Transfer physical SSD drive from 2009 iMac to 2011 iMac?

Greengecko19

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
3
Hi folks,
I have a 2009 iMac with two drives, one of them an SSD. It might have originally been set up as a fusion drive, but they were showing up separately the last time I checked. I believe all files reside on the SSD. The logic board burnt out on this machine (confirmed by Apple Store techs). I have a lot of pictures and other files and some software on the 2009 that I want to keep, and I also want to save the SSD from the old machine. Is it feasible to transfer the SSD drive physically to a 2011 iMac? Will the OS be compatible with the slightly different hardware?

Thanks for the help.
 

wardie

macrumors 6502
Aug 18, 2008
347
109
Unless you’ve already done this, whilst you’re in there I’d recommend also using the DVD drive bay as another location for an SSD/HDD. I just did this for 2nd drive on HDD-based 2009 iMac. Now have the DVD Drive in an enclosure on USB2 works fine.
Regarding your data can’t you just use a backup e.g. TM / clone / cloud?
 

Greengecko19

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
3
Yes it's feasible, and the OS should work fine on the 2011.
Redheeler, thanks for the confirmation. I'll make a Time Machine backup of the current HDD so I can turn back the clock if everything goes south.
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Unless you’ve already done this, whilst you’re in there I’d recommend also using the DVD drive bay as another location for an SSD/HDD. I just did this for 2nd drive on HDD-based 2009 iMac. Now have the DVD Drive in an enclosure on USB2 works fine.
Regarding your data can’t you just use a backup e.g. TM / clone / cloud?
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll probably just transfer the physical SSD setup from the old machine. As far as the files, I need to physically get the SSD & HDD out of the old machine, cause the logic board is burnt out and I have no way to retrieve/upload them.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,603
392
The Sillie Con Valley
The 2010 & 2011 27” iMacs have two SATA busses besides the DVD. No need to canabalize the DVD unless you want to install three.

You will need the OWC temp sensor—it’s different than the one for the 2009-2010 27”. The 2009 24” does not need one.

There were no fusion drives in 2009.
 

Greengecko19

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
3
Thanks, mikehalloran, great info. Now I know why the drives are separate! The 2009 I have is a 27"; does that make a difference? If I transfer the SSD from the 2009 to the 2011, can I turn it into a fusion drive setup? I've seen the instructions for it; doesn't seem that difficult. I would just need to make an image of the SSD drive before doing that, because my understanding is that converting or re-creating a fusion drive clears off both drives, is that right?


The 2010 & 2011 27” iMacs have two SATA busses besides the DVD. No need to canabalize the DVD unless you want to install three.

You will need the OWC temp sensor—it’s different than the one for the 2009-2010 27”. The 2009 24” does not need one.

There were no fusion drives in 2009.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,603
392
The Sillie Con Valley
There is no reason to create a fusion drive in a 2011. 2 out of 3 busses are SATA III while the DVD is on a SATA II bus so there's no speed advantage at all.

The original HDD, normally an extremely hot running WD Black, should be pulled and recycled. This will make the iMac run much cooler and lessen the chance that it will develop a notorious GPU issue caused by overheating and cooling stressing the solder joints.

Whether or not you should put the 2009 SSD into the 2011 is up to you. You can get a 2TB SSD with a 5 year warranty under $300. There is no advantage to having multiple drives unless you a) need that much storage or b) need to run multiple OS (and I caution against that if running High Sierra).

The 2009–2010 uses a simple temp sensor that does not work on the 2011–2019. For that, you will need the OWC part or suffer through one of those software "solutions" that causes your iMac fans to roar at full speed till the extension kicks in and forces you to monitor and control fan speed manually (no thanks!).

This sits inline the main harness — the second SSD does not need it.

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD11/

I'll assume you have the other tools you need as they're the same for the 2009.

Since it's 8 years old, time to replace the NV RAM battery. The OE is a heat resistant BR2032 but since you will not have the spinning heat pump in there, the common CR2032 medical battery is fine. Unlike the 2009-10, it's on the front of the motherboard underneath the bottom right of the screen and takes another minute to change as long as you're in there.
 

Greengecko19

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
3
Great info! I went ahead and bought the OWC temp sensor. I found a good 2TB SSD, so I'll just use the mounting bracket from the old computer to install it in the new. I also got a dual docking station, to copy the disk image to the new SSD before installing it.

Thanks again to everyone for the help.
 

Greengecko19

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
3
Can someone tell me what the folder structure of the Mac hard drive looks like when you take it out of the machine? I put it into an external drive dock and it looks to me like my old iMac drive is almost empty, only 10GB of data, and I don't see the user folders that were there, only the "Shared" folder. Is the rest of my data still there, perhaps concealed?
 
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