SSD for 2009 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Gigatel, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Gigatel macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2013
    I know there are numerous threads on the subject, but I just wanted to see if the latest and greatest SSDs are the best option for a late model 2009 iMac. I need to upgrade soon and the myriad if options are confusing. I'm looking at the Samsung 840s, but would a lesser model suffice given the age of my iMac?
  2. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I have a late 2009 iMac 27" that I upgraded with an SSD.
    It made a big difference (bigger than I expected).

    I believe all the 2009 iMacs (27" and the smaller screen) have SATA 2 which maxes out at 300 Gbsp. As far as I know you can connect a SATA 3 drive like the Samsung you are considering, but it will be a SATA 2 connection not SATA 3. That means it might hold back faster SATA 3 drives.

    All I can vouch for is that the Intel 320 I put in a while ago has worked flawlessly and was a big improvement over the drive the iMac came with.
  3. Dadioh macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2010
    Canada Eh?
    One thing to keep in mind when talking about SATA3 SSD's in SATA2 machines is that the SATA2 "bottleneck" only really comes into play in large sustained transfers. However, most of the WOW factor of SSD's shows itself in the very fast, random, small transfer size (e.g. 4K, 8K, etc...) which are not anywhere near the limits of the SATA2 interface.

    So buying a newer SATA3 SSD with better 4K (IOPS) will still benefit your performance in a SATA2 machine. I have two late 2009 27" iMacs (SATA2) with Intel 330 180GB SSD's (SATA3) in them and I can not tell the difference in day to day from my 2011 Mac Mini (SATA3) with Vertex4 (SATA3). Sure, the Mac Mini benchmarks faster using BlackMagic but in terms of noticeable difference in day to day use... I don't see it.

    IMHO, Get yourself the fastest affordable SATA3 drive for your machine. Don't worry about trying to find older SATA2 drives. The one caveat to that is that the 2009 machines that use the 9400m chipset have difficulty with some Sandforce SATA3 drives. So if you have that chipset the safe bet is to use non-Sandforce drives.

    Edit: and to answer your question about the Samsung 840, my son has the 120GB version in his 2011 Macbook Pro (SATA3) and it is very fast. If you can afford the 250GB version the write speed is much better so that would be a nice upgrade... but you would be pleased with the 120GB Samsung 840.
  4. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    Is this the reason that some SATA3 drives are negotiated down to only SATA1, even though they are connected to SATA2?
  5. Dadioh macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2010
    Canada Eh?
    Yes. I experienced this on a 2009 21.5" machine with nvidia 9400m chipset. With research I discovered that it was a sandforce sf22xx issue. OCZ created an updated firmware to fix it on agility 3 and vertex 3 but as far as I know the other vendors did not (e.g. Intel 330 and 520). So if you have 9400m then avoid those drives. Lots of other good options in Samsung and crucial.
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    What if you want to move the SSD to a new system later? At the tiny price difference, I'd look at the 840EVO instead of the 840 for the better performance. The write speed difference and the number of 4K IOPs would be my reasoning.

    And there's also the reliability of various brands. So far Samsung and Intel have the best reputation for SSDs, but Intel ones tend to cost more.
  7. Drharrington macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Concur with previous comments. Have crucial m4s in mine and it runs great. Kind of mind blowing difference. Suspect it added 4 years of life in them. You will be very happy with that upgrade.
  8. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Yup; for this reason, I'd be getting a SATA 3 SSD; I'd always want the option of using the drive on other equipment after the current machine dies, even if it's going to be in an external case (USB 3 is pretty quick, and maybe if T-bolt gets cheaper we'll see reasonably priced cases with it).
  9. Gigatel, Aug 30, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013

    Gigatel thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2013
    Thank you all for the posts, they're very helpful!

    My iMac has the ATI 4670 chipset so it looks like I shouldn't run into any issues. I think I'm gonna go with the Samsung 840. I'm very anxious for this upgrade. My iMac is pushing 4 years old and the standard HDD is just not cutting it anymore. All my other machines are on SSDs and the difference has really made me cut back my iMac use :(

    With the RAM upgrade I did a while back, the SSD will easily give me a few more years of tolerable use.

    Another Question: I have an authorized Mac repair place as a potential to do this job for me. Does anyone know if the Apple Store would do it or not? Best Buy's geek squad?
  10. Gigatel thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2013
    Just an update: Decided to take my iMac to MicroCenter to have the drive swapped out. They quoted me $80 plus any additional parts (mounting bracket). I think that's a pretty good deal considering the time it takes to do.

    I bought a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB for it. Spent more for the drive that I wanted to but the read speeds are pretty high and I plan on keeping the iMac another 3 years minimum if it all works out okay. Will post back with results when I get it back.
  11. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004

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