A1418 / EMC 2833 / Late 2015 / 3.1 GHz Core i5 or 3.3GHz Core i7 Processor. Released October 13, 2015.

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Not sure if I can upgrade my HDD

Hi everyone,

I have a Late 2015 21.5” iMac 4K with 1TB HDD (Non-Fusion Drive).

Someone told me the original ones come with the most basic level of Drive and there isn’t a connector for the blade SSD. Is that true?

For my situation, is that possible if I use a 2.5” Crucial MX500 SSD or Samsung 860 instead of the original HDD?

thanks a lot

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Here's the specs for your system: 21.5" iMac 4k 3.3 GHz i7 (Late 2015)

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2 Answers

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Sadly your system does not offer the second drive connector of the blade SSD. For reference here’s what EveryMac states:

“*This model has a Serial ATA (6 Gb/s) connector for a 2.5" hard drive. If configured with a "Fusion" Drive or an SSD at the initial time of system purchase, it also has a PCIe connector (PCIe 2.0 x4 NVMexpress interface), but this connector is not present if the system only is configured with a hard drive at the time of purchase.”

So your only hope here is to upgrade the SATA HDD to a better drive iMac Intel 21.5" Retina 4K Display Hard Drive Replacement. You have two choices you can go with a 2.5” SSD or you can also go with a SSHD hybrid drive.

As you already have a 1 TB drive you’ll need to reduce how much you have if you have it already pretty full or think about going with a SSHD which will be cheaper with the larger storage Seagate Firecuda 2.5”. While not as fast as a SSD it makes up for it by being a faster disk drive 7200 RPM and the SSD cache will speed up the boot and running your apps.

As far as the SSD it too is a great way to get performance but you do need to be careful on how full you have it. You were thinking about a 500 GB drive for this drive to run well you’ll need to leave 1/4 of it free so the OS and your apps have free space to work with.

Your system does not offer serviceable RAM (soldered) so depending on what you bought your RAM maybe limited to 8 GB.

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@danj are you sure the SSD slot is not on the logic board? It makes no sense that Apple would have different logic boards, one with the slot and one without.

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@mayer - Apple went cheap on the 21.5" models.

With a few exceptions systems which only have a SATA drive don't have the PCIe slot on the logic board. Only the Fusion Drive'd systems or ones with the blade SSD do have the connector.

I've given up trying to remember which models have and which don't, so I reference EveryMac to double check my self.

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The best way to find out is to open it and see but be very careful. The screen is glued on you need heat and a thin plastic card and alcohol to open. Also if you haven't done this type of work before then I would leave this to a professional. Someone that has a history of working on imacs

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obviously YOU have not opened one correctly either. You need a iMac Opening Wheel Here's how to do it:

iMac Intel 21.5" Retina 4K Display Replacement

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I obviously do have that tool and managed just fine for the last 10 years without it. I keep it in a bin at the shop and give it to techs that are less experienced.

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Ya, thats how I started. But after messing up two displays I smarted up! Get/use the pizza cutter! Its the smart way!

I also empty the gun of all its bullets when I clean it as it would be dumb to shoot myself!

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