iMac late 2013 SSD only (how to add another SSD) ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by soomster, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. soomster macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2010
    Like the title says, I got iMac late 2013 SSD only and I am wondering if I could add another SSD to it. If so how?
  2. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    The easiest way is to get a small bus powered external Thunderbolt SSD either complete (ex. LaCie "Rugged"), or get a bare enclosure and add your own. It won't be quite as fast as the internal PCI, but you probably won't notice the difference. You can mount it on the back of the desk stand with a bit of adhesive velcro so it is out of the way.

    I do this with a 500GB LaCie "Rugged" Thunderbolt SSD for my Windows installation on a 2013 Retina iMac, and on a 2012 27" iMac leaving the entire internal SSD available for OS X and my photo library.

    The alternate method would require cutting open the taped display, finding and purchasing the internal disk drive cable and mount assemblies (about $100), and then installing a SATA SSD where the hard disk drive would have been mounted. Then use a purchased tape kit to again seal the iMac display ... hopefully without damaging any of the fragile cables or connectors in the process.
  3. soomster thread starter macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2010
    Thanks for answer.

    I was looking at the LaCie Rugged SSD thunderbolt and it's not the cheapest but it's great solution tho.
    It would be cheaper to buy USB3 box but I think one could not boot Windows up on USB3, maybe the solution to USB3 box would be use that for MacOS and internal SSD for windows?

    If internal option would be chosen and the SATA cables bought, would it be possible to use any SSD ?
    And one more thing, the SSD only iMac has built in blade SSD would it be possible to add two extra SSD's?
  4. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    You can get "refurbished" LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt hard disk units for about $80 ... then swap the hard disk for a SSD and repurpose the removed disk. The "Rugged" Thunderbolt is one of the few I have found to boot Windows without problems (all I have tried booted OS X just fine).

    I use Samsung 840 EVO 512GB SSDs as they are low power and are actually the ones LaCie ships in the SSD version of the Rugged. Any newer low power SSD should work in the bus powered enclosure. Keep in mind that USB 3.0 doesn't support TRIM on SSDs, and may be more difficult to get Windows installed properly.

    You should be able to use any SATA SSD internally in the iMac hard disk area, although I am not sure if you would have fan issues as you do when swapping a hard disk. I think that there is only one spare SATA interface in the new iMacs in addition to the PCI blade interface ... so only 2 internal SSDs, 1 blade, 1 SATA, would be possible, although you could still add more externally over Thunderbolt or USB 3.

    My Retina iMac has a external Thunderbolt OWC ThunderBay IV 4 disk enclosure which contains 2 SSDs and 2 hard disks for additional storage and backup. The Windows SSD can be mounted inside this enclosure as one of the disks and will boot Windows 8 without problem.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Actually you can boot into Windows via USB 3 (I do that with my Transcend 960GB JetDrive).

    Not exactly easy to get it up and running, but it's doable.

    Connect external drive to Windows VM. You must have a Windows VM in VMware/Parallels/VBox, or a Windows PC. Any existing Windows environment will do.

    What you need:
    install.wim file (obtain this from your Windows ISO)

    Open elevated cmd.exe (run as admin)

    Note: All commands aren't case sensitive, including pathway to files.

    Type diskpart
    Type list disk
    Take note of the disk you want to select
    Type select disk 1 (if your disk is Disk 1)
    Type clean
    Type convert gpt (stop at this point if you're using a drive with a Thunderbolt port)
    Type create partition EFI size=100 (skip if installing in BIOS-CSM)
    Type format quick fs=fat32 label=EFI (skip if installing in BIOS-CSM)
    Type assign letter=S (skip if installing in BIOS-CSM)
    Type create partition primary
    Type format fs=ntfs quick label=W2G (or any other name you wish for label)
    Type assign letter=E
    Type exit

    Open up File Explorer. In your C drive, create a new folder named WIN2GO.
    Put the install.wim file in this folder

    Back in cmd.exe:
    Type dism /apply-image /imagefile:C:\WIN2GO\install.wim /index:1 /applydir:E:\ (this process will take quite a while)
    Type E:\Windows\System32\bcdboot E:\Windows /s S: /f UEFI (use this one for UEFI installation)
    Type E:\Windows\System32\bcdboot E:\Windows /s E: /f ALL (use this one for BIOS-CSM installation)

    Restart your entire Mac. After the chime, hold down Option and when prompted to select your boot drive, select EFI Boot (or whatever else that comes up for a BIOS-CSM installation).

    Proceed installation normally.

    After installation, install Boot Camp drivers. Feel free to trash the VM once you're done too.

    For best results, use USB 3/Thunderbolt. If you don't have USB 3, use Thunderbolt. If you have neither, stick back to the internal drive :)

    Don’t use a USB stick.

    Note: This method involves reformatting the entire external drive.

    For Thunderbolt drives, just boot from the Windows USB installer and install directly onto the TB drive. Windows sees TB drives as an internal PCIe connection. However, you must format the TB drive as GPT first.

    CAUTION: Windows can only be installed in UEFI flawlessly on Haswell Macs and later. Ivy Bridge and earlier Macs can only run Windows in BIOS-CSM flawlessly. Attempts to boot a UEFI installation of Windows on an Ivy Bridge or earlier Mac will result in driver issues.

    UEFI-compatible Macs:
    MacBook Air (mid-2013 and later)
    iMac (late-2013 and later)
    Retina MacBook Pro (late-2013 and later)
    Mac Pro (trashcan shape)
    Mac Mini (late-2014 and later)

    Non-retina MBPs are not UEFI compatible.

    WinToUSB basically does the same thing, but doesn’t always work because WinToUSB doesn’t really take into account between BIOS-CSM and UEFI Macs; it only uses one method for all (which may result in boot failures and other problems).
  6. hellomisterjedi macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2014
    Help with housing SSD

    Are there alternative refurbished Thunderbolt housings for similar pricing? I'm trying to secure housing for my 840Evo + Late 21.5" 2012 iMac which simply has the 1TB HHD. Yosemite is noticeably more sluggish than Mavericks was on my setup w/ the internal HHD.
  7. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    The Seagate Backup Plus Portable Thunderbolt Adapter also works well and used to be less than $100 (the current Amazon price is too high). You can probably get them on eBay, along with the disk shells if you desire a "finished" look.

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