3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2017 4:24 PM by ataxiandme

    Internal PC Drive Upgrade to Solid State Disk????


      I have been worried about the hard drive crashing on my 2008, 24", all-in-one iMac. It’s 8+ years old and after weeks of monitoring its CPU, disk, Internet and memory usage, I was amazed to find that I can easily read and write as much as 5-20 GB to/from the hard drive every day. At first, I thought that I might replace it this fall when the new Apple iMac will probably come out. But even if I go with the current 27” version at a good discount, I am probably looking at about $2,000. YIKES!!! Sure I would get a 27” display with spectacular 5,000 dot per inch monitor resolution, faster/larger graphics card (not a game player), more RAM (not a photo artist), a faster CPU (not a number cruncher) and a 1 TB drive with an up to 128 GB integrated solid state disk (SSD) containing the operating system and applications with data, but my long-term monitoring of performance on my old reliable iMac indicates that I don’t need much of that for what I do.


      I decided instead that I should just replace the 3.5”, 320 GB internal hard drive with a Samsung 2.5”, 500 GB SSD drive for about $200 from Amazon. This upgrade has been done many times before and is well documented on the Internet in YouTube videos (Isn't everything????).


      I had to initialize the SSD for use with an iMac and then copy the entire 320 GB hard drive to the SSD, including the OS, using SuperDuper. Since after 8+ years I am only using 124 GB for everything I have on disk now, the 500 GB SSD should last me forever. Then the youngest boy did the physical hard drive replacement with the new SSD (I don't DO hardware - much).


      It went pretty well. The biggest problem was that the bracket that allows one to install the new, smaller 2.5" SSD in a spot meant for a larger 3.5" format hard drive placed the SSD too far for the short SATA (internal hard drive interface standard to computer) power cable. We moved the SSD up closer and used only 2 screws to attach it to the bracket and then bent the bracket side in on the SSD to insure that it didn't move around. Good enough - it's a desktop and NOT a laptop that one moves around a lot. There may be other brackets that address these cable length issues, but this is the one we had with a computer laying in pieces.


      Now I have a much larger and much, much faster system drive. Even though my older iMac is limited by a 3 Gbps SATA hard drive interface and the new SSD can run at up to 6 Gbps, boot time, app launches and everything else seems to be lightening fast!!!!!!


      I would recommend that should you have an older computer and fear that the disk may go or it just seems too slow, that you look at replacing your old hard drive with a new, robust SSD. Make sure that you put the operating system, all applications and all data on the new SSD to insure that all data access is lightening fast. The new SSD handles my genealogy and photo data in a flash without even putting a dent in the 500 GB capacity. GO FOR IT!!!!    :-)))))



      RAM   = Random access main memory

      GB      = Billion characters

      TB      = Trillion characters

      OS     = Operating system

      SATA  = Internal disk  controller standard - check Google for your system and the practical disk transfer speed

      Gbps = Billion bits per second

        • Re: Internal PC Drive Upgrade to Solid State Disk????

          Was there a question there?


          Though along these lines, I had a 21.5" mid-2011 iMac with a 500GB hard drive, where I had originally intended to continue with.... until I learned that it was possible to have continuity/hand-off support if I replaced the airport card.  Which overlaps with the hard drive, so if I was going to go in to replace it, I might as well look at replacing the hard drive.


          Though there was also whether I should go for a similar size SSD or a larger HDD, but then the new Seagate 3.5" SSHD came out.  Which seemed to the be the perfect compromise, since I decided the modifications needed, and having to remove the logic board, was too much to have both an SSD and an HDD to create my own fusion drive.


          So, I went with the 2TB size. (they also had also come out with a new 2TB 2.5" SSHD, where before the largest size they had offered was 1TB....so when I had upgraded my 2014 MacMini the year before....I had gone with 512GB SSD and 2TB HDD...kept as separate drives, as I initially had to split the SSD for bootcamp...but have since reclaimed it having recently abandoning Quicken for Windows 2016 and making the leap of faith to Quicken for Mac 2017....which has made a mess of my investment tracking (largely because I had my TIAA account set up with a separate cash account, which is supposed in the Mac version.  Along with other oddities ... such as instead of asking to create a placeholder with today's date to adjust my TIAA Traditional balance, it automatically creates it with a date that pre-dates the opening of my TIAA account, so I didn't know it was there until I found that it does show up as a (clickable) undated, entry at the top when I expanded the report of my portfolio to show the transactions for the the funds.


          Still looking to find a way to get Quicken to give me my personal rate of return (don't include reinvestments as contributions...)


          On the Mini, I had run out of space on the 2TB HDD, recently....due to the somewhat unexpected rapid grow of my iTunes folder (switched a bunch of video podcast subscriptions to full HD, since I had upgraded to a 4th generation AppleTV and an earlier upgrade from a 720p (43" DLP) to a 1080p (50" LED) HD display.  The AppleTV upgrade was from a 1st Gen (the 160GB HDD version.)


          So far the upgraded iMac has been great, though I haven't reinstalled everything yet, and I have been using the Mini as my primary these days.  Haven't run benchmarks to see how the two compare, but inclined to think the 2011 iMac (with its 4 core i5-2400 at 2.5GHz CPU) should still edge out my 2014 MacMini (2 core i5-4260U with HyperThreading at 1.4GHz up to 2.7GHz CPU.)  Plus the iMac has an AMD GPU, while the Mini uses the built-in Intel one.  And not because I had also expanded the MacMini to drive two 24" 1080p monitors, while the iMac is just its built-in display.  Still undecided on whether I should use the 1st gen Thunderbolt connector to get USB3.0/eSATA or just USB3.0.  Among my collection of external storage, I'm currently using a USB2.0/eSATA - using USB2.0 - 2 drive enclosure, and a 2nd Gen Drobo using FireWire800.


          But, I had picked up a 2 drive USB 3.0 enclosure that needs to find a 'home'...over a year ago.  Though the USB3.0 enclosure is JBOD only, while the USB2.0/eSATA one does hardware raid (which I'm using as raid1, with a pair of 500GB HDDs)  I have 4 2TB drives in the drobo, but its where I backup all my Macs to. (I had acquired 4 3TB drives for upgrading it, but with the impending failure of an array built from 1.5TB drives...and not having anymore spares and replacements being disproportionately priced compared to 1TB or 2TB and other size drives....I built a new array using the 3TB drives to migrate over to...on my FreeBSD file-server.  Plus i needed the space now that I've moved my iTunes library to a network share -- using appletalk, since previous experience had found SMB to be unreliable (especially under high write load), and trying to get NFSv4 working reliably has also been a major challenge...that I've given up on (due to my FreeBSD/Ubuntu UID being 1000, and being 501 on macOS.  Oddly my MyCloud drive was close....it had made my UID 500, the itunes server on it uses 501.  Though SMB can handle / ignore the UID mismatch.  plus with MyCloud it only does either public shares (effectively working as 'noowners') or single user shares (which then forces the local UID).  Whereas from my FreeBSD or Ubuntu file servers have relied on both sides using (mostly) the same UID scheme.  So I had used MyCloud's netatalk configuration as a guide to setting it up on my FreeBSD server. (which is also the only way to provide a time machine compatible share as the only share that I can set a capacity limit, so that time machine can't consume the whole (4TB) disk.


          I'm still trying to resolve problems from a failed attempt to switch one of my Macs.  But, now have a 10.6 USB installer prepped should I opt to just start over fresh with that machine (up until a couple of years ago, it had been my only Mac)....a 1st Gen MacBook Pro (32-bit only Core Duo)....though I did recently stumble upon a site/hack that would let me use up to Yosemite on this vintage MacBook Pro (along with the 32-bit only MacPro vintages)...and they've been working on getting El Capitan (with full SIP, though the continuity hack I did on the iMac didn't since it modifies system extensions.)  Where strangely the person hosting the project doesn't have any 32-bit only Intel Macs.


          And it says the custom boot loaders, only builds under Windows 10/Visual Studio 2013 or 2015, not that I'd opt for compile my own way -- even if I still had access to microsoft library through work's enterprise licenses.  I do have a core 2 quad PC that I've been intending to rebuild for several years, after I had to swipe its power supply to get a mail server back online (the replacement appeared a few days later, but haven't broken the shrink wrap yet....)  That in a pinch might do Win10, though not my intent....but now I'm considering replacing the mirrored 500GB drives it had been using, to SSDs, either various 120GB ones I have left over from when I first started buying them, or some new, larger capacity ones....


          Oh yeah...it was amazing that I how successful I was at doing the upgrade of my iMac, given that due to my neurodegenerative condition, I have an intention tremor (the hardest part of the process was putting the screws back in for the display and avoiding the magnets....during which I accidentally got some elbow (and some forearm) grease on the LCD.  I did eventually give up on getting things completely spot free again behind the glass.... (bad that all the compressed air cans I had around my home were nearly empty....which reminds me...I need to get some new cans.)  The drive lacking a built-in temperature sensor for the HDD fan wasn't a major issue, since in reading the comments on the article on how to replace the iMac HDD, were links to apps to control that fan using SMART readings.


          TL;DR - was there a response there?

            • Re: Internal PC Drive Upgrade to Solid State Disk????

              I wasn't asking a question.I was sharing my experience with upgrading an old iMac with a new SSD due to fears over the original HDD failing. It all worked VERY WELL until the graphics card then failed shortly after the upgrade. There was some confusion about the reason for the failure after I took it to a local Apple shop, including whether the new SSD was the cause. Since I was in fear of losing it all AND the complexity of upgrading an all-in-one PC, I bought a new iMac. And it cost a BUNCH even though I negotiated a better deal with the shop partially due to their failure to properly diagnose the problem.   :-(((


              To share another experience, when I bought the new 27" iMac I needed to transfer all of my data to it. As part of the better price I traded in the new iMac's HDD for installing my new SSD with all of my data. To buy anything near that speed from Apple would have cost $100's more. So now I have a new, pretty, large (, expensive) iMac with a very fast SSD  running my entire system.


              Some comments on your upgrades. Yours is NOT a typical system. I have used my iMac since 2008 and I never needed more than 130 GB of external disk space.Your huge drives that are full represents a small portion of the PC population IMHO. Also, you appear to be more capable of upgrading an Apple all-in-one system. As I inferred, the compactness and the display integration that has to be overcome in such an upgrade is in IMHO better left up to a professional shop. DO NOT assume that upgrading one of these is anywhere like upgrading a plug-and-play, modular Windows PC. NOT!!!!


              Another observation from my failed upgrade of this 2008 iMac. My instincts that the HDD may  be nearing its end wasn't a bad gut feeling. What I didn't see coming  was that the much more integrated graphics card was also old and that is what failed on me. Seriously consider this possibility before upgrading an older machine.


              Another possibility to repairing an old machine is to buy a newer but used oneC that either has the feature that you want or that can be added at reasonable cost. My 2008 iMac did not have the fastest disk bus. Buying a newer one would have provided that plus a less used machine. Unfortunately, used iMac's are usually expensive so you may have to shop until you drop. Consider eBay and even Craig's List in your area.  GOOD LUCK!!!!   :-))))

                • Re: Internal PC Drive Upgrade to Solid State Disk????

                  Yeah, I had purchased my mid-2011 iMac from eBay, for a bit under $500 (including shipping).  Since it was the oldest model that could get Sierra (it had come preinstalled with El Capitan)


                  I have the large external storage, as I've heard that I should have at least 2.5 the storage (had also read other places that give the minimum as 3x)  that I'm backing up with Time Machine. (so 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD, would need about 6TB of storage....though since I had only intended to stick it out with the 500GB in the iMac, I had only allocated 1.25TB of storage for it.  Not sure what I'll do to expand that to 5TB (for upgrade to 2TB). Have another Mac with 2 256GB SSDs in it, so had allocated 1.28TB for it.  The old MacBookPro only has an 80GB drive, and I had been doing a combination of backup to a Firewire400 100GB drive, and later supplemented doing a sparsebundle on a network share from my FreeBSD server (where at the time, space was much more plentiful...though I when it filled up, I found I didn't have enough space in my BackupPC pool for all of it, so had stopped backing up (what is currently) 2.2TB of data.  But, more recently was running into out space issues, so that's what the 3TB drives ended up upgrading, with its 2TB drives being reused to replace the older array using 1.5TB drives.)  For the time being I'm now backing up that 2.2TB of data....  But, its already taken me to the warning threshold...(90%) full, where critical is 96% where it stops trying to do first-fit allocation.  If this was Oracle, first-fit stop being used at 80%, way to change it through the kernel debugger to 96%....but found in the source that FreeBSD uses 96% by default.   Still, I had thought it would only reach 80%.  Though it is 2.2TB of incompressible data (MPEG, though I have to need compression on to benefit from using checksum to avoid copying unchanged files...since it'll use current time stamp when I transfer shows to this filesystem, and I prefer that they reflect that they be when the show had aired.  Which I do now and then, but possibly not before it got backed up already....


                  Hmmm, I suspect my iTunes library is largely incompressible as well, wonder if I should low its compression from  default 5 to minimum 1....as well.


                  Somewhat related to Time Machine, it certainly has been a lifesaver....at work I had been forced into getting a 27" iMac (a late 2013)...which had a 1TB fusion drive.  For which I had it doing Time Machine to a personal 1TB (USB2.0) that I had around (later replaced with a refurb. 1.5TB WD Passport (USB3.0) that I had picked up on woot)  When the HDD portion of the Fusion drive suddenly disappeared, and diskutil from internet recovery couldn't find it.  Thought I saw that Apple had an offer to replace certain Seagate drives in iMacs....though it had applecare coverage so it didn't matter except for the inconvenience of it being out of commision for a while (it had decided to quit on me on a late friday afternoon.), plus a bit strange opening support ticket with apple to get our campus computer repair (which is apple and dell certified) to come down two floors to do the work.  I wasn't in when they had done it too....  And, then restore everything to as it was from the time machine backup, certainly a much better experience compared to what I later heard that my manager had to basically the same thing, except he was using what has been designated as the official desktop backup solution the University....Crashplan.  Which was agonizingly slow....  compared to the USB 2.0 disk I had been using long before Crashplan was even an option (it's a generously discounted plan offer for institutions on I2...I think we're up to being connected to a 20 Gbps dual path ring...though our front door at the time could only let 4Gps in.  Though the internal network was being upgraded to a like speed dual ring core.  Though I think we still have buildings so old that they're still using 10Base5 - thick ethernet...with no possible way to run new cabling...since it would disturb the asbestos and require losing use of the build while it get's expensive removal done.)   Think it was the first time I had done any kind of restore using Time Machine.  Though in recent times, I have gone looking for an older version of some file.


                  Oh, the 1TB external...had started to click and occasional grind...is why I got the 1.5TB Passport to replace it   Not sure where it went to as I was packing up my office.  Might see about hanging it off of the MyCloud box.


                  But, that work 27" iMac was because at the time I was having trouble getting the X desktop on FreeBSD to work reliably.... which was finally solved by swapping its AMD card for an NVidia one though an older card such that it was stuck on -304.  The NVidia card in my home machine has me stuck on -340.  Make for a huge page for the numerous ports that depend on nvidia-driver, so claim not to be installable unless I let it replace my nvidia-driver....  Though in my home setup, I have played with selecting which version of nvidia-driver using 'DEFAULT_VERSION'....though I have opened a PR with FreeBSD in a long time, despite the many patches I've done since I last submitted.


                  I also have been doing lots of patching to various MacPorts, not sure when I'll try submitting any.


                  So that work iMac was mainly used for video conferencing, either the University's service from Zoom, or GoToMeeting.  Latter being used when we were having our new F5 initially being configured.  Had hired professional services to do it, but it was more of see one, do one, and then do the rest on my own.  So, it was share my desktop and let remote PS person have control (which I learned was in the next timezone over....rather than what I had though from their KC HQ, where we had purchased from, and there had been an earlier sales presentation where upper management had gone there. Might explain why the presentation to my group and the networking group was more focused on a particular series, and then a specific model.  Since it's a network appliance, that historically was only managed by approved individuals from the Unix group (someone having completed basic and advanced administrators courses.)


                  They another admin hired around the same time as me take the training in Chicago, where during lunch one day, he had a job Interview with Citi.  First day back from the class he gave his 2 weeks notice.  Which made them hesitant in sending me to the training (I had mine in Jacksonville)  Once back, I pretty became the only person administering the F5.  Though my manager still poked around at times, but I was doing stuff way more advanced on it that he had ever thought possible. My previous jobs before my last one, had been primarily software development.  After previous layoffs, headhunters often would only see me as suitable for a systems administrator positions.  Which I always rejected as I wanted the more straight software development role.  Even though in previous jobs...they'd start out as software development...and gradually become 50/50 with systems administration....and my second last job...the 5 months after the first wave of layoffs had me doing 100% systems administration....until my last day Xmas Eve.  So that last time I was more receptive to systems administration only jobs (though there's some programming involved...especially for the ones having to deal with Chef.) F5 has its iRule scripting language (based on TCL) which I was using to solve various esoteric requests that they had rejected in the past.  Or had said that a capability that requires our next F5.  Even though I found that the main reason indicated as why we were waiting for the upgrade was something the older unit was capable of doing.  Just nobody knew how.  Since (the then now) manager had been admining the box with no training in the years prior to as manager, needed to at least have backups to handle what 'had' been his responsibilities.  Until he took the training at the same time as the earlier admin in Chicago.  Where he was having lunch at the same restaurant as the other admins over lunch job interview, where the interviewer was directed to go over to manager's table as his reference.


                  Though manager knew he was also the admin most likely to quit, since after all the hassle to get a T1 visa to get his fiancee down from Canada (He had been working and living in Toronto we he came back down to the US....grew up in near KC, and had attended this university for a while before jumping into a Toronto based startup.  Where his fiancee upon stepping of the plane said no way is she going live down here and dumped him.  At first he went up to Toronto and tried to see if he could telecommute from there, then offered to do it from KC.  But no dice.  So, manager knew he was likely to leave....(who during the T1 and dumping was just one of our co-workers as he had only recently been promoted to replace our original manager's demotion, where newly promoted manager was even asked if he would take her as a regular admin.  He said no (the situation is already awkward enough.)  She moved around a bit on campus, but is now the unix systems administrator for the Library.  Though our group has since been moved into an off-campus building.