Late 2009 iMac 27" Core i7 - upgrade options?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sparkie7, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #1
    Ok my iMac 27" (Model 11,1 2.8Ghz i7), is 2 years old now and looks like the 1TB HD is on its lasts legs, every time I got to Disk Utility it says in red:

    THIS DRIVE HAS A HARDWARE PROBLEM THAT CAN'T BE REPAIRED.

    and then something like, back it up and get it replaced, go see an  authorised dealer..

    So doesn't look good, for only a 2 year old drive, pretty flakey..

    Luckily I bought care so have one more year left to get this iMac fixed. My question is, I might as well get the  dealer to upgrade the RAM and maybe add a second drive or SSD, does this model iMac 27" have enough space for another SSD or HD in there? -- heat implications?

    Also, do  dealers/repair centres allow you to bring in your own RAM for them to install? If so, where the place to buy, OWC, or?

    I have 4GB installed from the factory when I ordered, so would like another 4GB to up it to 8GB or even 16GB if its not too expensive. Do you have to upgrade with matching pairs etc?

    Just trying to upgrade this to last another year or two..

    Thanks for any info/advice/suggestions :D
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    I don't know about the SSD/HDD part of your question, maybe have a look at iFixIt and its many guides.

    The RAM is cheap, you can get 8 GB RAM (two 4 GB modules) for less than 40 USD via Newegg, thus 16 GB RAM will only cost 80 USD, and you can replace it yourself with a Phillips screwdriver quite easily.
    As you have 4 GB RAM in two 2 GB modules, you could also just upgrade to 12 GB.

    I also don't know about Apple upgrading your iMac with your own RAM, but as it is easy as washing dishes, I would just do it myself.
    iFixIt also has a guide on this, and the User Guide also has instructions for this.
     
  3. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #3
    Ok, cool. I thought I had to open the whole machine up to upgrade the RAM. I have heard the iMac is a b*tch to take apart and put back together. Unlike the Mac Pros



    So its ok to mix RAM size modules? - any effect on memory performance etc?
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #4
    It is not really a bitch, it just has many screws to unscrew and the glass plate held by magnets. I opened my 2007 Aluminium iMac twice, once to upgrade the 250 GB HDD to a 500 GB HDD, and then again last week, to upgrade to a 60 GB SSD from my MBP (which has been upgraded to a 120 GB HDD), and it took "only" an hour or less. All in all, it was just time consuming, but not really hard, as you haven't had to pry open something like with the iBook or Mac mini.

    The RAM is this easy:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #5
    Thanks. Looks easy.

    How about the drives, assume its much harder to open the machine up to install?
     
  6. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502

    MatthewAMEL

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #6
    Replacing RAM is the only 'user-accessible' part of an iMac.

    Replacing anything but the RAM isn't fun.

    You can put a SSD in place of the HDD or you can add an SSD, but only if you take out the DVD drive.

    If you do replace the HDD, keep in mind the Late 2009 iMacs have the infamous 'HDD Temp Sensor'.

    I just recently replaced the 1TB Seagate that started failing SMART checks with a 3TB WD and used the 'Optical Temp Sensor' cable solution for runaway fan speeds. It works great and was a better solution for me than the HDD Fan Control sw because I use my iMac for gaming in Win7. The SW solution worked great in OS X, but the HDD fan wouldn't spin faster than 1,000RPM in Win7 no matter how hot it got.

    iFixIt Guide for 27" iMac
    http://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel_27"

    Source for the Optical Temp Sensor Cable
    http://www.macpartsonline.com/imac-...ore2duo-intel-i5-i7-imac-late-2009-a1312.html

    HDD Fan Control software
    http://www.hddfancontrol.com/

    Good luck!
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #7
    Remove glass plate, unscrew aluminium front (12 screws), unscrew display (8 screws?), disconnect 7 cables, unscrew two screws to remove HDD.
    It is manageable with all the tutorials (iFixIt and YouTube) out there, you just need the proper tools (listed on the iFixIt site).
     
  8. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #8
    What's with the HDD Temp Sensor? -- is there a fault or something with it in relation to the fan control? -- If  replaces my failing HDD, I assume they will fix or re-attach the temp sensor so its working again?

    Screw that! I'll let the  tech do that, LOL :D
     
  9. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502

    MatthewAMEL

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #9
    Apple, in their infinite wisdom, shipped the Late 2009 iMacs with custom firmware on the HDD's.

    If you buy a standard HDD from Newegg or Amazon and install it, the HDD Fan will slowly spin up to it's max 5000RPM speed. Makes your iMac sound like a jet engine.

    There are four ways (that I know of) around this problem.

    1) Purchase a replacement drive from Apple. Their price on a 1TB drive was $389 the last time I checked. (three weeks ago)

    2) Use the instructions available to short out the pins on the temp sensor cable. This solution is fine if you are going to replace it with an SSD.

    3) Use the HDD Fan Control software.

    4) Use the Optical Temp Sensor cable. It attaches to the surface of the HDD like pre-2009 iMacs.

    You still have AppleCare. If you can demonstrate to the Genius/Tech that the drive is failing SMART, then your replacement HDD will be covered.
     
  10. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #10
    Ok thanks.

    Well, I just open up Disk Utility, and with out running any tests, the drive just shows up in red. When I click on it, it gives me the warning in my first post. So yeah, I'd say that its on way south.

    The firmware  installed sounds a bit rubbish, is it not installable on third party HDD's?

    Now when the Apple tech replaces my drive, I hope they replace it with one that has the firmware b/c I do not want to lug it all the way back to tell them my replaced drive sounds like a hovercraft
     
  11. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #11
    Could someone confirm, if it ok to mix RAM size modules? - any effect on memory performance etc?

    Also if I replace all the current RAM, what do I do with the 4GB.. throw under a bus?
     
  12. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #12
  13. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #13
    Memory is installed in pairs. When you open the access panel (3 captive screws)... you will see two side-by-side dual stacked connectors.

    Your existing 4GB (2X2GB)will be installed side by side... one in each of the two connectors.

    At this point, you have a choice.

    -Choice 1: You can spend $40-$50 for 8GB (2X4GB), and install them side by side in the second (open) slot in each of the two stacked connectors. This gives you 12GB and it will work fine.

    -Choice 2: You can spend $80-$100 for 16GB (4X4GB) and replace your existing RAM.

    I chose #2. For an extra $50, it seemed worth it to me to go to 16GB.

    /Jim
     
  14. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #14
    So what did you do with your original 4GB (2X2GB)?

    I hate waste and redundancy..
     
  15. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #15
    If you're getting along with 4GB ok now, I'd just get the 2x4GB and add it. If you still need more, then I'd buy that. Anyhow, I'd keep the original if you did replace it, it's not worth much, but is a good idea to install the original stuff if you have to send it in for service by apple. They occasionally will return a machine to stock configuration if it comes in otherwise, and you lose the money you spent upgrading that way.
     
  16. sparkie7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #16
    True about the Apple service reason. Thanks for the reminder :D
     
  17. nyguy4u macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #17
    Hate to drudge up a few month old topic.. but...

    I also have a 2009 iMac, and want to upgrade. I currently have 4GB now (2GB x 2), and I want to buy 4 4GB x 4 to max it out. I want to buy from Newegg. I went there, and there are so many options, and brands.

    Easy question, which ones do I get? Again, I have a late model 2009 iMac, 27", 2.8GHz.

    Thanks in advance.
     

Share This Page