mid 2011 iMac hard drive options...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by HBOC, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Please forgive this long winded post.

    I bought my 2011 iMac in may of 2011 and it has basically been left turned on all these years and is still running great. It is a base model, so has the 500GB HDD. I did upgrade the RAM to 16GB.

    Now I am at the point where storage is an issue, kind of. I have 4 external HDDs. My iTunes library is like 130GB of music, and I moved that to an external drive since my photography library is now approaching 400GB. Which now is becoming a problem since I have less than 25Gb free, and my photo files are over a GB each!

    The Mac has a single TB1 port and a FW800 port which is becoming an issue. 2 of my external drives are FW800 and I use the Seagate Slim that has USB3 (which is useless to me sadly) for my iTunes.

    Externals with FW800 are becoming impossible to find in stores, although they can be found online. $$$$

    Yesterday I bought a 3TB 3.5" drive to upgrade my LaCie d2 Quadra that I bought in 2008. To my dismay, it only reads 802.7GB - and is a known problem as the firmware from the enclosure won't acknowledge more than this. LaCie confirms this. Sadly I ordered a 1TB version of this drive on eBay yesterday since it has FW800.

    I am thinking of buying a used Time Capsule on eBay and upgrading the HDD just to be able to utilize the FW ports.

    Any advice or experience is greatly appreciated! I really don't want to buy a new iMac (I do, but this one is still running great), but I guess i could get the internal HDD replaced and swap out the optical drive with another drive and that would solve some issues..
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    I would recommend utlising your TB1 port, since you can daisy-chain 6 peripherals on the one bus.

    Something like this would give you 3TB of space in RAID1, meaning your data will survive if one of the hard drives fails.

  3. hfg, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016

    hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If you want to continue to use your Firewire 800 port, this enclosure will allow you to add 4 hard disks, and it will also run USB 3.0 should you upgrade your computer in the future. It can be programmed for JBOD or RAID levels as desired.


    On my wife's 2010 iMac (21") I replaced the optical disk with a SSD, leaving the 500GB hard disk inside, and added additional external drives for mass storage and backup. That made for a very "snappy" system for a couple of more years of use.

    You could even add a 1TB SSD for your OS X and photo library, and use the 500GB for your music and video files. Then backup all to a 2-3 TB Firewire 800 drive.

    edit: I see mine was actually a 2010 which didn't have Thunderbolt ports. With a 2011 with Thunderbolt port I would get the OWC Thunderbay 4 or IV mentioned below and put whatever disk or SSD you wished in that. You can boot from it as well.
  4. HBOC thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. I called a local Apple shop and they said they charge $130 for swapping out the drive and then I have to spend another $50 to get the temp sensor or whatnot. So another $180 - but will have a new HDD, since I am gambling at this point with a 5 year old drive...
  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Why not an external thunderbolt enclosure like http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB2IVKIT0GB/ 4 large drives will fit and you get much better speed than Firewire. Upgrading the internal drive to a SSD is well worth the cost. We upgraded the drive in my wife's iMac and it made it really speedy.

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