Model A1419 / EMC 3070 / Mid 2017 / 3.4, 3.5 or 3.8 GHz Core i5 or 4.2 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor (ID iMac18,3) / Retina 5K display. Refer to the older iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015) guides as the system is very similar.

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NVME M.2 SSD with adapter

Is it possible to update 2017 iMac 27" 5k with NMVe m.2 SSD using m.2 to Apple PCIe adapter?

I used to use SM951 AHCI in Mac Pro 5.1, 6.1, all Retina and Air 2013-2015 but what about NVMe once? Have anyone tried?

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First you may want to look at this Vid: 2017 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display Unboxing and Teardown jump to the 10:00 time point which shows the PCIe SSD Apple is using. It's very different from the M.2 SSD's.

Apple's PCIe NVMe SSD's use a custom device driver so while you might be able to get the adapter and NVMe SSD to physically fit it won't be recognized by the OS.

While I haven't tried anything in this new iMac I can tell you I've tried the newer MacBook Pro retina series which has a 2 lane NVMe SSD and it didn't work.

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Which MacBook you tried? AHCI m.2 SSDs with adapter works fine with all late 2013-2015 MacBooks Pro/Air. Confirmed many times.


Don't get confused here! AHCI is not the same as NVMe! What worked in the older systems does not work in the newer systems.

Review this: SATA Express (SATAe) Your older system uses the Red path with the AHCI (SATA) the newer systems use the Yellow path with Apples PCIe (NVMe) drive.


so lets say i install the OS on the ssd sata. and i use the nvme m.2 with adapter for storage. its working right? and do i get full speed with the m.2 adapter to 12+16pin adapter?


@blacksinner - What are we trying to do here? This makes no sense. Forget the adapter and the M.2 drive aspect. Which is the faster I/O? SATA or PCIe. So why would you put the software which ideally needs the highest I/O speed on the slowest device between the two I/O's?

As to using a M.2 NVMe/PCIe drive in a iMac I would recommend you don't.

First no one has qualified one and the adapters we tested out a few years ago when we looked at it with MacBook Pro's where just junk (AHCI/PCIe)!

The newer NVMe drives Apple uses use a custom driver so I don't know if it would even work.


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Upgrading an 2017 iMac 27" with an off the shelf NMVe m.2 SSD + M.2 Apple PCIe adapter is definitely possible.

I am amazed how much confusion information is on the internet about this topic. Even from OWC, which only wants to sell a SATA upgrade kit for the 2017 iMac.

So I thought, try and find it out.

I did my 2017 iMac with a EVO 970 NVMe SSD + Sintech M.2 NVMe to Apple PCEe adapter.

I only recommend the Sintech adapters, others are known to have issues.

I used:

I have some images on instagram where I did my upgrade.:

I am happy I did it and got rid of the FusionDrive setup.

As a note, if you plan to replace the SATA drive with an SSD, which I also did then "No" you do not need the overpriced and useless thermal Sensor from OWC either.

Update 03rd March 2019:

Do not buy the Samsung EVO 970 “Plus” , it is known not to work:

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@xarbit - Theres a couple of issues here that you glossed over.

First the newer 'Thin Series' iMac's are harder to open up without damaging the display and taking the logic board out adds to it (and a bit of a shock risk). Many people are just not skilled enough which is why OWC (and Transcend) decided not to get into supporting exchanging out the blade SSD as it was just so much harder.

As for using these M.2 adapters I'm not a fan. Maybe they are getting better I haven't tried one in the last year. The systems I get in with these adapters tend to have bad SSD's as the CRC error's finely catch up killing the SSD, SSD's that die in a couple of years is not good economics! Putting one into a iMac is risky in my option as its already so hard to get to. Don't forget some of these SSD & adapter combo's won't allow the drive to be the boot drive which is a strong reason too.

As far as the SATA drive replacement true the newer '17 and newer iMac's no longer require the inline thermal sensors ... But! If you run diagnostics you'll get a few errors which can confuse. I just install them as its just easier and the cost factor is not that much.

With the issues with booting under this config with some setups and hibernation gets messed up which can cause OS crashes. Is also not worth the time to debug or trying to always work around.



Thanks for your reply, while you are right it is harder to do yes, but truth is, it is not really that hard. I understand OWC and Co. not wanting to support endusers in opening thier sealed macs.

It is more the misleading and false information about this which also prevents pro's from doing it.

I believe People have fun doing things on thier own and are pretty much capable in deciding if they trust thier self in doing it on thier own.

As for the thermal sensor for the SATA drive, believe me.. I ran diagnostics and have zero errors and even have a screenshot somewhere that I posted to a user on instagram that asked me that.

The cost factor of around 50 euros here where I am from is more than too much if it is useless.

I also have no isuues with hibernation on my 2017 iMac.

The Sintech is a very good adapter and the EVO pretty much the same what Apple uses for its own blade SSDs.

There are bad M.2 adapters, if you tried one in the past then give the Sintech a try.


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I believe that Samsung 960 EVO or PRO with the adapter like this one:

WILL work fine in the iMacs 2017.

All the opinions that are different - come from people who aim to earn money on you.

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Sorry this is a PCIe/AHCI SSD adapter not a PCIe/NVMe which is what you would need and a PCIe/NVMe SSD. So far I know of no one trying either adapter in the iMac's (as needed for the given model). Review the diagram here: SATA Express (SATAe)

I strongly recommend buying the system with the largest blade SSD Apple supplies. And if you need to upgrade stick with a real Apple SSD.


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I already bought 512 GB Samsung Pro 960 M.2 SSD. After I disassembled my iMac 2017 27". I'm shock realizing the interface is different! I feel stupid.

I'm ordering the adapter which is about 1 month to arrive. =( I'll buy the adapter to SATA for now and use it as storage. Later on I'll buy the correct SSD and install the OS on it.

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I've had to pull two adapted drives out of a iMac & MacBook Pro. While they may appear to work there's long term issues. With the MacBook Pro its at least an easy job, not so for an iMac!

I strongly recommend you put in the correct drive and call it a day. I'm sure you can return it or find a better home for it


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Hello everyone,

I opened my iMac 5k 2017, I already changed to a NVMe SSD (Samsung 970 EVO Pro with the M.2 adapter) and a Crucial SATA SSD. I also upgraded my CPU for a i7700 k,

After the re-assembly, my system didn’t even start, is there any step by step guide to help resolve the problem?

Do I need the bootable USB drive first…? What screen should i see?

Thanks for the advance !

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Yes, you need a boot USB first beforehand.

Then after the install you boot from it using command+r to start DiskUtil to format the NVMe drive and your SATA drive.

Then you boot from USB again using command to start the bootmanager.

Does your screen light up?

As a side note, after you did the install and have a working computer, you can reinstall recovery to your NVMe drive with this nice script:


@Johnny How is your system going so far? Any issues with the SSD? What is your SSD speed now? May I have a link with your adapter? Thanks


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