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  1. #1
    Internal vs external

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    Internal vs external
    My 2013 iMac, which I use primarily for Lightroom and Photoshop, running Mojave was getting tired and slow. I recently installed an external 1TB SSD using a USB connection. After cloning my old HHD with super duper and restarting it with the SSD I was blown away by the improved speed. So what is the problem/question? I was wondering if opening up my iMac and installing the SSD internally would give me an added boost in speed? I have done this before using ifixit and youtube help on my MacBook but never with an iMac. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. I am just a little reluctant to open up my iMac although I have the tools and glue strips.

    Thanks,

    Harv

  2. #2
    Internal vs external
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Harv, welcome to Mac Forums.

    First a few questions. Is the External an USB 3.0 drive? What is the brand and model? I have a reason for asking. USB 3.0 can go quite fast as it is, but the SATA Bus inside the iMac might be a bit faster yet.

    Also some WD externals have hardware encryption in the enclosure so if you take out the drive and put it in the iMac, none of the data will show up since the drive is tired to the enclosures encryption.

    Since you do already understand your 2013 iMac has the glass/Screen glued on and have the tools and Glue Strips, you have to be extremely careful not to damage anything when taking it apart. I have a late 2012 I wanted to upgrade with an SSD but have held off since I have not been doing good health wise, so backed off for now taking it apart.

    If you do decide to take on the job, work slowly with that tool (is it from iFixit?) and be sure not to let the display drop off the iMac!!

    If you can answer the above questions above, we can better help you make the decision.

  3. #3
    After my experience replacing the internal HDD on my late 2012 iMac with an internal SSD, I strongly recommend clamping the display at least overnight (while the iMac is lying on its back) after you reset it with the new adhesive if you decide to replace the internal drive.
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  4. #4
    Internal vs external
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usagora View Post
    After my experience replacing the internal HDD on my late 2012 iMac with an internal SSD, I strongly recommend clamping the display at least overnight (while the iMac is lying on its back) after you reset it with the new adhesive if you decide to replace the internal drive.

    From what you went through and a few others I have seen that had your issues, I agree completely.

  5. #5
    Internal vs external
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvdog47 View Post
    I was wondering if opening up my iMac and installing the SSD internally would give me an added boost in speed?
    I'm going to say almost certainly.

    But...do have to consider the complexity of the install. Taking apart an iMac with a "glued in" display takes a higher level of expertise...but if you're comfortbale with this...I would definitely do it. If you haven't done this before with an iMac...check out ifixit.com for the procedure for your exact model iMac.

    Please let us know how things go...I'm sure other folks thinking about doing this would love to hear how things went.

    Thanks,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6
    Internal vs external

    Member Since
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    Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for the prompt reply. Here is what I know. The external drive is from StarTech and is USB 3.0 SATA III with UASP. My SSD is Samsung 860 EVO SATA 6 Gb/s. As for the tools they are from iFixit but I didn't buy the push wheeled tool or any of the cards. I have the "Essential electronic toolkit" with an opening tool and 6 picks along with the drivers and tweezers. Opening the iMac seems tricky around the edges and the sheer weight of the glass. Would you try it?
    Thanks again,
    Harv

  7. #7
    Internal vs external

    Member Since
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    Right tools?
    ifixit tools2.jpgHi Nick,
    Thanks for your response. I've included a photo of the tools. Should I buy the special wheeled tool or will the knife do?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by harvdog47 View Post
    Opening the iMac seems tricky around the edges and the sheer weight of the glass. Would you try it?
    Just lay the iMac down on its back and it won't be an issue.
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  9. #9
    Internal vs external
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usagora View Post
    Just lay the iMac down on its back and it won't be an issue.
    That will help while cutting the glue strips but when the display is ready to be lifted out it's way easier if the machine is standing up. As long as you are careful and do not get dizzy like I do and have the right tools all should be ok.

    Do NOT just yank the display out when the glue is cut. You tilt it forward a bit then reach in and unplug the cables first. iFIXIt and I believe OWC both have excellent videos.

    That tool on the right and the guitar pick looking things should do it. They do have a special Cutter for the job though that I have seen in the iFIXit videos.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    That will help while cutting the glue strips but when the display is ready to be lifted out it's way easier if the machine is standing up.
    Well, FWIW, I had no issues disconnecting the cables when it was on its back, and mine is a 27" to boot. This is the way OWC tutorial vids show it done too. So I'd suggest trying it that way first, then VERY carefully the other way if you have trouble. The cables are very delicate, as you know, so I'd hate for the glass to slip off the little ledge at the bottom and damage the cables.

    Here's an example:
    https://eshop.macsales.com/installvi..._hdd/iMac14-2/

    Be sure to have a bright LED work light to help you see inside the machine when you're disconnecting the cables. Also don't forget to use the opportunity to blow out any dust in the machine. A giant cloud came out of mine!
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  11. #11
    Internal vs external
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Jon, with it on it's back how did you lift the display up? There is very little to grab onto and I have seen some people who pried it up with a tool crack the glass. Just curious.

    I worry more about cracking the glass than the cables as if that happens you need a whole new display unlike the 2011 and before where the glass was separate.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    Jon, with it on it's back how did you lift the display up? There is very little to grab onto and I have seen some people who pried it up with a tool crack the glass. Just curious.

    I worry more about cracking the glass than the cables as if that happens you need a whole new display unlike the 2011 and before where the glass was separate.
    Oh, I see what you're getting at now. I used the suction cup(s) that come with the OWC tool kit. The OP's pictured toolkit has one too. If it won't lift up, then you need to go around the edges again with the cutting tool very thoroughly. You definitely don't want to force anything.
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  13. #13
    Internal vs external
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usagora View Post
    Oh, I see what you're getting at now. I used the suction cup(s) that come with the OWC tool kit. The OP's pictured toolkit has one too. If it won't lift up, then you need to go around the edges again with the cutting tool very thoroughly. You definitely don't want to force anything.
    I had not seen that OWC video for some reason so thank you so much for the URL. Now it makes sense. I have that same OWC kit with the large suction cups. That is the way I will do it when I take my 2012 apart. Thanks again.


    I would suggest the OP get those large cups. they worked amazingly well on my 2010 27".

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    I had not seen that OWC video for some reason so thank you so much for the URL. Now it makes sense. I have that same OWC kit with the large suction cups. That is the way I will do it when I take my 2012 apart. Thanks again.
    No problem!
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  15. #15
    Internal vs external
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    I've used suction cups to remove the display glass on older iMac's where the glass was held in with magnets (not adhesive). I would think with a newer iMac (where the glass is held in with adhesive)...and if the iMac is on it's back...using suction cups to remove the display (after the adhesive is softened) would certainly be helpful.

    I guess maybe there can be more than one way to do this. iMac on it's back...or iMac on it's face.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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