No 3rd Party SSD in 21.5" iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by comatory, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

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    #1
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #2
    So they're saying that you cannot simply replace the hard drive with an SSD because it essentially needs the HDD to fully operate and when it does, it becomes the fusion drive? Is that a software limitation? Or are they saying that the connection for an SSD in the iMac that isn't upgraded with the Fusion drive is absent? I may have followed that right but I wonder why the limitation.
     
  3. Malte. macrumors member

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  4. MeFromHere, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    MeFromHere macrumors 6502

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    #4
  5. jediDev macrumors regular

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    #5
    That's correct for *adding* to the $1,299 model. However, the $1,499 model does have the spare slot. (I have the $1,499 model and see an empty sata port in about my mac.)

    You can also replace the HD in both models. Currently, I have an external SSD but at some point it's likely to go inside the case.
     
  6. Sue De Nimes macrumors 6502a

    Sue De Nimes

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    #6
    An off the shelf SSD as exactly the same connectors as a HDD.

    What sort of weird tricks are Apple pulling on this?
     
  7. MeFromHere macrumors 6502

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    #7
    A certain kind of off the shelf SSD has exactly the same kind of connectors (and size and shape) as an HDD. That's NOT the kind of SDD Apple has used in any recent system.

    Another, less common, off the shelf SSD is built on a long, skinny circuit board, with nothing enclosed in a typical HDD "box". This form factor takes less space, and makes sense when there's no need to be compatible with an HDD "bay". This is the kind of SDD Apple uses in the iMacs and several recent laptops.

    The connector for this kind of SSD is missing on the low-cost base 21.5" 2012 iMac. It was present in at least one of the higher-end 21.5" models; I saw a teardown picture.
     
  8. THOPMedia, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    THOPMedia macrumors regular

    THOPMedia

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    #8
    As long as there is a SATA connector for the stock HD you should be able to replace it with any sized SSD you want as long as it isn't larger than a standard 2.5" laptop drive.

    The article just says that you can't add a drive to the spot where there is no connector for it. Unless you want to buy the connector from apple (good luck) and solder it on yourself (ha!).
     
  9. Sue De Nimes, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    Sue De Nimes macrumors 6502a

    Sue De Nimes

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    EVERY SSD I can see sold by any sort of mainstream reseller has two connections on it - SATA data and SATA power. These are the exact same connections as every HDD I can see on sale anywhere.

    I can't get my head around why you can't pull the HDD out of a new iMac and replace with an SSD.

    Reading the ArsTechnica article the SSD apple uses has a proprietary connector - nothing off the shelf about it.

    I would think replace the HDD with something like this would be feasible

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD-011-CR&groupid=701&catid=2104&subcat=2394
     
  10. comatory thread starter macrumors 6502a

    comatory

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    #10
    Yes I know its possible to replace HDD with SSD but honestly, since iMac is a desktop machine, lots of folk (including me) like to have big files stored on their main computer (music, photos) - it is a waste of SSD if you just put your iTunes library on it.

    There are external solutions of course but it's additional cost and hassle. There is something great to have everything in just plain iMac. Looks like I'll be planning to get some networked drive for some stuff...
     
  11. wpalomine macrumors member

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    #11
    mSATA port on the $1499 model, and this was not sodered in the base model?
     
  12. Reason077 macrumors 68000

    Reason077

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    #12
    Exactly. That's what I had hoped to do - don't really want/need a rotational HDD at all.

    However, this idea of having to re-glue the screen has me worried. Need more info on how easy (or not) this actually is before I go ahead and upgrade my iMac.
     
  13. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    You can't get your head around it because you absolutely can do that. The stock HDD has regular SATA connectors on it.

    You can swap this with a standard SSD drive.

    What the article talks about is that IN ADDITION TO THIS NORMAL SATA PORT the iMac has a blade-style SSD connector on the logic board (or rather, the base 21" iMac doesn't have the port, while the mid-level one does have the port - ie, any model that has the option for Fusion Drive has that port on the logic board).

    There are a couple of third party vendors who have SSDs for sale that fit into that narrow, space-saving port since it's the same port used in the rMBP.
     
  14. Tri-stan macrumors 6502

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    #14
    So is the msata connector for the fusion ssd a solder connection only? Or is it like a plug in thing. I think what they are trying to say on ifixit is that the msata is an special Apple soldered on ssd and that you will only be able to replace the mechanical drive. Just keeps getting worse, the glued on screen and now this. It seems like somebody does not want you messing around in this thing or doesn't allow any changes to be made at all. Thanks Apple.

    ----------

    Can you list the manufacturers if this is true and possible sites? But this still does not explain the soldered connection.
     
  15. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    The connector is soldered to the logic board. The SSD slides into it with a friction fit and is then held in with a screw on the other end of the board.

    However, on the base 21" iMac Apple did not solder the port onto the board, so it just has the bare solder pads where it would otherwise be (and who knows if those traces are actually hooked up to the machine).

    The SSD is not soldered on. It plugs in, if the port is present.

    OWC sells SSD blades that will fit - it's the same exact port used in the rMBP.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Retina_2012
     
  16. MeFromHere macrumors 6502

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    #16
    There a connector (people call it mSATA but I can't vouch for that) soldered to the motherboard. If the connector is present, you can plug and unplug the blade-style SSD. The cheapest base 21.5" iMac just has a motherboard where Apple does not load the connector -- there's basically an empty spot where the connector should be. There may be other stuff missing from that version of the motherboard as well.

    The only source I know for the blade-style SSDs that Apple uses is Other World Computing. There may be others.
     
  17. THOPMedia, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    THOPMedia macrumors regular

    THOPMedia

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    #17
    The iMac is not a desktop in the general sense. Is an all-in-one. It doesnt follow the same "guidelines" as a desktop computer. And when I say guidelines i mean "user expected" guidelines.

    The 2012 iMac is the 2012 iMac. It is not a desktop (though it can sit on a desk).

    If you like to have big files stored on your main computer like music and photos there is an iMac that meets your needs. It may not be the cheapest one though.

    If I know that I need to haul 8 foot pieces of lumber, I don't go and buy the truck with the 6 foot bed then complain about not having the truck with the 8 foot bed. I buy the 8 foot bed.

    Common sense.
     
  18. jediDev macrumors regular

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    #18
    Wouldn't it be nice if you could tow your lumber with a network attached trailer that took care of the driving for you?
     
  19. comatory thread starter macrumors 6502a

    comatory

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    #19
    Ah, don't worry, I'm tech savvy enough to see how iMac is different. I own a Mac Pro after all for certain reasons.
    The thing is, iMac with it's current generation, stopped being a good value proposition, especially here in Europe with price going high.
    Adding SSD as additional drive is popular on every computer, iMac included - and yes, it's mostly because of money (just look at Apple's SSD prices). The price of higher 21.5" iMac that has additional SATA port is the price of 27" base iMac that used to be before.

    But enough of complaining, Apple has it's own reasons to do the things the way they do, I learned that in those few years using their computers. I just wanted to express disagreement on the decision to not have that port there. Base iMac used to be a computer that I would recommend to anyone who'd tell me Apple computers are expensive, not so anymore.
     

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