Upgrading HDD to SSD on 2011 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ruk110, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. ruk110 macrumors regular

    ruk110

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #1
    Hi there everyone. I was hoping someone would be able to help me out here. I have a mid 2011 27inch iMac 3.1 quad core with 1TB hard drive AMD Radeon HD 6970M and am hoping to add some SSD to the internals for a much faster start up and we'll the old hard drive is aging now so should replace it.

    Any idea on how many slots I have to add hard drives? I'm willing to give up my SuperDrive and purchase externally if I need it still. I have head of these hybrid drives out there. Do they have partitions? Or all classes as one unit?

    I have been told that the newer macs have it all soldered in but mine can be pulled apart.

    Another thing, if I do replace it, how would I just 'copy' over my entire Mac?

    I have many more questions but let's start off with these for now. Thank you in advance

    Rux
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    3 drives in total if you remove the ODD. ifixit has a guide to installation and shows you what you will be up against. Luckily, no glue, just magnets.
     
  3. ruk110 thread starter macrumors regular

    ruk110

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Whats an ODD? Also somebody from apple said that my mac will only be able to handle a 256SSD and nothing larger. Could this be true?
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #4
    ODD = Optical Disk Drive or Superdrive

    Your iMac can handle any 2.5" SATA III SSD currently on the market. I believe 1TB is currently the biggest.
     
  5. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    #5
    Nope, not true. Look at my SSD (Crucial) installed in my 2011, at the bottom of this post. ODD is Optical Disk Drive.

    You can install the SSD underneath the Optical Drive. That's where mine is. I kept the original HDD and ran the SSD off the second SATA connector.

    Used the OWC install kit that came with the wiring. And used their video to install it. http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/imac_mid27_2011_ssddiy/
     
  6. ruk110 thread starter macrumors regular

    ruk110

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #6
    Hi Macthefork,

    Do you recommend any particular SSD's? Would I be able to solely run the OS off the SSD and the rest of the mac from the HDD?
     
  7. Richdmoore macrumors 65816

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #7
    I just upgraded my 21.5 2011 iMac. I did not want to open the computer to do this, as it looks way too complicated or prone to damage during disassembly. I chose to go with a thunderbolt SSD solution.

    1. I used a 1TB Crucial BX100 SSD drive. ($300 Sale on Newegg & free shipping.)

    2. Thunderbolt 3m cable ($40 Apple retail Store) I could have used the smaller cable, but thought the extra $10 is worth it.

    3. Delock Thunderbolt Enclosure Model 42510 ($89 from Synchotech + $9 shipping from CA or OR. {Synchrotech the only authorized dealer of Delock products in the US}

    Install was simple, just installed the drive into the thunderbolt case, plugged into the computer and AC power. Then I had to format the SSD. I opted to make a USB 2 install stick of El Capitan, selected the thunderbolt drive as the destination for the OS. As part of the setup I used the migration assistant to transfer from the internal SSD to the thunderbolt drive.

    The iMac is much faster now, and I didn't need to open it up and risk damage to the internal parts.

    If you do decide to do a direct replacement of the HDD, you should be aware that the 2011 iMac needs special firmware on the replacement hard drives that are only available officially from apple. If you do not use an official drive, the computer will register a fault in the temperature sensor, and goto a failsafe mode of running the internal fans at maximum RPM. This will make you iMac very noisy.

    FYI: http://blog.macsales.com/10206-further-explained-apples-imac-2011-model-hard-drive-restrictions
    http://blog.macsales.com/27918-owc-...or-solves-imac-hard-drive-compatibility-issue
    http://blog.macsales.com/27903-owc-...-upgrade-compatible-with-capacities-up-to-6tb

    OWC makes a part that will allow you to install any HDD or SDD into the HDD bay and not have the maximum fan rpm issue. Here is a link: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD11/

    There is also a software, I believe it is called HDD fan control that will prevent the run away fan problem as well, but I think a hardware solution is better than a software solution.
     
  8. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    #8
    I used the Crucial MX 100 a few years ago when I installed it.. There's other newer Crucial models that I would consider just as good. You could run just the OS off the SSD, but why not run the most used apps off it, too. After all, you'll be amazed at the speed boost from starting the iMac to opening those Apps, too. The OS and a few Apps don't really take much space. It's the supporting data, such as pictures, music, etc. that can be placed on the spinning drive if necessary. I have everything on my SSD and still have plenty of room.

    I've also used SSD through Thunderbolt for about a year with no problems booting from it. And now use the External SSD to test different Operating Systems. Using Thunderbolt is an option if you'd rather not crack open the iMac, although I don't consider it that difficult. The speed is very similar on the external to the internal.
     

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