Model A1312 / Mid 2011 / 2.7 & 3.1 GHz Core i5 or 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Add SSD (Not originally configured for SSD) and Upgrade Original HDD?

Hello,

I have an i5 quad 27" iMac mid-2011 with a 1TB HDD purchased last year. I've filled the drive up rather quickly, and would like to do two things:

1.) Add a SSD (120GB or 240GB OCZ Vertex 3). I've found the guide for this, it looks to be the same high-quality I've used in the past from iFixit. I've found some conflicting info though... Do I need additional mounting equipment or cables? I plan on purchasing the upgrade kit. Is there anything else I need for this install? 2.5" variety, yes? I plan to put all of my apps and OS on this.

2.) While I've got this puppy open, I'd like to also like to upgrade the HDD to 2TB-3TB version. Can this be done? I assume 3.5"... I've only ever upgraded the HDD in Mac laptops. Do you have any recommendations as to brand, size, etc? What would I need to do this install?

Last but not least, what is the recommendation on reinstallation of the OS? Now that Lion came as a download only, what would you think the best corse of action would be?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance guys!

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Hey Brian,

I'm not really sure how you managed to fill up a terabyte hard drive in one year, but I'm impressed. Before getting into what you can do inside the machine, may I make a couple suggestions?

1. Move anything you don't need or use regularly to a large external drive (2, 3, 4 TB, whatever suits you). Most photographers do this since they have RAW, XMP, PSD, and JPGs of every picture that they work with. I also move files for classes that I take after each term off of my laptop and onto my external drive.

2. Delete extra stuff. It seems silly, but I occasionally go through my programs and files and realize that I no longer need the huge PDF solutions manual for physics and math classes I took 4 years ago or three different video editing programs when I don't even make movies.

Now, on to what you can do with your machine.

You should consider yourself fortunate, because you own a machine with 3 SATA sockets on the logic board. Our dual hard drive guide is used to install a second hard drive where Apple installed their SSDs. If you had the machine configured with an SSD from Apple there would be a special bracket there, but instead our kit uses super strong 3M VHT double sided tape. To answer your question, if you purchase our kit you will not need anything else; we include all of the cables and mounting strips you need.

You can, of course, replace the 3.5" HDD with a bigger one (we have a guide for that!). The market for 4 TB doesn't look very diverse right now, but there are a number of choices at 2 and 3 TB. As far as specific manufacturers and models go, I don't really have the experience or knowledge to make an informed suggestion. WD is Apple's manufacturer of choice for their iMac hard drives, so they are probably a decent bet.

Finally, if you don't use your optical drive, you can always replace it with an additional 2.5" HDD in an optical bay enclosure for more internal storage. I believe the 12.7 mm SATA/SATA optical bay enclosure is the one that works with this iMac.

Unfortunately, I'm primarily a hardware guy and I don't know much about installing the OS and which one to go with. I still run Snow Leopard, but I think that's because I'm stubborn. Mountain Lion comes out in about a month, so you might want to wait for that.

I hope that helps!

iMac Intel 27" EMC 2429 Hard Drive Image

Guide

iMac Intel 27" EMC 2429 Hard Drive Replacement

Difficulty: Moderate20 - 30 Minuten

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David,

That's really helpful, thank you! So one of the reasons that our HDD has filled so quickly is HD home video (we have 3 kids) and HD iTunes content. We have purchased quite a few Disney/Pixar type movies over the last few years as the kids love to watch them over and over again (and we can sync to iPad during long trips). Since Apple TV now offers 1080p and we have the home theater for it, it hogs some serious space. I am militant about dupes and other unnecessary info... Lastly, we're not completely full... I've got 200GB left, but have been amazed how quickly we've filled the 300GB. I ordered all the necessary components and will post my experience when I've finished adding the two drives. Thanks again for your help David!

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David,

Again, thanks for your help! I did the upgrade last weekend, and all went smoothly. I've now got a new WD Black Caviar 2.0TB 7200rpm HDD and a 120GB Vertex 3 SSD... Used the iFixit kit, and it couldn't have been easier (Well, if I coulda used three hands with the display cables...)

Trick was getting everything moved over... Put a bootable Lion OS on an 8GB USB stick, booted from that, installed a fresh OS onto the SSD (Following Disk Utility format on both new drives), put my original 1TB Seagate in an enclosure, and transferred my user, documents, and applications to SSD via Migration Assistant. Lastly, I sent over all of my Pictures, Music, Movies to the new HDD. Instead of creating symlinks, I just pointed each respective app to the new library on the HDD for iPhoto & iTunes.

Just wanted to report back and say thanks again for the help.

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Brian Perkins will be eternally grateful.
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