The rest of your iMac is still working great, but the time has come to replace the hard drive inside your iMac. Maybe it’s died, is dying, or perhaps you’ve simply grown beyond its storage capacity and need a larger drive.
There’s a few options you have that will give your trusty iMac a few more years to continue being awesome.
Have Apple Repair It
If your iMac isn’t considered vintage, Apple is likely willing to provide service and can fix the drive for you. You can bring it to an Apple store or contact them for service/shipping options if an Apple Store isn’t nearby enough for you.
The downside to having Apple service your iMac is that while they will repair your iMac, they won’t upgrade it. There’s no saying, “Hey… while you’re in there could you add 2.0TB drive instead? I’ll pay extra.” Nope. They’ll fix it to how it originally shipped. And if you’re out of warranty it, like any repair work, it’s going to cost money.
Also, you’ll likely have to give up your computer for a few days, and if you don’t have a spare computer to get you by in the meantime, that downtime can be little excruciating.
Speaking of warranty… if your iMac breaks under warranty, or any Mac for that matter, always go the Apple Warranty Repair route. It’s free, and that’s what warranties are for anyway.
Apple Repair Advantages:
- They do all the work
- Under warranty, it’s free
Go DIY – The Flexible/Upgrade Option
There’s a few advantages to going the DIY route. One major advantage is the opportunity to upgrade the 3.5-inch drive in a 27-inch iMac drive all the way up to the largest 10.0TB drive, or upgrade to the speed capabilities of an SSD.
You’ll get all of that with likely minimal downtime, especially if you do the upgrade yourself with MacSales.com’s iMac installation videos, and likely cheaper than what it would cost for Apple to restore to the stock drive. You can see why tens of thousands of Mac enthusiasts have upgraded their iMac… DIY style.
Related: How to Upgrade the Main Drive in a 21.5-inch iMac 2017
The iMac does have a special need if you’re going this route in that the hard drive needs to report its temperature to the system in order for the iMac fans to run at the correct speed. Without this reporting, the iMac will simply spin its fans full blast to ensure it doesn’t overheat.
The good news is that our iMac DIY upgrade kits come with an OWC in-line digital thermal sensor that allows you to upgrade to the iMac’s main drive to the SATA drive of your choice.
- Upgrade to any size hard drive or SSD you want
- Save on labor cost when you do it yourself
- Save on downtime
If you don’t want to perform the DIY upgrade, have one of our Apple Certified Technicians perform the upgrade for you. Simply give MacSales.com a call at 1-800-275-4576 or +1-815-338-8685, and our friendly support staff will take care of everything.
External Drive – The Fastest and Faster Drive Option
If you’ve watched our installation videos and have decided opening up your iMac just isn’t for you, and you don’t want to send it in for service, you can go the external route. Simply grab the Thunderbolt drive of your choice, and boot from that. Thunderbolt is the perfect interface for a boot drive as it’s essentially an external PCIe port, which is actually much faster than the SATA connection used in the iMac’s main drive bay.
The downside to this approach is that you’re still going to have an internal hard drive in the iMac, and should that drive ever go bad and stop reporting it’s temperature to the system correctly, the fans in your iMac are going to ramp up to full speed. In short, just because you ignore the hard drive inside the iMac — it may not ignore you. It could last, but it is something to consider.
Now let’s talk RAID. You can grab an OWC ThunderBay 4 and RAID multiple hard drives or SSDs together to experience drive performance up to 1,346MB/s. With the four drive bays in a ThunderBay 4, you can RAID 2-3 SSDs to serve as your main drive, and use a hard drive as a Time Machine backup, all from one external drive. It’s definitely one flexible and powerful external Thunderbolt drive.
Thunderbolt Drive Advantages:
- No installation required
- Easier to maintain and access external drives
- Can be faster than the iMac’s internal drive bay
- Flexibility to use multi-drive RAID enclosures
Choose What’s Best for You
Whichever option you decide, choose the one that you’re most comfortable with and fits your needs best now and into the future.
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