Install SSD myself or void warranty?

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,128
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Norway
I'm awaiting the iMac updates and understand that buying it with a pre-installed SSD drive is very expensive compared to buying from other sources (like memory).

The big question is if I can install an SSD drive myself or will this void the warranty?
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,753
142
But many people do replace their drives and just swap them back if anything happens and they need service. If you damage the machine whilst doing it though you're completely SOL.
 

turtlez

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2012
977
0
the only time I would get an ssd that wasn't installed by apple would be from otherworld computing because they match the warranty.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,128
34
Norway
I'd go for Otherworld computing if I lived in the States, which I don't.

How difficult (and risky) is it to open up the iMac and install an SSD myself?
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,437
2,911
It's not that hard if you have some experience putting together computer parts or other electrical/mechanical experience. I just put a SSD in my 24" imac, and with the ifixit guide, it wasn't bad and took about 40 minutes start to finish (I had already cloned the drive).

I skipped the last step and did not disconnect the LCD cable because it was taking more effort than I was comfortable with to remove it, and I could still replace the drive. If you aren't comfortable knowing when to say when, so to speak, I'd skip this project. Otherwise it's fully DIY.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,128
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Norway
I suppose this is the iFixit guide you're referring to.
I have lots of experience opening/putting together electronic devices, but trying to replace a worn out CCFL backlight in my Powerbook G4's screen was a rather unpleasant experience as I wrecked a perfectly good LCD display. Then again this involved actually opening up the LCD component itself! How stupid not to make those backlight easily replaceable, but then again they'd miss selling a replacement LCD (that's green thinking for you!).
I assume inserting a 2nd drive in the iMac is nothing as risky as that though.

Is it a challenge to perform the "surgery" in a way that won't leave any traces of "tampering" in case of warranty issues?
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,437
2,911
I suppose this is the iFixit guide you're referring to.
I have lots of experience opening/putting together electronic devices, but trying to replace a worn out CCFL backlight in my Powerbook G4's screen was a rather unpleasant experience as I wrecked a perfectly good LCD display. Then again this involved actually opening up the LCD component itself! How stupid not to make those backlight easily replaceable, but then again they'd miss selling a replacement LCD (that's green thinking for you!).
I assume inserting a 2nd drive in the iMac is nothing as risky as that though.

Is it a challenge to perform the "surgery" in a way that won't leave any traces of "tampering" in case of warranty issues?
Similar to that one, but mine was 24" and I was replacing the main drive, not adding a second one.

I would say it would be tough, but not impossible to conceal the fact that the device was opened. In mine there were no warranty void seals that I had to break, so they'd be hard press to really deny you. There were some cables that were taped in such a way that it'd be hard to replicate, and the drive temperature sensor would not stick sufficiently to the new drive without some extra tape.

It sounds like you have the experience to do this. It's really just unscrewing a few parts and disconnecting a few wires.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,128
34
Norway
Hmmm.... (undecided on what to do)
It sounds risky to possibly ruin the warranty of a brand new machine (should probably test the iMac thoroughly for a few weeks before installing the drive).

In search of more information I came across an interesting Macworld article on the 2011 (current?) 21.5" iMac with an SSD installed. I found the reader comments at the bottom especially enlightening (interesting bits in bold by by me):

I've been following user reports at MacRumors by people who received the 21.5 inch iMac with SSD, versus those who installed their own OCZ Vertex / Intel / other branded SSD. Apple's Toshiba SATA-2 SSD benchmarks considerably lower than most third party SATA-3 SSDs that have aggressive garbage collection. Whether such differences are perceptible to an average user may be another matter. MacRumors has all the info to step you through the installation process if you're feeling brave.
and
I agree - where your data is should be important, and comparing SSD and hard drive PC performance is problematic without that information. There are two other factors that affect the value of an SSD on the iMac: 1) The newest SSDs are SATA III, but the Apple bus is SATA II, so even if you bake your own you won't be able to get optimum performance; 2) The MacBook Air bypasses the SATA issue altogether by mounting the SSD directly on the motherboard using the much faster PCI Express bus; the iMac won't truly rock until it does the same.

That said, the real barrier to using SSDs is still price. It remains a high-end option. There's also the fact that SSD development is advancing rapidly so that whatever investment you make now will soon be outdated. As a result, I think an internal SSD in an iMac is a dubious investment. In my opinion one would do better to wait till an external Thunderbolt SSD drive option is available. This will offer both flexibility and upgradeability. Thunderbolt offers PCI Express speeds that simply cannot be matched by an internal SATA SSD, particularly on the SATA II bus currently available in the iMac.
... so provided a Thunderbolt interfaced up-to-date (technology wise) external SSD drive can be found for a suitable price, that may be the way to go with the iMac I'll be getting (with a Thunderbolt interface).
 
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