iMac AL 24" Hard Drive Swap - Pics/Procedure inside

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tom Sawyer, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Tom Sawyer, Sep 4, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

    Tom Sawyer macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    I've reformatted and posted this procedure with pictures on my web site. If you want to print it that format may be better printed than this thread. With going away, pics are gone from this thread.

    It is under "Tech Articles". OctoMac

    While this procedure is not for the faint of heart, all said it was not difficult by any means. If you are comfortable with taking things apart and can learn how they go back together as you take them apart, then there is no reason not to attempt this. Standard disclaimer, proceed at your own risk, warranty probably voided (although there were NO 'warranty void if broken' stickers affected by this) etc etc. Goal: Upgrade the internal HD with a much faster and larger drive. I went with a 500gb Seagate 7200.10 Perpendicular Technology 7200 rpm Sata drive. I went with the 500 as it was a much better MB/$ ratio than the 750... and it was cheap... $80 bucks. That said, here are some pics and writeup for your enjoyment:

    Before: 24" iMac with stock/entry level 320 gb HD. Stock drive is an 8mb western digital WD3200AAJS (blah)

    First off, taking out the glass is trivial... it's LIGHT and takes very little force. I used two (could have made it with 1) suction cups with hooks to let you hang stuff on glass with. Side note: One of my concerns in doing this upgrade was introducing dust between the LCD and glass. I avoided this by using a can of compressed air and gently blowing off any dust on the LCD and inside of glass before reinstalling the glass.

    Glass pulled out: notice LCD itself is glossy:

    Next remove the memory slot cover on the bottom. After that, simply unscrew all the screws along the edge (under the glass). There are 12 screws, 3 different lengths. Just pay attention to where they came from, but truly they only fit in the right holes (pick one too short, it'll be obvious, etc)
    Bezel/Face off:

    Inside of Face - Notice the magnets:

    iSight camera - cable with inline plug... easily unplugs:

    Now the only part that is slightly tedious - The LCD removal. The LCD is attached with 8 Torx screws. There are three cables that connect the LCD to the computer. While you could just disconnect 2, I think it is worth just unplugging all three and removing the LCD to make working in the unit easier. One plug (DVI) is actually screwed in, very small torx... Watch the SMALL screws:

    Second connector - 4 wires... lower left, easily unplugged (plug on the right):

    Worst connector of the three - Power to the LCD. It is a bit tight fitting, much worse getting back in than out:
    UPDATE: One member found that he could peal back the tape on the LCD itself and unplug from that side, much easier way to disconnect the LCD, no wiggling required!

    Stock Drive... interesting thing, the pad with the wire going into it. This is a thermister for the temperature monitoring chips/system in the iMac. Not a big deal, just have to transfer the mount to the new drive.

    To remove the HD, 2 bolts (torx) must be removed, the other two mounting holes on the HD are posts that are removed after the drive is out. The clip for the thermister peels right off

    Hard drive out. Note the posts, they are just screws with no heads, taken out with a torx.

    HD is out:

    Thermister clip installed on new drive:

    Pop out Thermister:

    Reassemly is just the procedure in reverse... screw in the posts to the new drive, place the thermister clip and install it. Then simply slide the thermister back into the clip and reinstall the foam protector over it as before:

    From there, everything in reverse... the power plug for the LCD is a bit of apain to get back it, just takes a little patience. The rest goes together quickly. The whole procedure took me about 45 minutes.

    System is noticably faster both in booting and loading apps. Definitely happy with the results!
  2. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Feb 4, 2007
    CANADA? eh?
    wow that must have been very scary
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Wow. :eek:

    Excellent photos and descriptions. Thankfully there are external drives for people like me. :D My luck, I would have gotten 3/4 through and ran into a TORX size I didn't have a driver for. hehe
  4. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    Nice! I probably won't do it myself as the 500GB HDD that comes with my CTO iMac will suite me just fine. But this is a good guide for those who got the stock model and want to upgrade.

    Well done!
  5. wakerider017 macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2006
    US of A
    Nice job!

    Can you give the exact model number of the 320gb drive?

  6. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    If you had to quote the who thing you could at least reversed it.
  7. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007

    You bet... it is a WD Caviar SE MDL: WD3200AAJS - 40RYA0
  8. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    LOL... truly you never know about those kinds of things till you get into it. I have a 5 driver size torx set but they are the common sizes for computer applications so it worked out. I mulled this over for a few days before I decided to go for it. ;)
  9. bembol macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    Tom, that's amazing. Thanks for the DIY/Pics.

    Eric/MOD, can you edit and not Quote it with the Pics. Thanks
  10. Alloye macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2007
    Rocklin, CA
    Thanks for the excellent write up! I'm very likely going to perform this procedure on mine in the near future.
  11. Sam Spade macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2007
    Both drives are 7200rpm, correct? And the Seagate is significantly faster than the WD?
  12. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    Thanks bembol... appreciate the kind words. It was fun really. Always cool seeing the elegant hardware that Apple creates on the inside. :apple:
  13. jimsoff macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Wow, you have got some guts doing that. I'd be scared pooless! Did you get a look at the manufacturer/model of the LCD screen?
  14. imacdaddy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2006
    Thanks Tom for sharing this with us. I think I'm going to do the same when I order the new 24" with Leopard.

    Unfortunately I didn't have time to check out MR yesterday. Had I known you were going to do a HD swap, I would have asked you to take a pic of the LCD model#.
  15. MK2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2007

    But now could you show us how to replace the glossy screen with a matte screen? ;)
  16. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    DOH! I was so focused on the task at hand that I completely forgot to look at the back of the LCD for the make/model. :mad:
  17. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    LOL... If I could provide a how to on that one I would. I am fine with the screen, but it sounds like many are not. I guess it's a matter of personal preference and environment.
  18. imacdaddy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2006
    Since the glass can easily be taken off and fastened into place with magnets, I have a feeling we will see some 3rd party border pieces (20"/24" opening) showing up in the different colours. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the LCD itself has the same surface as the previous models?
  19. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    Yep, both drives are 7200... difference being that the Seagate 7200.10 series is using the new'ish "Perpendicular Recording" technology. Basically the bits are aligned/stacked in a different more dense configuration. This increases the Ariel Density which means that bits fly by the heads faster at the same given RPM... in a nutshell. Tons of stuff on the web about the technology; it's compelling.

    Now if they would just come out with a 10K RPM drive that uses PT with a large capacity I could pop open my iMac again and get that LCD info... :D
  20. Tom Sawyer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Aug 29, 2007
    I can see that happening without a doubt. I would guess that it has the same surface as the older LCD models. It really follows that someone will probably end up offering a glass replacement that has a matte finish too. Hmm... might be an opportunity there....
  21. imacdaddy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2006
    Yes, I've made the same sort of comments on other posts since seeing the first dismantling pics on Kodawarisan. I'm waiting for a return phonecall actually.
  22. negatv1 macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2005
    Thanks for the great pics. With 750gb drives hovering right around $200 I can definitely see myself doing this in the near future. (obviously lower GB/$ ratio than a 500gb, but worth it IMO when it takes a bit more effort to replace than a typical PC)

    And the great thing is that nowhere in the process did you violate any "warranty void if removed stickers" which will hopefully quelch those who will spout the all to common 'warranty void if you touch the insides of your computer' nonsense.
  23. CortexRock macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2006
    Canterbury, England
    Not as scary as you quoting the entire, really big post full of really big images that's just above your reply! :rolleyes::p

    TomSawyer - any chance you can edit your post for [​IMG]
  24. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I wish the iMac could have borrowed from the Mac Pro with drive swapability.
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Is there any chance you can please replace all your image tags with TIMG? This way, they won't be so huge on the forum page, and you'll still be able to click and get the full ones. They're just overwhelming my poor little work computer's real estate! :p

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