Upgrading iMac Hard Drive questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MasterNile, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. MasterNile macrumors 65816


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    OK well I've got some questions about iMac hard drives here's the situation:

    I'm looking at selling my 2.0GHz C2D white iMac once I get tax money in Jan or Feb of '09 and upgrading to a refurbished aluminum iMac (haven't decided between 20" or 24") but I'd like to have more HD space on my bootable HD until then (at least 320-500GB and right now I believe it has a 160GB)

    So that leaves me with 2 options upgrade the internal HD or get a external FW drive and boot from that (it'd have to be FW400 since I don't have FW800)

    First question: performance, how much slower (maybe % wise) would using the FW400 drive be compared to using an internal SATA (1.5 Gb/s). Keep in mind that I don't do anything major and just use my iMac as a media center.

    Second question: cost efficient, I already have a buyer that would like me to put a 1.5TB HD into the iMac and he's willing to pay $250 extra to have me put it in but I've never taken apart an iMac is $250 worth the risk of taking apart an iMac when I only vaguely know what I'm doing? I know I can get a 1.5TB HD for about $180 I think I saw at newegg.com so that would only be about $70 to do the install but it would also provide me with better performance while I do have the iMac, however if I bought a triple or quad interface external w/ USB 2.0/FW400/FW800 and maybe eSATA I could keep the hard drive after selling the iMac and use it through FW800 on the new one I'd be getting

    Third question: price for someone else doing it, Does anyone else happen to know roughly what Apple or a place that services Macs would charge to switch out the hard drive if I brought them the new hard drive?

    Forth question: how easy is it to mess up? If I were to install the HD myself how easy would it be for me to completely mess up the iMac so that I'd have to sell it for parts instead of as a working computer? I've seen a video about how to change out the hard drive, seems pretty easy but am worried about the cables that are attached to the HD (I believe it's a heat sensor or something) in the video I watched it said to use rubber cement to reattach them to new HD, is that a decent way to do it or is there something better to use? (if so how much am I looking at paying for this?)

    Any other thoughts or comments are welcome as well.
  2. Zortrium macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    Not having attempted the procedure myself, my impression has been that getting the hard drive out of any Intel iMac isn't for the faint of heart. If you don't know what you're doing, I'd find someone who does (be it a friend or an Apple employee).
  3. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've done it before myself. Here is what I remember-

    1. It's not that hard. If you google around you should be able to find clear directions with photos from others who have documented their efforts.

    2. The rear case has a nice latch that you unlock to take the back off. The only trick is you have to bend an old credit card (or equivalent) to reach the latch. I fumbled for about 7-8 seconds and got it.

    3. You have to unpeel some foil that apparently functions as an electromagnetic shield. It's held by adhesive and is not hard to peel back, if you have ADD then I guess you might accidentally rip it. Your iMac is not going to look quite as pretty inside after you do the job (you might have to use some scotch tape to seal the foil shield), but I don't think there's any huge risk of damage. And it will look exactly the same on the outside.

    That's about it. Set aside an hour or so. It will probably take less time but this way you can be patient. I would take notes on which screws you are taking out at each step, and use scotch tape to tape them to a piece of paper (with notes) so you keep them organized.

    Removing the cables to take the old drive out is really no big deal at all. The heat sensor is held with some glue, it's not a big deal either to re-attach. Rubber cement will probably work just fine, you don't need some high tech heat conductive glue or anything like that.

    On the unit I upgraded, the heat sensor had actually fallen off the original HD.

    If the idea alone freaks you out, then maybe you can find a more mechanically inclined friend and watch him/her do it. But it's not that hard.

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