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  1. #1

    OneMoreThing...'s Avatar
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    Post Changes to 2011 iMac deter main drive upgrades
    Changes to 2011 iMac deter main drive upgrades

    Apple has made modifications to the 2011 iMac which essentially prevent people from doing third-party upgrades to the main hard drive, according to upgrade vendor Other World Computing. The flaw is said to lay with the SATA power connector for the main bay, which has switched from a 4-pin configuration to 7-pin. In combination with proprietary Apple firmware on stock hard drives, the special power cable helps to control fans which regulate drive temperature....

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  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    I'm betting that we'll see some viable work arounds to swapping out the primary hard drive before too long. But it is interesting that Apple chose to do this as it almost makes purchasing Apple care a must.

  3. #3

    Ramimac1's Avatar
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    I was not aware Apple would let you take an iMac to them and upgrade the drive. I was under the impression places like OWC was the only option.

    I wounder if apple is trying to make more profit on the units by trying to force your hand to buy bigger more expensive drives from them at time of purchase.

    i am now Glad i own a 2010 model until there is a firmware and adapter cable to solve this.
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  4. #4

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    There's something not quite right about this report. First, it's referred to as a "flaw", when really it sounds deliberate. Secondly, a commenter in that MacNN report referred to a thread on MacRumors that seems to contradict some of these new claims. Here's the thread… be sure to read it entirely through:
    2011 iMac Hard Drive Upgrade, Fan Issues - MacRumors Forums

    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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  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
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    Thanks lifeisabeach. That thread from MacRumors is a good one. However, it's my belief that we will see some more work arounds in the near future. For now though, it seems the easiest solution is to use SMCFanControl to control the HD fan if you should decide to swap out the original HD.

    As for me, I would just add a nice SSD to that second bay and boot from it. Should actually be an easy install without fear of driving the fans crazy.

  6. #6

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
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    The article on OWC's site reflects my own opinion of this decision by Apple. I don't like it - and it just adds fodder to the flaming rhetoric of Apple detractors. I hope Apple issues a firmware rev that changes this. Apple Further Restricts Upgrade Options on New iMacs | Other World Computing Blog

  7. #7

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    It's looking more like OWC dropped the ball here. Read this post and the subsequent ones:
    Hard drive upgrades restricted in Apple's new Thunderbolt iMacs - AppleInsider

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  8. #8

    Ramimac1's Avatar
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    I agree that the comment about a custom connector was bit misleading, but that apple is using a few of the unused pins in the connector to transmit temp. and sounds like a custom firmware to transmit said data in a specific way. But it is interesting that the 2tb wd black worked with out a problem in the Hardware test.

    It would be interesting to see the manufacture date on said drive to see if maybe WD put the temp programming in the firmware on that drive after developing it for Apple.
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  9. #9

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramimac1 View Post
    I agree that the comment about a custom connector was bit misleading, but that apple is using a few of the unused pins in the connector to transmit temp. and sounds like a custom firmware to transmit said data in a specific way. But it is interesting that the 2tb wd black worked with out a problem in the Hardware test.

    It would be interesting to see the manufacture date on said drive to see if maybe WD put the temp programming in the firmware on that drive after developing it for Apple.
    The last-gen iMacs had thermal monitoring that used cabling that was brand-specific. You can't pop a WD drive in an iMac that has a Seagate. This is rather inconvenient and limiting one's options, including Apple's, and likely raises their production costs. I'm betting what's going on here is that they've eliminated the need for that cable by taking advantage of unused pins on the SATA cable, and furthermore this is simply a new spec that all the drive manufacturers will be using, but is so new that they haven't released firmware updates yet for drives on the market though the very latest out of the factory do have it. This seems more plausible to me than Apple just doing it just to force people into lining their pockets some more.

    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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  10. #10

    Ramimac1's Avatar
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    I would agree. but it was also mentioned by OWC that apple had apple specific Firmware on the Drive itself.
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  11. #11

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramimac1 View Post
    I would agree. but it was also mentioned by OWC that apple had apple specific Firmware on the Drive itself.
    Is it truly Apple-proprietary, or they simply don't recognize it and assumed it is? If it is Apple-proprietary, then it makes no sense that a couple people now have no problem using their replacement drives. Well anywho, I suspect we'll know something more definitive in the next few days.

    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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  12. #12

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Well, whatever Apple is doing at this point isn't very transparent, and only serves to make a fairly basic update (which is a bit more difficult because of the form factor) even more difficult to work with. If provisions are made in order to ensure that there are no purposeful restrictions as such, then I'll be fine with whatever they're doing.

    But if this is some sort of power play, then I'll not be handing my money over to Apple for an new iMac. This certainly would have me looking into an Windows machine for photo editing, for sure.

    I look forward to hearing that this is just being blown out of proportion and that Apple isn't going back to their proprietary ways.

    Doug

  13. #13

    iggibar's Avatar
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    So, it's just a matter of a harddrive coming with a sensor inside, and a different version of an sata cable to accept the additional temperature wire. If so, I can see some vendor creating an add-on to allow other hdds, or even an adapter to allow an alternate, outside temp sensor.

    WIth that said, I think this is a bad move.
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  14. #14

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    The way I see it:

    iMac is the computer that Windows-switchers go to buy most often. And it seems that of those switchers, most of them know very little about computers. (On the other hand, there are some of us who like the simplicity of an all-in-one simply for space-saving measures, and this latest iMac is to help make more profit for Apple. I think you see where I'm going with this.)

    As for the other Mac computers (except MacBook Air):

    The Mac Pro, the Mac mini and the MacBook/MacBook Pro can be tinkered with, including hard drive swaps (if I'm not mistaken), and therefore are meant for the more computer saavy.

    I know all of this sounds a little farfetched, but that's how I see it up to this point. And if Apple spreads this across its entire line requiring users to bring in the computer just for a simple hard drive upgrade, I don't see many more people switching over up to this point, not unless this new design of hardware spreads to the other manufacturers and becomes the norm.
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  15. #15

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    It's looking more like OWC dropped the ball here. Read this post and the subsequent ones:
    Hard drive upgrades restricted in Apple's new Thunderbolt iMacs - AppleInsider
    In particular this post
    The OWC report is quite inaccurate and I wish they did some more testing or at least read the forums before creating mass panic.

    The SATA data connectors are very standard and so is the SATA power cable feeding the hard drive. The only difference is that they used 7 wires instead of 5, probably some extra grounds.

    I installed a Vertex3 SSD and used a plain 4 wire Y-splitter sata power cable which effectively discards the 3.3V from the apple's wiring and only feeds 5V and 12V to the original drive. Guess what, fan speed is as quiet as it can get and the Apple Hardware Test passes successfully.

    I went further and moved the internal HDD from SATA0 to SATA1 port to better accommodate the SATA connector for the SSD and this didn't create any adverse effects.

    Another member of the forum swapped the 1TB WD Black with a 2TB WD Black and again, no adverse effect, Hardware Test completed successfully.

    With the SSD in place now, the only thing I can hear is my breath reflected by the glass screen
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