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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Can an SSD SATA drive be added to a 5K 2017 iMac that has a SSD blade?

I am wondering if the motherboard of a 2017 iMac, which is using the PCIe port for a 2 TB SSD blade, does it have another drive port (SATA) available to add a typical SSD drive?

If there is, is it where the mechanical portion of a fusion drive would be hooked up? Will a SSD drive attached to that port be seen by the system as an additional drive or as some type of extension of the current 2 TB SSD blade?

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Reference the previous version for the needed guides iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015)

Here's your systems specs: iMac 27" (5K, Mid-2017) iMac18,3

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Your iMac only has two drive ports the 3.5” HDD SATA port and the PCIe/NVMe SSD blade drive.

So if you bought a PCIe SSD drive only system you can install the missing SATA drive which could be a 2.5” SSD!

But! If you bought a Fusion Drive system you really have a 2 TB HDD with a 128 GB blade SSD. Review your exact systems specs above. If thats the case let us know for other possible options.

IFIXIT offers a SSD upgrade kit which you can find here iMac Intel 27" (Late 2012-Mid 2017) SSD Upgrade Bundle It offers what you’ll need (250 GB, 500 GB & 1TB) options. And here’s the IFIXIT guide you’ll need to follow iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Hard Drive Replacement

iMac Intel 27" (Late 2012-Mid 2017) SSD Upgrade Bundle Image

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iMac Intel 27" (Late 2012-Mid 2017) SSD Upgrade Bundle

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Thanks Dan. This is great information.

It only leaves one question unanswered: How will the system see the 2 separate drives since the two ports were designed for a fusion drive? If there wasn't a fusion drive when first purchased and the 2TB is now partitioned to a Mac Mojave partition and a Windows 10 Bootcamp partition will the SSD drive be a completely separate drive or will the system try and attach it in a similar way as a fusion drive? I don't want to tear apart a new machine and find out the SSD drive is either not available to the bios or is seen as some type of extended setup as part of a fusion drive. Has anyone actually done this successfully that can fill in the last part of the equation?

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Lets clarify things here a Fusion Drive is when both ports are used one with the SATA HDD drive and the other with the SSD blade drive. You still need to enable it (or disable) within the OS. You don't want to create a dual SSD fusion drive if that was your direction It won't offer any improvement in performance. All you'll do is wear out your SATA SSD prematurely.

The ports are independent of each other and can be used that way. Your desktop will show two drives your current blade SSD and the new SSD drive. This is no different than a DOS/Windows PC which has two drives typically drives C & D.

Once you install it you do need to prep the drive using Disk Utility.

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Dan, that is exactly the answer I needed. I didn’t know how Apple set up the two ports with a fusion drive but it looks like both ports are independent since I ordered my system with only a 2TB SSD NVME card. Thanks again.

Ron

The following bit of information has nothing to do with SSDs but it is important if it saves any other people from headaches when upgrading to a new system with the APFS file structure in High Sierra or Mojave. ” DO NOT BOOT FROM AN EXTERNAL MAC OS DRIVE WITH ANY OS that was released before HIGH SIERRA on a MAC withan APFS file structure.. I tried it to check a Sierra drive from my old unit to see if it still booted. It booted fine but I had to completely rebuild my original Mohave partition on my brand new system after the boot. It seems like the external drive tried to communicate with the internal drive and the file structure was different. That caused either something to be written to or something was erased in the new system’s boot area. The Mojave drive could no longer mount. Disk utility showed the partition only as “APFS”(No drive Name) and it was grayed out. I didn’t see any warnings anywhere in current documentation (I could have easily missed it if there was a warning) so I thought an external boot wouldn’t write anything and that it would probably not see the newer OS. Boy was I wrong - after many hours re-establishing Mojave and all the transferred apps.

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Ron Jankowski will be eternally grateful.
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