• Converting HHD iMac to SSD

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    My 2019 iMac base model now running Sonoma seems to be slowing down and at times the spinning beachball makes it almost unusable for short periods of time.  Shutting it down over night every few nights does help for a day or two.  I’m only using 936.8 gigs out of the 1TB.  So, it’s not overloaded by a long shot.  It runs on a HHD hard disc and Intel chip.  I’m seriously considering converting switching out the HHD for a SSD.  I have access to a very experienced Mac technician that has done this on many Macs with good results.  My Time Machine backups are kept current as well as an external hard drive to insure I wouldn’t lose data or settings. Have any of you done this and did you get real significant performance improvement?

    Thank you.

    iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

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    • #2609533

      I’m only using 936.8 gigs out of the 1TB.

      1 TB =1000 GB so your disk is nearly full at 98.3% of capacity. Not all iMACs automatically defragment the HDD, so if this is your case and the HDD is not being defragmented that alone could be the cause of slowness. Replace it with a 2 TB SSD or you’ll be right back with a nearly full drive at 98.3% of capacity.

      Have any of you done this and did you get real significant performance improvement?

      I’ve swapped an HDD for an SSD on two laptops and 1 desktop. The performance improvement in all three was dramatic.

      The only caveat is NOT to clone the HDD to the SSD. If you have bad of failing sectors they will be recreated on the SSD. Instead make a full image backup, swap drives, then reimage (not clone) the new SSD. If you are not using image backups as a guard against drive failure now, there are many brands available. I use Macrium Reflect. Search the AskWoody forums about image backups.

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      • #2609600

        Tech Tango…thank you.  I made a mistake in my original post.  I have  936.8 gigs available…not used.

        iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

    • #2609744

      I swapped a 5400RPM HDD for a 7200RPM HDD (actually had a tech who had practice with an iMac do it) several years ago. If you look on FixIt, you can see what has to be done, it’s not just unplug/plug in. So if the tech is experienced, and you are sure the SSD is compatible with the Mac, it should be successful.

      I haven’t swapped an HDD for an SSD, but I have bought Macs with both in the past, and I am sure you will be pleased.

      Apple has a fantastic migration tool. I have used it to move an old Mac to a new Mac. But since you won’t have two machines, you will need to backup your iMac. Time Machine should make it easy. The data is important. I have found that, even it’s time consuming, a clean install on a Mac is much easier than on a Windows machine. The default apps are there and the third-party are readily available.

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      • #2609829

        Good advice, thank you.  I’m using a very experience Mac tech who has done this many times.  I’ll probably do it next month and will report how it went.

        iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

        • #2609877

          PK Cano…I’ve moved up my SSD plans to next week. I’m taking it to the shop on Monday.  May get it back the next day.  I’m looking fwd very much to getting a “new” iMac back.  I will have a current Time Machine and an ext hard drive with important files on it just in case.

          iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

          • #2609886

            I forgot. I did swap out an HDD for a SSD. My 2012 13″ MacBook Pro years ago.
            I replaced the 512GB HDD with a 512 SSD and put the max of 16GB RAM in it.
            What a big difference! It still has a beautiful screen and is FAST. It just no longer gets updates. I still use it for a specific purpose.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2609890

            I don’t know whether memory upgrades are possible on the iMAC, but if they are and you only have 8GB of RAM, you might want to increase that to 16GB.

            I have a 2017 iMAC with 8 GB RAM and a 5400 rpm HDD, and a 2017 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM and an SSD. I don’t remember off the top what processor each has. The iMAC is the most frustrating machine I’ve ever used – a super sloth. I attribute that to it’s 5400 HDD because by comparison the MacBook Air is much faster, the main difference being it has an SSD. BUT, the MacBook Air is still no speed champ. It’s tolerable but nothing great, and if I had to do it over again I would have ordered it with 16 GB RAM.

            The iMAC was OK up through about Mojave, but since then its performance has cratered. Your 2019 iMAC still has a few years of support left, so I’d bump up the RAM while the machine is having surgery.

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            • #2609898

              I have the 2017 iMac4K with a 2.6GHz Kaby Lake i7, 32GB RAM and a 512SSD. It runs two Parallels VMs (Win8.1/10). It is one of my daily drivers. It’s fast.

              But it doesn’t qualify for Sonoma, which the 2019 iMac would. If you can update to an SSD and at least 16GB RAM, you will be surprised at the difference.

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            • #2609901

              Dr. Bonzo and PKC.  Sounds like good advice.  I’ll look into it on Monday.  Thank you.

              iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

            • #2611450

              Picked up my 2019 iMac today after the HDD to SSD upgrade.  First impression is that the increased speed and performance is more than I expected.  Compared to what is was I’d say it’s now very fast.  From what I can tell, all Settings were preserved with Time Machine.  My apps in Lauchpad were jumbled around a bit,  but so far that’s it.  I recommend this move.  Thank you to those that gave valuable input that helped me make this decision.

              PS…I opted not to increase RAM from 8 to 16.  Given how I use the machine the tech didn’t think it do all that much.  Also, saved some money.

              iPhone 13, 2019 iMac(SSD)

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