The 27″ version of the Mid-2010 iMac is available with an additional 256 GB Solid State Drive for a small extra fee of $750. As I already owned an 160 GB Intel X25 G2 SSD I wanted to use this in my new iMac as well. There is several information on the web, how to replace the hard disk or the optical drive with a SDD, but information about adding a SSD without losing the hard drive and the optical drive is very rare.
The problem is, that all iMac which haven’t been ordered with the built-in SDD miss the mounting option for the SDD and the cables. So you have to order them separately. Fortunately http://applecomponents.com has them in stock. You will need three parts:
- The power cable 922-9531 with connectors for logic board, LED backlight, hard disk and SDD which replaces the old power cable.
- The mounting kit 922-9485 for the SSD which will replace a small plastic part
- The SATA data cable 922-9538 which connects the SSD with the logic board
This will be a total of $57 plus shipping (I paid about 72 € in total with shipping to Germany plus 13 € taxes at the customs). Besides of that you will need four very flat screws to tighten the SSD to the mounting kit. As tools you should have
- a T10 Torx screwdriver
- a Phillips #2 screwdriver (to open the memory bay)
- two paperclips
- two suction cups
- a pair of tweezers
- something to clean the LCD
The whole installation isn’t very difficult if you act very careful and keep a log of every screws and cable where they came from. It is very useful if you get a friend of yours to help you, as the display and the logic board are very heavy. I had some help from Steve, who’s Job it was to take all the pictures you see in this guide (Thanks a lot for the help!) and help with the organisation of all the screws and boards and he was my 3rd and 4th hand whenever needed.
Before starting, open the memory bay of the iMac on the lower side:
At first, you have to open the iMac and remove the display. It might be a good idea to lay down the iMac on a towel or something to avoid scratches in the aluminium:
Put the mac this way, so the top of the iMac will face towards you. Position the two suction cups in the upper left and right corner (You’ll get these in every do-it-yourself store. I paid about 7 € for each). The display is fixed with small magnets, so no screws. Pull up the suction cups upwards to lift the glass up to about 45 degrees. The pull the whole glass towards you to remove it entirely from the iMac. There are a few metal clips connecting the display with the lower part of the iMac. Store the display in a safe position, for example on the floor using your original iMac wrapping:
To remove the display you have to remove 4 screws at each side of the LCD screen:
To lift up the LCD we built a small tool using two paperclips:
Now put the paperclips tools under the edges of the display and pull it a few centimeters upwards. Then put something between the display and case to fit it in the upper position:
Before the LCD can be removed, there are four cables which have to be disconnect. The first one is connected to the LCD back-light board in the lower right corner:
Be careful as this cable was stuck on the back of the iMac and so we could lift the LCD only for a few centimeters. We removed the cable from the bottom with a pair of tweezers and the lifted to LCD to about ten to fifteen centimeters. Then it was easy to unplug the cable.
The next cable is the data cable to the LCD. You have to squeeze the to display connector arms together and the pull to remove the cable:
Now we need to remove the LCD temperature sensor next to the data cable:
The last one is the LCD back-light cable connected to the LCD back-light board on the right side:
After all cables connected to the LCD have been removed, we can remove it from the iMac and put it somewhere in a safe place. Now we have a look at everything inside the iMac:
In the lower right we can see the LCD back-light next to the power supply. In the lower middle is the hard disk and the AirPort card located. On the left there is the optical drive and the whole upper part is the logic board. We will have to remove nearly everything as we need to insert the SSD mount below the heat sink between the hard disk and the optical drive.
We start by remove the hard disk. Unplug the 3 cables (power, SATA data and temperature sensor) and remember the position of the temperature sensor cable (You’ll need it later). Before lifting the hard disk we have to remove 2 screws:
Now lift up the hard disk in the lower part and then pull it towards you to remove it. The next step is to remove the optical drive. After removing the 4 screws,
remove the combined power/data cable from the drive and the temperature sensor from the logic board.
After removing the optical drive remove the screw from the fan next to it and unplug the cable from the fan. It is located beneath the ribbon cable to the RMT I/O connector:
Now the continue on the lower right side by removing the power supply. There are four screws and two connectors which need to be disconnected:
The LCD backlight next to the power supply has also four screws, but only one cable:
Now remove the two plastic parts located between the power supply, the LCD back-light and the heat sink (Sorry, I didn’t take a separate picture of them). Then it’s time to remove the AirPort card. Unplug the two antenna connectors by pulling the upwards (should be very easy) and disconnect the cable to the AirPort on the logic board. You have to remove the sticky tape and the pull the connector upwards. Then remove the two screws fixing the AirPort and remove it:
Under the black apple logo on the front of the iMac there is an infrared receiver hiding. After unplugging the connector on the logic board, pull to remove the infrared receiver board.
The last step is to remove the logic board. There are eight screws to remove:
Now unplug all left over cables to the logic board. The RMT I/O connector in the upper left corner:
The SD card reader below the RMT I/O connector:
The microphone connector between the RMT I/O and the SD card reader connector:
And the two speaker connectors right of the microphone connector. Notice that right speaker connector has five pins where as the left speaker connector has only four pins. You won’t be able to mix them later :):
In the upper right corner you will find the connector for the power button:
And two centimeters right of it the CPU fan connector:
In the lower end of the logic board are the skin temperature sensor:
And a bit left of it are several sensors. You need to disconnect the hard disk fan, camera and Bluetooth connector. The hard disk temperature sensors doesn’t have to be disconnected as we already removed the other end of the cable from the hard disk.
The last remaining connector should be the AMB temperature sensor:
Now you should be able to remove the logic board by lifting it a little bit at the lower side and then pulling it towards you. Be care as there are some cables on the lower side of the board (power cable, HDD data cable). Now your iMac (if you still want to call it iMac ;)) should look like:
In the next step we remove the plastic part where the SSD mount will fit in:
You have to remove one screws and to remove a little bit of the sticky tape from the cables which are routed over the plastic. The pull the plastic upwards and remove it. The plastic is glue on the bottom of the iMac so you will have to pull a little more intense.
Now you will need to get four very flat screws to mount the SSD into the new plastic mount:
Test if the screws are flat enough so that new mount sits perfectly. Now install the mount in the position of the old mount and route the thin cable below the mount. Tighten it with the screw from the old mount. Before reinstalling the logic board we have to swap the power cable and to install the new SSD SATA data cable:
The straight connector of the SATA data cable must be inserted in the logic board. Now we can reassemble everything:
- Insert the logic board and check that all cable you removed are not hidden somewhere under the board.
- Plug in the SSD data connector into the SSD and plug in the power connector into the SSD. There are two SATA power connectors on the power cable. The middle one with four pins has to be used for the HDD drive and the other one with only two pins for the SSD.
- Tighten the logic board with the eight screws you removed and route the power and SATA cables correctly.
- Connect all the connectors to the logic board:
- RMT I/O
- SD card reader
- left/right speaker
- power button
- CPU fan
- skin fan
- AMB temperature sensors
- Reinsert the infrared receiver board the connect it to the logic board
- Put back the two plastic parts from the power supply and LCD back-light
- Connect the power cable to the LCD back-light, glue it to the bottom of the case and tighten the LCD back-light
- Connect the power cable and the other cable to the power supply and tighten it
- Install AirPort card and check that the power cable is correctly routed beneath it. Plug in the two antennas.
- Insert the fan in the upper left corner and connect it.
- Insert the optical drive and connect the data cable and the temperature sensor.
- Connect the power cable, the SATA data cable and the temperature sensor to the hard disk. Tighten it.
Now everything should look the before as you removed the display. Now its time to mount the display. Put it on the upper end of the case with an angle of about 45 degrees and while lowering it connect the four connectors:
- LCD back-light
- LCD temperature sensor
- LCD data cable
- LCD back-light sync
Put the display entirely down and fix it with the eight screws. Before putting back the glass panel try to remove dust on the display panel and the back of glass. Last, but not least close the memory bay.
Now, pray, and press the power button. If you’ve everything correctly your iMac should boot and you should see the SSD drive in the disk utility:
If you got mixed up with all the different screws, this may help you: