iMac 27" upgrade with Blu-ray, SSD, more RAM

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Maxi86, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Maxi86, Feb 3, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    Maxi86 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #1
    Hello guys!

    I bought my iMac 27" inch last September and starts to see it's limitations...
    I'm interested in upgrading it, although I don't have the background or know-how to do it myself.

    Using BootCamp I've installed Windows 7, and afterwards I created a third partition called Media in exFAT so I could read/write from both OS'es.

    Regarding upgrades, I'm interested in 3 major things:
    1) replace the 2 x 2GB 1333Mhz DDR3 SDRAM for 4 x 4GB
    2) insert SSD by replacing either current 1TB SATA drive or optical drive
    3) replace the 8x SuperDrive for a Blu-ray combo drive or add an external Blu-ray combo drive


    at 1)
    I've set my eyes on Kingston KTA-MB1333/4G 4GB SO DIMM, each for €45; bringing it to a total of 4 x €45 = €180


    at 2)
    When replacing the SATA drive for SSD, does it mean I've to install everything from scratch? Is it possible to again install Windows 7 via BootCamp on the SSD? How much storage is recommended, 180 or 240GB?
    Now I'm using approximately 110GB for both OS'es... therefore I think 120GB is a little stiff.

    I was thinking of the OCZ Vertex 2 SATA II 2.5" SSD 120GB (will it be the best if both the SSD and RAM are from the same manufacturer?) or the Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH120G2K5 120GB, both around the €180.

    I don't need any storage for anything else... I'd like to put all my other data on a NAS (Drobo FS or HP MediaSmart EX490).


    at 3)
    I know Mac OS X doesn't support Blu-ray, but Windows 7 does... so it would be fine if I'd to reboot to Windows to use it.
    btw my laptop (Acer Aspire 6920G) has a Blu-ray drive... would it be possible to swap the drives? 'cos I've seen how expensive new drives are:

    http://store.fastmac.com/product_info.php?products_id=338
    http://www.digistor.com/Panasonic-Slim-Blu-ray-Burner-Slimline-SATA-Slot-Load

    or is it much easier and wiser to replace the optical drive for the SSD and get an external Blu-ray & DVD-RW combo driver?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...-na&AID=10521304&PID=4169666&SID=bekhotxdn95g
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...na&AID=10521304&PID=4169666&SID=1vd6hqzhf37kn
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    1. As long as it's compatible (has the correct specs), it will work.

    2. If you have the 2010 iMac, then you don't need to replace the HD or ODD as there is a place for an SSD and third SATA port. See tutorial here. You will certainly want the internal HD so you won't run out of space. You don't need to put anything else but the OSs and apps to the SSD, I doubt those take 110GB. Take a look how much space your apps take, maybe the 120GB is sufficient. You can move other data to the HD.

    3. You need a slot-loading drive so the one in your laptop will most likely not work. I would just get an external drive as those are much cheaper and can be used with other computers as well. Plus, they are faster. It is possible to playback Blu-Rays in OS X too, see here.
     
  3. balamw, Feb 3, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #3
    I don't think that's the right RAM for your box.

    You should check About This Mac -> More Info -> Model Indetifier and then check here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/iMac/2010/DDR3_21.5_27

    Otherwise, what Hellhammer said.

    IIRC if your 2010 iMac didn't ship with an SSD there may be some cables missing you need to get. EDIT: looks like the guide Hellhammer linked to uses velcro and a standard SATA cable instead of the parts Apple uses. :p

    B
     
  4. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #4
    I'm from the Netherlands, there's a Apple Premium Reseller here in town, I contacted them by phone to ask some orientating questions...
    They told me about the two options (i.e. removing either the optical drive or internal SATA drive)...

    I'll print one of the pictures where the free space is highlighted and ask whether they could manage that. But I'm afraid it will be costly upgrade if I handle it via them.
    But like I said, I've no practical knowledge about computer hardware, I don't think it's wise to take on such a task on my own.
    I'm perfectly fine with reading stuff on the internet and researching with parts I need and order them myself... but that's the limit.

    Regarding the slot-loading Blu-ray drive, I think indeed getting an external one is the best solution. Coughing up at least $500 for an internal one is just madness.

    At times like these, I wonder how wonderful it would be if Apple just put one of those damn drives in the iMac...
    and while they're at it: please put an HDMI-input/output too... Is that really too much to ask for? ;)
     
  5. bakerster macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #5
    mini-displayport is basically hdmi in/out. just without the hdmi. a couple hundred dollar converter for in and a couple dollar converter for out will do the trick.
     
  6. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #6
    @bakerster that's the whole point... a couple of hundred dollars... that's just ridicilous
     
  7. Maxi86, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #7
    thanks for noticing B!
    indeed you're right... I need SO DIMM memory.
    In that case it will be the Kingston KTA-MB1333/4G
     
  8. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #8
    Regarding the SSD, I was thinking of the Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH120G2K5 120GB before, but then I read somewhere that the Kingston V+100 series is a better choice for Mac users cause of the aggresive Garbage Collection 'cos the lack of TRIM support in Mac OS X.

    That brought me to the new contender: Kingston SSDNow V100 SV100S2N/128G (notebook bundle) 128GB

    Guys, what do you think of the statement above? which SSD is indeed the best in my case? Mac AND Windows user i.e.
     
  9. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #9
    I noticed the new OCZ Vertex 3 is coming in March, but apparently it needs SATA 600 ports. I tried to find out whether my iMac is compatible with it, found the technical specifications from Apple (http://support.apple.com/kb/SP588).
    But it isn't stated there, at least as far as I can tell. Does anyone know what's the case?

    Should I wait for the OCZ Vertex 3? If it ain't compatible, the Vertex 2 will probably get cheaper too right?


    One more thing:
    After reading this thread: iMac SSD's in RAID-0 (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1085036) I got inspired!
    I'm thinking of getting 2 SSD's and running them in RAID 0 to boost performance. 2 x 80GB will be enough for my OS'es. I wouldn't mind removing both the internal HDD and optical drive as well. I should get an external Blu-ray & DVD combo anyway...

    Anyone, experience with 2 SSD's in an iMac?
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #10
    SATA 6Gb/s is backwards compatible so Vertex 3 will work in your iMac though it will be bottlenecked by the SATA 3Gb/s that iMac uses. If you're getting ~80GB SSDs, then I would just buy now. Vertex 2 can already max out SATA 3Gb/s so waiting wouldn't give you a big performance boost
     
  11. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #11
    @Hellhammer So the iMac has no SATA 6Gb/s? That's a bummer...

    Btw which make would you recommend? I'm planning on using it for both Mac and Windows...

    The read and write speeds are the best for OCZ, but is it compatible?

    OCZ Vertex 2: read 285MB/s, write 275MB/s
    Intel X25-M: read 250MB/s, write 70MB/s
    Kingston V+ 100: read 230MB/s, write 180MB/s

    btw I assume the logic board has already RAID software, am I right?
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #12
    SATA 6Gb/s wasn't very common by the time iMacs were released. So far there is only one SSD with SATA 6Gb/s and that is the Crucial C300. Now that the new Intel 6-series chipsets support SATA 6Gb/s, we will see more SSDs with SATA 6Gb/s support. Next gen iMacs will most likely have SATA 6Gb/s too.

    OCZs are one of the best on the market. Speed wise they are the best and they are priced very competitively. However, all SandForce based drives have had some issues with OS X but sooner than later those should be fixed by a firmware update.

    If you can, get OWC SSDs instead as they offer better Mac support. They cost a bit more but are a bit faster than OCZs and you get better support.

    You can set up software RAID using Disk Utility
     
  13. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #13
    fixing issues through a firmware update... is that possible without losing all data on it? that's not practical of course if it would mean you would have to reinstall everything...

    speaking of which... let's say I've installed the SSD's.... is there a way to copy all the data from my old 1TB drive?
    or is it extra complicated because of the 3 partitions I've created (Macintosh HD, BootCamp and Media)?
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #14
    You can clone the data into an external HD before doing the update.
     
  15. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #15
    what (free) software is best for cloning data? and does it work for all file systems (HFS+, NTFS and exFAT)?

    I've never done that before, is it something easy or complicated? anything I should keep in mind? like do I have to clone the corresponding drive from it's own OS?
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #16
    Carbon Copy Cloner is a good app for cloning OS X. As for Windows, you can use WinClone though it's not very reliable nowadays as it's not being developed anymore. Might be a better choice to clone Windows while running Windows, here is a comparison of cloning utilities (I have no experience with them).
     
  17. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #17
    so basically I could use those programs to clone my two OS'es and put them on my SSD?
    btw in what way does this differ from a regular backup? like a Time Machine backup?

    PS: is the MacRumors IRC Channel live? and only availabe on Colloquy and Adium? or also on for example mIRC? (I'm on Windows now...)
     
  18. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #18
    but what about RAID 0 in Windows 7? Is that possible?
    let's say I've put two SSD's in my iMac, I put them in RAID 0 using Disk Utility in Mac. I install Windows 7 via BootCamp...

    will Windows 7 show both SSD's as 1 drive? (or actually 2 partitions, Macintosh HD and BootCamp)
    or will I have to enable RAID 0 in Windows 7 once more? and is that possible?
     
  19. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #19
    AFAIK software RAID is OS specific, i.e. your software RAID created under Mac OS X will be unusable under W7 and vice versa, if you RAID under Windows you con't be able to use it under OS X.

    B
     
  20. Maxi86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #20
    @B so what does that mean in my situation?

    cos although I would like to have two SSD's set up in RAID 0...
    the most important thing is to be able to run Mac OS X alongside Windows 7 via BootCamp... both on the SSD


    is this possible:
    install 2 SSD: first install Mac OS X on SSD A. then install Windows 7 via BootCamp on same SSD...

    when in Windows 7 set up RAID 0 software to boost performance?

    I remember a few months ago, you told me it was only possible to install Windows 7 using BootCamp if you had only ONE factory formatted drive...

    so will this interfere with having 2 SSD's?
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #21
    A clone is bootable whereas a backup is not.

    It is live 24/7. I'm there at the moment (along with other guys of course) so go ahead and pay a visit. It will work with mIRC as well.

    Yeah, that seems the be the case.

    It looks like you cannot have both, OS X and Windows 7 in a software RAID 0 array.

    I think you have three options:

    1. Install OS X in SSD #1 and Windows 7 in SSD #2.
    2. Run Windows through Parallels or VMWare (allows you to have SSDs in RAID 0) though this option lacks the support for Blu-Ray.
    3. Get three SSDs as there are three SATA ports in iMac (HD, ODD and one extra). Put two of them in RAID 0 and install OS X in it and use the third SSD for Windows.

    To be honest, the benefits of RAIDing two SSDs are small. Sustained speeds may double but random speeds do not scale up like sustained speeds do, and random speeds are what makes the SSD so quick. That is what you use in normal usage, you won't be reading or writing a gigabyte file every minute.

    IMO, option #1 is the best choice if you really want to have two SSDs. Getting one bigger one and partitioning it would achieve the same though.
     
  22. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #22
    If you add the ssd to your iMac, simply boot to the existing hard disk, format the ssd and use CarbonCopy to clone that drive to the ssd, then reboot and select the ssd as the boot device with the option key. You can then relocate your home directory to the hard disk (or just continue to use the one there and have a backup boot disk too.:cool:

    If you are replacing your hard drive with the ssd, you could either clone to a bootable backup disk as mentioned before, or you can make a Time Machine backup to your Drobo FS, then when the ssd is installed, boot from your OS X DVD and restore from your Time Machine backup to the ssd.

    I find that my full OS X install plus apps is usually about 40GB, so you don't need a really big ssd if your data is on the hard disk. My iMac has a 120GB OWC ssd partitioned with both OS X and Windows 7 dual boot on it. I then partitioned the original 2TB hard disk to use with each OS and a 3rd partition to share.

    -howard
     
  23. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #23
    That's only a limitation of Boot Camp Assistant, and one that I hope they have eliminated now that there are standard iMac configurations that come with SSD and HDD.

    FWIW the Apple HFS+ drivers freak out in the presence of a software RAID on the OS X side, so yet another reason to avoid it.

    B
     
  24. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #24
    But you don't need to use Boot Camp Assistant, do you? AFAIK it only helps you to partition the HD and reboots the computer for you. Can't you just boot from the Windows disc by holding alt and then format or partition the drive through that?
     
  25. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #25
    Yes, if your computer has an extra drive or partition, you can certainly install Windows by booting from the Windows install disk, select the target disk and partition/format it, then finish the installation normally. That works just like any other Windows machine.

    What it seems to lack however, it the ability to switch/reboot between the operating systems from within the other OS. You select the alternate boot OS with the option key. This may be because of the lack of an EFI partition on the windows disk, or (in my case) because I don't have my OS X boot ssd in the first bay of my Mac Pro. I'm still working on understanding that.:confused:

    -howard
     

Share This Page