Model A1418 / Late 2013 / 2.7 & 2.9 GHz Core i5 or 3.1 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Are these the right SSD PCIe blades for iMac Late 2013?

Hi,

I need to be 100% sure that if the information it's correct. I want to place a PCIe SSD blade to my Imac but I would like to know if any of the below options works for my IMac, if you agree with the following information please let me know:

1) Apple SM0512F or SM0256F SSD PCIe blades are the same Samsung blades models MZ JPU512T/OA6 (512GB) and MZ JPU256T/OA6 (256GB) respectively.

2) Those blades are used and compatible with the following models:

  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)
  • Mac mini (Late 2014)

Am I right?

If yes, these blades would work for IMac 21,5" and 27" Late 2013 and 2014.

I just need to be sure before I buy some used pulled from a Mac lap-top

Update (10/01/2016)

Hi Brian Lamb, Sorry if I am responding too late. On Imac Late 2013 you can only install just one Drive which can be an SSD or a HDD because it has only one SATA connector. Now I replaced the HDD with a 1Tb SSD . As you say I am not afraid to mess with my computer so I know perfectly and I am sure 100% that our computers has that marvelous PCI express port for the blade, the great advantage to install the blade is the incredible speed it reaches,as much as nearly 900 Mb per second !!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Where are you getting the information that these blades will work?

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Oh, that question is an old one ; I got that information after a deep research and from experts, indeed IFixit sells a PCIexpress blade for iMac late 2013 of 21.5" as well 27" but finally I decided to buy a Crucial SSD 550GB model MX200 and works beautifully, the OS boots in only 10 seconds and the speed was increased from 60 MB per second to 512MB

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Armando, I researched this up and down. I'm tired of the "oh that's too hard to do, or you'll break you mac, or you'll void the warranty" etc etc :)

I am trying to figure out if I have the model with a 1TB HD installed already, can I put a new SSD drive into a PCIe slot by accessing behind the mainboard.

Did your machine already have an SSD or was it a standard HDD installed model, I got the impression that some seem to think that the standard models don't have the PCIe slot but I'm not sure I believe that.

Thanks for your posts so far!

Brian

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I just installed SSD blade from OWC to iMac 27" late 2013 . Only thing you need is screw to secure OWC drive in slot , stickers for re-glue LCD and few hours of time. Best regards , Milos / maczone.cz

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Hi Milos , it seems OWC finally are selling the PC express blades for our iMacs, whenI was interested they were planing to produce them but I couldn't get any one, it was only their project. Finally I installed a 1 Tb Crucial SSD MX 200 and work beatifully but thanks for telling me that the proper blades are available at OWC maybe I will but one.

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Sadly, you're between a rock and a hard place here. As the model you bought came with a HD Vs a SSD to start with. You may want to think about getting a replacement system which has the SSD and then transplanting your HD in to it Vs trying to open the system to add in the SSD. Then get another HD to put in your system and sell it to recoup some of what you spent.

While its possible to add the SSD, its a lot of work and and you have discovered not easy to identify the correct SSD to buy to put in. I should point out the SSD's also have firmware on them which also limits which system it will work in. So getting the correct looking SSD (even by vendor P/N) may still not work! We have the newer Mac Pro systems and we also tried to locate alternative SSD's for them, of the four we bought we only got one to work.

Review these two IFIXIT guides:

Note the number of steps needed to replace the HD 29 and 58 for the SSD. Are you up to this much work? Do you have the needed skills and tools?

OK, as to using an external SSD to marry with your internal HD: I would hold off that direction. Instead I would get an external dual drive unit and then use one of the bays in it to hold the SSD and marrying it with the mate HD so the external drive is setup as a fusion drive. While this will be more expensive it will offer more stability and speed than spitting across the internal HD and external SSD.

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2638 Hard Drive Image

Guide

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2638 Hard Drive Replacement

Difficulty: Moderate1 - 2 小时

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this is the old one

MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Early 2013 SSD Replacement

and this i that you need:

MacBook Pro 13" and 15" Retina (Late 2013/Mid 2014) SSD

So that have to be compatible

If you have a 21,5" iMac and want upgrade your RAM: you need at 1,35V RAM 1,5V would`t work.

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I already upgraded the RAM to 16GB but I am not sure if puting a PCIe SSD blade is worth to make only and exclusively to make a Fusion drive or can I use original HHD and the new SSD PCIe separately. Thanks for your answer!

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I know it because I have opened the iMac and counted the pins, But it is much cheaper to build a large ssd a. The PCIE SSD for Apple is simply too expensive. and you can of course use the disks individually and how create a fusion drive and separate them, you can see at google

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Yes Paul, I agree with you and I thank your advice, I also have seen they are extremely expensive, great that IFix have them, also I could buy an Apple used one pulled from a compatible MacBook but I'll wait until prices drop and look for an Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 connection external SSD. Thanks for your comment!

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BTW Paul, My computers has only ne SATA III 6GB connector so I think it is not possible to make an internal fusion drive with adding an internal SSD plus the original 1TB HDD.

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Armando you are correct your system has one SATA port (HD) and one PCIe port (SSD). There is one option here if you want to swap out your current HD drive to either a dual drive Western Digital Black2 or a hybrid drive: Seagate Laptop SSHD.

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Can someone help me? I've gotten a new iMac late 2013 21.5" i5 2.7 with 1tb hdd. I want to add a ssd on the pcie slot but can't find anything that's says "yes this is the part number you need".

I'm fine with the install, going to do the ram at the same time and only open it once. I just can't find any definitive answer as to which ssd module will be compatible.

Not wanting a fusion set up. Want apps and os on ssd and photo library on hdd.

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Apple has jumped a round a bit here on the 21'5" models, some systems don't have the SSD blade drive connector. In your case the Late 2013 does have the connector.

But, currently there is no third party options that have been tested unlike the older models as your system offers a 4 lane PCIe interface unlike the older systems. I would keep an eye on this web page: OWC - iMac 21.5" Late 2013 — Current. As to the upgrading this is not an easy upgrade! As you can damage the display if you are not careful and you'll need to take the entire logic bd out. You may want to think long and hard here before you do this. I strongly recommend going with an external Thunderbolt drive as being a better upgrade. Here is what I would go with: OWC ThunderBay 4 mini.

Review my answer above and the comments of the others. The cost of a real Apple SSD is quite expensive so that too needs to be figured in here.

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Hi Brian Lamb, Sorry if I am responding too late. On Imac Late 2013 you can only install just one Drive which can be an SSD or a HDD because it has only one SATA connector. Now I replaced the HDD with a 1Tb SSD . As you say I am not afraid to mess with my computer so I know perfectly and I am sure 100% that our computers has that marvelous PCI express port for the blade, the great advantage to install the blade is the incredible speed it reaches,as much as nearly 900 Mb per second !!

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I Have the same basic question but with a 27" late 2013. Some comments state that the PCIe slot only exists if it was installed at the time of purchase but I am not sure I believe that.

I would like to add an SSD to the PCI express slot as my main system drive and keep the internal 1TB drive for additional storage (I already have 6 external drives connected by everything from Thunderbolt-Firewire converter and eSATA to USB 3.0 so am just not interested in adding anything but an SSD to increase system performance (preferably keeping the existing internal 1TB drive!) - Yes I have the necessary tools and am able to do the install - carefully! :)

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@Brian - The 27" is different than the 21.5" model being talked about here.

In your case the SSD blade drive connector is present. But, currently there is no third party options that have been tested unlike the older models as your system offers a 4 lane PCIe interface unlike the older systems. I would keep an eye on this web page: OWC - iMac 27" Late 2013 — Current. As to the upgrading this is not an easy upgrade! As you can damage the display if you are not careful and you'll need to take the entire logic bd out. You may want to think long and hard here before you do this. I strongly recommend going with an external Thunderbolt drive as being a better upgrade. Here is what I would go with: OWC ThunderBay 4 mini.

The cost of a real Apple SSD is quite expensive so that too needs to be figured in here.

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Thanks Dan, I appreciate the thorough answers you've given before. Unfortunately the Thunderbolt enclosure+SSD is way too expensive for what I'm looking for. In my case the hassle of opening the machine up would be worth it to be able to put in a 500GB SSD(~$150) to boot from and use as intermediate storage during editing retaining the internal drive, I don't need huge fast external data storage, all of that is fine as USB3.0 (still way cheaper than Thunderbolt) and just as functional for most of my usage.

Speed/Size/Cost: Pick Two :)

I'm going to just replace the HD with the SSD, and move the drive external to USB3 enclosure :/

I will say this, the SSD upgrade is the single best thing anyone could do to improve the performance. If you haven't done it yet to an aging machine you owe it to yourself - it will make even the oldest machine feel relatively snappy! :D

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The problem you face here is the systems storage space will be less with a SSD only solution if you are forced to look at the cost factor. A 1 TB SATA SSD is still on the expensive side (~$320 US) that is if you are looking at an Apples to Apples comparison swapping out your HD from a size perspective. Going with a 500 GB drive (~$160 US) while doable will lessen your storage as you are giving up your 1 TB HD!

Again, there is no 3rd party PCIe blade drive offerings so you will need to go with a real Apple SSD which will cost you! 512 GB (~$650 US) 1 TB (~$1000 US).

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So the external Thunderbolt drive (ThunderBay) I think looks better here as a 1 TB SSD will set you back $820 US or if you want something cheaper a 500 GB SSD setup is only $620 US.

Here's one other option which is cheaper than the ThunderBay RAID case: Elite Pro Dual enclosure. Here you can add in your own 2.5" SSD's. The case alone only costs $240 US. Just keep in mind this is a 2 drive case Vs the 4 drive case so your future expansion will be limited. Still a great buy! I have one for my home system holding my old HD disks.

So if you go with a 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO $160 plus the case $240 for a total of $400 I think you'll still end up with a better deal!

Don't just look at the costs of the drive alone here also think about the risks in opening up the system and the hidden costs if you mess up.

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I think we just have different perspectives on what value is here. Our goal is maximum performance(#2) at minimal cost(#1), size of the upgrade is negotiable.

An enclosure itself that costs 240$ is just way out of line with what we want to afford.

So looking at it this way a 500GB SSD running at full SATA installed internally will be the best value given comfort with the upgrade process (having done similar upgrade on another iMac and various othe repairs, and the fact that my time is not as much a factor here.)

Then moving the 1TB to an external USB3 docking station means I don't lose any total storage but also helps keep the total upgrade cost to ~200

Also, since ideally I would try to boot from the SSD, minimizing the risk of data/work loss from an inadvertent disconnection would also is worth putting the drive internally.

With all of the caveats for such a statement: I wish apple would get back to a modicum of their beginnings and allow things to be upgraded more easily.

Hope this helps others too!

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As far as I have read (could be wrong though) the PCIe slot is only present if the iMac was ordered with a Fusion Drive. Can anyone confirm this?

It is then easy to setup your own Fusion Drive combining any PCIe blade with a normal drive. You can not make a Fusion Drive from 2 SSDs though. No support for that.

Also I am not sure if TRIM support is possible with 3rd party drives.

If the PCIe slot in the 2013 iMac is the same as for Late-2013 MacBook Pros then you can use any cheaper PCIe NVMe blade SSD. I got an adapter from Sintech ($9) so I can use any PCIe M-Slot blade SSD.

The NVMe support was introduced with MacOS High Sierra. I am using a 1TB Samsung SM961 in a 2015 MacBook Pro 15" that achieves blazing speed 1400/1900 MB/s. And I got it on Ebay for $530. Has anyone tested this on the iMac?

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All 'Thin Series' 27" iMac's have a blade SSD interface. Different year'ed models have different blade SSD's so you do need to be careful which model you have and what is the correct blade SSD for it. The 21.5" 'Thin Series' are the ones that maybe missing the blade SSD interface! A SATA HD only system might not have the needed parts populated on the logic board. A Fusion Drive'd system will as well as a blade SSD only model, depending the year'ed model the current 21.5" models have it in all of the configurations.

No you can't use two SSD's configured as a Fusion Drive. You could RAID them but the issue you face is the I/O has to be the same which clearly won't be here.

Most 2.5" SATA SSD's support TRIM services. The kicker is the real cheap no onboard RAM SSD's won't.

Review the image I posted below for the rest.

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NVMe is a new interface think how PATA was displaced by SATA. Here we are displacing AHCI/SATA with NVMe/PCIe it's a very different interface. So you can't use a PCIe SSD in a SATA based system.

Depending on the MacBook Pro or iMac Series it will have either an AHCI or PCIe interface. Here's a better way to understand the complexities:

Block Image

The other issue with PCIe is the number of lanes. Most of the PCIe/NVMe are 2 Lane (x2) and most of the Mac systems support 4 Lane (x4).

The other factor here is the Apple to M.2 adapters being sold. Many are not very good! We tested 4 different ones and most dropped data blocks (CRC error) so over time you'll likely wear out the SSD sooner and could end up with data loss. And the speed won't be as good as the real Apple drive our even one of the SSD's designed to work in an Apple system (OWC & Transcend). I don't recommend using the adapter, I do recommend using OWC & Transcend's SSD's!

As far as using something other than the real Apple drive I don't know of anyone trying. Even OWC and Transcend limit their support to the SATA drives in the iMac's as it's such a big job to get to the blade SSD.

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Armando will be eternally grateful.
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