Upgrading 2011 iMac to SSD- What size is best?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MSosa, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. MSosa macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #1
    Hello,

    I have a 2011 i7 2.5ghz 16 gb RAM iMac that I love and want to keep running. I really don't need the latest and greatest as it has a DVD player (the only one in the house) and I can play my favorite old games like Europa Universalis III (IV works fine too!). Anyway, it has a 1TB 72,000 rpm that is probably the cause of increasingly slow application start up times, otherwise I'm happy with the computer after 6 years of constant use by the family- proof of quality Apple products. I've had to get pennies out of the super drive, but yeah, an excellent machine.

    So for years now I've been considering upgrading to an SSD and I would like some advice as to what size of SSD I should obtain as they are not cheap.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/upgrades/imac-21-5-inch-mid-2011-2.7-ghz/internal-drives

    I've used around 470 GBs of my 1TB HD. With my objective being to speed up the computer, should I go for the 250 gb or the 500 gb at $90 more? If I go for the 250 GB, how do I go about splitting my HD? Would it be something like moving infrequently used memory hogs like iPhoto to the hard disk?
     
  2. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    If you plan on using this on an ongoing basis, I'd recommend you get a 1 TB SSD. You'll want at least 20-25% of your drive empty.

    Either that or get a 500 GB drive and move a bunch of stuff off the SSD, keeping no more than about 375 GB used.
     
  3. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #3
    500 GB at least and put stuff you don't need often onto an external drive.

    in terms of SSD: don't go with OWC. get a crucial or a samsung.
     
  4. MSosa, Oct 25, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017

    MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #4
    Ok, OWC seems overpriced then compared to Crucial, were I've always bought my RAM. But I had forgotten about them since 2011, and it seems even my account was erased. Anyways, Crucial SSD 525GB is $150 compared to a similar one at OWC for $210. Tech specs seem the same:
    Crucial MX300 525GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD

    Cool, crucial has an installation guide...
    http://guides.crucial.com/Guide/iMac-Intel-21-5-Inch-EMC-2428-SSD-Installation/441/1

    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3D7E6G500/

    Need to find those suction cups. Torx screwdriver set includes just one: http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/ctapltlkit

    OWC has a kit but its expensive! https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD11/

    I thought the iMac had an internal hard disk expansion space so that two drives could be used. Am I wrong?
     
  5. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #5
  6. MSosa, Oct 25, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017

    MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #6
    Awesome, ordered the kit! Shipping sucked though, $12. Yeah, looks like a fun 2 hour project for me! I'm surprised this dual drive option is not more documented in the various threads and upgrade sites I've visited. Not even sure how I became aware of it.

    To create the Fusion drive, is it an internal OS X option when setting it up the dual drives?

    Also is it necessary for me to format the SSD drive prior to installing it or can I format it after installing it (since I will keep the original hard disk)? If I don't need to format it prior then I can exclude purchasing a SATA to USB cable.

    Thanks for the advice dude, I will post my results here. I have a MacBook Pro so I'm willing to risk the iMac.
     
  7. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #7
    you don't need to format the SSD prior, you do it afterwards.

    as for the fusion drive, you create it in recovery mode, but your content on your original HDD will be erased.
    if you want to take that route, you need a backup.
     
  8. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #8
    Is going the Fusion drive route worth it? It seems the purpose of that method is to cut down on costs. Crucial doesn’t seem to offer a one TB drive for my iMac, instead jumping to a $500 2 TB drive that I definitely don’t need. If I use the 500 GB SSD I will have to transfer or delete things to the HD to keep the SSD in ideal operating condition as was mentioned earlier in this thread. The Fusion drive would automate the process of keeping things in the different drives. However my HD is now six years old and I’m thinking there is an increasing risk of failure. If using a Fusion drive would the computer fail if the HD fails? So I’m wondering what your opinion is on split drives vs Fusion.

    Thank you
     
  9. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #9
    there is a 1 TB SSD from crucial for 300$. check amazon.

    you are correct in assuming that when the HDD fails, the fusion drive will be non-functional.
    you won't be able to boot up the system internally. fusion drive is a nice compromise, but has its downside.

    if you have the money for a 1 TB SSD, definitely go for it and use it as your main drive.
    with that, you have the 1 TB HDD for everything else or used as an internal (time machine) backup.

    then again, with that space, you could have bought the thermal sensor kit and replace the HDD with the SSD, without the hassle of disassembling the whole mac.

    you need a solid backup source (preferably 2 TB) either way.
     
  10. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #10
    The 1 TB begins to make more sense. Even if I delete stuff to around 350 gigs the 500 GB SSD will start to fill and lose effectiveness. The old original HD at 6 years of age must be approaching its end of life, so relying on it as a Fusion drive is probably not wise. Using it as a TM backup (along with iCloud) is probably its best use.

    I do prefer the double drive option from iFixit than having an external drive sticking around somewhere. Thanks for all of your help!
     
  11. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

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    Sep 13, 2017
  12. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

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    Oct 23, 2017
    #12
    Picked up a 1 TB SSD from Crucial for $230 using their Black Friday special and already have the iFixit kit. Now just gotta block out a couple of hours for the exciting operation...
     
  13. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #13
    thanks for the update.

    the 2011 imacs are very service-friendly (i miss the magnets).
    i'm sure you can do it and you probably won't need more than 2 hours for the whole process (dis- and reassembling).

    aside from the guide i posted, check out OWC's video as well.
     
  14. EricB4President macrumors newbie

    EricB4President

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    #14
    I have an 2015 iMac 21.5" i5, 8 GB RAM that has a 1TB hard drive. Using it mainly for music production and editing.

    Could I get away with a 256 GB external drive SSD? Would this one be any good? It'll work with the Mac right?
    Verbatim 256GB Vx450 External SSD, USB 3.0 with mSATA Interface, Black 47681

    How would it work, so would I still store my computer's data on the built in 1TB while the 256 GB SSD is plugged in to up my computer's speed. Or is it that once the SSD is plugged in, my computer now only has 256 GB of space to work in?

    This is so confusing, first mac...please help
     
  15. enricoclaudio macrumors member

    enricoclaudio

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #15
    If your plan is to replace the 1TB HDD for a 1TB SSD, which is what I did, you have to get the temperature sensor for the SSD and also a HDD adapter. I did this upgrade in my 27" iMac 2011 model as well and it's still running great in my daughter's house. Additionally to the iFix Kit, you will need to get these:

    https://www.amazon.com/NewerTech-Ad...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QFE33W9CWCSHWZC1N83J

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

    Like I said, these are needed if you want to replace the HDD with a SSD. If you are adding the SSD as a second drive then the iFix Kit is all you need.
     
  16. tn-xyz macrumors regular

    tn-xyz

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #16
    no. to make use of the speed of the SSD you have to install macOS onto it and permanently boot from it.
    you can use your internal HDD for everything else and as cache.
     
  17. EricB4President macrumors newbie

    EricB4President

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    Nov 20, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    #17
    thank you truly!
     
  18. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #18
    Nope, going to keep the original HDD and add the SSD, so I can avoid that little complexity.

    So I'm halfway through the multiple steps, I noticed the inside of the iMac is dirty with 6 years dust accumulation. I vacuumed a bit inside, blew on the fans that I removed. Anything else I should do now that I have it open? Like I noticed there is an actual battery attached to the motherboard. What is it for and should I replace it?
     
  19. MjWoNeR macrumors 6502

    MjWoNeR

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Sweden
    #19
    I believe that must be the CMOS battery or PRAM battery in Apple speak. By removing it you will reset settings like time and date and maybe more like resetting the NVRAM.

    I never had a CMOS battery die in any of my desktop PCs. I think I replaced one once in a friend’s laptop. It’s not very common to have one fail.
    In my PCs I used to remove it to reset the BIOS when I messed up my overclocking settings. Later PC motherboards got jumpers and in the end buttons to clear CMOS.
     
  20. MSosa, Dec 22, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017

    MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #20
    Having such a fun time trying to put the logic board back in its space with everything aligning correctly. I've taped most of the cables so they are out of the way. Something is still preventing me from aligning it correctly! Aaaaargh.

    - Much later- Finally, had to pull out the RAM.
     
  21. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #21
    Well I broke something :-(

    Its not powering on. I went back and checked one cable that wasn't going in right. It was the LCD thermal sensor cable. It had a single bent pin. I straightened it and the connector went in fine. Checked the power unit cables, those look fine too. Maybe I broke the power button cable. I noticed a little square pice that was attached to it lose. Everything else looks fine and there wasn't any static electricity to fry that I noticed.

    This was an older iMac, so I'm was willing to take the risk. If I can't identify the issue I'll have to send it to my local repair shop. I'm curious to know what, if anything, I broke.
     
  22. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #22
    It’s not the power. I can hear what I think is the HDD starting to spin when I press the power button and then shutting down. What did I break?
     
  23. Andreas222 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    #23
    Any updates on the damage? Considering doing this upgrade myself..
     
  24. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #24
    I took it to my local computer shop, $60 so far. They will tell me this week.
     
  25. MSosa thread starter macrumors newbie

    MSosa

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    #25
    Dudes anyone know where I can play can buy an iMac motherboard? I’m not giving up on this! I wonder if I can fit a better motherboard on that 2011 iMac than the 2.7 quad i5 I had.
     

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24 October 25, 2017