Sorry – Can’t Upgrade the Main Hard Drive in Your iMac

Apple has taken caution steps to prevent any third party hard drive upgrades of the main drive in the new iMac.

Well, this signs started way back in 2009 iMac which required a special thermal sensor cable for each hard drive manufacturer. Now OWC has discovered that with the new 2011 iMac Apple has made it impossible for you to upgrade to a third party drive.

For the main 3.5 SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-pin power configuration to a 7-pin configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

In examining the 2011 27 iMac’s viability for our Turnkey Upgrade Service, every workaround we’ve tried thus far to allow us to upgrade the main bay factory hard drive still resulted in spinning fans and an Apple Hardware Test failure. We swapped the main drive out (in this case a Western Digital Black WD1001FALS) with the exact same model drive from our inventory which resulted in a failure. We’ve installed our Mercury Pro 6G SSD in that bay, it too results in ludicrous speed engaged fans and an AHT failure. In short, the Apple-branded main hard drive cannot be moved, removed or replaced.

OWC notes that If the main hard drive does fail, you have no alternative but to purchase a new one from Apple and pay them to install it via an Authorized Service Center. OWC says that you can get an OWC Mercury Extreme SSD and install that as a boot drive. Moreover if you need a faster connection than FireWire 800, then you can always add a high-performance eSATA port through the TurnKey Upgrade Program.

[ Via blog.macsales ]

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