late 2009 27" iMac - Upgrade or replace

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wysinawyg, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. wysinawyg macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2009
    So I've just started getting SMART errors and crashes on my late 2009 27" iMac.

    So the issue is what to do about it. The machine was beginning to lag a bit, but its the quad i7 version and I don't do anything that I think would strain the graphics chip (my wife uses it for Office through a citrix environment and otherwise its Photos, iMovie and a bit of local Office).

    So I figure while I'm going through the massive PITA process of opening it up it could be worth going the whole hog and sticking in a 1TB SSD rather than just doing a like for like (and bumping up the RAM from 4GB to 16GB).

    My files are sitting at a little over 500GB so that should buy me a couple of years use for a not ridiculous price. And even if the machine does cark it before then the investment is unlikely to be wasted as the SSD can always go in my MacBook or possibly even whatever the replacement ends up being.

    Am I mad to be contemplating that or would I be better just picking up a 1TB 7200 rpm and putting the money saved towards a new iMac a little sooner? I reckon the HDD and memory is probably a fair bottleneck for me given my usage so even buying new I'm looking at spending nearly as much on top of the base price as I'm talking of spending here just to get the 1TB Fusion Drive and 16GB memory, for probably not a vastly quicker machine.
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I would add a 1TB SSD in that machine. As you say, you don't strain it, it works fine otherwise, and the quad i7 is no slug. An SSD, even if your machine doesn't fully saturate its potential, will still give it a huge boost in speed.
  3. mindquest macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    Did this to my late 2009 iMac (Model 11,1) i7 2.8 GHz with 16GB a couple years ago and it was like night and day.

    I used this video as the guide, it went flawlessly.

    I put in the Samsung 840 EVO (mz-7te1t0bw) 1TB and used Chameleon SSD Optimizer to enable trim. I am running OSX 10.9.5

    I even threw in a 2TB hard drive to give me 3TB total storage. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
  4. mindquest macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    One last thing the first video cable is a pain to get back into place, took me a couple tries.
  5. MistrSynistr macrumors 65816

    May 15, 2014
    2008 iMac (which I think has internals of a 2007 iMac because it's a Student Edition), new SSD installed, 4 gigs of ram, is blazing fast.

    I'm sure someone in your area would charge $50-$80 to do it for you and SSD's are much cheaper now.
  6. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    I have the same machine and put a 512GB SSD in it 1.5 years ago. Still have the 1TB spinning drive too. If I were doing it today I'd just go for the 1TB SSD. I like the idea on no mechanical spinning drive in there making noise and heat. You may also want to consider getting upgraded WiFi and bluetooth. There's a site called OSXwifi that makes a kit that will give your iMac 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE, making it compatible with new OS X Yosemite features.

    Don't forget that you can always use that computer as a display for another using Target Display Mode. That's missing from the new Retina iMacs and is one stumbling block making me shy away from upgrading. I use Target Display Mode several times a week as I have a high-powered Windows PC sitting next to my iMac and use that for gaming with my iMac acting as a display.
  7. mindquest macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    So with the new iMacs TDM won't work if I tried to use my older 2009 iMac as a second monitor? Always confused on that subject.
  8. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Only the iMac with Retina display, also referred to as the 5k iMac. The other 27" models all support it.
  9. macnicol macrumors newbie


    Mar 1, 2006

    Did you have to replace the thermal sensor with the new SSD?
  10. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    No brainer: I'd throw the SSD in there if you don't mind the non-retina screen. The 2009-2011 iMac is the perfect machine to upgrade to SSD; huge bang for the buck and it'll extend it's life a fair bit, and very cost effective to do so.

    I doubt you'll need 16GB of RAM given your usage, and just adding 2X2GB of RAM is cheaper than going 4X4GB. I found RAM on Craigslist for my 2010 iMac and it's worked fine since installing it 3 years ago.
  11. mindquest macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    No I didn't but I did install the hdd fan control app to fix the fan issue.

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10 September 29, 2015