Model A1225 / Early 2009 / 2.66, 2.93, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Replacing HDD with SSD

Greetings!

I have this old early 2009 iMac that had its HDD giving an error and therefore could never be updated to the last OS (despite still working).

I want to give it to one of my relatives but it is very slow, and I already bought RAM to "pump it" but I'm looking into replacing the old drive with a SSD instead 256 or 512, but can it be done without having to put the SSD into superdrive like on the tutorial here? Do I need an adapter for the SSD to fit in the HDD slot or not?

Thanks a lot.

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On this machine, I think a SSHD would do just fine.

It probably has a 320GB drive now (which normally should be at the end of its life)

I like the 500GB or 1TB Seagate 3.5" SSHD for this machine. An SSD would have to backward compatible and the BUS speed of this machine would limit an SSD to 1/3 of what it would normally run at and really be a waste in a SATA II Serial ATA (3 Gb/s) machine.

iMac Intel 24" EMC 2267 Hard Drive Replacement

Hybrid Hard Drives (SSHD) and Data Recovery

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Hello, the current HDD is a 640GB one, and as I stated the reason I want to replace it and can't keep it is because of the SMART Error it's been giving for a while.

I think I'm going to go with the SSHD 1TB option, if there are good models to be recommended and with a reasonable price :)

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@catbian - Be careful! You want to make sure the drive you are getting offers SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) support (review the drives spec sheet).

Many of the HD/SSHD companies are dropping older SATA I & SATA II support in their newer drives. You can still find the older drives you just need to be careful.

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@danj Which one would be compatible in this case? Since the one I was told would work won't I've managed to cancel my order

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Seagate's does offer 3.5" auto-sense SATA drives! The 2nd generation and now new 3.5" FireCuda Complete 1 TB ST1000DX002 & 2 TB ST2000DX002 drives are! FireCuda 3.5" drives

The older Seagate 1 TB ST1000DX001 & 2 TB ST2000DX001 was a fixed speed SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drives Desktop SSHD (April 2013)

What do those numbers mean? The first digit in the P/N is the drives size (TB in our case here) the last number is the series (you want a 2 drive)

What can confuse people is the newer FireCuda 2.5" drives are now fixed speed SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) unlike their older models which were auto sense! Laptop SSHD (2013) and now the newer FireCuda 2.5" drives which are fixed.

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Thanks for the precisions again! indeed it's the 3.5" ST1000DX002 model that was ordered so everything should work. Amazon wasn't able to cancel the article thankfully so I won't need to re-order it

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You might want to keep the HDD and add a SSD, so you have performance and capacity. You can use this guide to replace the the optical drive with a hard drive. You will need this adapter to make your SSD fit. If you still want to use your optical drive, you can get an external adapter to connect it to your Mac via USB.

Hope this helps!

12.7 mm SATA Optical Bay SATA Hard Drive Enclosure Image

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Hello and thank you for the swift reply.

The problem with the old and current HDD in it is that it gives a SMART Error so I am afraid this HDD will be of no use in the future, I have heard of putting a SSHD as a compromise between a HDD & SSD (I guess this works like Fusion Drive does) but won't a SSD make it last longer?

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@catbian, Yes, a SSHD is compromise between the two. You could just use the SSD without the HDD, or purchase a new HDD and SSD. A SSD should last longer too, that is correct. A SSD is still far faster than a HDD or even SSHD. I recommend a 500GB ssd, or a 250GB ssd and 500-1000GB HDD, depending on your storage needs.

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@catbian, These two are very good SSHDs, one is 2.5" and the other is 3.5". You need a 3.5" or a 2.5" + adapter.

https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-FireCuda-...

https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Firecuda-...

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@pccheese Thanks for the recs, I've checked the 3.5" model (ST1000DX002) on amazon in my country (I don't live in the U.S.) and it seems it's a SATA III which won't be working for the imac early 2009 model as i've read?

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@catbian, That drive is backwards compatible. It should work in your Mac. @mayer can confirm that. That drive is also widely available, just search the model number at your favorite electronics site.

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As long as its SATA, you should be able to stick any SSD in it. It may have a little extra space if its a 3.5 in bay though.

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@reedcrosby - Oh I wish it was so... The direction of compatibility is not in the direction most people are looking for. Think of it this way a quart of water will fit into a gallon container without any problems! Now turn this around a gallon of water just won't fit in to the quart container ;-{

The standards group which was setting up SATA had to think long and hard how to allow improvement. Was the system hardware change faster than people replacing their drives or the other way around?

At the time hard drives where still quite expensive and CPU improvements where going much faster so the group assumed people would reuse the drive Vs replacing it. So, the standard was written so older drives would work in newer systems! A SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) or SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive will work in a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) system! But, the reverse is not! A SATA III drive won't work in a SATA I or SATA II system.

There is a small exception! The drive makers realized people wanted to use newer drives in the older systems so they came out with auto sense drives! These drive are very special! Review the drives spec sheet to see if multiple SATA speeds are listed, if they are you have an auto sense drive!

Today things are changing again! Sadly, the drive makers are pulling back on these drives as many people have upgraded their systems now so the need has dropped. To cut prices they have pulled the circuitry out so if you have an older system you do need to be extra careful.

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As the SATA SSD's are 2.5" and most desktop systems use 3.5" HD drives you'll need an adapter frame to hold it. In the case of iMac's you may need a special thermal sensor cable so the systems SMC services gets the needed temp input now that you took the HD out. Otherwise your systems fans could go into over drive.

This system has a stuck-on thermal sensor on the drive so you just need to be sure you transfer it over.

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Sorry, My bad. That was bad advice. I've never worked on a iMac but on PCs I just shove 2.5 in drives in to 3.5 in bays so...

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Live & learn ;-}

PC's are really no different here. The SATA interface is the same (mostly) Apple did alter the drives they bought with custom firmware so the internal thermal sensor output would output the cable. Otherwise there is no difference at the drive level in the newest 3.5" drives.

Now the system you are putting in the drive then becomes the issue as some systems have SATA II controllers and others SATA III. In some cases the drive may not be the best choice as the company might have not been able to get the newer drives or wanted to cut the price so they put in the older SATA II drive in a SATA III system. Also remember a HD still can't max out the SATA III channel! So that might have been the issue in the designers mind as well.

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Yep. And they use their annoying proprietary M.2 NVMe-ish interface.

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Hey everyone, just giving a quick update.

Today I followed the tutorial to install the new SSHD, I had some trouble at some point as the thing helping to remove the HDD was different from the one that is seen here (but I still managed to remove it), I also gave a quick clean inside as there was a bit of dirt in there!

I put it back and everything, and then started it, holding down the option key.

I had created a bootable usb drive with Disk Maker X yesterday for Yosemite, so that's what I put it to install it and then got an error saying it couldn't install :(

I'm bummed but I'll try making a new USB bootable on my other iMac so I can finally make a clean install, I don't know why it gave me that error especially since Disk Maker took 20-30minutes making the bootable yesterday

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@catbian - Alter the date & time setting of your system to manual and back date it for December 2014 then it should install. Apple sets the certificate to expire after two years which is why you got the error with Yosemite.

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@danj I did see this fix but unfortunately it still wouldn't work and kept showing the message & to make it worse on the other iMac i can't download the Yosemite installer again, it only gives me the option to install it and not download it to make a bootable (see: http://i.imgur.com/knAeYIm.png), so I am going to try with El Capitan

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@danj my El Capitan installer worked like a charm :) this old iMac is now running very smoothly and so much faster! Though it says there's a new update (for Sierra) but I thought it was incompatible with this iMac, is it because I installed a new drive?

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@catbian - Sorry Mae Mae, The problem is the system its self can't support the newer OS's (Sierra or higher). This has nothing to do with your drive upgrade. El Capitan is as high as your system can support.

Review this: iMac 24" 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (Early 2009) jump down to the bottom for the OS support section. Even if you have the faster model the same holds true.

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@danj Oh yeah I know I was just asking since the App Store told me there was a new update available, and I've seen there are tweaks to be able to install Sierra but I don't really need it on this iMac, since it's going to be given :)

Thanks again guys!

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Mae Mae will be eternally grateful.
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