Late 2013 iMac 27" upgrades...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Bearxor, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #1
    Hey there, got a iMac I want to upgrade a little bit and have a few questions I can't find completely solid answers to.

    This has just a 1TB HDD in it. Too slow. I need SSD. Preferably NVMe. If this machine was purchased without an NVMe drive - if I open it up will the slot for NVMe still be there?

    If I open it up to put a NVMe drive in I'm going to replace the HDD with a 5TB. Ok to just swap the drives in place? Won't make the fans go crazy or anything?

    If there's no NVMe slot then I'm just going to rock an external SATA SSD. I'd love to connect it to Thunderbolt but I run the iMac + dual Acer K272HUL 2560x1440 monitors. Right now each one is plugged in to its own separate TB (mDP) port. I tried chaining off one of my monitors but all it did was mirror the two external displays with each other. So all three were working but I couldn't extend the chained monitor. Is this expected for this model? No DP 1.2 support? Or am I missing something?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #2
    Use an external SSD and connect it up via a USB3 port and it will be great.
     
  3. Shadow Jolteon, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018

    Shadow Jolteon macrumors regular

    Shadow Jolteon

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    Unfortunately, if you did not configure your iMac at purchase to have either an SSD-only or Fusion Drive configuration, it will not have the connector inside. Your only option for installing an SSD will be via SATA. Otherwise, externally through Thunderbolt is a decent alternate option, though I'd always recommend the opposite: SSD inside to boot from with an external 5TB HDD for storage.

    If you switch out the drives on a 2013 model, it should not cause issues with your fans, since it can get the temperature from SMART on the drives.

    Unfortunately, macOS does not support daisy-chaining with DisplayPort 1.2, only with pure Thunderbolt. Even if it is plugged into a Thunderbolt port, the devices down the chain must be Thunderbolt, not DisplayPort/mini-DisplayPort. This is a limitation of macOS in that the drivers do not support that functionality of DisplayPort. If you run Windows, you'll be able to use DisplayPort daisy-chaining while booted into that OS.
     
  4. RyanXM macrumors regular

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #4
    This is recommended WAY TOO much around these forums. That is the easy way out. If you were to put an Apple OEM SSUAX 1TB PCIe SSD, you will easily get three times the speed. Not to mention, you keep all of your USB ports available.

    iFixit shows that you should have the SSD slot available - https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2639+Teardown/17828#s52537

    The Mac did not gain support for NVMe SSDs until the 2014 model refreshes. I haven't personally tested in the iMac, but my understanding is that you cannot boot from it in a Late 2013 model. The earliest machine that I have personally tested in the Late 2013 Mac Pro. You must upgrade to at least 10.3.2 for booting from NVMe to be considered stable. The Late 2014 Mac mini also supports NVMe drives.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 24, 2018 ---
    The SSD slot will be there, whether or not he configured with SSD or Fusion. I don't believe Apple started changing this until the 2015 models. The Late 2013 and Mid 2014 should have the SSD slot even with a HDD as the configured option. The Late 2015 got rid of the SSD slot if you got a HDD only config.
     
  5. Shadow Jolteon macrumors regular

    Shadow Jolteon

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Location:
    United States
    #5
    Ah, it's nice to know those models weren't lacking the PCIe connector from the logic board. Thank you for linking that information!

    Also, I completely agree with your comments on always booting off external drives. Booting internally is always a better option, especially where speed and stability are concerned.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    "I need SSD. Preferably NVMe. If this machine was purchased without an NVMe drive - if I open it up will the slot for NVMe still be there?"

    Nope.
    Not there.

    "If there's no NVMe slot then I'm just going to rock an external SATA SSD. I'd love to connect it to Thunderbolt"

    There aren't many external thunderbolt enclosures "out there" to buy. Maybe one or two at most. And they're expensive.

    You'll do as well or BETTER by buying either a USB3 enclosure, or just get something like this handy little device:
    https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-...478&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=sabremt+usb3+to+ssd

    You can use a piece of velcro to tape it to the back of the iMac's stand, out-of-the-way.

    A USB3 external USB drive will give you about 85% of the overall speed that you would see if the drive was mounted internally.
    The difference is that you don't have to pry open the iMac to get it installed, and there's no risk of breaking anything inside. A good tradeoff, in my opinion.

    I don't believe you can "daisy chain" external displays from an iMac's thunderbolt/displayport connection.
    I could be wrong.
     
  7. RyanXM macrumors regular

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #7
    As previously said, OP is better off upgrading internally with an Apple OEM PCIe SSD.
     
  8. Bearxor thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #8
    I've seen the iFixit teardown but was really looking for someone with some first-hand experience.

    In all my searching I've not found anywhere that someone has opened up one of these and added a PCIe SSD.

    But it doesn't make a lot of sense if I can't boot off of it. If I can't boot off of it I'll just do a USB 3 external (which I appreciate everyone telling me to do like I've never considered the idea...).

    Crap about Apple not supporting displayport chaining though.
     
  9. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #9
    I think in your instance it's a better idea to internally update your imac since you use your TB ports. I have a 27'' 2013 as well, but i use an external tb enclosure w/boot ssds, leaving my 1 tb spinner for really nothing much lol.
     
  10. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #10

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