Model A1419 / Late 2012 / 2.9 & 3.2 GHz Core i5 or 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Swap 3TB Fusion drive for a 6TB

When I bought my iMac I ordered it with the optional 3TB fusion drive. There is a recall on this drive and is going to be replaced for free under Apple's recall campaign for these failing drives. I have AppleCare so a tech is coming to my house to swap the drive out. (The same thing happened 3 years ago with my 21.5" iMac. When the tech came to my house I paid him to install a new 3TB drive instead of the replacement drive Apple provided to him.)

I have almost maxed out the 3TB Fusion drive and figured as long as the drive was getting replaced anyway, I might as well replace it with a 6TB drive. The physical action of replacing the drive should be the same regardless of capacity (the new drive's physical dimensions and operating specifications are exactly the same, just the brand and capacity are different.)

So my question is this: Is the software setup going to be an issue? I know that Apple's firmware automatically configures the Fusion setup if I were to reformat my existing drive. But will it do it automatically with a brand new drive of a different capacity? Will I just be able to have the tech install the drive then boot up in Recovery Mode, run Disk Utility to partition and format the drive, then install OS X without having to do anything special prior to or after I swap the drives?

Thanks to anyone who can provide some insight to this.

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There are a few issues here:

The first is you should break the Fusion set before you remove your current 3TB drive that way the system won't try re-establish the Fusion set with your old drive if you happen to use your old HD for the restore.

As to using a larger HD. These bigger drives do ramp up the heat internally and also require more power. Here's the Spec sheet for the Seagate drives: Desktop HDD Specs. Note the Operating Mode 9.0 Watts for the 5 & 6TB drives Vs 5.6 Watts for 4TB drive and 8.0 Watts for there 3TB drive. You will need to give Seagate a call to find out what the typical & max heat the drive creates and compare that with your current drives temp modeling. To see if this is even workable.

I haven't installed any of these newer 5/6TB drives my self yet so I don't know if you need this special adapter cable: OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for Hard Drive Upgrade for 27" iMacs 2012 and Later.

At this point you are a trail blazer here! Between the power & thermal issues you may find your system is not able to run with the heaver power & thermal load, or it may not last as long.

You may find going with an external RAID set via Thunderbolt will give you more performance and keep your system cooler.

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I should point out if you are planning on replacing the drive on your own make sure you get the correct tools and watch the tech as he removes your display. Quite a few people have damaged the display opening these newer 'Thin Series' iMac's.

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Make sure you don't use a NAS or enterprise drive these are not intended for desktop systems

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Install the drive, boot up in recovery mode. It'll see the new drive + SSD, auto-run diskutility and make one for you if I remember right. I just had to click 'ok' to confirm that is what I wanted to do.

It might have made me delete the 128GB first since it saw the 'broken' fusion drive. I can't remember, but it was extremely easy.

I just did it a month ago. 6.1TB of storage. I used the kits from OWC.

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Which 6TB drive did you use?

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I used the WD 6TB Red drive. I would recommend against the kit from OWC. about a month after I installed it my display just fell off. The sticky strips they use are worse than useless. They were difficult to install, and didn't cover the whole surface of the display. I bought the display service part on eBay for about $500 and it came with the apple stickers, and those were super easy to install, and it's been working great for three months now. They covered every inch of the display, and were simple to install.

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@Tom Boucher - I don't recommend using NAS drives in desktops. They are designed for RAID'ed drive arrays. They don't do well as they have a smaller cache and tend to be slower.

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So here is how all of that went. You are seriously not going to believe this, but it is true.

When I spoke to Apple on the phone they put me in touch with an outsourced Apple certified tech company to come to my home to do the repairs. The tech company called me on a Thursday to schedule a Monday morning appointment. They gave me an 8-10 window. I told my boss that I would in late on Monday.

Monday morning at 9:30 (still a half-hour left in the window) I called the tech company at the number they called me from on Thursday to see how the tech's schedule is running and for an ETA as I had to go to work. No answer. At 10:00 I called again. At 10:15 I tried one more time. At 10:30 I called Apple. Apple put me on hold and tried calling the company themselves. The Apple rep said that he just got a voice mail, same as me. The rep said he would keep trying and call me on my cell when he was able to contact the tech company.

3:30PM. Apple called me to tell me that he got a hold of the tech company and they hadn't received the replacement drive that Apple sent to them therefore could not keep the appointment. I let Apple know that I should have been contacted so that I would not have had to miss ½ day of work. I got an apology and was told the tech company would contact me as soon as they received the drive.

Tuesday afternoon. The tech company called to tell me they have my drive and would be there on Thursday morning between 9-11. I told them that 9-11 was ridiculous and that they already screwed me over once and that I need to have them put me on the schedule for 8:00am. I was told that they could make my appointment the first one but the window would still have to be between 8-10. "If I'm the first appointment, can we not have a window and you just be here at 8?" "No can do. Our techs leave our shop at 8 and you're at least a 30-40 minute drive from here." I asked that they "please be here as close to 8 as possible. I am on my job at 7am every morning but I leave my house at 6 to be at the job site by 7. Can't your tech do the same?" "No can do. We will be there before 9." OK. Whatever. No sense arguing.

7:20am Thursday morning. The guard gate is calling me to tell me Joe Tech is at the gate and asking to be let in. WTF? 7:20! Seriously??? I greeted him at the door. I asked "What happened to 'No can do' to being here by 8?" He said "You asked for me to be here early. I'm here. Do you want to leave and come back at 8:00?" "No! You are here now, go to work. I just wish your company would at least make an attempt to act professional even if they are not capable of it."

I helped him carry in several large boxes and a few smaller ones. I asked "You are just going to be replacing the hard drive, correct? What's in all of these boxes?" He said "Yes, just the hard drive. But I have to replace both drives and the 128GB SSD is soldered onto the logic board and so the logic board needs to be replaced, too." "Really? that sounds stupid but, hey, I didn't design it." Then I asked "So what's in the other big boxes?" He said I may damage the display taking it apart. This is a replacement display and screen in case I break the old ones." Again I asked "Really?" Who the f*@k designed that??? That sounds just as stupid as having to replace the motherboard and SSD in order to replace the mechanical drive."

Two hours later, the tech is still struggling with trying to separate the screen from the body. He has no Static Discharge mat, no SD strap, is not grounded and is working on the wood surface of my desk with the iMac lying on it's back. I asked "Why do you not have something on the desk protecting the desk and also my $2,800 computer?" He said "Right now I am just trying to get the screen and display off without breaking them. I will take care of not scratching anything and I don't need to practice any SDP at this point." I was debating whether to ask this guy to install my 6TB drive instead of installing the Apple supplied drive. Something told me to not ask so I didn't. I had a bad feeling here and would not want to have to bring or send the machine to Apple with the wrong drive in it. This is where I like gut instincts.

Two hours later my iMac is stripped clean except for it's speakers. Still no SD wrist strap. Still no SD mat. Parts are everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. He was scraping the adhesive off of the back of the old display. Not on a mat. Not on a towel. The screen was face-down on the desk while he was scraping the back. UGH!

I asked him how the screen was attached because my old iMac had magnets that the screen cover snapped and held into place. Not only did it hold the screen cover on, it kept it aligned. He told me he reapplies new adhesive and sticks the screen back on the body. I asked him how he does that without making a mess with the adhesive and how does he align it with the body. He said to not worry, he does this all of the time. I let him know that Apple sends these out of the factory pretty close to perfect and that they are assembled with the aid of tools and equipment to attach and align the screen and that I was expecting the reattachment to be as perfect. Again, I was told not to worry.

Two hours later, the tech called me back into my home office. He said "I am just booting it up right now. The OS will install itself and set up the Fusion Drives automatically. I just need you to sign the repair order that everything is done and complete." I looked down at the deep gash running across my desk. I asked the tech "What did you do to my desk?" He said "Yeah. That. I'm sorry. That happened when I spun the computer around to get to the adhesive on the other side of the screen. I think some stain touch up should take of that. I'm sorry." I moved the keyboard and then the iMac. 7 smaller scratches and a small chip in the wood. Now I am !#^&@@. I again asked why he didn't have a mat or at least a towel down on the desk. I also asked who was going to pay for the repairs. He said he was sorry again. I made him write what happened to my desk on the repair order. I took some pics of the desk. I made a few notes on the work order myself and showed him to the door.

My work day was shot. It's 45 miles to my job. It's already 2:00. I might as well just stay home and finish setting up the iMac. The OS was still installing when I looked closer to the iMac's screen. It's not aligned. In fact, it's shifted to the left and not flush with the bottom bezel anywhere. The stand had a nick in it on the front edge. The screen had several small scuffs. I was furious. I called Apple and gave them an earful. After two escalations, the Apple rep switched me over to Customer Relations. They asked for pics. I already had them on my phone so in 30 seconds they had them. The rep said he would have to call me back. He did. He said that I would have to take the iMac into an Apple Store to have them look at it and possibly repair it. UGH! He set up the appointment for the next day.

I left work early to bring the computer to Apple. There are two stores closer to me than the one the Apple rep could get me in to. Whatever. I dealt with it. I just want this resolved. The tech took one look at the iMac and asked "What in the world happened to this thing?" I told him what transpired. He tried to plug an ethernet cable into the back. He couldn't. The motherboard was so far from alignment that the RJ45 connector would not go into the socket. Then he tried the USB. Same thing. He called the Apple rep who was listed on the case notes. He told that rep that "Apple needs to replace this customer's computer. It's a mess." The store manager then spoke to the rep. They took my machine in right there and ordered me a brand new one. Not a refurb. Brand new. With a brand new one year warranty. I got it two days later.

To make up for the cost of repairing the desk, they also gave me AppleCare. Why not? That's what I had on my other computer and it still had a little more than a year left on it. Apple did the right thing. I also learned a valuable lesson. My Apple products won't be touched by anyone other than an Apple employee. And they will always go back to Apple or to the Apple Store for repairs. I'm sure glad I didn't ask the tech to upgrade the drive while he had my iMac apart.

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Don't use the OWC kit. About a month later my. Display fell off. Bought a replacement that came with the Apple mounting stickers and it hasn't moved in A year

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I'm just about to get a new iMac with the 2Tb fusion drive and thought that when I fill that up I will just replace it with a larger drive as I did with the old iMac. Your story makes me now very wary of considering changing the drive in future (it was quite straight forward on the old iMac). Maybe I should just go for the 3Tb version as that is the largest drive Apple sell. Many thanks for putting up your story it has given me food for thought.

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Tom will be eternally grateful.
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