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iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 (Late 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 or 3.33 GHz) ID iMac10,1, EMC 2374 (Late 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz or Core i7 2.8 GHz) ID iMac11,1

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Replacing HDD iMac intel 27" with Samsung EVO 840 SSD

Currently my IMac late 2009 is reporting that the S.M.A.R.T. of my 1TB drive is failing. I'm opting to replace it with a Samsung EVO 840 SSD. Can I follow the same instructions that are given in the (very clear I must say) IFixit Hard Drive Replacement guide?

Will I stay clear of problems like excessive fan noise ?

Do I have to upgrade (from OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard) to OSX Mavericks first before I make a carbon copy of my hard drive.

I know these are a lot of questions all at once but I need to know them beforehand before starting any work on my Imac which I use as a professional photographer.

Thank you very much


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As a photographer you'll want lots of storage. Unless you have an external drive you may want to consider replacing the HD with another HD (same vendor) as this model uses a custom cable harness for different HD vendor HD's. Here's a little write up on the issue Proprietary cable can put the brakes on upgrading Late ’09 iMacs.

While you may also want to improve the speed of your system with a SSD I wouldn't swap out the HD for the SSD. Instead, I would swap out the optical drive for the SSD. Follow this IFIXIT guide Installing iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 and 2374 Dual Hard Drive

You don't need any software solution or 2.5" to 3.5" adapter frame here with this setup.


Are you planing on cloning your current internal HD? If you are clean things up and make sure to run Apples Disk Utility to make sure you don't have any errors and the permissions are OK. (You'll need to boot under a different drive to do this correctly).

Then using the external Lacie HD as the bootable drive and the SSD connected via a SATA to USB adapter cable clone your drive over. This will be very slow so go out and have a good time at a bar or student center... Once the drive is dup'ed swap it out. The problem here is everything is moved over which you likely don't want.

The other option is:

Swapout your internal HD with the SSD. Then just boot up with your external Lacie HD (double check before you start things) which you've already downloaded a copy of the OS installer onto (make a spare copy in a sub folder).

Once the OS is installed and you are booting up under the SSD you can then install your Apps afresh onto your SSD. If you use CarbonCopy you would end up getting everything moved over which you really don't want. Leave at least 1/3 (or 1/2 better) of free space on the SSD so the OS can cache effectively. To reuse your internal drive (as a backup) get your self an external FireWire case.

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Hi Dan, Sorry for the late response but thank you very much for your answer.

I just moved all my media (images & videos) to an external drive because that is the best and safest way for me to go forward (I also have my external drive backed up so that's okay). I won't be needing a lot of storage on my Imac itself; at the moment I'm using 256 GB of my 1 TB seagate (smart status failing) drive and the rest on the external one.

For me it's an added bonus that speed increases of my system. I really wouldn't like to loose my optical drive. I have added a link below that discusses using an apple cable with external thermal sensor.

I still think this is the way I'd like to go.



As long as you know what you are getting here in the end. I would strongly recommend you get a FireWire external drive while you still can (they are slowly disappearing from the market place as Thunderbolt drives replace them) or get a Ethernet NAS drive setup (my 2nd choice).


In this case I would try to get a 3.5" SSD so you don't need the added frame. If you do go with a 2.5 SSD review how your HD is mounted as not all of the adapter frames will work here. The link you have here is a good way to resolve the HD sensor issue. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck!


Also have you considered going with a hybrid drive (combo HD with SSD)? Seagate makes a nice one.


I'v got a Lacie 2TB in place with firewire connection so that's fine. At the moment (as far as I can see) the Samsung SSD is the best available at the moment for a very reasonable price (250 EURO excl. VAT) so I think I'm going to stick with that replacing the original HDD and keeping my optical drive. First I have an important assignment to finish, then I'll open my Imac and start installing the SSD.

By the way, I have a carbon copy clone of my Imac which starts up from my external Lacie drive beautifully. My plan was to copy this clone to my new SSD. Is this the best way to go or do you agree with space0w and initiate a fresh install on the SSD ?


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Hi Lawrence,

You'll of course need an adapter because the new SSD is 2.5" and the previous 1TB is 3.5".

Yes, the sensor for the temperature won't work correctly until you install special software (this is free, should work fine)


Generally the best method for upgrading would be to install the SSD, install Mavericks on it from scratch with (although for the time being you actually can't make an install USB with 10.6), then attach the old HDD via an external cable or case and follow the migration assistant steps that pop up after the installation. A Time Machine backup will work splendidly as well. I would avoid a direct copy of the disk because any problems you may have had with the old one will be copied onto the new one.

Hopefully this helps. I have a similar setup with this same iMac, but I put my SSD where the optical drive is, and put a 3TB 3.5" HDD where the main drive goes.

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Hi spacec0w,

Sorry for the late response but thank you very much for your answer. I just looked into my Phase One software (raw converter) and for the moment they don't support Mavericks yet. I'll try to stay on Snow Leopard at this time. Do you expect that problems from an HDD will be passed through to an SSD ?



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