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If you're the owner of a 21.5" iMac, you understand that bigger is not always better. Your iMac can do nearly everything its 27" big-brother can, and you've got at least five extra Benjamins still in your wallet. If you want your iMac to really fly, the biggest bang for your buck is to boot using a blazing-fast SSD. Since a 1 TB SSD might cost more than your iMac, we've got a solution for those who lack unlimited budgets.
It will work with all processor speeds, regardless of whether Apple offers the additional SSD option for your machine. And unlike other kits, our product does not require permanently removing your optical drive. You'll have two storage drives as well as a functioning optical drive.
My iMac was getting a little long in the tooth, and after using a MacBook Air with an SSD, I got spoiled by the speed of that little computer. So after researching a bit, I decided to take a plunge on creating my own fusion drive using the existing 500 GB hard drive and a 120 GB SSD I picked up on sale at Best Buy.
The total process took me several hours. I had never done this much work inside an iMac before, so I went very slowly and I would watch parts of the video tutorial as well as reading through the documentation (using iFixit's great little iOS app). I would keep double checking what I was doing, as I was worried I'd mess something up. But it basically went smoothly. I then got it back together and followed a tutorial for setting up the fusion drive, and now I'm enjoying faster boot speeds, faster app load times, etc. My computer feels new again! Thanks to iFixit!
Definitely watch the video a time or two before starting. Then just pay close attention to the instructional guide as you go through it step by step. Also, pay attention to the part where it says to tape the cables back and out of the way that you pull from the logic board. It will make putting the logic board back in much easier. I didn't follow that step, and I had a moment of panic when I couldn't find one of the cables and it was kind of a pain to get the board back in with all the cables out of the way. That was probably my one goof during the process.
My Imac old HD was full and slow.
Just folowed the repair guide. Not a single problem. Every thing worked fine. I also upgraded memory from 8 to 16 GB. Now My Imac is runing even faster than when it was brand new.
make sure to view the video first.
My iMac was over 3 years old. Has a decent i5 and graphics card but a old school HDD. I use my machine for audio podcast production so I was worried that it wouldn't keep up with my production goals.
Amazing! The guide was perfect. Easy to follow with pictures that we exactly what I needed during the repair. I only replaced the main hard drive so I didn't need to remove the whole logic board. A few tense moments with flex cables but everything booted up after the swap.
CLEAN EVERYTHING! Once you remove the cover glass it will be covered in dust. Clean, clean, clean. Then continue cleaning. You will notice every little spec. Also boot your machine before attaching the glass to verify everything went ok.
IMac 21.5" Mid 2011 running slow due to fullish 500GB original HD. Wanted SSD for speed, big HDD for storage. Apple "Fusion Drive" capability automatically manage this.
iFixit kit and instructions are great. Very clear. Just work slowly. Tape down the wires as you unplug them - especially from the main logic board. Remove the RAM before starting.
Whilst the machine was open, I also upgraded the HD to a larger drive, using these instructions, starting at Step 10, after completing all the steps of the Dual Hard Drive installation guide.
FIX NOISY FANS
One main issue - the Mac fans ran very fast after upgrade. Both the CPU fan and HD fan (not the Optical Disk Drive one). Maybe I did something wrong but there are lots of reports online of this being an issue with Yosemite with replacement hard disks and SSDs on iMacs.
If you Google you'll see several Mac "fan control" programs. I tried 4 of them til I found one that actually worked for me --- "Macs Fan Control" by CrystalIdea software.
Free and worked for me
iStats Menus is also useful to monitor all the temperatures in the Mac (but its fan control feature did nothing for me):
FRESH INSTALL OF OSX USING USB FLASH DRIVE
This is useful for doing a "clean install" of Yosemite onto your new drive, especially if you use a fast USB3 Flash Drive:
MAKE YOUR OWN FUSION DRIVE
Additionally before you do the OS install, for "extra points", if you have an SSD and an HDD with a recent Mac OS you can make them into your own "Fusion Drive". Apple came up with this a couple of years ago -- "the speed of an SSD and the space of an HDD". They charge ~$500 extra for Fusion Drives on new Macs. Turns out this appears to just be software that's already built into recent OSX version. Very slick. It "fuses" the SSD and HDD together and OSX manages which files should go where and automatically moves files you use often to the SSD for speed and moves ones you use less to the HDD for capacity. I now have a single "Fusion Drive" with 2TB+128GB capacity.
This is very easy to do using instructions below. First backup everything (a completely separate Time Machine backup is good). I then installed the new 128 GB SSD and 2 TB HDD into the iMac using the iFixit instructions and kit. Take the old drive and attach it using a USB drive adapter, e.g.
Follow the instructions to create the Fusion Drive here:
There are other sets of Fusion Drive instructions out there without the Recovery Partition. What I did was to first do an OSX install onto the SSD which creates the recovery partition for you. THEN create the Fusion Drive, using only the "data" partition on the SSD, leaving the Recovery Partition in place.
Once the Fusion Drive is created:
1) Install OSX onto the Fusion Drive (the prior install and the other contents of the SSD, other than the Recovery Partition, get wiped when you create the Fusion Drive)
2) Use Migration Assistant (in Applications/Utilities) and your old drive connected via the external USB adapter to move all your apps, docs, etc back in to place on your new Fusion Drive.
Some of these steps take a while to run (several hours for me) but you can walk away and let them run unattended, e.g. overnight. I'd allow a weekend to do this if this is your work machine.
Very happy with the results
Performance was sluggish
Did not personally install, therefore can only speak to the performance after. Got a fast 1TB SSD installed. Moved OS and all files to the new drive. Significant performance improvement.
I recommend it.
Everything was going well.
Observe how the small contacts were placed.
I wanted to increase the speed of iMac by installing an SSD without losing the functionality of the original drive.
iFixit's installation kit made it very easy. The machine is working well and hopeful will continue to do so. Thank you iFixit.
The key is to review the instructions a couple of times before starting. Take it slow and use painter's tape to keep the loose wires in place so that they do not fall behind the board during the reassembly process.
My three year old iMac was running Windows 8.1 and was getting a bit tired.
I wanted to do more CAD and Photoshop work so it needed a revival..
Awesome - the guide was great and the process was seamless.
I had it back up and running sweet within an hour.
The SATA cable is a bit long so a shorter one would make it a little easier.
I use my iMac for video editing and for DJing to analyse my songs.
Out of the blue, my iMac wasn't turning on and sometimes not.
I brought it to the apple service centre and told me the problem and the cost was so expensive!
When i saw the repair and detailed it was, i decided to do it myself.
In addition, i thought of including an additional upgrade as well to boost the machine.
Thanks to Ifixit! Awesome job on the repair docs!
iMac disk was getting full and really slow - very long wait times to boot up and launch apps. The idea was to give it a new lease of life by installing a 500GB Samsung 840E EVO SSD.
Basically went without a hitch. The tools and repair guide are excellent. Set aside plenty of time and take it slowly.
Because the SSD is the same size as the HD, I just ran a fresh install of Mavericks, and let the installer transfer the data across as if from another machine. For now, I've cleared and dismounted the HD. The performance improvement really is dramatic - like having a new, fast machine.