SSD upgrade for 24″ iMac


The hard drive in [Jason’s] 24″ iMac was on the blink. He decided that instead of just swapping out the bad drive for a traditional unit he would upgrade to a solid state drive. Tearing apart high-end hardware like this can be a bit nerve-racking but luckily the drive is mounted right behind the screen so he didn’t have to take everything apart.

The SSD he picked up was 2.5″ but the mounting hardware in the iMac is only setup for 3.5″ form factors. We would have used a bit of hackery to make it work but [Jason] went with an adapter kit. Uh-oh, once installed there was no problem with the mounting but the SATA cable didn’t reach far enough to plug it in. The cable snaked around under the motherboard and would have been a lot of work to swap for  a longer one. He ended up removing all of the mounting screws except for one coercing the drive close enough for the connection.

It worked for him and it can for you as well. If you do this make sure to devise your own mounting scheme so that you don’t hit the same snag.

[Photo: AppleInsider iMac teardown]

[via TUAW]

78 thoughts on “SSD upgrade for 24″ iMac

  1. As much as I hate to do this, I am officially throwing in my vote for “this doesn’t belong on hackaday”. Replacing a hard drive and buying an adapter does not constitute a hack, nor does it rank high on the geek scale. If you don’t know how to change a hard drive, chances are, you don’t belong on this site to start with.

  2. @thedudefrommiamivice

    You must also remember that back then people would b*tch about how the site was hardly ever updated, which just proves my point, that most of the readers are impossible to please. Sure you can complain, but your thinking that complaining will change the way they do things is flawed. It’s also easier to complain than to contribute in a constructive way to a community and make it better. So by all means keep being lazy, or maybe you can do better, and if so go make your own hack site. Otherwise I refer you to my previous statement, “shut up and stop the trolling!” Which brings me to my next point…

    Supporting bush? Seriously?? You can’t think of anything better to compare me to, so you resort to cheap political statements, which have nothing to do with anything in this post or comments. Just shows how much of a troll you are.

    No, it’s not my submission. Sorry, you fail again.

  3. @pouncer
    I suppose I need to be a writer to know a book sucks when I read it. Or I suppose I need to be a killer to be able to talk about how bad murder is.

    I used to come to hackaday to find out about cool hacks that have been done that I might not have the time and/or money to put together. I thought of it as a sort of news site for hacking. I’ve been reading it since its beginning, and it disappoints me to see it continue to slide downhill with this non-hacking noise.

    As for the complaining, I think its important to let the authors know what their readers want.(assuming they care about retaining subscribers, and making money)

    P.S. Please, everyone, forget that anyone said anything about Bush. Please leave politics out of this. I don’t know (and can’t say for sure) whether the political mention was the result of trolling, or enthusiastic beliefs, but I am interested in the betterment of this website, and I really don’t want for this argument to attack anyone personally.

  4. wow. some pretty harsh comments.

    maybe grow up a little and stop calling these folks “douchebags”. show a little respect. if you have a problem, don’t attack them.

    appreciate that they’re trying to appeal to their readers. i for one use some common sense – if i don’t think the post is worth my time, then i skip it. they are listening and giving you what you want while still catering to their expanding user base.

    as for me, and likely most others who don’t comment often, i appreciate most of the non-hacks. sometimes it’s just a way to stimulate ideas.

    @caleb and mike
    sure, maybe this wasn’t my favorite post. so what. thanks for (mostly) posting stuff that i find interesting. i still enjoy YOUR BLOG.

  5. The bush comment was made purely to illustrate that sometimes, even if you gotta piss some people off, you have to speak up. I don’t care if you did or did not support bush, and if it really ruffled your feathers, meh.

    I do not support the direction this site is taking, I’m pissed off about it and until the site switched hands I had made maybe all of 2 comments because I was one of the ones who was happy. I still am, for the most part, happy with the site. But watching it continually degrade sucks. So I post loudly and often.

    more complicated != more better
    more posts != more better
    more teardowns != more better
    more fluff != more better
    more organs != more human
    more hacks == more better!!

    Mysticshadow summed it up best.

  6. @pouncer: I’ll type this slowly: we don’t want moar hacks, we want fewer but better hacks (like I dunno, maybe a hack a day or something). If I wanted to spend my day marking fluff posts read, then I’d quit work and read Lifehacker and the Make Blog.

  7. Hi all,

    I usually don’t keep on reading comments when they turn into flame wars, but this time I’m glad I did.
    It made me realise that I felt obliged to react at least once on the whole new direction HAD is moving in. Not to point fingers, not to insult people, just to give my opinion. As long as people can express their opinion and the site owners listen to their readers, it’s up to them to act on it. Whatever happens afterwards, I have at least taken the time to react and (maybe) give a possibly usefull option.

    I really appreciate this site and have been reading it for a couple of years now. Being someone with no background in electronics I found a lot of things here which filled me with a feeling like “wow… How can they even think about doing something like this? How can anyone be capable of even starting something like this project”. A feeling of awe and respect. And along the line, some bits stuck or inspired me to start reading and learning about things myself. The site has been a one-stop-shop those days that I didn’t feel like visiting 5+ sites to see what was new. If there was only one site to check, HAD would be it. One way or another, most things worth reading about would end up on the site sooner or later.
    The posts that were too complicated to understand would just be read (and, most often, be admired) for reference and out of interest.

    So, in a way, I have a lot to thank HAD for, and the site has earned more than my respect. For whatever that’s worth ;)

    Lately I’ve seen changes to the site, which is normal I guess… Apparently everything in life changes, so no point in complaining about that – even though sometimes things take some time to get used to.

    Still… I really can’t say I’m happy about the direction the site is headed to (or “in”? Sorry, as you’ve noticed I’m not a native English speaker). HAD was -to me, and apparentely to quite a lot of people- a unique concept that filled a gap no other site did. Like I explained, if there was something worth mentioning it would end up on the site some day. And there was no need to filter through a dozen of posts to find something interesting. Most post were worth the read, even if they where way out of my league, or even when they where about things I didn’t know anything about. The basic thing was just that they where all of a high enough level to be interesting. So if I didn’t get it, I might one day.
    It was a sort of reference. If it was on there, it was “cool”. Or interesting. Or clever. Or…

    If that meant that there wouldn’t be posts every 6 hours, no problem. If there were, great then! Same feeling “teh haterbot” has, I guess.

    But lately I find myself “shifting” (if that’s the correct term) through post that simply don’t meet up to the level once retained by HAD, and this leaves a bitter feeling, apparentely shared by a lot of fellow readers.

    Most HAD readers seem to share a sort of respect and commitment to the site not accomplished by many other sites. It however seems this commitment is being traded in because of a feeling of irritation with a fair share of those readers. Where checking the site used to be a daily ritual for me, I more and more often find myself thinking “I’ll wait another day and sift out the good articles from the rest not worth reading tomorrow”. The respect is slowly fading. This article (about the SSD upgrade) was just one step too far for me. This wouldn’t even be funny if it would have meant to be.

    True, it is probably usefull to some people, as a lot of articles have proven to be for me. It just feels wrong to find them on HAD.

    Instead of complaining, I would like to share some ideas on how the site might work for everyone (or at least more people). And although these are just my opinions and I’m certainly not the only one who came up with these, maybe they might be worth expressing. I understand that the site won’t stay the way it has been, so I can only share my opinion on possible changes that seem ok to me…

    * Why not start a thread in which people can propose possible future scenarios for the site? Maybe followed by a voting? Let people get things of their chest and see what comes up. Maybe usefull ideas will show up.
    I’m not sure how much Caleb and the other writers want to decide everything by themselves and be the “lord and master” of the site, but since the site has mostly become as important as it is thanks to the readers that have honoured it for the last few years, I think they should get more room for discussion than there is currently available.

    * Caleb, so there is a category “classic hacks” in which the readers can still find the original type of posts. That would be a solution, I guess. But it gives the impression even more that those posts that made HAD big and respected are now less important, more exception then the rule.

    * If this is the system that will be used, why not give the readers an option of logging in and seeing only those posts on the front page that are in their selected categories?
    Or even better, a rating system for the amount of “cleverness”. I could chose not to see posts which are too easy/simple/… Or browse just occasionally through them. That way at least I could select not to be bothered with a post like the “Mac user swaps HDD for SSD” one.
    Maybe that would be a system that *could* work for everyone. Everyone gets to see only the posts that are in those categories/grades of ingenuity that they choose to see….

    * Or maybe two different sites? If there’s a new crowd you’re trying to reach, why not on a new platform? The old one seems to have worked quite fine for a long time, and some “recent” additions like Ian’s posts on certain IC’s made the site even better.
    I actually liked the fact that there wasn’t a whole bunch of settings, scripts, filters, and other mish-mash like the way they redesigned sites like lifehacker. Simple is nice sometimes… So keep the site simple and start another one for the new type of posts?

    So… We’ll see what happens in the next few months. Maybe HAD will find a way of doing their new things while still keeping the “old crowd” happy. I truly hope so and hope to keep on checking the site often to find new things to be amazed with. If not, let’s hope some new site turns up that serves what we’ve been enjoying on HAD all these years.


  8. Thank you, Fozzy. I knew my complaining was not in vain. Although I would prefer most for the site to return to the way it was during the golden age, I feel that the rating and filtering system you described is probably the best compromise we might have.

    Kudos to HAD for not having a “maximum post length” feature enabled. If there was a post size limit, we wouldn’t have the nugget of goodness that we have above.

    @Fozzy – What language did you first learn? Your English skills are far better than you give yourself credit for.

  9. @Caleb, you’ve been on here for about two years at most. You haven’t been on here since 2005 or 2006 like you say (prove me wrong).

    It’s not just about this one page being too simple, its about the overall quality of posts in general on this site becoming more and more simplistic.

    By the way, adding a second hard drive to a laptop designed for only one hard drive is more of a hack than replacing a hard drive in a computer using only store bought materials and a screwdriver.

    P.S. I just knew that the “into the future” post was because you were butthurt about what people said about this post. Thanks for confirming it.

    1. @James,
      I’ve only been writing here for under two years. I don’t really see a way to prove I read it before I started working here. I’m also not going to argue with you about your opinion. That would be silly.
      You’ll note that we brought back things like Hackaday links to cut down on posts like this.

      I agree, this post isn’t much of a hack. “Into the future” was as much for our staff as it was the readers.
      -I discuss it a bit in the comments here as well.

  10. @James and Caleb:

    Really didn’t mean to start something personal between anyone, or make a point to someone in particular, just felt the need to react and maybe propose something while at it. No one gains from personal “fights” (OK, it’s not a fight, but can’t seem to come up with a better, less hard word right now).

    Maybe I was a bit harsh or too negative last night. There’s still a lot of good post, it’s just that there seem to be more and more posts coming up that… well… you know… And this post was -to me- one step too far.

    So… How about a rating system then? Could you just consider it? A way that readers could filter out those post so that they just don’t show up anymore. If a second site isn’t an option you’d consider.

    One thing I really want to ask is to keep the site simple. As little menus, options, scripting, … as possible. And yes, I realise the rating system I talked about would need just that. Well that’s something I could probably live with.

    @Caleb: sure there have been simple projects before, it’s easy to find those while browsing through the archives. That doesn’t prove that the site isn’t changing more and more into a “dummyfied” version of itself lately . And no bad thing about the “For dummies” series of books, I have about 6-7 of them at home…

    @James: I’m Dutch (Belgium). It’s thanks to sites like this on which one spends so much time that one gets a feeling for a language, I guess ;) And fyi: it wasn’t written top to bottom, I took my time re-reading things, deleting thing and so on…

  11. @Caleb:
    Just continued reading the “into the future” comments. Found your reply stating that you’re looking into a rating system for posts. If you mean a rating which is about how “interesting” a post is, that would be the same thing I asked for, I guess. Thanks.
    A forum would be nice as well (also as proposed in that post)…

  12. can’t we have a “feedback” link that we can visit to vent our frustrations with this site without filling a post’s comments with complaints about the site instead of comments/questions regarding the hack? this is getting to be a little much…

  13. hi there i will buy on for my 24 inch imac i will buy a ssd for my ps3 then i will try too atempt puting 42 ssds inside of a nintendo wii the record is at 32 ssds in a nintento wii

  14. I’m a user, not a hacker or even someone that casually opens a sealed computer. So, when I read the posts from these hacker elitists I cringed. These are the same idiots that believe that everyone that can’t open a can of tuna is a lower class citizen. How many of you can install a toliet, 100 amp service, glideslope or a localizer to specs?
    Can you even spell the terms? Probably not. I hired a genius electronics guy years ago that was a computer hacker. He could repair the most difficult squawk with a resister or cap and a prayer.
    The problem that crept out of the past to haunt me and the plane was he had little respect for regulations and rules. He could modify the radio to receive/transmit from even greater distances than designed. The FAA and FCC frowns on this type of thinking. Today’s hackers have more freedom to “play” with the electronics as long as they don’t cross over into the eyes of the Federalities.
    There are those that will look for hacks that don’t have your qualifications, such as switching out a HD for a SSD. Yes, Apple will install one for you, but hackers have to start somewhere. Take a deep breath before you jump into murky waters tainted by your ego. I installed a SSD myself after reading this “Hack.” For the writer of the blog I thank you for your insight for those that live outside of the hacker cult.

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