Upgrade 2013 iMac 21.5" to SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by whcvip, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. whcvip macrumors newbie


    Oct 29, 2015
    Hi, have searched for the answer for days now, and seems to be allot of different views on this.

    First which SSD drives will work, without the fan going bananas, and does it have a pcie socket on the motherboard that can be used for SSD, or is it only for Apple branded SSD drives?

    Looking to get minimum 500gb, not big fan of Samsung, so am thinking about Sandisk SSD drives, or other brands to consider, looking for maximum speed at best value.

    It is a base model iMac ultimo 2013, with only 5400rpm spinning hard drive as standard.

    Am also considering just getting a USB 3.0 SSD (thunderbolt too expensive imo), and use it as system drive, much easier that opening up the iMac, how reliable would that be in the long run, with like Sandisk Extreme 500 USB 3.0 SSD drive?
  2. drummer5645, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016

    drummer5645 macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2014
    Just added an external 250g ssd to my 2013 late 21.5. Bought the new Samsung Portable T3 for $129. Went from 50-60 read/write to 375/425. I tried using applecare to help set up and that wasn't so good, called Samsung they dummey it down for me to get it to work. Life is better.
    An enclosure with ssd is probably a bit cheaper but like that I only had one decision. Speed would likely be comparable.

    Fishrrman is right. My set up is usb3.0 as well.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I can think of a couple of ways to "get where you want to be":

    You could buy an external SSD, ready-to-go, like this:
    I'd suggest the 240gb size as being the best value.

    Get an enclosure like this (USB3 with UASP support):

    ...and then add the SSD of your choice.
    I've had good experiences recently from Crucial and Sandisk Plus drives.

    Far FAR less toil and trouble by booting and running the iMac externally via USB3.
    You won't believe how well this works until you've tried it.
    Don't let others dissuade you from USB3 because it "doesn't support TRIM".
    I've been booting and running my late-2012 Mini for 3+ years via a USB3 external booter (no TRIM), and it runs as well today as when the drive was first connected.
  4. whcvip thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 29, 2015

    Thanks for the heads up, ordered the Sandisk Extreme 500 480GB, should be here monday, so will see how this works, also have the tools and tape on order to take the iMac apart it it turns out the external drive does not work as hoping.

    Just wondering, what drive and case you have been using on your Mini?
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "what drive and case you have been using on your Mini?"

    I don't use a "case" (enclosure) at all.

    I have both my external boot drives (one is set up for 10.8.2 and the other has 10.11.4) connected via "USB3/SATA" connectors. One is a "dock", the other is just an "adapter-dongle".
    No fancy looks but both work fine.

    One of the drives is a "Sandisk Plus", the other is a Crucial m500.
  6. stuartak macrumors member


    Feb 21, 2016
    Just a note on your concern related to your fans. Installing an SSD in 2013 IMAC will have no effect on the fans. The only issue with fans will come if you change the hard drive and do not reconnect the SMART (intelligent HDD protocol) lead correctly , Apple use d three suppliers of HDD all of which had a different connector into the HDD so it was an issue for folks with no real tech skills , in reality it is only the plug on the end of the lead that needs changing if you change your HDD manufacturer. Anyway you will have no trouble fitting the SSD , there is already a spare SATA socket on the rear of the logic board (you will have to take out the logic board) you will also need to get a power splitter lead and an SSD cable , you can pick up the power from the hard drive. You dont need a case for the SSD I just put some self stick velcro on back and tucked it away in a position so it did not get in the way of the LCD replacement.
  7. whcvip thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 29, 2015
    Just got the Extreme 500 today, express shipping, got about 387 write and 427 read, pretty impressed, close to the specified speed. Installing El Capitan now, looking forward to experience the speed boost.

    Though one thing got me wondering, is there a way to turn off the ability to unmount the drive?, would not be a good thing unmount while in use.

    Attached Files:

  8. whcvip thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 29, 2015
    Fits nice in back on the stand, using 3M velcro tape, so it can be easily taken off. So far working fine, and really boost the performance of the iMac.

    Attached Files:

  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    That's a nice setup above.

    Makes me wonder why people take on all the risk of opening up the iMac, when one can do as you've done, have a "clean" setup, and nearly all of "the speed"...!

    BTW, reads of 427mbps is (I believe) pretty close to the maximum one can get from an externally-mounted SSD using USB3. Just checked my own (Crucial SSD sitting in a plugable.com "lay-flat" USB3 dock) and got 430.8 ...

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8 April 2, 2016