11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 26, 2012 3:30 PM by Andy9l Branched to a new discussion.
Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all,


I've been looking at putting an SSD inside my late 2010 iMac recently. It looks like an absolute you-know-what to do, but I figured I might as well take the risk now I'm out of warranty anyway.


The current HDD is one of the popcorn ones - can't remember the model, but it's the HDD they put in the first 27"s and slyly took out later on. What an immense complaint thread that was... Anyway, I digress.


I like the idea of an SSD. No noise, no waiting. Primarily no noise. So I understand I need the following parts:



I'm looking for advice on what SSD to get. It's a 2.5" SSD I need, correct? Any suggestions as to which I go for? Looking for about 250GB on the SSD. I can always use the stock 1TB HDD for storing junk, but 250 should be more than enough - I keep my Macs incredibly clean.


Also, any real risk factors? Assuming I do it right, avoid static charge, and follow these instructions, I should be ok...right?


Thanks in advance!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.2), 27" Quad, 2010
  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    I am not sure you can replace the HDD with an SSD on an iMac that never originally had the additions for a SSD.  The reason is iMac's use a temperature sensor which is stuck to the HDD,  Since SSD run relatively cool compared to HDD's I think you will end up with the iMacs fan running at a high speed.  End result would be just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish (i.e., lots of noise).



    I did a google search for "replace hdd with ssd on imac" and found lots of hits whiich I recommend you look through and research this before attempting the replacement.  Here's one of those hits:


    How do you upgrade the hard drive in the "Late 2009," "Mid-2010," "Mid-2011" and "Late 2011" (21.5-Inch and 27-Inch) Aluminum iMac models? What type of storage do they support? Is it even possible to upgrade these models?

  • den.thed Level 7 Level 7 (25,110 points)

    Think I might use a Data Doubler kit and put the SSD in the optical bay.


    Search Results for data doubler at MacSales.com

  • Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This iMac does have a SSD slot, I believe, there's just no SSD in there. I don't want to replace the HDD, I want to add an SSD in there too...


    http://www.twam.info/hardware/apple/installing-additional-ssd-in-mid-2010-27-ima c


    That seem possible?




    As a second thought - would it just be easier to buy a decent *SILENT* HDD and switch out the current one? 'Easier' is a relative term..!

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Not sure what you mean it has a SSD slot.  You won't see anything from the outside.  The imac doesn't ship with the additional mounting hardware for the ssd if you don't originally order the ssd with it. That's why that link you refer to requires getting the additional hardware.  If the part numbers are correct, and you can buy the parts, then yes, of course you could add the ssd.  But this thread started out as you wanting to replace the HDD by just popping it out and popping in a SSD replacement.  So that was the context of my first reply.


    There is no such thing as a totally "silent" HDD either.  You have 7200 rpm motor spinning  one or more platters being read by a bunch of read heads moving rapidly back and forth under control of some electromagnets.  There's a limit on just how quiet it can be.  But in general, unless a drive is failing, the motor sound and head movement is relatively "soft".  Personally I like the reassuring "pitter pattar" of the heads.  It gives me a little feedback sometimes when I expect disk operations.  To each his own I guess.

  • Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, thanks for the response.


    I never wanted to replace the HDD - perhaps I didn't make that clear. When I said 'I can always use the stock 1TB HDD for storing junk' I meant that it would still be inside the Mac, just used as an archive storage disk - ie. no programs/OS on it. By SSD slot I meant it has the capacity to have an SSD put into it, but will need the few wires/casing to allow for it.


    Anyway, now we're back on track...


    Assuming that I give up on squeezing in an SSD (seems more risky the more I read about it), what are the chances that I will get hold of a quieter HDD? Do you know of any 'silent-ish' ones that I could squeeze into my iMac to replace the current HDD? I'm stuck with a Seagate 1TB - one of the grumbling HDDs that there's 2.5 years worth of complaints about. I don't need 1TB, 512GB will suffice.


    This time the thread really has changed topic slightly - apologies.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    My favorite HDDs are Western Digital blacks (1TB and 2TB).  I don't find them that loud.  Problem is that what one person consider's "noise" may not be the opinion of another person.

  • Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    True, there's HDD 'noise' in my old 2006 iMac, there's barely any in my MacBook Pro (2009) - but this 2010 iMac is about 10-15x louder than my old iMac. I mean it sounds nothing short of popcorn inside a microwave - standing in-front of the microwave.


    I've tried to record it with my iPhone, obviously it's louder than the recording, but you get the picture. The loud single clicks are the clicking of my trackpad to open programs. Here's the recording: http://goo.gl/DS3xs


    WDs are quiet then? Quiet enough to not hear over fairly loud iTunes music, at least? I can hear mine chugging away with iTunes at a slightly uncomfortably high volume...that's how bad it is. Would replacing my Seagate with a WD have any repurcussions with regards to automatic fan control? I assume I can connect the temperature sensor to the replacement HDD?


    Really appreciate your advice

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    I've tried to record it with my iPhone, obviously it's louder than the recording, but you get the picture. The loud single clicks are the clicking of my trackpad to open programs. Here's the recording: http://goo.gl/DS3xs


    I listened to that recording.  After your countdown I hear what I referred to earlier as the gentle "pitter patter" of the heads all through the rest of the recoding.  What doesn't sound proper are the 5 click I hear after the countdown on top of the "pitter patter".  They stop about 3/4 through the recoding and the rest sounds like normal head sound.  So were those additional 5 clicks coming from you or the drive?  If from the drive, although it doesn't quite sound like any of the recording on this page, that doesn't sound "normal".


    As for "quiet" WDs.  I would say they sound sort of like that "pitter patter" sound in your recording (without those 5 clicks of course).  I am not sure about replacing the drive and reattaching it's temp sensor.  There was a post here recently where someone attempted that and his fans went up to full and was getting a sensor errror report from Apple Hardware Test.  But I think there was another temp sensor problem as well so I don't know what the outcome of that was.  I think he's in the process of ordering replacement HDD and LCD sensors.

  • Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It's normal hardrive noise - just amplified. It's much louder than the recording depicts unfortunately. The loud single clicks you hear are just me on my trackpad clicking to open various programs so nothing to worry about there. It's all "normal" noises - the problem is how loud they are. I haven't heard a computer hardrive this loud since my Gateway 2000, and I really mean that.


    I've just contacted my "local" AASP to see if it would be possible to take out my HDD and put in an SSD - not necessarily in the same bay, my hardware knowledge is limited. I'll see what they come back with...


    Appreciated, as always.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Well then if the "pitter patter" I hear is the sound you hear (even if it is louder) I suspect you won't be any happier with a different drive, even WDs.  This may well indeed be one of those situations I mentioned where one person considers it a "noise" and another doesn't. 


    Good luck.

  • Andy9l Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I would agree with you if I didn't have a 2006 iMac next to me, with similar sounds but hugely suppressed in comparison, and a 2009 MBP that is so quiet I can only hear it with my ear close to the keyboard.


    The way I see it, there's either a design flaw with the Aluminium iMacs, or with the HDDs Apple are installing in them. There's no way it should be louder than my 2006 iMac, or 2009 MBP, I refuse to believe that. We're not going backwards with technology, yet!


    (And it's not like we haven't seen design flaws before... *cough* antenna *cough*!)