Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

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URSnshn
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Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by URSnshn »

I have an Apple iMac 2013 with Fusion Drive (SSD + hard drive) where the hard drive is going bad. I have researched this, but still have some questions I thought you folks might have some experience in. Here are my questions:

*********** EDIT: I plan to use as a second computer AFTER replacing with new computer for primary needs. May be used by my son for a year or two. I could purchase a new machine for him, but if cost effective would prefer to wait. *****************

1. Is it worth replacing the hard drive for a 2013 Apple? Cost to replace $300 - $500 depending on size of drive. This would give me maybe??? another year or two. I do not keep my mac beyond the time security updates stop coming out. New iMacs begin at over $1000 and I would want a custom machine so that pushes the price up. [To extend the life it may?? be possible to use the 2013 in Target Mode as a separate monitor in the future if security updates stop coming].

2. If I do replace the hard drive my choices appear to be:

A. Replace the hard drive only and then create a new fusion drive with the old SSD

B. Replace the hard drive but leave the SSD in and DON'T FUSE just use the new SSD. Are there issues with this such as security issues with leaving in the old SSD which I don't think I can encrypt / filevault as it wouldn't be fused with the hard drive ?

C Replace both the OLD SSS and the OLD hard drive and replace with one SSD? (I haven't priced this option out, but I assume it is similar to the other options?)

3. Any particular security issues I should be aware of prior to taking the machine in for service and/or disposal?
Last edited by URSnshn on Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
WolfgangPauli
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by WolfgangPauli »

It all depends on what you use your computer for. If you are just using it as a storage device and email terminal then fine, I would keep it going as long as possible. However, if you are truly using the features of a computer and you are "all in" on the apple ecosystem I would replace it immediately. The features and capabilities of a new Apple computer (I do not think yours will even upgrade to the new operating system) are immense. Example: My apple watch will unlock the computer when in proximity, my iPad automatically works as a second screen using the new features etc. etc. There is a laundry list which once you have you cannot live without.

That computer has served its life.. Go new (IMHO)
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CyberBob
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by CyberBob »

WolfgangPauli wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:19 am That computer has served its life.. Go new (IMHO)
I agree, and was actually in your exact situation last month. I also had a 2013 iMac - base model - that was now slow to boot-up and all too often was showing me the dreaded rainbow pinwheel.

I decided to replace it. And instead of going with the base model which is 1080 I bumped it up to a 4k model. Also doubled the base RAM to 16gb. And, most importantly, I think, downsized the drive from the base 1TB spinning hard drive to a 256GB SSD. Smaller drive, but still big enough for my uses, but WOW, the speed difference (6 year newer processor no doubt helps too). I also went with the keyboard with the numeric keypad, which is a nice upgrade. It has full-size function keys too. I couldn't be happier with the upgrade.

And as far as cost, it was tempered by a trade-in. The old beast was worth $230.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by URSnshn »

Delete - edited original post
Jags4186
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Jags4186 »

You can buy 2013 iMacs on eBay for $399 + shipping. If the repair or upgrade is equal to cost of the system (a $300-$500 SSD drive) I would just buy a new system.

Are 2013 iMac hard drives user upgradable? (I see they are on YouTube and it doesn't look easy.)
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by nocturne »

I added an SSD to a 2013 iMac and it markedly improved speed and responsiveness. For web browsing, email, some photo editing, it was perfectly suitable as my only computer for ~2 more years. I did already have 8GB RAM in it which makes a difference.

I used an external USB SSD (Samsung T3 250GB, purchased in 2017 so you would want to look for newer models). Attached the drive to the back of the iMac using Velcro.

I left the old HDD in place. Installed OS X on the SSD and set it as my startup drive. Used it for 2 years then sold the whole setup on OfferUp for $450 earlier this year.

I suggest trying it out, and if you are not happy with the performance you can return the SSD.
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Bogle7
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Buy new

Post by Bogle7 »

Buy a new 27-inch iMac.
The retina display is worth it.

Buy with 8GB of RAM and then upgrade to 32GB with 3rd party memory for $145 USD.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Dottie57 »

WolfgangPauli wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:19 am It all depends on what you use your computer for. If you are just using it as a storage device and email terminal then fine, I would keep it going as long as possible. However, if you are truly using the features of a computer and you are "all in" on the apple ecosystem I would replace it immediately. The features and capabilities of a new Apple computer (I do not think yours will even upgrade to the new operating system) are immense. Example: My apple watch will unlock the computer when in proximity, my iPad automatically works as a second screen using the new features etc. etc. There is a laundry list which once you have you cannot live without.

That computer has served its life.. Go new (IMHO)
+1
02nz
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by 02nz »

You should actually buy a Windows PC. Much cheaper and better compatibility.

(The above is in jest. Just thought I'd give Mac users a little taste of what seems to happen to every PC thread. What antivirus should I use for Windows? You should switch to Mac. What $300-500 laptop should I get? The $2400 MacBook Pro is great.) :wink:
strafe
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by strafe »

I would replace the failing HDD with another spinning disk and remake it as a Fusion drive. The cost of a 2TB drive is about $60 these days.
Last edited by strafe on Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
cheapskate
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by cheapskate »

I have a late 2014 Mac Mini and was faced with a similar issue. The hard drive wasn't bad, but it was very very slow.

I replaced it with a 1TB Samsung SSD (bought from Amazon on a black friday sale for about $90) and paid something like $140 (don't recall exactly) to swap the hard drive out for the SSD. Total cost was < $250.

The computer is very usable now. I think a new Mac Mini woulda been about $800 ? So this was a good deal.

I would recommend replacing the drive with an SSD. The backup and restore to the SSD was extremely easy with Time Machine.
kjvmartin
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by kjvmartin »

There's a time to sell an Apple product when it still has some value. If you live near a Micro Center, they often have excellent in store Apple sales.
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1stlink
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Re: Buy new

Post by 1stlink »

Bogle7 wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:59 pm Buy a new 27-inch iMac.
The retina display is worth it.

Buy with 8GB of RAM and then upgrade to 32GB with 3rd party memory for $145 USD.
+1 27" iMac w/8gb ram and as much SSD as you can afford or need. Apple refurbs have same warranty as new and many ways to qualify for discounts, Military, Vets, Education, etc. After market RAM is much cheaper than Apple and an ez install on the 27" but not so on the 21.5-inch.

Refurb & Vet discounts saved me $498 on 27" 8 gig 512 SSD. Refurb stock churns so watch for the config that suits and jump on it.
mrc
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by mrc »

I just replaced a 5 year-old 27" Retina iMac with a spinning hard drive (not a fusion, not a SSD) primarily b/c the disk was running so slowing the box was becoming frustrating to use. Beachball city. I put memory in it myself and it's quite easy. SSD replacement kits (drive, mount, tools to open the case) are out there for a lot less than the cost of a new machine. In my younger (less funds) days I would have gone that route. But at this point in life, I got a new SSD iMac pro. YOLO
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MichCPA
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by MichCPA »

SSD is the way to go, but I would do that in a newer computer.

Hybrid drives typically just speed up boot times.
fogalog
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by fogalog »

URSnshn wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:14 am
2. If I do replace the hard drive my choices appear to be:

A. Replace the hard drive only and then create a new fusion drive with the old SSD

B. Replace the hard drive but leave the SSD in and DON'T FUSE just use the new SSD. Are there issues with this such as security issues with leaving in the old SSD which I don't think I can encrypt / filevault as it wouldn't be fused with the hard drive ?

C Replace both the OLD SSS and the OLD hard drive and replace with one SSD? (I haven't priced this option out, but I assume it is similar to the other options?)
Definitely C. I have newer computers but I am typing this on a 2012 Macbook Pro. Adding an SSD will extend the usable life by many years.
URSnshn wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:14 am
3. Any particular security issues I should be aware of prior to taking the machine in for service and/or disposal?
Get yourself a USB -> SATA cable. Plug the removed drive back into your iMac via USB and use Disk Utility to erase and over-write. I take the drives apart to get the neodymium magnets and throw the platters in the trash.

Good luck!
boomer_techie
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by boomer_techie »

URSnshn wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:14 am B. Replace the hard drive but leave the SSD in and DON'T FUSE just use the new SSD. Are there issues with this such as security issues with leaving in the old SSD which I don't think I can encrypt / filevault as it wouldn't be fused with the hard drive ?
If you unfuse the drive, and replace the failing hard drive, then you'll simply have a machine with two drives. In your model year, the SSD portion of the Fusion drive is 128GB. That's a decent size drive all on it's own.
C Replace both the OLD SSS and the OLD hard drive and replace with one SSD? (I haven't priced this option out, but I assume it is similar to the other options?)
It may be difficult to replace the Apple SSD used for the Fusion drive. Yes, it is an M.2-like module that can be easily swapped when the machine is open. But no, it is not actually M.2. Expect it to be difficult to get Apple replacement modules. There may also be a few inferior aftermarket replacements.

Here's another option:

D Unfuse the drives (search the web for instructions.) Ignore the HDD portion. Install MacOS on the SSD portion and use it as a small drive. The 128GB should be plenty for a secondary computer. (FYI I have 118GB total on the drive of my iMac - and more than half of that is a music collection.)
LifeIsGood
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by LifeIsGood »

If you’re just trying to buy some time, why not add an external SSD and connected it via thunderbolt? MUCH cheaper than doing the surgery necessary to swap out an internal drive.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by southerndoc »

WolfgangPauli wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:19 am It all depends on what you use your computer for. If you are just using it as a storage device and email terminal then fine, I would keep it going as long as possible. However, if you are truly using the features of a computer and you are "all in" on the apple ecosystem I would replace it immediately. The features and capabilities of a new Apple computer (I do not think yours will even upgrade to the new operating system) are immense. Example: My apple watch will unlock the computer when in proximity, my iPad automatically works as a second screen using the new features etc. etc. There is a laundry list which once you have you cannot live without.

That computer has served its life.. Go new (IMHO)
I have a 2012 iMac and was able to upgrade to macOS Catalina (10.15) without a problem.
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22twain
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Re: Buy new

Post by 22twain »

1stlink wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:06 pmAfter market RAM is much cheaper than Apple and an ez install on the 27" but not so on the 21.5-inch.
Thanks for the tip about the RAM in the 27"! Sometime this month I'll probably get a new iMac, and had read about difficult-to-upgrade RAM, but didn't know that doesn't apply to the 27". Sure enough, a bit of searching turned up a picture of the little door that you open, with the RAM slots behind it.

A DIY upgrade to 64MB is about $280 from macsales.com, whereas Apple charges $1000 for it as a custom-build option. :shock:
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Dottie57 »

LifeIsGood wrote: Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:46 pm If you’re just trying to buy some time, why not add an external SSD and connected it via thunderbolt? MUCH cheaper than doing the surgery necessary to swap out an internal drive.
I have had success in running a mac from an external SSD. It was really fast. :shock:
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by jkrm »

As a few have suggested here, I "replaced" my original fusion drive with an external USB SSD. That was three or so years ago, and it works great. My iMac was purchased in early 2013 so it's as old or older than yours.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by rich126 »

A few notes.

First of all you shouldn't have to replace an iMac after 5-6 years. While I bought a new 27" iMac late in 2018, my 2008 iMac is still working and now my GF is mostly using it.

Personally I'd try to fix it even if you want to buy another one. Sure taking apart an iMac is a bit tricky but if you don't want to pay a professional to do it, and you won't lose any sleep over possibly breaking it, check out the various online sites that describe how to do it (I put one example below.)

Although I am an engineer and have dealt with building and taking apart computers for a long time, my first experience with taking an iMac apart was about 5 years ago with the 2008 system. I did it largely out of curiosity. It was a time consuming experience and if you have a functioning computer I wouldn't recommend it but if you are going to replace it anyhow you don't have much to lose. In my case I replaced the CPU (fortunately there was a newer CPU that was compatible with the existing one so I could just replace it, you can't always do that) which was a painful although successful process. Replacing the HD is likely to be easier.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel ... ment/19643

Again, I wouldn't recommend doing this if you have a functioning computer but if your computer is old and/or having issues and you are planning to replace it, you don't have a lot to lose (some money on a new HD and some time).
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Dottie57 »

I have a 2008 iMac and 2012 Macbook Pro. I am replaced them with a new 2016 Macbook Pro. Why? Because I had the money and wanted newer technology. This may actually be my last full blown computer. - expectinga tablet will work well for me in my 70’s.
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URSnshn
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by URSnshn »

Thank you all! This is a great list of suggestions. I was waylaid in getting on with this project but will be reviewing all of your thoughts and ideas and moving ahead with a solution.
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ipod_keith
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by ipod_keith »

In any case, I would argue against going with a new/make your own fusion drive. I've had several Fusion drives from apple and, eventually, one of them is bound to start failing. With a FD, you're relying on two drives, not just one.
A decent 2TB internal SSD can be bought for around $200. For now, you could simply dangle an internal ssd off your iMac and use that with, relatively, decent performance. That is probably the cheapest and easiest solution - and ALSO offers you the ability to use the SSD with a future computer.
Let us know what you do and how it goes.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Over Christmas break, I replaced a failing / failed HDD in a 2006 iMac. iFixit walkthrough plus about $50 HDD from Other World Computing. Here's to 13 more years! Probably not, but several at least. For $50, why not? And it gave me a chance to tackle another project / challenge.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Freefun »

As someone who used to buy new Apple products all the time I’ve gotten accustomed to buying used stuff on eBay. I’m very pleased with everything I purchased and I’ve saved plenty. the devices I get on eBay are upgraded with SSD and extra memory. On average I save about half the retail price of a comparable new device.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by sophie1 »

I have a 2013 Macbook Pro that I upgraded to Mojave, and it's doing just fine. I had loaded it up with 16G RAM and a flash drive when I got it, and performance is great. I use it for document and presentation editing as well as some Matlab computational work (thus the 16g RAM). If the drive started to fail now I'd just replace it.

In general a RAM & flash drive upgrade is absolutely worth it, unless you're really hankering for all the latest Catalina features. You can do the install yourself, too, using the instructions with photos on iFixit.com. I did that on my last Macbook (a 2006 model) and it took less than an hour. I only replaced it when the motherboard failed - bit of bad luck.
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by finite_difference »

What I would do:

-Buy an SSD for $100.
-Backup to Time Machine (external USB3 drive.)
-Remove old drive, replace with SSD. Label old drive as “old drive from iMac 2013” using a Sharpie.
-Install new SSD, cloning the drive using Time Machine.

That should get you a great system for $100 until it runs out of security updates (2-3 years?)
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LifeIsGood
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by LifeIsGood »

Have you ever done this project yourself? It's not for the faint of heart. I'm pretty handy and did this upgrade on a couple of iMacs and found it to be a very challenging project. Opening up an iMac is nothing like opening up a PC.

finite_difference wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:29 am What I would do:

-Buy an SSD for $100.
-Backup to Time Machine (external USB3 drive.)
-Remove old drive, replace with SSD. Label old drive as “old drive from iMac 2013” using a Sharpie.
-Install new SSD, cloning the drive using Time Machine.

That should get you a great system for $100 until it runs out of security updates (2-3 years?)
cheapskate
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by cheapskate »

+1

I decided to pay a private repairman money to do the SSD swap on my MacMini. I watched while he did it. It was not easy, not straightforward. Definitely not like a Desktop PC where one just has to unscrew drive from carrier, swap out the SATA cable.

Paying some one to do the HW swap is worth it in my opinion.

The time machine backup and restore OTOH is trivial to do oneself.
LifeIsGood wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:55 am Have you ever done this project yourself? It's not for the faint of heart. I'm pretty handy and did this upgrade on a couple of iMacs and found it to be a very challenging project. Opening up an iMac is nothing like opening up a PC.

finite_difference wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:29 am What I would do:

-Buy an SSD for $100.
-Backup to Time Machine (external USB3 drive.)
-Remove old drive, replace with SSD. Label old drive as “old drive from iMac 2013” using a Sharpie.
-Install new SSD, cloning the drive using Time Machine.

That should get you a great system for $100 until it runs out of security updates (2-3 years?)
furwut
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by furwut »

nocturne wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:46 am I added an SSD to a 2013 iMac and it markedly improved speed and responsiveness. For web browsing, email, some photo editing, it was perfectly suitable as my only computer for ~2 more years. I did already have 8GB RAM in it which makes a difference.

I used an external USB SSD (Samsung T3 250GB, purchased in 2017 so you would want to look for newer models). Attached the drive to the back of the iMac using Velcro.

I left the old HDD in place. Installed OS X on the SSD and set it as my startup drive. Used it for 2 years then sold the whole setup on OfferUp for $450 earlier this year.

I suggest trying it out, and if you are not happy with the performance you can return the SSD.
+1
And, at the end of the computer’s life, you still have a useful external SSD.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

If you are patient, have good manual dexterity, have the right tools for the job, and can follow instructions, this job is quite doable.

You need to know your correct EMC number to ensure you have the right guide, but for example:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel ... ment/28781
finite_difference
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by finite_difference »

LifeIsGood wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:55 am Have you ever done this project yourself? It's not for the faint of heart. I'm pretty handy and did this upgrade on a couple of iMacs and found it to be a very challenging project. Opening up an iMac is nothing like opening up a PC.

finite_difference wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:29 am What I would do:

-Buy an SSD for $100.
-Backup to Time Machine (external USB3 drive.)
-Remove old drive, replace with SSD. Label old drive as “old drive from iMac 2013” using a Sharpie.
-Install new SSD, cloning the drive using Time Machine.

That should get you a great system for $100 until it runs out of security updates (2-3 years?)
I have done a Mac Mini. And yes, that was a pain in the neck. One of the tiny, extremely fragile screws became stripped and I had to purchase a bit kit from Sears to re-thread it.

I thought iMac was easier nowadays, but it looks like the 2013 requires removing the display. Yeah, not fun. In that case I’d probably give it a try, but be ready to upgrade if it failed. And if I failed I get to complain about it to Apple and on the Internet.

So there’s no downside! ;)

Very poor design that the screen needs to be removed to replace the hard drive.
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typical.investor
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by typical.investor »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:51 am If you are patient, have good manual dexterity, have the right tools for the job, and can follow instructions, this job is quite doable.

You need to know your correct EMC number to ensure you have the right guide, but for example:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel ... ment/28781

OWC has much better videos. I watched a tech editor try to replace the ssd on a 21 inch 2017 iMac using the ifixit guide. He ended up using the owc guide to figure out how to get some cables detached. Yep watching a video of him watching a video to figure out why he couldn't get it unhooked.

https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/

Here's the video where the tech editor needed to consult the OWC videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh8wQVLhe_Q

I just ordered 64GB RAM and a 1TB SSD drive to try! 16GB was the max offered when I bought it. Thank goodness times have changed! (16GB is probably ok for most usage for course but I do some memory intensive things)
boomer_techie
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by boomer_techie »

boomer_techie wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:59 pm Here's another option:

D Unfuse the drives (search the web for instructions.) Ignore the HDD portion. Install MacOS on the SSD portion and use it as a small drive. The 128GB should be plenty for a secondary computer. (FYI I have 118GB total on the drive of my iMac - and more than half of that is a music collection.)
Wonder if the OP will use my suggestion... it's zero cost and the Mac doesn't need to be opened.
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URSnshn
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by URSnshn »

OP Here. I appreciate all your replies! For my needs I am planning on trying Nocturne's suggestion below as follows:
nocturne wrote: ↑
I added an SSD to a 2013 iMac and it markedly improved speed and responsiveness. For web browsing, email, some photo editing, it was perfectly suitable as my only computer for ~2 more years. I did already have 8GB RAM in it which makes a difference.

I used an external USB SSD (Samsung T3 250GB, purchased in 2017 so you would want to look for newer models). Attached the drive to the back of the iMac using Velcro.

I left the old HDD in place. Installed OS X on the SSD and set it as my startup drive. Used it for 2 years then sold the whole setup on OfferUp for $450 earlier this year.

I suggest trying it out, and if you are not happy with the performance you can return the SSD.
fyre4ce
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Re: Apple iMac 2013? Replace with Fusion? Or all SSD? Security? Questions

Post by fyre4ce »

Get a new 27" iMac with a good-sized (500GB+) SSD. If you need additional storage, get an external traditional hard drive. You can get an 8TB external drive for $140. I like that approach, it's like a manual Fusion drive. I keep large files (pictures, movies, etc) on the external drive and documents and applications on the built-in SSD.
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