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Model A1225 / Early 2009 / 2.66, 2.93, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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What SSD or SSHD can I use to update this iMac?

Hello all,

I have seen a lot of threads on here about changing the hard drive on these macs, but they are all old. Has the technology changed, or a consensus best option? I am looking for a 500GB SSD or SSHD to replace my hard drive. Please help!

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Yes, the technology has changed!

But it all revolves around newer interfaces. SATA has been upgraded from your SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) to SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) and even that have been eclipsed with PCIe/NVMe M.2 blade SSD drives. So while SATA drives are still very much in use, you do need to be careful not to get a drive that won't play well with the older SATA II interface your system has. Make sure the drives spec sheet calls out the data rate 3.0 Gb/s if it doesn't look for a different drive. As an example: Seagate 3.5" FireCuda SSHD note it lists 3.0 Gb/s.

Now look at the Seagate 2.5" FireCuda SSHD drive note is does not list compatibility to the older SATA specs. This drive won't work in your system! So we need to be careful these days as the HD makers are dropping support of the older I/O speeds.

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@danj arent the SATA III backwards compatible?

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Well, Yes & No!

Strictly speaking the standard is written to allow older drives (SATA II) to work in newer systems (SATA III) not the other way around!

Some older drives had a jumper to alter the I/O to SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) these are long since gone! And besides, who wants to buy a SATA III drive and push it down the SATA I in a SATA II system when cheaper SATA II drives where available.

A good way to see this is think how a gallon jug of water can't fill the quart bottle without spilling, but the quart bottle of water can fill (partly) a gallon jug!

We use the terms Fixed and Auto to help in discussing why some drive do work!

So to be clear a Fixed speed drive is just that one and only one I/O speed, and these will only work with systems that are equal in spec or the spec is greater. So a Fixed SATA II drive will work in either a SATA II or III system.

Now an Auto speed drive has circuitry to identify what the system is able to support of its I/O data feed and match it!

So if you look at the two spec sheets I posted the 2.5" drive is Fixed and the 3.5" is Auto. As Seagate pulled the logic from the 2.5" drive to be price competitive as well as the need for older spec'ed drives is waning.

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@danj I wouldn't even trust II/III Premium drives in a machine like this - autosense only.

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I've never heard of a II/III premium drive.

It's either a Fixed or Auto Sense drive. The ability of the drive to be faster gets into the RPM of the disks motor, If it has a SSD cache onboard (SSHD), and being disk (HDD) vs solid state (SSD).

The spec sheet for the given drive is what I go by. If it's not clearly spelled out its not on my radar.

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Hold up - this is pre 2011 so no SATA III support :-(.

You need an old drive with full auto-sense compatibility. The new drives NO LONGER have it outside of the Seagate desktop drives (non-SSHD). Your choice is an old WD (with no guarantee if it fails under warranty, it’ll have the legacy support) or a Seagate 3.5” hard drive.

What I would do is dump the optical drive for one of those 2.5” optical drive HD adapters and install an SSD. Once that’s done, put a 2TB hard drive in place of the stock hard drive for storage. Most people do not use the optical drive, so you can typically remove it and buy an external safely unless you or this person is one of the few who uses it and can alert you to the fact they need it intact. Most people don’t care and either never fix it if it doesn’t hamper the boot process or throw another hard drive in when it croaks. It’s primarily why professionals expect it to be shot and come prepared. I can safely tell you the percentage of people who care is few and far between from the ones who either have machines with them (but never use it) or it has issues like a rough eject problem and the drive is just permanently dead.

Refer to this guide to dump the optical drive for a boot SSD and this guide for the hard drive.

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On this model, any 3.5 or 2.5 (with adapter) inch SATA SSD, HDD, or SSHD will work.

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