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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

upgrade iMac hard disk


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BulletproofBob

 
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Is there anyway to replace the hard disk in the new iMac's with your own? I would like to use my own SSD drives rather than the 256GB SSD option. I suspect it is a slow drive compared to an Intel and Vertex 3 drive. I hear the new iMac has a unique cable that controls the fan.

Anyone know off hand the make/model of the 256GB SSD drive? Most SSD drives are hardly any faster than traditional SATA drives and I am very picky about my hard drives.
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chscag

 
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The new (mid 2011) iMac models use a proprietary hard drive with special firmware in order to control the temperature and thus the cooling fan. It does involve a different connecting cable - not the normal SATA cable that you might expect.

What I'm getting at, is that you might want to do some research and read through what MacWorld and Other World Computing are reporting before you decide to do anything yourself. You not only run the risk of voiding your warranty, but also may wind up with a cooling fan running at full speed all the time.
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BulletproofBob

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
The new (mid 2011) iMac models use a proprietary hard drive with special firmware in order to control the temperature and thus the cooling fan. It does involve a different connecting cable - not the normal SATA cable that you might expect.

What I'm getting at, is that you might want to do some research and read through what MacWorld and Other World Computing are reporting before you decide to do anything yourself. You not only run the risk of voiding your warranty, but also may wind up with a cooling fan running at full speed all the time.
I read exactly that somewhere, I was wondering if there is anyway around it or is it pretty much how it is. I suspect since there is firmware you have no other options.

Is the Mac Pro the same deal?
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chscag

 
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There are a several work arounds that have appeared, but reading through them doesn't give one a sense of security. In other words, they may or may not work. One suggested method was to install SMCFanControl and control the speed of the hard drive fan that way.

The Mac Pro is not effected since it uses an open architecture. You can use just about any SATA hard drive in the Pro.
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BulletproofBob

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
There are a several work arounds that have appeared, but reading through them doesn't give one a sense of security. In other words, they may or may not work. One suggested method was to install SMCFanControl and control the speed of the hard drive fan that way.

The Mac Pro is not effected since it uses an open architecture. You can use just about any SATA hard drive in the Pro.

Thanks, I was afraid that was the case (hence why they did it).
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pedropete

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BulletproofBob View Post
Is there anyway to replace the hard disk in the new iMac's with your own? I would like to use my own SSD drives rather than the 256GB SSD option. I suspect it is a slow drive compared to an Intel and Vertex 3 drive. I hear the new iMac has a unique cable that controls the fan.

Anyone know off hand the make/model of the 256GB SSD drive? Most SSD drives are hardly any faster than traditional SATA drives and I am very picky about my hard drives.
Certainly NOT 'slow' on my new iMac 27 and 21'!!

Live each day as it comes - it may be your last !?
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BulletproofBob

 
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Originally Posted by pedropete View Post
Certainly NOT 'slow' on my new iMac 27 and 21'!!
I've tested many SSD drives, and at least 50% of them are not much faster than a traditional spindle drive. I will not use anything less than 10K RPM Raptor drives but also use SSD. I only used the top of the line SSD (I have Intels, updating to the 500Mb/s Vertex drives). A good SSD drive (and there are only a handful) are 2-10x faster than typical SSD drives. I refuse to pay $1,250 for a run of the mill SSD drive from Apple over the drives I typically use.
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Exirion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
The new (mid 2011) iMac models use a proprietary hard drive with special firmware in order to control the temperature and thus the cooling fan. It does involve a different connecting cable - not the normal SATA cable that you might expect.
This was a rumor spread by OWC and turned out to be false

Quote:
but also may wind up with a cooling fan running at full speed all the time.
Also not true, although the Mac can get noisier than you like.

Actually I made a fix for the fact that my Vertex 3 SSD reports a ridiculous temperature of 128C

http://exirion.net/ssdfanctrl

Let me know if it works for you.
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chscag

 
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I don't know where you're getting your information from... but it's no rumor. That very fact has also been reported by MacWorld Magazine and confirmed by Apple. Check the Apple forums.
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pedropete

 
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What's wrong with just using a good old external hard drive ?

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Exirion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
I don't know where you're getting your information from... but it's no rumor. That very fact has also been reported by MacWorld Magazine and confirmed by Apple. Check the Apple forums.
I'm referring to the rumor that they use proprietary and incompatible connectors, and proprietary firmware. Both are not true.

Fact is: Apple uses a normal 15-pin SATA power connector, but they use 7 wires instead of 4. This has nothing to do with temperature measurement as they use the SMART standard for reading temperature data, and this is exactly what goes wrong with SSDs: many don't send proper temperature data and make the system go crazy.

Controlling the fan speeds in software fixes this. But aside from this minor issue, ordinary 3rd party harddisks and SSDs with stock firmware just work.
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mrplow

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exirion View Post
I'm referring to the rumor that they use proprietary and incompatible connectors, and proprietary firmware. Both are not true.

Fact is: Apple uses a normal 15-pin SATA power connector, but they use 7 wires instead of 4. This has nothing to do with temperature measurement as they use the SMART standard for reading temperature data, and this is exactly what goes wrong with SSDs: many don't send proper temperature data and make the system go crazy.

Controlling the fan speeds in software fixes this. But aside from this minor issue, ordinary 3rd party harddisks and SSDs with stock firmware just work.
Exirion:
iFixit did a teardown and disagree too. Can you post links to your source? I'm sure they'd be helpful to many.

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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Exirion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
Exirion:
iFixit did a teardown and disagree too. Can you post links to your source? I'm sure they'd be helpful to many.
Sure, although some of it is in Dutch:

OWC: Choose your new iMac hard drive wisely, you only get one shot | 9 to 5 Mac

The 'Dutch Dude' he refers to is me On the day I bought my 2011 iMac (last month) I built in an OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS SSD which works great.

This is a frontpage article on a major Dutch tech site:

OWC: Apple frustreert opnieuw vervangen hdd's bij nieuwe iMacs - update | Core | Tweakers.net Nieuws

And finally I'd like to help people with fan noise issues, so I made a software fix which is available for free:

http://exirion.net/ssdfanctrl

Let me know if it works for you
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pokermaniac

 
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I called OWC, and wanted to upgrade my 2010 iMac to an SSD. They told me the same thing that chscag posted. They said that there was a work around, but it wasn't easy. Now, I'm sure that they would have loved to sell me an SSD if that was not true.
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Exirion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokermaniac View Post
I called OWC, and wanted to upgrade my 2010 iMac to an SSD. They told me the same thing that chscag posted. They said that there was a work around, but it wasn't easy. Now, I'm sure that they would have loved to sell me an SSD if that was not true.
You're referring to a totally different reason for the 'difficult upgrade'. Replacing the HDD with an SSD is peanuts, and the fan speed issues can be solved in software. However, if you want to keep the harddisk and add the SSD next to it (as can be done in 2010/2011 iMacs), then there is an issue: the cable for connecting the SSD to the logic board is lacking. So this cable must be added and connected to the logic board in order to install the SSD. That's all.
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