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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Time to Spruce Up My iMac

Time to Spruce Up My iMac
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Dec 26, 2012, 02:44 AM
 
I have a Mid 2007 20" iMac with the original 320GB hard drive. I've upped the RAM to 4GB (did that quite a while ago), but I'm thinking that could be bigger too, assuming I can convince the machine to accept one 2GB and one 4GB SIMM. I'm still running OS 10.6.8.

I want to put a much larger drive in, but I can't find a lot of information about which drives are configured to work with the iMac (because of the temperature sensor). I am also not clear on what kind of performance to expect from a SATA III drive connected to a SATA II bus.

I'd appreciate any input as I plan this out.

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Dec 26, 2012, 03:22 AM
 
Do you need more storage or do you just want it?
If you want to see a speed increase, I'd highly recommend looking into an SSD, did wonders to my 2008 MacBook Pro.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 06:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I have a Mid 2007 20" iMac with the original 320GB hard drive. I've upped the RAM to 4GB (did that quite a while ago), but I'm thinking that could be bigger too, assuming I can convince the machine to accept one 2GB and one 4GB SIMM. I'm still running OS 10.6.8.
I want to put a much larger drive in, but I can't find a lot of information about which drives are configured to work with the iMac (because of the temperature sensor). I am also not clear on what kind of performance to expect from a SATA III drive connected to a SATA II bus.
I'd appreciate any input as I plan this out.
AFAIK, up until late-2009, the HD temperature sensors in the iMacs are simply attached (adhesive) to the external of the HD. That being the case, any HD should work as you just need to move the temperature sensor to the new hard drive.

In my iMac (late-2009) the HD temperature sensor attached via pins directly to the drive so I would have to replace my Seagate with another Seagate. However, there is a workaround - I can buy a replacement optical drive sensor (which attaches externally) and use that as a temperature sensor for the HD.

Not sure about your SATA question...
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Dec 26, 2012, 08:39 AM
 
Sata 3 drives will work on a sata 2 bus but only at sata 2 speeds. So you'd only really get any benefits from change sto the disk itself, cache etc.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 11:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Sata 3 drives will work on a sata 2 bus but only at sata 2 speeds. So you'd only really get any benefits from change sto the disk itself, cache etc.
Doubt that the OP would notice any difference (e.g. can't saturate either unless running RAID of some sort).
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
Doubt that the OP would notice any difference (e.g. can't saturate either unless running RAID of some sort).
Yeah but memory cache on drives keep growing and reading from that could be limited by the bus. To the point if you want size don't worry it will be backwards compatible with the older bus. IF you want performance you want an ssd.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 02:40 PM
 
I have a mid-2007 20" iMac with 6GB (one 2GB and one 4GB) and I replaced the original HDD with an SSD. The temperature sensor was a simple unpeel/repeel onto SSD. Simple.

With the SSD it runs quite well. I strongly suggest looking into purchasing an SSD.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 02:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
I have a mid-2007 20" iMac with 6GB (one 2GB and one 4GB) and I replaced the original HDD with an SSD. The temperature sensor was a simple unpeel/repeel onto SSD. Simple.
With the SSD it runs quite well. I strongly suggest looking into purchasing an SSD.
Newegg had "Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD Solid State Drive for $119.99 Shipped" but I passed...so you put the OS and apps on the SSD and all the media and data on the HDD?
     
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Dec 27, 2012, 05:41 AM
 
Music and video files are stored on an external HDD, everything else is on the 128GB SSD
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 06:24 AM
 
Any of you with 2007 imacs running 10.7? performance issues?
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Any of you with 2007 imacs running 10.7? performance issues?
I'm running 10.7 on my 2006 1,1 MacPro (2 Xeon 5151s and an nVidia 7300GT which is a POS GPU) and 10.7 runs great.
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 11:29 PM
 
2007 iMacs top at 6 GB RAM, with that it would run Lion fine.

Four GBs along with the Creative Suite I am assuming andi*pandi would run, sounds a bit on the short side.
     
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Dec 29, 2012, 03:36 AM
 
Looks like I just need to start looking for a good-sized hard drive and a 4GB DIMM. I'm not ready to go with an SSD for several reasons, including cost per GB, but I'll keep that in mind too.

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Dec 29, 2012, 03:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I have a Mid 2007 20" iMac with the original 320GB hard drive. I've upped the RAM to 4GB (did that quite a while ago), but I'm thinking that could be bigger too, assuming I can convince the machine to accept one 2GB and one 4GB SIMM. I'm still running OS 10.6.8.
I want to put a much larger drive in, but I can't find a lot of information about which drives are configured to work with the iMac (because of the temperature sensor). I am also not clear on what kind of performance to expect from a SATA III drive connected to a SATA II bus.
I'd appreciate any input as I plan this out.
We have the same iMac7,1 and I will share what I fount out about our machine.

CPU can be upgraded to a Core 2 Extreme X7900 as a drop in part. I would buy this from eBay for $100.
Storage in the main bay is attached to a SATA 3Gb/s port. I would either use a Samsung 840 (not Pro) (nearing 250MB/s write/read) or a Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 drive (nearing surpassing 190MB/s write/read).
Memory can be upgrade to one 2GB SODIMM and one 4GB SODIMM.

That's it.

I honestly would not spend more than $300 on our iMac. If you sold it and use the proceeds of the sale plus the $300 you can buy a whole new Mac mini or iMac with new I/O that cannot be upgraded to. Like USB 3, Thunderbolt, Bluetooth 4, HDMI 1.4, miniDisplayport 1.2, 4K resolution video, etc.

In my I have a spare 3.5" HDD here and would use that in case my iMac's HDD breaks down. Furthermore I'd only spend $100 CPU upgrade as tearing down an iMac is no joke and I may as well upgrade whatever I can while I am inside.
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 09:33 AM
 
Your iMac won't see anymore RAM if its a C2Duo. iMac (Mid 2007) - Technical Specifications

And some more info here : http://guides.macrumors.com/Understanding_Intel_Mac_RAM
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 11:01 AM
 
The totally unsupported effective RAM ceiling is 6 GB, one 2 GB and one 4 GB. The reason for this is that the chipset in that Mac (the memory controller is in the chipset for all Core 2 Duo - it was only with Nehalem that it moved into the CPU) supports 8 GB addressing space, but some is used for addressing of non-RAM hardware. There are multiple reports that 6 GB works, but Apple does not support this at all.

I would not bother picking the iMac apart for a bigger HDD. Just get an external Firewire drive and symlink up some directories.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 11:24 AM
 
I have a Feb 2007 20inch iMac, the plastic one. There is 4G of RAM in the machine but it only sees 3.2G.

I'd be interested to know if Mr. Porter's iMac actually sees all of his RAM now.
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 01:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
I have a Feb 2007 20inch iMac, the plastic one. There is 4G of RAM in the machine but it only sees 3.2G.
That's correct, the white iMacs use an older chipset (945-series as opposed to 965-series in the first Alu iMacs, IIRC).
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 06:55 PM
 
I haven't done anything to the machine yet, just researching at the moment. Now, user Pao|o apparently sees all of his RAM...

I'm working on getting myself a new drive first... I'm looking at a 2TB Seagate Barcuda, which should be way more than I need (for a while anyway ).

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Jan 7, 2013, 07:34 PM
 
Seagate has been my HDD maker of choice for some time now, although with my secondary choice WD as the only other surviving competition, most anything should be good by that standard.

Beware of their crazy naming, though: All 7200 rpm drives from Seagate ever are called Barracuda, and the model years can be quite different. The current model is called Barracuda 7200.14 - although they're about due for a .15. You can still find older drives - either called .13 or XT (fast and noisy) or Green (slow and quiet) - so make sure you get the latest or pay less.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 7, 2013, 09:21 PM
 
I agree with most of the responses here. I guess the upgrades that you should consider is really dependent on what you are doing on the machine.

If space is all you need, just buy an external. I would do that before upgrading the CPU.

Next, I would consider an SSD. An SSD will change your user experience, they really are that fast. Also, when you get a new machine, you can always take it out and use it on whatever machine you have in the future.

I am partial to the 'sell your machine, and use the proceeds to buy another iMac' option, as this is what I tend to do.

But maybe it might be worth waiting for Rev B of the current iMac.
( Last edited by shabbasuraj; Jan 28, 2013 at 12:42 AM. )
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Jan 10, 2013, 09:29 PM
 
I looked at upgrading the processor, but it didn't seem to be such a great "bang for the buck" upgrade, what with finding one that was new and guaranteed and all. I'm starting to research SSDs for this upgrade, and I find them in the 250+GB range for about $200; which manufacturers should I pay more attention to, and which should I avoid?

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Jan 11, 2013, 12:40 AM
 
I've got a 24" iMac (late 2007?) model 3,1 and I just put a 4GB stick in it so I have 6 GB total now. It's noticeably faster. Later this year, I plan to take out the Superdrive and put an SSD in it's place and also replace the 750GB HDD with a 2 or 3TB and Fusion them together. I also plan to add an SSD to the Macbook too and leave out the Superdrive altogether (it's dying anyway and I never use it).

As a side bonus, the 2 GB stick that I took out fits in my Macbook so it's now up to 4GB from 3GB and I'm amazed at how much snappier it feels.

Both are running 10.7.5 but I will upgrade the iMac to 10.8 in order to use Fusion technology. I don't plan on selling this machine, it will be a hand-me-down to my wife (we share this one now).
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 07:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I looked at upgrading the processor, but it didn't seem to be such a great "bang for the buck" upgrade, what with finding one that was new and guaranteed and all. I'm starting to research SSDs for this upgrade, and I find them in the 250+GB range for about $200; which manufacturers should I pay more attention to, and which should I avoid?
This has been discussed a lot, but IMHO it comes down to a couple of options:

* Samsung 830. This is what Apple uses, and it has excellent reliability records. Only downside is that you will have to run TRIM Enabler for good performance. Hacking system files is always a risk.

* Intel 520/330 (they're the same, except for different warranty lengths). Intel has the best reliability record bar none, with the added benefit that the Sandforce controller in this one does not require you to enable TRIM. Intel does tend to be the most expensive, however.

* Any cheap garbage you can find, with up-to-date backups, a Windows install for doing firmware updates and a readiness to do the RMA dance if required . SSDs started as an enthusiast thing mostly for Windows users, and many of the brands out there still cater to that sector. You can get cheap drives with top-of-the-line performance this way, but especially the required firmware updates are a pain.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 07:51 AM
 
The Intel 520/530s look to be just a bit more expensive than the Crucials I was looking at, with only slightly lower capacities (240 vs. 250/256). The Samsung 830 is comparable in price to the Crucial drives I looked at, and has the same 256GB capacity...I think I just have to bite the bullet and spend a bit more for the Intel. Thanks.

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Jan 14, 2013, 05:31 AM
 
I suggest you have a look at Intel's 330 series. I've put one in my dad's iMac, it works like a charm.
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Jan 27, 2013, 10:09 AM
 
The 330s are less expensive than the 520/530 series in the capacity I'm looking at, but I can't quite figure out whether there's an advantage in terms of warranty.

I have time for research...my finances got "redirected" this month so discretionary spending on my iMac is on hold for a bit.

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Jan 28, 2013, 12:46 AM
 
Maybe by then prices will have dropped and you might be shopping for a larger capacity. Win!
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Jan 28, 2013, 05:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
The 330s are less expensive than the 520/530 series in the capacity I'm looking at, but I can't quite figure out whether there's an advantage in terms of warranty.

I have time for research...my finances got "redirected" this month so discretionary spending on my iMac is on hold for a bit.
The 330 has the same controller as the 520, but a shorter warranty (3 years as opposed to 5). They have the same type of flash memory, which is uncommon in the business (usually the cheaper version uses lower grade tuff), but there is some sort of binning going on. Since I doubt that that iMac will be very useful more than three years from now, I would suggest the 330.

The 530 is not out yet, I think.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 28, 2013, 01:55 PM
 
Apologies if this seems anal, but could somebody take the time to spRuce up the thread title please?

It bugs the hell out of me (reason enough to leave it that way, I know, I know… )
     
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Jan 28, 2013, 02:36 PM
 
Wish granted.

See, you should have asked for the Porsche at the same time.
     
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Jan 28, 2013, 04:45 PM
 
Thank you.

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Jan 29, 2013, 07:31 AM
 
I wonder how I missed a typo in my own thread title so many times... Anyway, thanks for fixing it, reader50.

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Jan 31, 2013, 12:18 PM
 
Just going to throw this in there - if you're interested in an SSD at all, keep an eye on woot and tech.woot. They frequently have refurbished Crucial 2.5" SATA SSDs for dirt cheap.
     
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Jan 31, 2013, 01:36 PM
 
Spoofe.com is great as well...they have a Canon laser printer (35PPM B & W) for $109...that's $260 off retail.
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Nov 7, 2013, 09:46 AM
 
Resurrecting an oldish thread.

After upgrading to Mavericks, my system was noticeably slower so I took the plunge. I Installed a 128GB SSD (Samsung 840) into my 2007 iMac 7,1 (2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo), put the original 750 GB HDD in a FW800 enclosure, and pointed the OS to use my Home folder on the external drive. Overall, everything was noticeably faster; however, the original drive is now 6-7 years old and thrashes considerably. Older technology and older FW chipset I guess.

I bought a 3TB FW 800 enclosure and cloned it. I tried to just copy the Home folder but got a couple permissions issues. With a cloned drive, I now have a backup boot drive too. It's alot faster and I can't even here the HDD running, even with it sitting on my desk next to me. Only noise I hear now is the 2TB TM backup drive (probably 2 years old) and a low hum from the iMac fan.

I was running low on HDD space with the original drive so that's another reason I decided to upgrade. Now I have tons of breathing room! I have 2.36 TB available!

After the Mavericks update, the App Store showed me I had an upgrade for iMovie but whenever I tried to to update it, I got an error message about not having the right video card or something. Somehow though, the update finally processed. I really like the layout and look of the new iMovie, but before I did this upgrade, it was almost unusable. Now it's smooth and easy to use.

Replacing the HDD wasn't too hard. I watched a couple YouTube videos on it and then took my time doing it. Luckily, I have a Macbook so I could have the video playing while I was working on the iMac.

This has really breathed new life into my iMac and I hope to get a couple more years of useful life out of it.
     
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Nov 20, 2013, 01:52 AM
 
I also got a 3 TB FW 800 to replace the failing 1 TB internal drive of my late 2009. I'm wondering if it's worth replacing it with a SSD or just another Seagate 1-3 TB. I'll most likely buy a new iMac next year, like late 2014. How complicated was the procedure? I saw a couple video and it seems like there is some room to screw up. I'd also have to buy the tools since i have nothing. I should stop getting iMacs (my first was a Performa 580!) since it's such a pain to replace/upgrade parts but i'm sooo comfortable with Macs. I fear Windows would drive me crazy...
     
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Nov 20, 2013, 06:48 AM
 
What I would recommend is to put the SSD in the optical bay. Actually doing the replacements is easy enough once it's open - it's getting the iMac open (and closed) that is tricky. Removing the glass is easy - using a plunger or a real vacuum glass holder is easiest, but you can actually do it without any tools at all by feeling with your nails along the edge and grabbing the glass that way. The hard part is removing the display panel. 8 screws (regular Torx, no pentalope security BS), but then you have to carefully tilt the panel out (from the top) a little until you can reach the first cable underneath. There are three, but the first is the only that is short and tricky to reach. Pull that one out and tilt it up some more to reach the two other cables, the grab the display panel from the side and lift it up and out.

That's the hardest bit done, and now you see everything you need to see. The HD is in the center. It's a regular 3.5" drive, but it is worth noting that it is 1/3 height rather than 1/2 height like some older drives. The rule here for the Late 2009 and Mid 2010 is that you can replace it with another drive of the same brand as what you have, but if you switch, your temperature reporting won't work and your fans will go bananas. (The 2011 model requires you to switch to a drive of the same brand and then reflash it with a special firmware, but that is not needed for your model).

The optical is out to the right center, held in a bit of a caddy that you screw out from the top and then remove the optical from. Consumer SSDs come with metal plate to carry the drive when fixing it in a 3.5" space - I simply used this plate and drilled a couple of extra holes in it to match those in the caddy from the iMac. In total, it all became SSD to plate, plate to caddy, caddy to iMac, and the only thing I had to modify was the plate that came with the SSD. The final piece of the puzzle is that you need to convert the special optical-style SATA power connector from the iMac to an HDD/SSD power connector. For that you need a converter, which was a tricky for me to find, but Amazon had one after much searching.

Once all of that is done, you reverse it to put the machine back together. Put the display panel in its place but titled up and connect the two inner band cables. Tilt down and connect the final cable, and lay the panel gently in its spot. Tighten the Torx screws again, clean off any dust from the panel and the glass, reattach the glass and you're done. The dust cleaning can be trickier than it sounds, but it's easy enough to remove the glass afterwards if you missed a spot.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 20, 2013, 06:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gankdawg View Post
After upgrading to Mavericks, my system was noticeably slower
This shouldn't be the case after the initial Spotlight reindexing.

In any case, your system seems to be all better now.
     
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Nov 20, 2013, 07:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
This shouldn't be the case after the initial Spotlight reindexing.

In any case, your system seems to be all better now.
All better except for Outlook. It's stuck in a constant upload/sync for my wife's Gmail account. I don't know if it's Mavericks-related or not. Every time Outlook is launched, it starts uploading 5,672 messages. It finishes, and then does it again. I've tried every setting I can think of, logged into her Gmail account through a web browser and deleted almost all of the email, and it still does it. I'm trying to convince her to move to Mail but no luck so far.
     
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Nov 20, 2013, 11:14 AM
 
My suspicion is that Outlook doesn't like the Identity folder being on the external drive but I can't prove it. From my limited googling, it seems that folder can only reside in 2 places, neither of which resides on my internal SSD.
     
   
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