Model A1311 / Mid 2010 / 3.06 & 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 3.6 GHz Core i5 Processor

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HD Replacement & Optical Drive Addition

Hello,

I have a mid-year 2010 21.5" iMac, EMC 2389.

My hard drive has gone bad and my optical drive hasn't worked in a few years. I'd like to replace the original hard drive with a 2 or 3 GB drive, plus add a small SSD drive.

Is it best to install the replacement hd in the hd bay and install a SSD drive in the optical drive bay, or flip-flop their locations?

Also, what parts would be required for the preferred install?

Thank you

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2 Answers

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You do have a few issues here that you'll need to work out before you start.

I would recommend sticking with a 3.5" HD for the HD bay as you do need a means to deal with the systems temp control (SMC). Apple leveraged the HD's internal thermal sensor depending on what you currently have for a HD you may want to stick with the same make. Otherwise you'll need a special cable to access the sensor or use an external sensor.

The next issue is RPM of the drive and its heat. 3.5" drives tend to be higher RPM and have higher heat. Where the 2.5" drives tend to be the slower RPM drives. The few high RPM 2.5" drives tend to run hot so if you place it in the optical drives location it will tend to cook as the sensor within the optical drive will be missing. The other factor here is if you use a 2.5" SSD you'll need a frame to hold it in the 3.5" HD bay.

OK the last point is a bit confusing SATA technically does not have a bias. So it makes no difference which port is used as your boot drive, unlike PATA which had a master & slave which does make a difference. The other issue is if you are using a PCI drive interface then the slot's ID can be a factor. Neither are issues here.

So the bottom-line: Use a high RPM 3.5" HDD in the HD bay and either re-use the sensor cable (if you are getting the same make) or use this adapter cable: OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for iMac 2009-2010 Hard Drive Upgrade. Here's the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Hard Drive Replacement. Jump to Step14 to review the internal drives sensor cable connection.

Here is the IFIXIT guide to installing the SSD: Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Hard Drive

Don't forget to prep up USB thumb drive with a bootable MacOS installer. Review this guide: How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive. I would stick with Sierra as the newest OS otherwise install one of the older OS's like El Capitan.

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Hard Drive Image

Guide

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Hard Drive Replacement

Difficulty:

Moderate

40 minutes - 2 hours

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Drive Image

Guide

Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Drive

Difficulty:

Moderate

1 - 2 hours

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For reference here's the Apple P/N's for the HD sensor cables:

Hitachi - 922-9215

Seagate - 922-9216

Western Digital - 922-9622

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If you want to save some money you may want to look at getting a SSHD which is a hybrid drive. It gives you the speed of the SSD for boot and the OS and yet has the deep storage of a traditional HDD. Here's what I would go with: Seagate 3.5" FireCuda forgoing the SSD.

Given the systems age you may want to step back on the deeper costs. Don't get me wrong here this is a great system! It's Apple's constant cutting of support on the older systems & OS's for them.

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It shouldn't make a difference, but just to be sure. I would give the SSD priority in Sata Slot 0 (HD bay).

Also don't bother wasting your money on the 2.5-3.5 inch docks. I usually end up just caption or electrical tape. Works perfectly.

Don't forget to pick up or swap the Temp sensor.

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