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Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Can I install a dual HDD and SSD in a late 2009 iMac?


I would like to know if I can install a dual HDD & SSD in my iMac late 2009 model. Do you have any guide?

Hardware Overview:

  • Model Name: iMac
  • Model Identifier: iMac10,1
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Processor Speed: 3.06 GHz

There is a guide to replace HDD with SSD, but I need to install both HDD & SSD drives.

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Your system only has two SATA ports and both have something attached - HDD & ODD (Optical drive). So you'll need to give up one for the SSD.

So if you give up your ODD you can switch it out with a special career iMac & Mac mini Dual Drive Enclosure to hold the SSD drive. Here's the IFIXIT guide: Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Dual Drive

Now the HDD is a bit trickier! You'll need an adapter frame to hold the smaller 2.5" SSD drive where the 3.5" HDD sits and you'll need a special in-line thermal sensor to replace the HDD's internal sensor OWC - In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for iMac Late 2009 - Mid 2010 Hard Drive Upgrade. Lastly, you'll need the Universal Drive Adapter to support your old drive externally so you can install & migrate your stuff over to the new drive. And of course you likely have a smaller SSD than what the HDD was so you'll end up with needing to get an external HDD to hold all of your stuff. For reference heres the IFIXIT guide for this: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Hard Drive Replacement.

The last option is replacing your current HD again, but! This time put in a SSHD hybrid drive like this one: Seagate FireCuda SSHD While you'll still need the in-line thermal sensor and universal adapter. Here you get the zip of a dedicated SSD with its onboard SSD cache and the storage depth of a traditional HDD.

One last issue here, your systems SATA port is only SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) so make sure the HD, SSHD or SSD drive you put in is able to support this slower speed! Many drives are dropping support for the older speeds {Fixed SATA III (6.0 Gb/s)} You'll need to locate a drive that supports multiple SATA speeds (auto sense) like the SSHD I've listed here review the spec sheet of the drive you decide to go with to make sure its like this one, listing out the supported interface speeds.

Frankly, I would go with the SSHD drive setup as the best solution. The reason is your original HDD is getting old so it could fail soon and the SSHD will give you the zip and still larger storage space you're likely looking for.

Imagem de iMac & Mac mini Dual Drive Enclosure


iMac & Mac mini Dual Drive Enclosure


Imagem de Universal Drive Adapter


Universal Drive Adapter


Imagem de iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Hard Drive


iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Hard Drive Replacement

Nível de dificuldade:


40 minutes - 1 hour

Imagem de iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Dual Drive


Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Dual Drive

Nível de dificuldade:


30 minutes - 2 hours

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Thank you that was informative :)


iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009) Modèle A1311 (iMac10,1)

Disk 1 DENRSTE251M45-0100 (SSD 100 GB)

Disk 2 ST1000LM048-2E7172 (HDD 1 TB)

Step 1 Create Recovery Drive thanks to

Step 2 Removing all partitions on both disks. I used Gparted from a Slitaz live usb.

Step 3 Install macOS from Recovery Drive (step 1) on disk 1 partition APFS, size 32 GB to keep space for futur linux OS.

SUCCESS macOS High Sierra boot in about 25 seconds from start to login !


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Hey Dan, I have an idea for adding a 2.5 drive to my late 2009 iMac by removing the optical drive... but I thought that both the HDD and Optical SATA were only 3.0... and that the upgrade to 6.0 wasn't until the next year.

My main question is whether... instead of partitioning my internal HD for use with Bootcamp to run windows... I could just install a second drive (from my recently deceased windows 7 laptop), and boot up from that drive at start up?

Can Bootcamp assistant designate the boot drive that way?

MS won't let me use the dead laptop's OS to obtain a new copy of Windows 7 to use in this endeavor...


I re-read the SATA comment... and realized you did say the system's SATA speed was 2.0 (or 3.0 Gb/s)... the rest of my question still applies. Thx

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The numbers can be confusing! I use the Roman number for the version of SATA spec. This is not the same as the SATA I/O speed (interface data rate).

So to clarify your system is SATA II which runs at (3.0 Gb/s). You need to either fixed speed SATA II drive or a auto sense drive which can run at SATA II I/O speed even though it's able to also run at SATA III (6,0 Gb/s) if the system had a SATA III interface.

As an example: Think of it like your car has a fixed speed of 60 MPH of course you can't drive on a road that is 30 MPH but going onto a road that is faster let say 60 MPH you would be OK.

Or instead of driving a car thats too fast you drove a car that was fixed at 30 MPH you would be OK on the 30 MPH road.

Now think what would happen if your car had a speed shifter going 30 MPH or 60 MPH so your car can now run on either road!

Thats the difference between a Fixed speed drive Vs an Auto Sense drive.

Now the tricky part how can you tell which drive you have? You need to review the drives spec sheet. If it states it runs at SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) only then its fixed at SATA III and won't work in your system. As an example the 2.5" Samsung 860 EVO SSD is an Auto Sense drive not the interface line clearly states all three SATA speeds! Make sure your drive either states only SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) - Fixed speed drive or is like the Samsung Auto Sense!


As for BootCamp: It needs to be installed on the boot drive. So you would need to install your OS-X/MacOS on the SSD and then set it as your boot drive. Then you can setup BootCamp on it.


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