Model A1419 / Late 2013 / 3.2 & 3.4 GHz Core i5 or 3.5 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Which HDD upgrade gives best bang for the buck?

I have max'ed out RAM at 32GB and have 1TB 7200 RPM HDD. Which of the following would give the best "bang for the buck" in terms of increasing performance (specifically for photo processing software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and DxO Optics Pro):

  1. Replace existing HDD with 2TB Seagate SSHD
  2. Replace existing HDD with Angelbird 1TB SSD and OWC temp sensor
  3. Remove existing HDD and install Apple 1TB PCIe SSD
  4. Keep existing HDD and install Apple 128GB PCIe SSD to make Fusion Drive

Finally, are Options (3) and (4) even feasible, given that my iMac did not have a Fusion Drive or SSD to begin with (i.e., does it have a PCIe slot)?

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Hello Ray.

I will give you my opinion on your options.

1. SSHDs could possible cause you a little strife, I know for older model Machines they work well but I haven't had the opportunity to test it with a newer Machine.

2. I do know (As a Apple Technician myself) that Apple Security Software disables the SSDs that don't come from a valid vendor. This only seems to affect models running OSX 10.10.4 and later.

3. This model has a PCIe Slot, regardless of what configuration was bought. This is probably the best option and I recommend that you go with this one. The PCIe slot is located on the underside of the Main Logic Board (follow the iFixit guide for assistance, iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 SSD Replacement). Once installed you may need to format it using disk utility in internet recovery but there is nothing hardware or software stopping you.

I suggest that you purchase a Samsung PCIe SSD or a SanDisk PCIe SSD, both of which Apple use in their iMac and MacBook models.

4. If your machine was not purchased with a fusion drive you are unable to create one if you buy a separate PCIe SSD. (As far as I am aware, I have yet to attempt this)

Regards

Brayden

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Let me correct some of Brayden's statements here:

1 - SSHD's Are not a problem in this system

2 - SSD's likewise are not a problem when replacing the HD

3 - Apple's 1 TB PCIe blade SSD replacement drive is very expensive not worth it. You might find from one of the parts outlets a recovered drive for sale but these tend to be the smaller sizes. There are a few 3rd party drives available which will work by the suppliers have not qualified them (i.e. OWC)

4 - The smaller sized Apple PCIe blade SSD's are more available on the parts market. So its a better deal

If you review a few questions here on IFIXIT you'll find a few people who have replaced their HD for either a different HD, SSHD or a SSD. It's a lot of work and if you're not careful you can kill the display assembly.

Frankly, I don't recommend upgrading the SATA drive as the external Thunderbolt port is faster! A better solution is to get an external 2 drive RAID drive system with SSD's. As an example OWC's: ThunderBay 4 Mini.

Likewise the amount of work to get to the PCIe slot is also not worth the risks. which is also a good reason to go with the external RAID.

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Thanks, Dan. I agree that the Apple PCIe blade SSDs are too expensive and too difficult to replace. I have seen OWC's SSD replacement option for the internal HD, but have read that it's problematic because it doesn't support TRIM in El Capitan. It appears that the ThunderBay 4 Mini uses the same SSDs; would the fact that they are not TRIM-enabled be a problem?

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Lets clarify a few things here The OWC blade SSD presently is not qualified for the iMac yet. You'll need to talk with OWC to see where they are in the process. As for the lack of TRIM services within the OWC unit: This is due to its construction. It is setup as a RAID set so TRIM wouldn't make sense here.

If you are thinking about replacing the HD with a SSD drive then the given 2.5" SSD drive you install may or may not support TRIM services. As an example the Samsung 850 EVO drive does. But don't over focus on TRIM. Some SSD units have internal garbage collection services while not tied to the OS in the same way as TRIM they do work.

Now looking at the ThunderBay 4 Mini: External drives often have their own cleanup services so don't be worried about the lack of TRIM services. Here the given SSD drive you use in the unit will effect the garbage collection process. The OWC 2.5" SSD drives have onboard garbage collection (the drives I would use). We have two units here and both are connected to Mac Pro's running El Capitan without any problems.

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What model SSD PCIe need to buy? Whether there are analogues? iMac 14,2 (27' late 2013, 3,4 GHz Core i5, GTX775m, only HDD)

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Please read what I wrote above "Let me correct some of Brayden's statements here:" It still applies today from the Late 2013 to Late 2015 models.

Presently, there is no 3rd party PCIe SSD blade drive offerings. Your only hope is locating a used Apple SSD PCIe unit but it will be expensive! Also don't forget this is a big job too! Review this IFIXIT guide: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 SSD Replacement

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Ray Reinhard will be eternally grateful.
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