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

SSD for mid-2010 27" iMac - I'm desperate here


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andy9l

 
Member Since: Aug 03, 2012
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Post completely disappeared?! I'll start again...

Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my 27" mid-2010 iMac (model 11,3) with an SSD. I'm really struggling to find answers to the following questions:

Please, please do suggest any other SSDs you think would be worth me looking at.

I understand that putting an SSD in a 2010 iMac isn't the best of options, but I'm fed up of my slow, grumbling, popping HDD Apple sold with these iMacs almost 2 years ago now. I have read about the following drawbacks:
  • Fans run at 100% without a software/hack fix
  • TRIM support is sketchy at best
  • Drives have a tendency of dying after a few months

I'm completely stuck for answers to the above. Being a web developer, I'm no newbie to Google, but am finding it nearly impossible to find some straight up answers for the above questions.

I'd hugely appreciate any advice, feedback, suggestions, or questions - I really am desperate here.

Thanks in advance,
Andy
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andy9l

 
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I give up, every time I post it just deletes itself. Apologies - please remove the thread.
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andy9l

 
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Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my 27" mid-2010 iMac (model 11,3) with an SSD. I'm really struggling to find answers to the following questions:

Please, please do suggest any other SSDs you think would be worth me looking at. I'm completely stuck for answers to the above. Being a web developer, I'm no newbie to Google, but am finding it nearly impossible to find some straight up answers for those questions.

I understand that putting an SSD in a 2010 iMac isn't the best of options, but I'm fed up of my slow, grumbling, popping HDD Apple sold with these iMacs almost 2 years ago now. I have read about the following drawbacks:
  • Fans run at 100% without a software/hack fix
  • TRIM support is sketchy at best
  • Drives have a tendency of dying after a few months

I'd hugely appreciate any advice, feedback, suggestions, or questions - I really am desperate here.

Thanks in advance,
Andy
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chscag

 
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Your post was in moderation awaiting approval. I approved it.

Also, I moved your duplicate post from the "Other Hardware" forum to here. It may take a while for a post to be approved - sorry about the inconvenience.
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andy9l

 
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No problem. Think you've got something wrong with your moderation settings though - the post was there for about 2 minutes before it disappeared (even for guests).

I ended up going for a kit from OWC, for anyone who has this same problem/question.
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Lifeisabeach

 
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If you want to do the installation yourself, read this guide thoroughly:
Installing additional SSD in Mid-2010 27" iMac

There is a lot of angst about TRIM support in OS X. I just added an SSD to my iMac using a kit to put it in the optical bay. I went with OWC's Mercury 3G in part because they have a very good rep with servicing Macs. They also very specifically recommend against using 3rd party hacks to enable TRIM support when using the Mercury SSDs. See their blog entry for more on this:
To TRIM or not to TRIM (OWC has the answer) | Other World Computing Blog

Regarding the fans... I know this is circumvented in the 2011 iMacs by using a special jumper for the plug on the motherboard, but I don't know if there is an equivalent for the 2010 iMacs. If anyone has a solution though, OWC would. They worked out a way to add 3rd party HDDs to the 2011 iMacs that normally will run the fans at full speed if an aftermarket HDD is added without Apple's custom firmware. I should mention that the kits for putting the SSD in the optical drive bay aren't subject to this. The heat sensor is simply held in place on the surface with an adhesive, rather than plugged into the drive's controller board.

OWC also has a TurnKey program available... you send them your iMac and they do all the installation. It's obviously going to cost a bit to have them do it vs. yourself. If you do it yourself, read the guide I linked to thoroughly. Pay special attention to the LCD data cable... it's very fragile. I ripped mine out unwittingly and had to take it to a local shop for repairs.


Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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dtravis7

 
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Like Lifeisabeach said, OWC will do it for you and it will work 100%. It's not free but you will get it back working the way it should with the new drive.
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chscag

 
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In addition to what Dennis and lifeisabeach stated about OWC, they are an authorized reseller and repair for Macs. Also, their tech support and home grown parts are top notch.
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dtravis7

 
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I checked our the kit and video. Just to be sure you understand, that makes the SSD a 2nd drive in the iMac and the hard drive will still remain. On 2010 and up iMacs the Hard Drive itself can't be changed by the end user without many issues. OWC can do that for you for a fee. They can't sell the stuff to do it or they would be sued.
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andy9l

 
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Hey all, thanks for the replies!

I continued my research and contacted various companies/people and ended up, as you guys have suggested, with OWC. I'm in the UK, so sending my iMac out there would be troublesome, let alone dangerous with all the shipping/throwing around involved - so that's their turnkey programme out the window.

I have watched (several, several times) their YouTube video on how to do the procedure and I believe I can do it with the help of one or two friends.

I'm aware that it will be a secondary drive, but I fully plan on using it as the sole, primary drive and creating a diskutil eject script to 'eject' the original HDD upon boot/login. Since it'll only be used as an archive drive, I don't want it ticking over/grumbling and popping at me whilst I'm booted and using only the SSD. I still need to find an exact solution for this, so if anyone has any ideas? I know it's possible, just need the correct script/command to run.

Finally, @lifeisabeach, thanks very much for the detailed response. I'm going to go through all of that now, and have myself a huge sticky note on my desk with 'CAREFUL WITH LCD DATA CABLE' written on it. Appreciate that!

Hopefully you'll get this message - some of my replies aren't being approved I'm afraid.

Edit: I should say that I took delivery of my 240GB OWC 3G SSD and DIY kit for the mid-2010 iMac installation this morning. I also bought an extra 4GB memory which I've already slotted in. I will let you know the outcome of my DIY - if you don't hear from me, assume the worst!
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy9l View Post
I'm aware that it will be a secondary drive, but I fully plan on using it as the sole, primary drive and creating a diskutil eject script to 'eject' the original HDD upon boot/login. Since it'll only be used as an archive drive, I don't want it ticking over/grumbling and popping at me whilst I'm booted and using only the SSD. I still need to find an exact solution for this, so if anyone has any ideas? I know it's possible, just need the correct script/command to run.
You could have simply replaced the drive while yer in there. Normally you have to replace it with the same brand because the thermal sensor is very specific to the brand of drive, but then you can also replace that cable too. My iMac came with a Seagate drive, and though I considered replacing it with a Western Digital Green drive (variable rpm means lower speeds and less noise), I did replace it with another, larger Seagate @ 7200 rpm. I don't hear the thing. Never heard the old one for that matter. What drive do you have anyway?

Quote:
Finally, @lifeisabeach, thanks very much for the detailed response. I'm going to go through all of that now, and have myself a huge sticky note on my desk with 'CAREFUL WITH LCD DATA CABLE' written on it. Appreciate that!
No problem. That did catch me completely off guard. I had gone by the guide on iFixit and I just don't think the pictures they had are adequate. I wish I had looked up some video tutorials now that you mention them.

Quote:
Edit: I should say that I took delivery of my 240GB OWC 3G SSD and DIY kit for the mid-2010 iMac installation this morning. I also bought an extra 4GB memory which I've already slotted in. I will let you know the outcome of my DIY - if you don't hear from me, assume the worst!
Just as a warning here... unless those are exact matches for the RAM you have now, it's not uncommon to have kernel panics and other errors resulting from mixing/matching RAM. It's generally recommended to replace all the RAM with matching pairs when upgrading.

Anywho... hope it goes well!


Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
------
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andy9l

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
You could have simply replaced the drive while yer in there. Normally you have to replace it with the same brand because the thermal sensor is very specific to the brand of drive, but then you can also replace that cable too. My iMac came with a Seagate drive, and though I considered replacing it with a Western Digital Green drive (variable rpm means lower speeds and less noise), I did replace it with another, larger Seagate @ 7200 rpm. I don't hear the thing. Never heard the old one for that matter. What drive do you have anyway?
I want as little fuss with cables and hardware as possible. I'm not a hardware kind of guy, this is the biggest thing I've done with regards to playing inside a computer. The drive is a Seagate Barracuda 1TB @7200. There's 3 years worth of complaints about the noise coming from this drive on the Apple forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
No problem. That did catch me completely off guard. I had gone by the guide on iFixit and I just don't think the pictures they had are adequate. I wish I had looked up some video tutorials now that you mention them.
I'm going to be following a video tutorial posted by OWC which is specific to my exact Mac, products, and even toolkit. It's extremely detailed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
Just as a warning here... unless those are exact matches for the RAM you have now, it's not uncommon to have kernel panics and other errors resulting from mixing/matching RAM. It's generally recommended to replace all the RAM with matching pairs when upgrading.
The RAM was a perfect specification match to the ones Apple put in there, just a different name on the sticker I believe. The OWC site said fully compatible with my specific iMac (mid-2010 11,3) - it's certainly running perfectly well now! Been up and running maybe 8 hours or so.

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Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
Anywho... hope it goes well!
Me too!! Will let you know...still building myself up to do it.
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy9l View Post
I want as little fuss with cables and hardware as possible. I'm not a hardware kind of guy, this is the biggest thing I've done with regards to playing inside a computer. The drive is a Seagate Barracuda 1TB @7200. There's 3 years worth of complaints about the noise coming from this drive on the Apple forum.
That's what I have (well had) and no issues here. There may well have been a batch of defective drives. Or it may be something else... loose mounting; the fan.. who knows.

[quote]The RAM was a perfect specification match to the ones Apple put in there, just a different name on the sticker I believe. The OWC site said fully compatible with my specific iMac (mid-2010 11,3) - it's certainly running perfectly well now! Been up and running maybe 8 hours or so.

So long as they are a true exact match, you shouldn't have issues. I have read of issues where the specs were the same but the manufacturer of the chips were different and they didn't play well together. You can have sticks with different branding on them but otherwise are identical with the chips coming from the same source.


Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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andy9l

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
So long as they are a true exact match, you shouldn't have issues. I have read of issues where the specs were the same but the manufacturer of the chips were different and they didn't play well together. You can have sticks with different branding on them but otherwise are identical with the chips coming from the same source.
Only thing I've noticed is that the black screen before the boot chime (after tapping the power button) lasts maybe 2-3 seconds longer - I've been told that's because it needs to verify the 4 RAM sticks rather than 2! It doesn't bother me in the slightest - you've just got me worried now.

I ran the Apple Hardware Test with the result 'No trouble found' after ~3 minutes.
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andy9l

 
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Installation, although it took me a long time, went very successfully! I'm now running from my new SSD.

However, there's one last thing bothering me. My iMac's original HDD is still started up upon boot and after sleep/wake. By started up I mean you can hear it power on and start spinning. It's super slow in comparison with the SSD and is actually holding the Mac back when powering on/waking up.

I want to completely, 100%, ignore the original HDD. If I go back into the iMac and unplug the power and SATA cables will this work? Will the temperature sensor cause the fans to spin? Or will it simply be reading the temperature of a non-operating HDD (this is what I'm hoping for!), so no problems will occur?

Any advice/tips/suggestions welcomed. I'm fed up of this HDD, it's so frustrating that I can't just straight-up remove it!
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