SSD Upgrade to 2009 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DawgFan007, May 19, 2013.

  1. DawgFan007 macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2013
    Hi everyone,
    The HDD on my 2009 iMac 27" i7 2.8 GHz recently died and so I was looking to upgrade to a Fusion Drive with a Samsung 840 250GB SSD and a 2 TB HDD. I have searched quite a bit regarding replacing the optical drive and came across a variety of issues people had when doing so.

    So, for people with experience doing this.. I realize my iMac is a SATA II and will not get the actual 6GB/S of most SSDs, but is the boost really worth the $$? Also, I am curious on how to best install the HDDs. I had planned to do the easy and cheapest way of installing the SSD in the optical drive bay and a 3.5" HDD in the main bay, but I have read where some people claimed they had terrible performance from putting the SSD in the optical bay and were getting sub-SATA I speeds. I am not sure why this would be the case, but nobody had a good explanation. Can anyone vouch for this setup or have any ideas about the optimum way of installing? Any other advice you would have about the process? Thanks in advance!
  2. Transeau macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2005
    Alta Loma, CA
    In my Late-2009 27", I went with a WD Black 2TB, and replaced the ODD with a 240GB SSD. I tried the "roll your own" fusion drive and I was unimpressed with it. I ended up just using the SSD for the OS and Apps, and setup symlinks to the HDD for the various large folders. It's pretty simple and not very expensive to do. Also it gives you a good opportunity to clean and lube the fans.
  3. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    late 2009 I7 - 240GB SSD + 1TB HDD

    I installed a 240GB SSD with OWC data doubler in my Late 2009 iMac replacing the DVD drive about 4 weeks ago.
    Leaving the 1TB spinning disk where it was.
    I am getting SATA 2 - 3 Gigabit link speed. The Blackmagic disk benchmark shows ~240MB/s read and write speeds, which is full speed SATA 2.

    Computer is now pretty fast.
    My conclusion is that there is no difference as to where you install the SSD.
    The way I did it I get to keep the spinning Disk.
  4. DawgFan007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2013
    Thanks for the follow-up guys. It sounds like just going with a replacement 3.5" in the main drive and SSD in the ODD is the way to go. I have heard mixed opinions on the "Fusion Drive" as well, so I will probably go with the symlink method. I read that people have seen performance drop with just moving the User folders through Settings to the HDD because it moves preference files, etc.
  5. Raima macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2010
    What speeds were you getting in the Black Magic Speed Test app?
  6. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Since it's SATA 2 - 3Gigabits as a connection in the 2009 iMac - I opted for a SATA 2 OWC SSD.
    I am traveling so I can't run Blackmagic - but from memory the read and write speeds where >230-260MB.
    You notice a big difference opening Aperture, MS Word, Parallels VM.


    I put everything on my SSD, except the iTunes media and my referenced photos for Aperture. Those are on the spinning disk. The actual Aperture Library in on the SSD.
    The SSD still has more than 50GB free.
    No Symlinks required for this setup.
  7. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    You'll have to be your own judge on speed. Like the others, I replaced the optical with SSD (Samsung 840/250) on an 09 i7 27 and it made a huge difference in many areas. I also have a day old 2013 with no HD and it's certainly faster, but not by the margin you would think. SSD is worth the trouble IMO.

    I agree with many - No Fusion - I'd rather control how the SSD is filled. If you keep a small user folder, by all means put everything on it and point big files to the HD.

    Good Luck with your install
  8. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Rocking a 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD "fusion" here, after running pure SSD for 18 months or so. Fusion feels just as quick as bare SSD for me, even with 73% used.

    I'd say it's worth a go while you're messing around restoring from backups anyway.
  9. Ridder macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2013
    I'm thinking of replacing the 1TB HDD (in my late 2009 27") with a SSD and put all pics, music etc (home folder is 650 GB...) on a external 1TB Firewire drive.

    Do you think this will work?
    I'm not rebooting very much, but opening iPhoto takes too long for me.
    Will the FW drive be fast enough to provide data for iPhoto?
    Or will it be slower than the old setup??

    Or is it better to replace the optical drive with a SSD and boot from the SSD?
  10. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    See my post above - I did just that: 1TB HDD + 240GB SSD in optical bay.
    Very satisfied with the result. Kept iTunes media (>200G) and Aperture referenced photos (>150GB) on the HDD. The rest incl. all my user data files, Aperture LIB etc all went on the SSD. Still have >50GB left on SSD.
    Cost: $260
  11. Ridder macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2013
    I was thinking of just taking the HDD out and putting the SSD in there.
    Leaving the optical drive where it is.
    I already moved the home folder to the external 1 TB Firewire drive.

    I would like to put a Samsung 840 250 GB in, they're 140 euro now.

    But I can also do what you did.....dunno what's better....
  12. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Remember that replacing the HDD with a SSD might create a Temperature sensor issue, letting you fan spin up to max.

    The optical bay replacement avoids that.
  13. iDutchman macrumors 6502a

    May 9, 2010
    Amsterdam, NL
    I recently replaced the Seagate HD with a 2TB WD HD. I simply purchased the same temperature sensor cable that is used for the ODD. Fans function as they should.

    I installed the SSD in the optical bay and added 16gbs of ram. It flies now. 2.66ghz i5 2009 model.
  14. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Can you elaborate on how you did it?
    Where did you by the temp sensor?
    How did you connect it?

    Tanks in advance.
  15. iDutchman macrumors 6502a

    May 9, 2010
    Amsterdam, NL
    The temperature sensor of the ODD uses the same connection to the motherboard. So, logically, you can purchase this cable and use it to measure the temperature of the internal HDD. Since it doesn't require plugging into the drive and simply needs to be put on top of the drive (with the provided adhesive), it works without flaws.

    The part number of the particular cable : 922-9229

    You can purchase it from many stores ( etc.)

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