Install SSD in iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DennisMadsen, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. DennisMadsen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #1
    I've a iMac 27" medio 2011 with a HDD. I would like to add a primary SSD and still keep the original HDD. I've contacted my local Apple Authorized Partner here in Denmark. The cost is about $720 to insert the SSD (not including the price of the SSD). The high price is because they have to replace the cabinet and add some new cablet.

    I've found this tutorial with a step-by-step guide for inserting a SSD and still keeping the original HDD. The trick here is to attach/mount the SSD drive to the DVD Drive (ODD). Is this a good and safe way to go?

    I have experience in assembling desktop PC's and have done battery replacement on iPhones -- but I have not done an operation like this before. How hard is it? One of my worst concerns is to get a lot of dust between the screen and the glass after the operation.
     
  2. michelg1970 macrumors regular

    michelg1970

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    #2
    Hi Dennis,

    I did the same in a 2009 iMac (which does not have an SSD bay so I had to replace the DVD drive).

    Piece of cake - 20 minutes if you follow the instructions.

    I think in your case it is even easier as I understood that 2011 iMacs have a place already to put the SSD without having to remove the DVD drive.

    Just go for it!

    Hilsen from Holland!
    Michel
     
  3. freddiecable macrumors 6502a

    freddiecable

    Joined:
    May 16, 2003
    Location:
    Sweden
    #3
    Hej Dennis,

    There is a certified apple service place in Helsingborg that installs an SSD for approx 1500 SEK. I'll try to find the contact information and post it here soon.

    Fredrik
     
  4. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    I found this tutorial:
    http://www.btobey.com/learn/imac-ssd-install.php

    Do you think it's a safe way to go?
     
  5. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #5
    You will find many of these around and many have successfully completed the upgrade, however, the potential for damaging your system is there and any damage will need to be paid for by you. Search these forums and you will find accounts where folks broke cables, sensors, etc. It is not a trivial task. I the US the price is about $125-$175 including the parts (depending on the year iMac you have) so using the AASC is the safest way to go. If they break something they have to fix it.

    Cheers,
     
  6. EricT43 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    #6
    I'm interested in this upgrade as well. If it's only ~$150 USD, then might have them do it. Seems like good insurance. To me, these things are way too expensive to risk breaking something.

    When you say "including the parts", you mean apart from the SSD, right?
     
  7. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #7
    Correct, they said they have brackets and special cables so that fans work etc.

    I opted to have then give me eSATA instead but my iMac lists its device name as SSD because its connected to that SATA port. It cost $85 because I located and provided the L type eSATA cable. The Mac treats it like an internal SATA drive so no hot swap but I only want it so I can run Windows w/o splitting my 2TB drive. It also allows me to test my Lion upgrade on an external eSATA 2TB before I mess with the original config. Since it's a true SATA connection I can also use a SSD installed in an external enclosure later if I choose. The only issue is the red cable hanging out of the bottom. Doesn't bother me but for some it would be a deal breaker.

    Cheers,
     
  8. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesnowda
    #8
    I put an SSD in my iMac, same model as yours, but didn't lose the DVD and I have no prior computer assembly/disassembly experience. iFixit and ChargedPC guides were what I used along with a 22pin to 13pin sata cable. Just open up the machine, take out the motherboard, connect the cable, put everything back and place the SSD wherever you want. It's nice having the DVD there just in case.

    Just go slow and you'll be alright. Took me a couple hours for everything but cleaning the screen, that took another couple hours (stupid lint).
     
  9. Makaveli6103 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    #9
  10. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #10
    I followed those instructions last week and everything works great. It was not easy by any means, but certainly doable with some patience.

    The one piece of advice I would give you that the tutorial does not mention is that you should remove the RAM from your iMac prior to starting the disassembly. This will make it easier to get the motherboard back in place once you have moved it.
     
  11. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    I cannot find a iFixit guide for inserting a SSD in an iMac. If you can find it please give me a link. Thanks.

    ----------

    What about warranty? Is all warranty removed when installing a SSD?

    ----------

    If you guys can have it installed for ~$150 USD this is absolutely the way to go. Sad that I have to pay ~$720 for the installation here in Denmark.
     
  12. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesnowda
    #12
    iFixit has a teardown guide, that's what I used. Placing it inside the iMac is completely up to you. I used to heavy duty velcro on the back of the case, away from the major generators of heat
     
  13. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #13
    Technically you are not breaking any seals or anything that would definitively indicate to Apple that you have opened the iMac, so as long as they didn't notice, you should be alright. Obviously this means taking the SSD out before bringing it in for service. Oddly, there is only one sticker over a screw that attaches a heat sink to the motherboard that says the warranty is void if removed, but you don't have to touch that one to get the job done.

    Don't worry about any iFixit teardown, just use the tutorial you originally posted.
     
  14. EricT43 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    #14
    There are a lot of threads about the warranty, the consensus is that it does not void the warranty, except on something that you damage during the process.
     
  15. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesnowda
    #15
    There are a couple of tabs that cover the LCD and the case, as well as numerous pieces of obnoxiously clear tape that are nearly impossible to remove without leaving signs of tampering. My fingerprints are all over these pieces so even if I did the process in reverse it would be obvious that I was inside.
     
  16. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #16
    As a practical matter, as long as you don't break anything your warranty should be intact. While simply opening the machine does not in itself void the warranty, it's just gives an uncooperative Apple Service Tech another reason to blame a failure on something you did.

    Cheers,
     
  17. TheShore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #17
    Did anyone try this on the 21,5" iMac 2011 ?
    Is it working - or might it be even easier to just swap the 3,5" HDD for a SSD and use some more external storage?
    Thanks
     
  18. Makaveli6103 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    #18
    You cannot replace the HDD for a SSD because there will be problems with the HDD fan running at full speed.
     
  19. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #19
    I've done the swap on a 2011 27" couple of times, should be the same method on 21". It's not too difficult if you are careful when disconnect the screen, should take around 30 mins overall.

    I brought HDD fan control, this solved the fan speed problem.
     
  20. simon567 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    #20
    I'm pretty used to pulling apart PCs, but I started this today and I can't even get the first screen connection out! Anyone got any tips? I don't seem able to grip it properly either with my fingers or tweezers and the wires seem so delicate, I'm terrified of breaking them! Is it all like this?!
     
  21. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #21
    Here is my post when I did it the 1st time, maybe this will help:

    I've just finished swap out the 1TB hard drive with a ssd on a 2011 27" imac. The whole process took 20 mins with another pair of hands to help with the screen. It was very straight forward following first few steps in this guide:

    http://blog.chargedpc.com/2011/05/2011-imac-ssd-install-guide.html

    There are two metallic sliver stickers (EM shields) on either side of the camera you need to peel half way off before remove the screen. The guide did not mention this, and I think if you tear it, there might be issues if you bring the machine to Apple repair.

    Parts used:

    1 X suction Cup (the same as in the guide)
    1 X 3.5" to 2.5" hard drive mount bracket (very cheap, you can get in any computer online supply shop)
    1 X can of compassed air and large microfiber cloth (used to clear any dusts between glass and screen)
    1 X 256Gb Crucial c300 ssd (one of last year's top dog, still faster than ssd in Apple BTO)
    Few pairs of latex gloves (help with not leaving finger prints on the screen.
     
  22. simon567 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    #22
    Thanks...I think the problem with the iMac is I have a lack of confidence to put a bit of force into it! With PCs I know you need a bit of force, things sometimes make slightly worrying noises when you're clipping them in, though I've never had anything fail on me. With the iMac, it all seems much smaller and more delicate and I'm afraid of putting pressure on things in case it breaks, which would mean a trip to Apple and a huge repair bill!

    I got the first cable out, but then the one above it wouldn't move either and it's really hard to see in there what you're doing. For now I've put everything back together. I was going to go with the full installation onto the additional SATA, though I'm now thinking of replacing the DVD drive, which seem a lot less painful! Or maybe just waiting for a Thunderbolt enclosure...if that ever happens! I need to do something with this SSD drive that I've just spent £145 on!
     
  23. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    I think get another person to hold the screen when you remove the cables is really helpful, especially doing it the 1st time.

    Also not sure which of the four cable you're have trouble with.
     
  24. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #24
    Darn, the guy makes it look so easy. But knowing my retarded reflexes, I will probably drop the glass panel or snap the cables the first chance I get. :p
     
  25. simon567 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    #25
    Yes, my description wasn't very clear, especially since I was laying it flat on it's back with the stand away from me, so to me, above is technically below and vice versa! :)

    The one I wasn't sure about was the one on the lower left (if the iMac is standing up, screen towards you). It didn't seem to move much, but like I say, I was reluctant to put to much pressure on it. On the opposite side, one looked quite simple (I presume it just slides out?), then the other has a metal bar across that from the tutorials I believe lifts up somehow? It also looked to be glued down further up the cable, I guess that just needs carefully peeling away?

    I may also have to grow my finger nails a little, probably makes gripping the connectors a little easier :)




    ----------

    Yes, I've read various tutorials, watched several videos etc and it never looks especially difficult, but then when it's your own computer and you know one broken cable means a huge repair bill, it's scary! I wish I could find a local AASP who would do the job, but they just tell me they can only perform upgrades authorised by Apple :/
     

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