Upgrade 2011 iMac with SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SuperMatt, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. SuperMatt macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2002
    I want to speed up a 2011 21.5" iMac (500GB HD) by booting off an SSD. However, it is difficult and kind of risky (you can damage the logic board) to switch out the internal storage on these.

    So, is anybody using a thunderbolt SSD as an iMac boot drive? I'd imagine that, while not as fast as an internal SSD, it would still be a lot faster than the 500GB HD that came with this iMac.
  2. wrongmark macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2012
    Just change it internally. It's not that hard.
  3. kgian macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    I have done the internal installation. It is not that hard if you follow the owc video.
  4. weezin macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2012
    I just swapped mine for an SSD in my 2011. Not hard, but follow the video instructions from OWC!
  5. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    Yes, to install an SSD under the DVD drive requires the trauma of lifting the logic board out slightly. On the 21.5" model there's even less space to play with than the 27" model. I'd avoid it as bad things happened to me. What I eventually did was replaced the internal HD with SSD and ran a hd fan control program. Must less hassle and no logic board moving.
  6. SuperMatt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2002
    Seems like a number of people have managed to take apart the iMac without it becoming totally FUBAR - so maybe I will give the internal drive swap a try after all!
  7. Conutz macrumors regular


    Oct 24, 2014
    I upgraded this week - really not difficult!

    I have the same iMac as you have and was very nervous about doing the internal upgrade. With time I built up the courage and bought a 512GB MX-100, a 3.5"-to-2.5"adaptor and one of these:


    With the help of my wife, I carried out the replacement of the stock HDD a couple of nights ago and it took us about 25 mins all up. Since we had the extra pair of hands, we only unplugged the right-hand set of cables, rotating the screen outward to the left (the cables on the LHS are glued down really well in any case, it would be very difficult to free them). We also wore surgical gloves in case we touched the LCD. Before replacing the screen glass, we wiped the inside of glass and LCD with lint-free cloths supplied with spectacles. One other note: the OWC sensor that gets stuck to the drive was a little to wide for the gap between the edge of the SSD and the Crucial decal. To get around this I unpeeled the decal and re-positioned it more to one side of the drive. This ensures better adhesion and better thermal conductivity.

    The result with the OWC sensor has been perfect, with my SSD reflecting about 40-odd degrees C at most times and the HDD fan pretty much always at 1100 rpm - as it was when I have the original HDD in there. I have no need for additional software and am very happy.

    The process was actually so easy I'd have absolutely no hesitation opening it up again. So...just ensure you have the tools required and go for it! OWC sells the above with a complete toolkit if you missing some of the required tools. Good luck!
  8. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    This model has a free SATA data port so you don't even need to remove the optical drive. Simply get a SATA power splitter and use this for SATA power, use a spare SATA data cable for data, and use double sided tape to attach to the front of the optical drive's surface.

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7 October 21, 2014