Model A1419 / EMC 2806 & EMC 2834/ Late 2014 or Early 2015 or late 2015 / 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 Processor / Retina 5K display

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Can I add a PCIe SSD to my iMac 5K (Oct 2015)?

Hello from Germany,

I bought an iMac 5K QC i5 3.2, EMC 2834, m380 Late 2015, sadly it'sthe version with the 1 TB HDD, uggghhhh!

Now my Quesion: Is it possible to add a 256GB PCIe SSD from a Mac Book Pro/Air 2014 to the iMac?

Or is the Socket/Port missing on the Logicboard of the Base-Model?

Thank you Tim

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Sadly Apple does not offer upgrades for this system. So you'll need to find an independent Apple servicer who can get the SSD spares part from Apple and put it in for you (very expensive solution!)

While you could do this your self this is an advanced DIY project and you could damage the display if you don't follow the IFIXIT guide to the letter. You would still need to locate the custom Apple blade SSD (PCIe x4 NVM express SSD), which will be very difficult. Here's the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display SSD Replacement

Frankly, I think it's a lot safer and cheaper just to get an external Thunderbolt 2 SSD RAID drive. You'll get better performance than swapping out the HD for a SSD (if you where thinking on going that way), but not quite as fast as the built-in blade SSD (very close though!)

Here's one unit: OWC ThunderBay 4 mini

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@danj - I have not been into a 2015 model yet. What about this "It has a Serial ATA (6 Gb/s) connector for a 2.5" hard drive."?

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It has a 3.5" SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) HD and the PCIe blade SSD. Unlike the older custom Apple PCIe x2 (2 lane) SSD drive this one has a PCIe x4 (4 lane) NVM express SSD. Unlike the 21.5" systems which have a 2.5" HD and the PCIe blade drive. Some 21.5" models don't have the PCIe connector which creates some confusion The newer 4K model is missing it again when you get a HD only model.

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As a reference here the drive IFIXIT has in their teardown: WD10EALX

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thank you, i will try a 2.5 SSD then. Thanks a lot Tim

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Before you go that route you'll need an external thermal sensor: OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for Hard Drive Upgrade for 27" iMacs 2012 and Later as the SSD does not offer one and the system requires it. You'll also need: OWC 2.5" to 3.5" Drive Adapter Bracket to house the 2.5" SSD. I would also recommend getting an external drive case to hold your SSD to prep it up and then to hold your old HD as a backup drive. I would go with a USB 3.0 case.

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Standard Hard Drive: 1 TB* Int. HD Interface: Serial ATA (6 Gb/s)/PCIe*

Details: *This model is equipped by default with either a 1 TB (7200 RPM) hard drive (MK462LL/A) or a 1 TB "Fusion" Drive, which combines a 24 GB SSD and a 1 TB hard drive (MK472LL/A). It has a Serial ATA (6 Gb/s) connector for a 2.5" hard drive. It also has a second PCIe connector (PCIe 2.0 x4 NVMexpress interface) that accommodates the SSD if the system is configured with a "Fusion Drive" or SSD or that remains unpopulated if configured with only a hard drive.

At the time of purchase, Apple offers a 2 TB "Fusion Drive" (which combines a 128 GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive) for an extra US$200, a 3 TB "Fusion Drive" (which combines a 128 GB SSD and a 3 TB hard drive) for an extra US$300, a 256 GB SSD for an extra US$100, a 512 GB SSD for an extra US$400, or a 1 TB SSD for an extra US$900.

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/im...

Here's the info on an upgrade: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/im...

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I contacted an AASP and was given this answer. "The PCI-E SSD for that iMac is $1600, the labor will be about $209.95 since the slot for it is located on the back of the logic board, so the whole system will have to be rebuilt, and we charge a $69.95 bench fee. So in total $1879.90 plus tax."

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Yep! Very expensive. A OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB SSD's would cost you the same $1600 and offer a sustained speed of 1350 GB/s! A much better solution.

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Well, I got the MK462ll/A for around $1100 as an open box item at Best Buy and since I saved a good amount on it, I purchased Applecare on Amazon for $144. Your solution is definitely the best. Maybe once the applecare is expired or even before, I'll open it up and just removed the 1TB hard drive and put in a Samsung 512GB 850 Pro.

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Just to be clear here the ThunderBay unit is an external Thunderbolt 2 RAID drive system. I don't recommend opening this series just to swap out the HD for a 2.5" SSD unit. it makes little sense when you have a better option externally.

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I ended up opening the case with a utility knife blade with care only allowing about 1/8 inch depth with attention around the iSight camera. I removed the HD and installed a Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD using an external thermal sensor: OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for Hard Drive Upgrade for 27" iMacs 2012 and Later as the SSD does not offer one and the system requires it. You'll also need: OWC 2.5" to 3.5" Drive Adapter Bracket to house the 2.5" SSD as mentioned above by Dan. Installation took about 15 mins. I then closed the system with 3M adhesive strips and restored from a Time Machine Backup to the new SSD. The improvement is significant and I am so glad I did it sooner than when the AppleCare expires. So happy with the system now more than before with the slow platter Hard Drive.

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Tim von der Blume will be eternally grateful.
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