Model A1419 / EMC 2806 / Late 2014 or Mid 2015. 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (ID iMac15,1); EMC 2834 late 2015 / 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (iMac17,1) All with Retina 5K displays

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Inserting an 2,5" SSD in the HDD Slot

Hi there,

I'm about to buy an iMac Retina. My questions refer to the change of a HDD.

I don't know whether all the options matter but here are the configuration details: 4.0GHz i7, 8GB, Radeon R9 M295X 4GB, 256GB SSD, no pre-installed HDD.

Then I want to add 32GB RAM and an additional 2,5" SSD to the SATA Port where the HDD usually is placed.


1. Do I need an 2,5 to 3,5 adapter to mount it?

2. Are the necessary brackets installed by Apple even when I do not configure the HDD/Fusion Drive option or do I need additional parts to fix the SSD? (As seen in Steps 33 & 34 of the HDD-Guide of the iMac 5k Retina).

3. Can the adhesive strips be re-used or do I need to buy new ones? Asking because I'm located in Germany and in the end with all the shipping costs, price of the additional parts, time and effort to swap all by myself it might not be worth the trouble.

Thanks a lot for your help. Depending on the answers I might have to reconsider my upgrade options.

Kind regards

Matthias Schaefer

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3 Answers

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I wouldn't do this.

Between the risk in just opening the system (if you've never opened one of the newer thin series iMac's). And the fact the cable and mounting hardware will not be present with a SSD only model. You're going to have problems.

I would recommend you put your money on a Mac Pro system vs the iMac Retina 5K. Then you have a better system to upgrade. Granted the 5K display is quite beautiful which presently you can't get in the Mac Pro but you can get 4K displays and I suspect the first quarter of next year Apple will be upgrading the Mac Pro if you can wait.

As to your points

1 - Yes you will need an adapter

2 - No they are not present, you will need to find a way to order the frame parts, rubber grommets & screw studs, as well as the SATA/power cable harness from Apple.

3 - If you are careful you can reuse the strips, otherwise you'll need to clean off the old ones as needed to install new strips.

Remember you can't create a Fusion drive with two SSD's, there really is no benefit doing so.

If you really want to improve your system, I would get one of the HD models and swap out the HD for a SSHD so you would get the benefit of the SSD caching in the hybrid drive and yet also the deep storage a HD offers.

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Thanks for all the infos.

I'm not planning on using it as a Fusion Drive. I just want all SSD mass storage, hence my idea was to use 256gb on board plus 1tb as a second drive to plant all my data for videoediting.

Mac Pro is off the table at this point, since it's too expensive and the new bin is not really that update friendly as the old big tower was. An on top: who cares about a "beautiful" design when you got hundreds of external devices and dozen of additional power cables.

I want it all in one including the 5k-display since I need a new second monitor anyway, so: iMac it is!

I will have a look at the local stores and service provider so solve this problem. Opening is not the big deal, but the missing parts are... including the problem with the missing thermometer.

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Video editing can be very Read/Write intensive and quite sizable. You may want to still stick with a HD solution here. But, I won't do an internal solution. I would do an external RAID drive config to gain the needed speed and better reliability. While SSD technology has improved in the last few years by leaps and bounds. It still has an achilles heal problem with over-writing. For most this is not too bad but video editing will push this limitation. We had tried setting up a video editing station with SSD's a little less than a year ago. We've killed it as we lost two 1 TB SSD's in it. Yes, the guys loved the speed, but cursed us out when they lost a days worth of work (thank god we have a good backup solution in place, it could have been worse). Sure a few small projects will be OK, but anything big I would have second thoughts.


I agree the older Mac Pro was nice with all of the drive bays and interface slots. But over time the density of the drives has eclipsed the need for all of the bays and even many of the newer Windows PC's have dropped the number of interface slots (mostly now used for graphics cards alone). With dual onboard graphic boards I haven't seen the need for the interface slots for what we do. So far we have just shy of 20 new Mac Pro's and they meet our needs. The only problem we tend to face is the cable clutter of the external drives we use. We have a knee shelf which is were we place our systems. I never liked having them directly on the floor as they tended to get very dirty.


As a reference here is someone else who is also thinking about altering their system: Wanting to add in a second SSD


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Thanks Dan,

I know about the read/write problem. I'm editing on (the same) SSDs for about 2 years now without problems.

The link you've sent is not working anymore :(

Maybe, i will opt a 512 SSD CTO in the iMac and add a big HD in addition. I have a lot of data which I would like to save on my SSD, e.g. database stuff, which needs a lot of time to load from an HD. But it seems like there's the same problem with the missing hardware in the case and the thermal readout.

But thanks for all the help so far.

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Matthias will be eternally grateful.
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