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

Late 2009 iMac - Need to replace hard drive, unique problem!


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thekyleman71

 
Member Since: Jul 14, 2012
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Hey all,

The hard drive in my late 2009, 21.5" iMac has failed and I can no longer boot from it. Instead I am booting via FireWire from my ancient MacBook, and am ready for an upgrade.

After doing some research, I've learned that - because it is a late 2009 model - I'll need to purchase a hard drive that is the same manufacturer as the one currently inside of my iMac. Unfortunately, since the drive won't boot, I'm having trouble figuring out what manufacturer that is.

I'd prefer not to open up my entire case to find out before I purchase a new hard drive. What can I do? Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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chscag

 
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I know the 2010 and 2011 iMacs are fitted with hard drives that use a special heat sensor and cable - connector, but was not aware of any restrictions for the 2009 model. Where did you read that you need the same hard drive to replace the one that's defective?

If it's because of the heat sensor on the original hard drive, that sensor can be removed and placed on the new one. I don't think it matters if the drive is of a different brand - model.

You might wish to consult with the step by step instructions for replacing the drive which are given at the ifixit web site. iFixit: The free repair manual
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thekyleman71

 
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Hey chscag, thanks for the reply. I read it in a few different places... here and here.

Quote: "For the end user, this means that if you decide to upgrade the iMac’s hard drive yourself, you can only use a hard drive from the same manufacturer. If your iMac came with a Seagate drive, you can use only a Seagate drive for a replacement. Likewise, if it came with a Western Digital drive, you can only replace it with another Western Digital drive."

The iFixit instructions are what I plan to use once I've purchased a new hard drive... I just wanted to check in here first to see what people thought.
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techiesteve

 
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The 20" and 24" aluminium iMacs used a sensor held under a black plastic clip. This changed in the 21.5" and 27". A 2 wire lead from the logic board mates with a connector on the SATA HD, the sensor is part of the drive. Apple may have used 3 drive manufacturers, Seagate, WD and Hitachi. Seagate and WD are more popular. Each manufacturer uses a different style of connector on their drive. If you leave the sensor off the fan speed slowly ramps up and becomes unbearable. I've successfully replaced Apple WD drives with retail WD's, but with Seagates no luck. I suspect something in the firmware in the Apple Seagate drives. At work we now replace Seagates with Apple drives, expensive. I vaguely remember seeing a reference to remembering to move over a shorting link on the HD temp sensor socket when replacing logic boards that have SSD's fitted. SSD's don't utilise the temp sensor. I've never seen this linking plug, so I've no idea if it is only a shorting link or something else. The current iMac models no longer have a visible HD temp sensor lead.

Steve Bell
Aylesbury, UK
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thekyleman71

 
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That's great insight. Thanks, Steve.

I still need to know what type of hard drive I'm working with, though, which is my original reason for posting. Is there any way to find what manufacturer my drive is from if I'm booting from my laptop?

Thanks again for the replies so far. They are going to aid tremendously once I'm set to perform the operation!

Kyle
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I didn't know the same problem existed for the 2009 models as for the 2010 and 2011 iMacs. Other World Computing has come up with a work around to replace the drive and heat sensor connector without the HD Fan ramping up to full RPM. You might give them a call on their 800 toll free line and speak with one of their techs.
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thekyleman71

 
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chscag- Thanks! That sounds promising. I'll call them and see what wizardry they've come up with.

Any idea on the above question, though, just in case I go the route of matching the manufacturer?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekyleman71 View Post
chscag- Thanks! That sounds promising. I'll call them and see what wizardry they've come up with.

Any idea on the above question, though, just in case I go the route of matching the manufacturer?
So, you say that you've booted from the drive of your MacBook using firewire. If the drive is actually recognized on the bus, you should be able to see it in System Profiler.

Go to Apple menu => About This Mac => More Info

If you have Lion (10.7.x), you'll need to click "System Report". Under the header of "Serial-ATA", you should see each SATA drive attached to the bus. Seagate drives will typically have a model number that starts with "ST". If you're not sure, just post the model number up and one of us should be able to determine what it is.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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thekyleman71

 
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Here's what I see in the Serial-ATA section.

This is my imac hard drive, not my laptop, right? If so, then I should be set to go.
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thekyleman71

 
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I did a little bit of research and learned that I have a Seagate. I was pointed here, so I went ahead and picked up this drive. It should be here in a couple days, and I'll start the replacement process following iFixit's step-by-step instructions.

I'll keep you posted!
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