Upgrade to SSD on a 2017 iMac 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by guilly08, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. guilly08 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 14, 2018
    #1
    Hi All,

    I purchased the iMac last year as a refurb and compromised on the HDD at the time since there were no SSD options available. Now that my apple care is expired I've been thinking of taking advantage of the BlackFriday sales to upgrade to an SSD.

    Just wondering what's your recommendation, worth the hassle ? I'm in the IT field but don't use the iMac for much more then browsing the web and a bit of scripting etc... but I like a snappy O/S :). The other question I have is around the thermal sensor on the 27". How do you get around that ? I couldn't seem to find any details on this on the web....

    Appreciate the input!
     
  2. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #2
    The Samsung 970 EVO plus an inexpensive pin-out adapter gives you up to 2TB of PCIe 3x4 goodness.
    https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-970-EVO-1TB-MZ-V7E1T0BW/dp/B07C8Y31G1?th=1

    You can get the adapter for $6 on eBay but here it is for $14 on Amazon
    https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adap...&qid=1542243898&sr=1-20&keywords=nvme+adapter

    I have heard that the thermal sensor is not necessary in the late iMacs. Not certain it's true but you can always put it back together with masking tape, fire it up and if the fans behave, then use the tape kit to put it back together without the sensor.

    If the cable is like earlier iMacs, shorting the sensor works. I would go ahead and throw a storage SATA III SSD inside and use the OWC Thermal sensor. This kit has the tools, sensor and tape to put it back together.

    https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Digital-...4083&sr=1-4&keywords=imac+thermal+sensor&th=1

    Bracket is optional but convenient. Otherwise, use double-stick foam tape to attach an SATA III SSD to the foil lining the back.
    https://www.amazon.com/Fenlink-Inte...-7-acs&keywords=2.5+to+3.5+hard+drive+adapter
     
  3. guilly08 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 14, 2018
    #3
    Thanks,

    What's the advantage of using a PCIe vs a standard 2.5" SSD with the bracket ?

    Assuming my model has the thermal sensor, is it impossible to save the existing one ? The thermal adapter seems expensive :-/... I don't think I'll need the kit, I've already got a set of torx screw drivers so the kit seems over priced just for the tape.
     
  4. jerwin, Nov 14, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018

    jerwin macrumors 68020

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    #4
  5. guilly08 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
  6. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    #6
  7. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #7
    You assume incorrectly.

    Correct. I showed a link to the right one for all 2013–2017 Macs that do not have the blade soldered in.

    2013–2014 and all 6.1 Mac Pros are limited to PCIe 2 speeds as they have the slower buss. Interestingly, the 2015 iMac has the faster 3x4 (aka quad) bus but Apple installed a PCIe 2 SSD (!)(!) The 2017 has a quad bus and a quad SSD to go with it.

    Yea but you don't want a 960 EVO. The 970 EVO is newer, a little faster, less expensive and available up to 2TB.
     
  8. jofarmer, Nov 14, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018

    jofarmer macrumors member

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    #8
    The 2017 27“ iMac als well als the 21,5“ iMac that was configured with a Fusion drive at the Time of purchase have two possibilities to connect a SSD:
    1. A PCIe blade that unfortunately uses a proprietary connector and thus would need an adapter to use readily available PCIe NVMe SSDs
    2. A standard 2,5“ SATA drive
    What I am trying to find out is what adapter one would need to be able to go with option 1. Using a adapter for the blade ssd to connect it to the sata port is certainly possible but not worth the hassle, since you could as well just buy e.g. a 2,5“ Samsung Evo 970.

    There are Adapters that have been tested and reported working for a lot of MBP models and the Mac Pro from Sintech, but I have not found one yet that is reported to work at full four channel speed for the iMac. The beetstech page unfortunately has no info on what SSDs Apple used.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 15, 2018 ---
    I think that for you it would not be worth the hassle to try to upgrade your iMac to use the blade ssd, but just replace the SATA Drive with a SSD. The general consensus seems to be that the upgrade from a SATA HDD to a SATA SSD is hugely noticeable but the jump from a good SATA SSD to a PCIe Blade SSD is more academic in day-to-day use. Considering that replacing the sata drive is much easier than replacing the blade (or in your case: installing a blade for the first time) my recommendation would be to replace the SATA drive with a good SSD.
     
  9. guilly08 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Thanks for the information!

    Agreed, given the workload I'm doing on the iMac I think an SSD with SATA will suffice and also cut down cost a bit. The only remaining question is the thermal connection. Does anyone know if these can be salvaged or should I just get the replacement cable ? I've seen people control the fan's through software but I'd prefer to put things back the way they were.
     
  10. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #10
    While either is faster than an HDD, a PCIe quad is 5x the speed of SATA III SSD in a 2015–2017 iMac. The cost difference isn't that great when you factor in the labor.
    There's only one adapter but many vendors and brands of that adapter. Its only function is to adapt the pins to the form that Apple uses. It has no IC or buffer. There are many who have tested it. It works.

    Samsung is the maker of the Apple blade. If you couldn't find this info, it's because you didn't look very hard. Only the pin-out is proprietary. The technology is not.

    Do what you want—it's your Mac—but don't let misinformation be your guide.
     
  11. psymac, Nov 17, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018

    psymac macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Thinking about doing the same thing to upgrade my 2TB Fusion drive on my 2017 27" iMac, and either

    1) Replace existing internal 128GB Nvme SSD with a pulled iMac 512GB Nvme SSD (and getting hopefully much faster R/W speeds) and also replace the HDD with a SSD, or

    2) Use a fast external SSD, like the Samsung X5, as my startup disk and essentially ignore the Fusion drive, or

    3) Possible to replace both the internal Nvme 128GB SSD and the SATA HDD with the 970 EVO with an adapter?

    I guess the question is, would installing an internal Nvme be worth the R/W speeds over that of an external Nvme such as the Samsung X5. Given about the same price, my hunch is no.
     
  12. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #12
    The 2015–2017 27" iMac has 2 busses as does any 21.5" that has a Fusion drive.

    The 21.5" iMac might not have a PCIe buss if originally configured with an HDD only—some do and others don't.

    Buss 1 is PCIe 3x4 (aka quad). A 970 EVO with the $6–$13 pin-out (they're all the same) will increase the capacity in a 2017 but may or may not run faster*. In a 2015, it will double the buss speed because you are replacing the PCIe 2 blade that Apple installed. Apple sees a 970 EVO in the PCIe buss as an OE drive — TRIM is enabled by default.

    System pulls from a 2015 MacBook Pro are hard to find and very expensive but they are Samsung quad chips. Going rate is $1,500 for a 2T vs $579 for a 970 EVO. The only issue with the adapter is that you have to loosen the right speaker to slide it under and into the slot—tighten the speaker when done.

    An Apple system pull from a Mac Pro or 2013–14 anything (or 2013–15 iMac) is PCIE 2 as is the OWC Aura. You do not want these in a 2015 or later iMac.

    Buss 2 is SATA III and runs 1/5 the speed of Buss 1 (more or less). These take a 2.5" SSD such as the $369 2T 860 EVO (and many others) with a different, $13" 3.5" to 2.5" adapter bracket. The 860 EVO is available up to 4TB. Yes, you can buy an adapter card to install a 970 EVO into that bracket but it cannot run faster than SATA III — it's a waste of money.

    *Splitting the fusion drive can make an iMac run noticeably faster. This depends on many things including the task, file size and type. It is also possible to fuse the SATA III SSD with the PCIe blade but what's the point?

    Does the 970 EVO have any issues? Not really but a) Its firmware allows it to run High Sierra or later—nothing earlier, period (not an issue with a 2017, of course). b) on 2013–2014 PCIE 2 Macs, there may be a Wake from Sleep issue that is easily fixed by running a Terminal Command: sudo pmset hibernatemode 0 standby 0 There are threads where people think the brand of adapter makes a difference in this regard–it doesn't and can't but not all 2013–14 iMacs have this issue.
     
  13. psymac, Nov 17, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018

    psymac macrumors 6502

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    #13
    --- Post Merged, Nov 17, 2018 ---
    So I can install in bus 1 an Evo 970 with an adapter and get near OEM blade SSD speed? I did separate my 2TB Fusion drive and didn’t see any speed increase with the now separate 128GB bus 1 SSD, about 2100/700mb/s R/W, which must be very different than the OEM 512GB blade SSD with about 2100/2100 mb/s R/W.
     
  14. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #14
    No. You get OEM SSD blade speeds.
     
  15. psymac macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Very cool, just have to decide either this for about $150 (including iMac install kit and 2 hours labor time) or external Samsung X5 for $300.
     
  16. mwjlw macrumors newbie

    mwjlw

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    #16
    Mike

    I have the mid 2017 5k 27" iMac and have just purchased the Crucial MX500 1TB to get the 2TB fusion drive and the 128gb blade removed then replaced with the MX500 by an Apple authorised service centre as the machine still has two months warranty (not cheap in the UK but they have assured me that my warranty will stay intact). I knew it would be Sata 3 but after reading your article I have ordered the Sintech adapter from your link and am currently searching the Internet for the best price available for the 1TB Evo 970. Can you confirm the adapter will not extend the length of the Evo for fitting purposes and any other issues that might arise when being fitted. Also upon booting is the only requirement a USB operating system installer? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  17. psymac macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Mike will chime in I’m sure, but for me it was a straight install and exactly the length needed for the screw to tighten down the Nvme blade.Only needed boot up fom Internet recovery OS X install, but a USB or external start up disk should would work as well. Over the past couple weeks it’s been hard to find a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO, but it was recently on Amazon for $259 (was previously $229). Good luck, and it’s an amazing improvement.
     
  18. mwjlw macrumors newbie

    mwjlw

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    #18
    Thanks psymac for that valuable information.
     
  19. dobrink macrumors member

    dobrink

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    #19
    Are you saying that if I buy a Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD and any of the following adapters (Sintech ST-NGFF2013, Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C, Kalea) I will have normal sleep/wake in my iMac 27" 5K, late 2015 ?
     
  20. jdee2wheels macrumors member

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    #20
    I just purchased a base 2017, 27” IMac and I’m gearing up to replace the stock 1TB fusion drive setup with both a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe and the spinning HD with a 2.5” SATA SSD.

    Do I need the temperature sensor kit when replacing the spinning drive with an SSD? I’ve heard a few people saying it’s not needed on the 2017 models, but I’m finding mixed information on this.

    Thanks!
     
  21. Boulos40 macrumors newbie

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    #21
    -you cannot install any of the following adapters (Sintech ST-NGFF2013, Sintech ST-NGFF2013-C, Kalea) the 13C model is for NVMe SSD ; the 13 one for SATA PCIe!

    -be careful about the SSD temperatures:

    On a 27” mid ’17 model 1 TB fusion model i replaced the 1 TB by a 4 TB HD and the 32 GB proprietary Mac SSD by a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 500GB (€ 129,-) + Sintech NGFF M.2nVME SSD adaptor type ST-NGFF2013C; both were immediately correctly identified, but impossible to get appropriate fan control, so i had to put the 32GB SSD back. I do not intend to install a trd party tempcontrol as these SSD’s get very hot.
    Someone experienced with this problem? Help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  22. dobrink, Feb 20, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019

    dobrink macrumors member

    dobrink

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    #22
    In fact, any of those adapters will work for placing a new blade NVMe SSD to the 12+16 pin slot on the 27" iMac's motherboard. 13A, 13B and 13C work the same way, just look differently.

    I did NOT need a temperature sensor when replacing the the spinning HDD with a Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SSD on a 27" iMac Late 2013. In my opinion, the new firmware eliminates the need for the OWC temperature sensor kit. The fan was working silently as always.


    By the way, here is the report for my CPU+SSD upgrade on the basic iMac 27" Late 2013. Note I DID NOT need the OWC temperature sensor as the fan was working as normal, so I returned it to the shop saving €39 :)

    Next week perfroming CPU+Blade SSD upgrade on an iMac 27" 5k Late 2015. Report to follow.
     
  23. Boulos40 macrumors newbie

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    #23
     
  24. dobrink macrumors member

    dobrink

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    #24
    I am going to be using ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro which is less power hungry and cooler than your Samsung 970 Evo. In the iMac there is nothing directly cooling the SSD though, perhaps Apple's original drives do not require much more than a residual air flow. I have no personal experience about the adapters and whether any of those adapter versions have better integrated thermal sensor reading, but as much as I am able to read from other posts, the chips are most likely the same, as well as the pin wiring. Some people experience incompatibility with some SSD drive models because of the drives' different architectures (single, double sided, or the newest 970 Evo Plus etc.), but other than that on photos all the adapters look identical.
     
  25. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #25
    If you replace both the blade and the HDD on a 2013–2014, YOU DO need the OWC temp sensor.

    I've not needed it on the 2015 but I always use a few strips of masking tape to hold things together while I give it a test run before using the foam tape.
     

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