replacing hdd/ssd in iMac 2011 (possible solution?)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by oosk2k11, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. oosk2k11 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    word up guys

    i have the iMac 2011 with a 256 ssd and 1tb hdd. like most people, i want to replace the drives for larger ones. i've read a lot about the fan cranking itself up to overdrive when people start changing the hdd's, because of custom apple firmware that regulates the temperature.

    however, an apple genius told me that it is not the firmware, but a thermistor that is attached to the hdd.

    i watched a good video of someone taking the iMac apart, and it shows the thermistor, but also a noise isolation module that he removes from the existing drive and puts it on the new drive. he makes no mention of custom firmware.

    so, i am trying to find out:
    if it is true that there is no custom firmware?
    and if anyone has read or seen or done this successfully?

    i'm planning to go to an apple authorized reseller so it won't void the warranty if **** hits the fan. plus if it doesn't work, i'm hoping that they can acquire official drives from apple, but we'll see.

    anyway, mucho appreciata for any input!!


  2. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    If you dont want to mod your mac update your disks in apple.
  3. topmike macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2009
    I would consider just adding a second hard drive.

    iFixIt custom designed a kit with all the parts and tools you need to install a second hard drive inside your Mid 2011 21.5" or 27" iMac. It will work with all processor speeds, regardless of whether Apple offers the additional SSD option for your machine. And unlike other kits, their product does not require permanently removing your optical drive. You'll have two drives as well as a functioning optical drive. All you need is an extra 2.5" SATA drive (not included). They recommend kerping your SSD and using it as your boot drive, but you could instead install a 1 TB hard drive for more storage space.

    Hope that helps!
  4. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    Dude you can add an extra hdd in your iMac as you have 3 internal sata ports but what about temperature monitor?The best solution i recommend to you is to add and extra ssd which dont need temperature monitoring or an esata port.
  5. kgian macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011

    There is no known way to change the main HDD without the fans revving up. The only way is to have apple do it. As for the ssd, you can exchange it yourself without any problem.

    It seems that temperature sensor, fan and firmware problems are all related to replacing the main HDD.

    Hope that clears things up.

    PS. The video you have posted is for an old imac model...
  6. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    Wrong there is a way you can upgrade the internal HDD with another buy an external temperature sensor (superdive or 2009 iMac).You can also close the temperature cercuit to keep fan down but this is only recommended for SSD drives.
  7. Morgo macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2003
    Why not just go down the Thunderbolt route? Granted it's relatively expensive compared to raw internal drives and you need to find a physical location to place it... however you save yourself any woes of modifying your iMac and you get to increment upon your current storage.
  8. kgian macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    I thought we were talking about 2011 imac....
  9. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011


    Yes for the 2011 model i talk too which have internal temperature sensor for the HDD as my model mid-2010.
  10. oosk2k11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    i went to the apple store and they said that they only replace drives (ssd or hdd) if one develops a fault, and only at the same capacity.

    i forgot that the sata cable is 7 pin in the iMacs, after watching the video. although this video shows an ssd being added not a hdd, it still sounds good, however the kit is £65 with UK shipping which is annoyingly expensive.

    oh ok I didn't know that there was an extra sata port. the extra ssd rather than hdd sounds awesome but seems to me it would be a waste to have 2 ssds. however I could install a 2nd 256 ssd through the iFixit guide, thereby devoting one to mac and one to bootcamp, and replace the 1tb hdd for a larger one, thereby i don't need a 2nd temp sensor.

    s*** i jus noticed the aluminium rim around the glass in the video. you sure that there's custom firmware on the hdd?

    i'd rather not short out the temperature circuit or use anything like SMC fan control as that voids the warranty lol

    aye the western digital or lacie 4TB thunderbolt raid drive is my last resort option coz i need the ssd boot drive upgrading, plus its nice to have all the storage etc contained within the computer.

    i'm thinking either,

    replacing ssd for 512
    adding another 256 ssd, replacing the hdd
    adding another 256 ssd, thunderbolt for storage
    or pretty much just thunderbolt, although the ssd boot drive is the main thing i need upgrading.

    anyway cheers for ya feedback, i'm gonna go apple reseller and test out ssd replacement/adding. i'll get back with results!
  11. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    Did you get any good results?
  12. oosk2k11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Ooh yes I did. Sorry I forgot to post up my results earlier. I successfully changed the Apple 256 SSD with a Crucial 512 SSD. No problems.

    As for the HDD, for the sake of £30-ish, I changed the Apple 1 TB for an Apple 3 TB. However, technically, the 3 TB shouldn't go in a 2011 iMac, so the HDD fan cranks up. But, third party software such as, works flawlessly. This software was recommended by the Apple Authorized Service Provider that I went to.

    A few months later, unrelated to the SSD/HDD, I went to the Apple store, because the display needed replacing. They noticed I changed the SSD and HDD, but once I said that it was done through an authorized provider, they were cool with it.

    Hope my experience helps you :)

  13. Richdmoore, Aug 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Other World Computing (OWC) has a turnkey program that will add a larger hard drive without the fans revving. I believe they use a custom chip they get from a company in europe, it translates a thermal sensor data into the format the 2011 iMac needs.

    OWC only offered the factory install option until recently, now they sell the parts needed to make any hard drive work without resorting to a software solution.

    (One disadvantage of the software solution is that the iMac will no longer pass the apple hardware test without the original hard drive installed.)



    Anyway, it is another option for people who want to replace their hard drives with a larger model.
  14. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    This. Is. AWESOME! I will use you as my goto guy when it comes to this challenge, and even send you some PM's if that's possible?

    1. Are there no temp reader on the inbuilt Apple 256 SSD?
    2. Is there EFI of firmware support for any SSD on the 2011 iMac?
    3. Can I remove the CD drive and add the original SSD as a 3rd harddrive if I install a 3.5" drive?
    4. What do I need regarding clips, and hard drive 'cases' (missing the word here, but you get what i mean?)?

    Thanks! :)


    This is also AWESOME! Finally some certainty about the temp issue. This item is already bought and on it's way to Norway!
  15. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    Aslo, when my iMac was only shipped with an SSD, where is the SSD located? And how does one install a 2nd drive and where? :)
  16. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009

    I need some help here. Since a 512 GB SSD is still pretty expensive, is it possible to add a 2nd 256 SSD and then replace the DVD with a a 3.5" drive? This is sata 1.5 if my memory serves me right.
  17. oosk2k11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Hey dude apologies for not getting back to you sooner.

    1. There is no temp reader on the built-in Apple SSD.
    2. I imagine so yes. It was plug and play when I replaced my Apple SSD for a Crucial one.
    3. I am pretty sure, yes. However, if you replace the built-in HDD, even with an Apple one of higher capacity, the fans WILL rev up. I am using HDD Fan Control, a small compromise, with absolutely no issues for almost a year now.
    4. You mean a bracket? I'm not sure, but my advice would be to go to an authorised Apple service provider if you can. Over here in the UK, I've found one that isn't afraid to 'bend the rules', so it's awesome, keeping my warranty intact.

    If you still need any more help, just send me a message.

    If you didn't choose a HDD at the time of purchase, there will be no bracket or 2nd Sata lead inside the iMac for a second drive. I can't remember where about the SSD is, but it's pretty organized inside there, you'll see it!

    And yeah I'm also pretty sure that that is possible. Just don't try to put in a dvd into the slot afterwards :p

Share This Page