Upgrading the internal HD to SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by daudi81, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. daudi81 macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2013
    I bought the base 27" iMac like 2 weeks before the new one came out - but I'm assuming it the process will be similar to replace the HDD.

    I think it's got a 1TB 7200rpm drive in there, and it's slllowwww. Well slow to me, because I've been running all SSD devices since SSD first came out.

    This is my family's iMac, so it's got several different user accounts, and switching between accounts, loading takes FOREVER, and it's just a hog right now. Which is sad considering the rest of the hardware in the iMac is decent enough to be very snappy.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what hard drive to get? Should I get a hybrid, or will a 3rd party hybrid even work with the iMac since it's not a "fusion" drive.

    Also, how hard is it to do? I don't think you're supposed to be able to switch them out, but I've seen people do it. Are there tech places that will do it for you?

    Any suggestions on steps to take to do this would be very helpful. I'm almost to the point of just selling it and getting a new one with the SSD.

  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    First it would be helpful if you advised exactly what iMac you have. If it's a 2012 or 2013 machine this is major surgery and will certainly invalidate your warranty. If the machine is new, less than 14 days old and bought from Apple then simply return it and buy the model with an SSD already installed.

    However if the machine is a 2012 or later, you don't care about the warranty and still want help then visit iFixit and you will find some instructions.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    As I see it, there are 2 easy options, buying an external SSD in either a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 enclosure and making that the system disk using the internal drive for stuff that doesn't need the speed. Or you could buy a new iMac configured how you want it to be.

    Opening up your iMac yourself tends to void the warranty and there are many things that could go wrong. And as for having a shop do it, it would have to be an Apple Authorized service place to ensure the warranty is kept intact. Note that the Apple Store won't do this type of upgrade for you.
  4. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    If you're going to crack open the machine I wouldn't bother with the mechanical hard drive, I'd go SSD to make it worth the effort. Yes, hybrid hard drives will work in your iMac but in tech-rag testing they provide little performance gains over regular hard drives in every day normal use. And don't confuse commercially available hybrid drives with an Apple Fusion drive, they are two different beasts. In every day normal use, Fusion drives provide SSD-like performance.

    If you have a 2012/2013 iMac, it is more difficult to crack open than old iMacs due to the industrial tape that holds it together. In my experience Apple stores won't do non-Apple upgrades. So you'll want to find an authorized Apple service provider in your area to protect the machine's warranty. But, of course, the new drive won't be covered under the Apple warranty.

    If replacing the machine with the new one is in your budget, I wouldn't hesitate to go that way. But in my opinion? I would get a compact brushed-aluminum bus-powered thunderbolt enclosure, a reliable SSD drive, a short thunderbolt cable, a Twelve South BackPack and set up a neat and tidy external boot drive assembly.
  5. daudi81 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2013
    Thank you guys for the replies. It is not the new generation, but it is the one just before that (the one just before Haswell machines). I'm not sure if that's 2012 or 2013.

    What do you think the cost would be on the TB enclosure + SSD (512gb should be enough, unless 1 TB's aren't much more)? I wouldn't even know where to look for enclosures. Also - going the enclosure route - would there be any noticeable loss in performance, since it's not internal?

    I may end up selling this one - as I heard the resale value on these are pretty high - especially since it's basically brand new. And use the money to get a new one with the SSD or Fusion Drive. If the enclosure + external SDD route is significantly cheaper, I'll do that. If each path is relatively the same, it sounds like selling old + buying new may be the easier option. I don't want to void the warranty.

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