iMac 2010 SSD upgrade

A while ago, I started thinking about an SSD upgrade for my 27" iMac (mid 2010 model). I often upgraded some of my previous computers or laptops myself, but I find the iMac a little too tricky to fool around with because you have to take the front glass off with suction caps.

When Apple launched their replacement program for the 1TB Seagate hard drives, I decided that this was the moment to add an SSD to my precious iMac.

Now, I started to look into things to get a clue of what my options were. Luckily, you don't have to replace the original hard drive so the cost of upgrading is limited. Still, Solid State Drives are kind of expensive, especially if you look at the ones with larger storage capacity.

The size of this disk will probably be a personal thing, depending on what you're using this computer for, but I decided to go with the 256GB. More specifically, the OCZ Vertex 4 which gets pretty good reviews so far and has a price per GB rate below one Euro.

Data doubler

The first option I looked into (and the one I went with) was the OWC data doubler. Other brands offer this component as well but keeping cost and quality in mind, this seemed the best option.

There's a disadvantage to this option though: it requires you to sacrifice the SuperDrive because the data doubler holding the SSD will be mounted there. For me, it wasn't really a sacrifice because I wasn't really using it anyway.

The actual reason why I chose the data doubler are the heat issues I read about. When replacing the SuperDrive, there's a lot more space than required considering the size of an SSD and I guess that's a good thing.

Hardware generates heat, and being able to cooling these parts down is crucial. When these temperatures get too high, your hardware is under a lot of stress and it will literally kill your SSD. Since we're talking about data, that's probably the worst thing that could happen.

In short, the excess space ensures enough air can run through your system to keep temperatures down.

DIY kit

OWC also offers a DIY kit to add an SSD to your system. This option lets you keep your SuperDrive which might be what you want.
They tell you to stick your SSD behind the logic board in a very narrow space and splitting the power supply for this disk and the original one.

Personally, I'm not sure this is the best solution because of the heat I mentioned before.

If you really want to keep your SuperDrive because you use it often, I'd still advise to go with the data doubler and buy a SuperDrive enclosure to hold the one you removed from your iMac. This will cost you a little extra, but it'll cost you more when your SSD gets killed because of the heat and you have to replace it.

Let's talk numbers

So, there's the cost of the SSD of course. When comparing prices, Coolblue wasn't the cheapest one, but I bought it from them since they have an excellent customer service and delivery schedule, totalling me €219.

Then we have the OWC data doubler which I bought from, totalling €60,98 shipping included. Worth noting: these guys handle your order very fast since it was delivered the day after I ordered it.

The last step is to deliver your iMac with the parts you bought before to a shop. In Belgium we have two big players if I'm not mistaken: Lab9 and Switch.
I'm a customer at both so I asked them both how much it would cost me to add the SSD (taking into account that I would deliver the SSD).

Lab9 charged €89 for the OWC data doubler and €80 to get the job done.
Switch charged €49 for the SSD kit (not the data doubler) and €100 to get the job done.
After telling the Switch shop that I was going to deliver both the SSD and the data doubler, they dropped the price to €60 for installing everything.

This comparison isn't completely honest because they were going to use different parts and different methods but I just wanted to mention the prices they gave me to indicate the cost.

Eventually I went with Switch because it was easier for me to reach their shop in Gent and Lab9 first told me that it wasn't possible to do this kind of upgrade when the iMac was originally delivered without an SSD. Nevertheless I'm a satisfied costumer at both these shops.

Total cost for this upgrade: €339,98 incl. VAT (also keep in mind that I did this upgrade when the iMac had to be opened up anyway to replace the original hard drive).

I hope this post will help you if you were ever considering upgrading your iMac with an SSD.