pretty tolerant of DIY upgrades to most machines as long as the upgrade isn't the cause of a covered failure. Of course, AppleCare will not cover anything you added after the sale, and they won't cover the repair if you break something else in the process.

  5. kjid macrumors regular

    May 3, 2011
    I wasn't planning to remove the optical drive. However if I get fan issues if I don't remove it, I can live without it :).
  6. bikemd macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Thanks. Further to your response about the external USB cases for the Superdrive.

    I am wondering if someone has experience with externalizing the 12.7mm Superdrive out of an iMac (rather than the 9.5mm Superdrive from a MBP)? I know physically it is possible and there are external enclosures for it. I was just concerned for two things. Specifically:
    • Whether the iMac will recognize and be able to use the Superdrive once externalized?

    • Will the eject button on my keyboard still eject discs from such an externalized Superdrive?

    I was just concerned since, for example, I know the Apple USB Superdrive they sell for the MB Air does not work with the iMac. Therefore, I was wondering if the iMac's Superdrive will still work properly once externalized.

  7. hfg, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012

    hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    The Apple USB SuperDrive requires a "high power" USB port, only found on Macbook Air and Mac Mini computers. The current requirements exceed the normal USB specs.

    The external drive enclosures meet the standard USB specs, or they include a dual USB cable to pull power from 2 ports (usually only needed when burning a disk). You also might try a low cost Netbook external DVD drive often available for around $30 or so ... about as cheap as just the enclosure.

    There shouldn't be any problem with the iMac recognizing an external optical drive. I think the drives will recognize the eject function from the keyboard, but I am not sure if all tray-type external drives have an electronic release for the tray (some may be mechanical which would require manual eject of the disk).

  8. ibarnett macrumors regular


    Aug 20, 2010
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I've just done the update with a samsung 830 last week.
    It went under the optical drive as per OWC's video, which is excellent.
    You can watch the video from their site:
    OR download the video from iTunes podcast, which is the way I went, playing it on my macbook as I worked.
    It all went well, just be careful with the fragile connecters! I was terrified of breaking something, but managed to avoid any problems.
    I used their upgrade kit from the above link.
  9. Sofad macrumors member


    Jan 24, 2006
    Symlink, Home Folder

    Hi bikemd,

    To point to the home folder on your hd you use symlinks.

    Read this tutorial "How to move your home folder in Mac OS X"

  10. APtalent macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2010
    Hello everyone!

    I have an iMac 27" late 2009 model and I would like to replace the HDD with an SSD.

    So far what I understand is that I will need a bracket of some sort and to short the temp. sensor.

    This is the current hardware I'm planning to buy:
    1. OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD
    2. 2.5 -> 3.5 bracket

    Will I need any additional hardware? Any cable?

    Also, how to I go on about shorting the temp. sensor? What type of cable does it have to be? Can it be a paperclip?

    Any additional information would be much appreciated!
  11. rjackman macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    I have the same model as you and just done this but used a caddy and took the superdrive out. For the temp sensor I just stuck it back on the caddy and its been fine.
  12. bryoncunningham macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2012
    Hi - This is my first post. Sorry if this has been covered already, but I have a simple question about my SSD.

    I have an 27" iMac (mid 2011) with a single factory installed SSD. There is no internal HDD in the machine, but there is an optical drive.

    I'm considering replacing the existing 256GB SSD with an Intel 520 Series 480GB SSD, or possibly an SSD from another manufacturer. I have some experience modifying electronics (not computers), so I was thinking about doing the install myself. The question is simply...

    Since the machine already has a factory installed SSD, can I simply use the existing mounts/cables/ports with the new SSD? Or will I have to make any modifications to brackets, cables, etc.?

    Thanks for your help,
  13. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    Is leaving the entire home drive on the HDD really the right way to go? I bought a 256gb SSD and put it in the optical slot (already use an external bluray as it is)

    But with just the 10.8 installed on the SSD I have a lot of open room (240+GB) that I really should be using for frequently accessed items to improve speed even more....

    Yet, when I try to run migration assistant I can't check and uncheck items...It just forces me to try to copy all, which it can't because my home folder is like 500+GB.

    Thoughts? I tried to use CCC to copy over system items and that doesn't want to work either....

    It boots SOOOO fast on the SSD, yet if I don't find a way to copy over all the little bits of extras in the existing system install it is gonna be a real PITA.
  14. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If you were to eliminate the space for your music, videos, photos, etc. would you then be able to migrate/clone your system to the SSD?

    If so, you could either move those items to another disk, or move them to the root of your existing hard drive. Then, after you clone your system to the SSD (without these libraries) and are up and running OS X from the SSD, you could redirect the appropriate applications to those hard disk mounted libraries ... everything else would be on the SSD including your home directory and support files. You might also want to clean out your downloads folder if you no longer need them (already installed) or put them on the root of the HD as well.

  15. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    I finally got it to work by using CCC 3.5.1 to copy everything I could over except documents, music, movies and photos. Then set up alias links to those before switching startup disks.

    Couple runs of repair permissions and boom...Finally SEEMS to be working
  16. citivolus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    Thanks ECJ, I used the same ebay link you provided and bought the caddy for my 27" late-2009 iMac and upgraded successfully today! I was worried I would have either the fan problem or the 1.5 Gigabit Link problem, but luckily neither affected me!

    The only issue I have is the OCZ SSD I installed said it was 480GB, but the capacity showing up in Disk Utility is only 400.09GB. Anyone have an idea what I am missing?
  17. TrentC22 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2012
  18. citivolus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    I think I found my answer as to why the capacity is so different: Over-Provisioning on the SSD. It just seems quite a bit higher than I expected. Oh well, performance overall has been phenomenal and the upgrade far less scary than I thought. Thanks everyone for posting in this thread!
  19. BigDave469 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Yes! I do not want to tape my $600 SSD into my $2600 iMAC!

    This is GREAT news! My question is that I have a 2011 iMac (latest model until later this month I HOPE!) and it has the 2 TB drive, I just want to add the SSD like the "Apple Tree" would have done if I had spent the extra $400 a year ago when I got it.

    Have you done this upgrade? I think I will hire a local tech. guy I just hope he follows the instructions to use the parts.

    On that wiring harness, does it replace the one that would be in the iMAC now going to the single HDD? Are all 3 of these parts still valid for the 2011 model?!

    I tried to find a service manual, but could not easily find it... do you have a source for getting the service manual for 2011 iMAC? Please feel free to inbox or email me.

  20. jasonbro macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    At least on the 27" there is an extra SATA connection not in use.

    So you don't have to disconnect or switch anything.

    The title of your post says you don't want to tape it. But if you don;t remove anything to make room for a caddy i don't think you have much choice unless you make a custom mount or something.

    i have 2 of these in my iMac:

    ^Sata cable
  21. BigDave469 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Look at the other post, there is a mount available!

    In the post on this thread I replied to, there were three parts... a bracket, wiring harness for power and a SATA cable. That was cool and I only found that information here. I actually bought an iMAC 2011 with both HDD and SDD but I returned it within 14 days to Apple when I heard the new ones were coming out! I hope they come out soon, I want an iMAC!

    My co-worker has a 2011 with the 1TB drive and he saw my iMAC with the SSD for the system boot, he asked if he could have an SSD in his iMAC, so my search begin. I should have opened the iMAC I had in my possession to see what Apple did, but I did not want to take the risk. It looks so beautiful I did not want to end up with a hair or fingerprint inside that screen and display.

    So back to the topic. I know the bracket has to work for both 2010 and 2011, but I don't think I need all of the wiring harness stuff for the 2011, since I have seen from your post and on multiple sites that there is an SATA port with power on the logic board. So, I guess I will get that cable and then the bracket to mount the drive.

    Here is the link to the bracket on Amazon, I was able to look up the Apple Part # provided by the earlier post and get all three of those parts mentioned but I only think I need this one to mount the SSD properly as Apple would do it:

    Apple 922-9485 Pressure Wall for 27inch iMac - - $28 plus shipping.

    I wish I knew the Apple Part Number for the SATA cable with the power part on it as the previous one (922-9538) is only an SATA cable and the wire harness for power (922-9531) seems to be overkill for the 2011 iMAC which clearly has power available on the logic board right next to the SATA.

    So, could someone with access to the Apple Service Manual for the iMAC 2011 27" model please let me know the Apple Part # for the SATA cable with the power?

    I know I am being a bit crazy wanting the Apple parts, but I look at an Apple like a Mercedes, I don't want to go to the local auto parts store and get something that is "supposed" to fit. I want to OEM part that is available from the factory! I don't think that is unreasonable.

    If you really want to be my friend, could you provide me a link or inbox me a link to get the 2011 iMAC service manual? Or is there a reputable place where I can get that publication online? Seems like it would be handy.

    Let me know, but inbox, email or post here. Thank you!

  22. jasonbro macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    I want so much to be your friend, Dave.

    Your quest for OEM apple seems well intentioned but misguided.

    Wire is just copper strands with insulation over it. There is no meaningful difference between apple wire and regular wire.

    In fact the original apple cable i removed for the optical drive was noticeably less substantial than the one i linked to.

    In the end it seems to me like a waste of money to spend extra to get apple branded copper wire to connect an aftermarket SSD with.

    also, from the pictures you provided i don't see how an SSD drive would mount to that. The screw holes on the ssd's ive seen are on the sides, not the bottom. So from what i can tell you'd have to tape the SSD to that bracket anyways.

    also, i'm not clear in what you were saying in regards to the power leads of the SATA cable, but the cable i linked to is both data and power. One side data, one side power.
  23. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Actually, that Pressure Wall referenced above looks like the one I purchased for my 2010 27" iMac, and it did indeed mount the SSD from the bottom. This proved to be an issue when the SSD died and required replacement because the whole machine had to be taken apart again to be able to remove the screws! :(

    When I replace the SSD, I didn't screw it back down ... I just mounted with double sticky foam tape to the Pressure Wall mounting plate. Easier to replace next time... :cool:
  24. mactmaster macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2010
    Late 2009 27" iMac

    Will I be able to boot from an SSD in the optical bay?
  25. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Yes ... if you have put an operating system on it.

    You can boot from any of the SATA channels by selecting the boot device in SystemPreferences/StartupDisk or by holding down the "option" key while booting until the boot device selections appear on the screen.

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