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Model A1312 / Mid 2010 / 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 2.8 & 3.6 GHz Core i5 or 2.93 GHz Core i7, ID iMac11,3

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planning to upgrade my 10 years old iMac, help in choosing the parts!

Hi,,

I am planning to upgrade my iMac (27 inch - mid2010) which is now 10 years old and running on El Capitan 10.11.6 OS. Since its having a good CPU (i7 2.93) I am considering replacing the stock HDD (1TB) to an SSD, and maximising the RAM from 8GB to 32GB.

  1. is this upgrade worth it? and will I notice a different when using it?
  2. for the RAM upgrade, I think this part is the best option (iMac Intel 27" (Core i5 or i7) EMC 2390 (Mid 2010) Memory Maxxer RAM Upgrade Kit)?
  3. for the SSD, I was reviewing this guide (Mac Intel 27" EMC 2390 Hard Drive Replacement), and I am confused about the parts options. the SSD Upgrade Bundle with Crucial MX500 SSD 1TB, or buying 2 TB SSD Segate Hybrid 3.5" Hard Drive with all the required tools separately which will almost cost the same. my concerns are:
    • is the two SSD mentioned having the same performance?
    • is the two SSD mentioned having the same certification with my iMac?
    • is there any drawback for using Segate 2TB over Crucial 1TB?

**

This is my first time upgrading my iMac, and I really appreciate if you can guide me in selecting the best parts to get the most performance out of it for the longest period.

Regards,

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Your systems specs: 27" iMac 2.93 i7 (Mid-2010)

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Unless you are deep into video or music production 32 GB is overkill! Most apps can only use 16 GB at most. So lets stick with 16 GB. Also some folks have had issues loading up their 2010 with 32 GB getting crashes.

OK as for storage I do recommend following the Installing iMac Intel 27" EMC 2390 Dual HDD or SSD Drive setup as being the best config! The cables and foam mounts (or what I prefer Velcro strips) can be gotten from other sources as iFixit is out of stock OWC DIY Internal SSD Add-On Kit for all 27" Apple iMac (Mid 2010)

As far as the drive this is tricky! Your system only has a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) interface as such you really need to stick with a SATA II capable drive. Many of the current drives are fixed at SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) and not able to run reliably at SATA II speeds. There are some drives which have the ability to sense the systems I/O speed and match it like a Samsung 860 EVO Note how the interface line states clearly it supports 3.0 Gb/s. What ever drive you install needs to list this if not don’t buy it!

The Seagate drive is a hybrid a patter drive like a HD but with a SSD added within it to act as a cache drive to speed up boot up and commonly loaded elements. Its a good half step between a HDD and a SSD, here you gain the depth of the HDD and the speed of a small SSD.

The SSD option is more costly per the MB! So a 1TB drive is a bit more than a 1TB HDD or SSHD. But its much faster!

So… Where does that leave us? Instead of swapping out one for the other ADDING a SSD is a better option! Here we can use a smaller drive as your bulk data is still on the HDD you have and only the OS and your apps sit on the SSD. As an example my 27” iMac has a 512 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD (and this SSD is still overkill for what I use the system for now). I use it mostly for writing and drawing as well as watching vids while I’m working. I have a second Mac a 2013 Mac Pro which I do my work on which is large image photography which needs lots of RAM and storage!

As I don’t know your use case I can’t tell you which sized drive makes sense for you. Maybe a 1 TB SSD will be all you need. If you give me some ideas on what you are doing I might be able to offer a bit more.

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Thank you for this detailed reply, it was very helpful.

Regarding my usage, its mostly to store and maintain all my family photos and videos (10 years old and till now), average media editing (Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Illustrator), browsing and Ms Office.

Regarding the RAM, because: I am living in a country that doesn't have any affordable Apple workshop, and I want to upgrade it once only and make it last as long as possible, I decided to go with 32GB. Also, by adding this memory I was thinking to use it also for some Databases test (Virtualbox, Oracle Database) which I am using now some old window laptop for this task. So maybe the 32GB RAM is overkill, but on the long run I think its better to invest in. However, if some other users already faced issues with 32GB on their mid 2010 iMac, then I think I need to reconsider this point, because from what I read in Apple official documentation, my iMac model is officially supporting 16GB only and I prefer the stability of the iMac over more memory.

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For the storage, I also reviewed the guide that you referred to and I was considering it because I will keep my current HDD 1TB and will add another SSD 1TB which I consider fine for me (2 TB total storage). However, when I read the guide it was a bit complex and difficult. So when I was analysing the risk of both guides I preferred to go with swapping the current HDD with an SSD just because its less risky and I don't want to be in a situation where I lose my iMac because of this process. from your experience, is this process doable by a beginner like me?

About Segate disk, I didn't notice it was hybrid. I prefer to go with full SSD. So either swapping the current HDD with 2 TB SSD (which is not available in iFixit) or adding 1 TB SSD. Also, I did a quick search about the STAT III backward compatibility with STAT II and found its there by default: https://sata-io.org/developers/sata-nami...

Please if you can share with me any resources regarding this point.

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I really thanks you about mentioning the SATA II issue. I searched more and I think I will go with OWC 3G SSD drive which is SATA II compatible. Also I am considering using OWC data doubler optical bay for this new SSD and keeping my current HDD. But still I didn't decide about the RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB.

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@joseph_alqattan - I love it! The standards group editor has no idea how or why the naming conventions came to be!

You'll note I use the Roman number the original standard called out. Just like the confusions we now have within the USB standards today they too decided to change the naming in midway! 3.1 is really 3.2 now and 3.2 is now 3.2 Gen 2 How confusing! Confused by USB names? Get used to it as USB 3.1 becomes 3.2

So I 'm sticking with the original naming convention we defined but I also make it clear to list out the data rate.

But that is just noise! Your link does not get into the mechanics of what it all means! All it is is the marketing BS to confuse you! Follow the KISS philosophy.

OK, off the rant!

So what is the rules of compatibility

The standards group defines the system as the host and the drive is the slave. The host controls the data rate not the slave. The host can support slower slaves it can't support faster slaves.

Now to be clear we are talking about fixed speed devices: A SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) drive will work with no problems in a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) system! But! A SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drive won't work in a SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) system. Thats the way the standard was written (I was at the meeting!)

This is where people look at the glass of milk telling you it's half empty. But I'm telling you its half full!

So you only get half of what's in it, not the empty of whats in it - I don't drink empty, I drink milk!

Perspective is important here.

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If you can follow directions its not hard to add the dual drive SSD. I still prefer a dual drive config as you then get two channels of I/O Vs one! Segregation of the OS, App, Virtual memory & cache away from the data on the other drive.

Given what you are doing 16 GB or RAM is all you need, The dual SSD & HDD drive would be best for you. Here you'll use the SSD as your work space for your project then move it to your HDD when you're done.

You don't want to over spend and you still need to setup an external drive for backup of your work. You really don't want to loose all that stuff. Frankly, you should be doing what I do! I have a safe deposit box at the bank and I rotate by backups with them every week when I'm working on a project just in case something happens!

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