late 2015 imac 27" - can I replace the spinning HHD with a SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by scott911, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. scott911 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2009
    I'm about to order a nicely discounted base 27" late 2015 imac - it comes with a traditional 1TB HDD 7200 drive.

    The fusion drive - with it's tiny Solid State portion adds $200 to cost. Seems like too much - I'm coming from a PC where I put in a huge SSD drive for that amount.

    I'm like to be as frugal as possible - and order the traditional drive machine now, and them upgrade it to a nice big SSD in a year or so.

    Anyone see any issues with this approach?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Can you find the iMac with a 2tb fusion drive?
    This version has a 128gb SSD portion, and a 2tb HDD portion.

    Granted, a 128gb SSD isn't overly "large", but it offers -enough- capacity for the OS, apps, accounts, etc.

    (Of course, the 1tb fusion version comes with the tiny 24gb SSD portion, you don't want that.)

    Other considerations:
    I believe the iMacs are using an SSD "blade" flash drive that is "Apple proprietary" -- that means you can't buy 3rd-party replacements.
    BUT -- Apple's internal SSDs are VERY fast -- FAR faster than you could achieve by replacing the HDD (ordinary SATA connection) with a SATA SSD.

    Also -- you can achieve virtually the same speeds (as you would by putting a SATA SSD in place of the HDD) by just plugging in a USB3-based external SSD, and boot and run that way. You won't understand how well this works until you try it.

    If you can get a REALLY good deal on the 27" with the HDD inside, I'd recommend that you just buy an external USB3 SSD in the size you want, "plug it in", and be done with it.

    If you want the SSD to be -inside-, BUY THE iMAC THAT WAY "upfront".
    This will give you the best performance of all, with the least hassle...
  3. bent christian, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    Oh, man! You are in for some big surprises!

    Welcome to the world of the disposable computer system.

    Yes, it is possible to replace the HDD with an internal SSD. It is not easy and it will void the warranty. Apple has made the iMac a sealed unit since 2012. They expect that you will throw you computer system away and buy a new one when it is in need of an upgrade, a repair, or cleaning. This is the Apple way.

    The recommended method of upgrade is the go with an external SSD, connected through the USB 3 port in the back. Buy an enclosure that supports UASP. This will be 200-250 MB/s slower than an internal SATA III connected drive, but still fast enough for most uses.
  4. scott911 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2009
    To clarify - I was asking about replacing the SATA HDD Spinner with a SSD blade. Is that an option?

    I was thinking that in a year's time, there would be third party options. Or maybe I would just get apple's propitiatory drive - hopefully cheaper and more capacity at that point.

    Future SATA SSD 2.5" drives of the future will likely be faster too - maybe as fast as apple blade approach - so with that option, not to mention the external option, it sounds like I will be ok.

    (yes - Bent - A little worried. My PC is seven or eight years old - I've increased memory, added drives, replaced video card, added heat mgmt tools, touched virtually every part of it - mostly for fun... The Imac will be a different experience... )
  5. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    The blade is even more difficult to replace. It requires removal of the the logic board, which, of course, is not made easy either. The blade has been placed on the back side of the logic board, facing the back end of the casing - the most difficult place to reach in the unit. I think Apple uses a proprietary PCIe connector as well. They really have thought of everything. It is not worth the trouble IMO. USB 3 is the way to go. Wait until the unit is out of warranty to open it.
  6. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I'm not aware of one at this time.

    OWC (Other World Computing) recently released a new series of blade SSD upgrades for the MacBook Pro with similar read performance, but poorer write performance. It also does not work with Boot Camp Assistant and the pricing, while better than Apple's, is still quite high compared to retail SSDs.

    So OWC may make a blade SSD for iMacs, but if they do it probably won't be significantly cheaper, may not perform as well (the Apple units in the 2015 5K are insanely fast read and write), might not provide the same overall functionality and will void your warranty.

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