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OWC offers first ever eSATA interface for iMac!

eSATA on the new 27″ iMac is a reality!

Clicky-click for a larger view.

UPDATE: Upgrade your 2010 27″ iMac with a high-performance eSATA port via OWC  today!

For all ‘Mid-2010’ Apple iMac 27″ Models introduced on July 28th, 2010: 3.2GHz and 3.6GHz Core i3; 2.8GHz Quad-Core i5; and 2.93GHz Quad-Core i7.

While we’re still ironing out the details of the service, (including incorporating your feedback on how much you’d be willing to pay for one), there has been enough interest on such a project for other Macs over the years that we decided to dive in and publicly announce we’ve got an eSATA interface solution for the 27″ Mid 2010 iMac. And for historical sake, this is the first ever eSATA interface available on any iMac model…exciting stuff to be sure!

Complete details on how you can have this high performance interface added to your iMac by OWC will be rolled out in the next several days. In the meantime, look for a possible news release later today on an entire turnkey upgrade program for the 27″ iMac. Now, you can add a performance leading SSD, high capacity hard drive, and memory upgrades with more configurations that will deliver the best possible performance from your iMac.

If your favorite news portal doesn’t carry our announcements on these developments, don’t worry; you can be sure that we’ll be announcing them here on the OWC Blog. If you’re more in the mood for an “Official Press Release” format though, you can always check the OWC News Room for our news releases.


You can now find all the services we’re going to offer and order information on our Web site:

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  • I’m curious as to what the actual max transfer speed of the esata port is that will be installed in MegaBytes Per sec.
    I’m considering using it with an external SSD. as well as having an internal SSD installed.

    Thank you

    • The external port is simply a re-direct of one of the internal SATA Revision 2.0 ports, so maximum data transfer rate is 3.0 Gbit/s (or 300 MB/sec).

  • Hey,

    I’m iMac 27″ user, late 2010. And I really woud love to have eSata connection as u do – problem is that I live in Poland, Europe.. Maybe it’s a silly and not very polite question but, do You know any place in Europe that know how to upgrade iMac?


    • This upgrade is done in-house, so in order to have our procedure done it would have to be shipped here and back, though I’m afraid shipping costs would be considerable.

      Unfortunately, we have no official European affiliates that perform this service, and can’t offer any commentary on who else may perform similar upgrades.

      • Thanks a lot for the answer, I’ve just checked shipping prices and it doesn’t look so bad, if I will have some time to allow my iMac to go for a trip I shall try:)

        best regards

  • Will the esata upgrade be available for the 2011 iMac12,2 computer? I have the 3.4 GHZ i7 with standard 1tb HD, no factory SSD.

  • I have a few questions regarding usability of iMac eSATA.
    1) Does it handle hot plug and unplug? Or do attached drives only mount and unmount on boot?
    2) Can you “eject” an eSATA drive from the Finder? Or do you have to eject from the command line?
    3) Are there any software modifications required to make all this work?
    4) Are there any weird temperature/fan issues that come up when removing the optical drive, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the case (the ODD slot), and attaching an external drive with its own temperature sensor?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hello Stephen,

      Most of your questions are answered right in the FAQ section for the program.
      1. No, the eSATA port is not hot-pluggable.
      2. You can eject from finder. This procedure simply routes your internal SATA connection to the exterior of the machine, so drives attached work just like internal drives.
      3. No software modifications are required.
      4. No temperature/fan issues result from any of our 2010 Apple iMac 27″ Turnkey Upgrade Program offerings.

  • Really hope to see eSATAp (eSATA+USB)
    With 12V support, eSATAp can even power up a 3.5″ HDD/SSD or a 5.25″ DVD-RW.

    eSATAp is also USB compatible.

    • Interesting twist to this, Fusioncat…I may check out your eSATAp support group blog as you are a champion of this technology there. In meantime, our eSATA upgrade really does support a far wider range of users at this time. But like this upgrade program shows, we’re cutting edge…so one should always be prepared for us to do something “insanely great” too. ;-)

  • The second comment had indicated that using the eSATA interface of the Mercury Elite-AL Pro enclosure would have some amount of performance degradation due to using the SATA 1.5 bridge. This degradation was mentioned when testing with the OWC SSD. Could I expect to see the same amount (%) of performance degradation when using a conventional HD in that enclosure? I’m thinking of getting the eSATA upgrade, as well as replacing the stock 1TB drive with your SSD, and connecting the stock drive to the eSATA connector via the Mercury Elite-AL Pro enclosure.

    • Hey Blythe…thanks for stopping by!
      The stock hard drive’s performance level doesn’t “saturate” the bandwidth of the Mercury Elite’s SATA 1.5 chipset/bridge board spec. So actually, what you propose…adding the eSATA port to the iMac, adding our SSD to the iMac, and then retasking the stock 1TB into our quad interface Mercury Elite-AL Pro is the sweet performance set-up. Make sure to add some more RAM too for the complete performance system!

  • Sorry to be the guy with 1000 questions,

    But if I purchase the 3-year warranty program, does that mean you would cover the failure on non OWC installed parts as well? So that I would not need to order the 3 year AppleCare package as well? Or would I need that to cover the original parts, and your warranty to cover the parts you install?


    • Hi Derek:

      Complete warranty details are here:

      But to answer your question, you can add a factory warranty coverage program if you want. Or, you can just go with our Extended Limited Warranty for $169 that does cover parts and labor for our upgrade program components as well as original factory components still covered by the original 1—Year factory warranty at the time of upgrade and covers them all for up to 3 years from the date of the original iMac purchase. The Extended Warranty is only available for purchase within the first 30-Days from the original OWC invoice date for the Turnkey Upgrade purchase.

      So for example, an iMac purchased on 8/1/2010 will have coverage until 7/31/2013 regardless of when the OWC upgrade is performed.

  • Thanks for adding the 60GB SSD choice since I will be using it as the boot and app drive. I am buying the iMac from Apple with the 1TB stock drive. Here are my questions:

    When I order it, I can have Apple ship it directly to OWC correct?
    Will OWC make the 120GB SSD Extreme Pro (Which I will order) the main/boot drive and change the 1TB stock Apple drive as the secondary?

    Thank you in advance and good luck on the success of this task OWC has taken.

    • Hello Chinto77,

      Yes, you can have your Apple order shipped to OWC. We just ask that if using this option that only the iMac be shipped to OWC – any additional items (such as printers, software, iDevices, etc..) you may be purchasing from Apple should go on a separate order to be shipped to you directly.

      By default, the fastest drive, such as the 120GB SSD Extreme Pro, installed in the system will be setup as the boot drive.

  • Very impressed by eSATA mod. Have a question, would it be possible to have two internal HD or SSDs, eSATA mod and an internal DVD drive? I understand there are 3 SATA ports so I’m wondering if it’s possible to use a USB to SATA adapter to keep the DVD internal and get a USB feed from the SD card/Bluetooth/IR etc?

  • Hi Grant,

    Thanks for the SSD info, and yes you are correct it is a $30 difference on the HDs. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough to understand the info on the two HD pages… There does not seem to be a commensurate measurement of speed on both pages (there probably is but I do not understand it). On the Caviar Black page, it says: Buffer To Host (Serial ATA) 3 Gb/s (Max) Buffer To Disk 145 Mbytes/s (Max). On the Barracuda page it says: Transfer Rate, Max Ext (MB/s) 600
    Sustained Data Rate OD (MB/s) 138
    Spindle Speed 7,200 rpm
    Average latency 4.16 msec
    Random read seek time <8.5 msec
    Random write seek time <9.5 msec

    Could you tell me in layman's terms which unit is faster?


  • WOW!!!! Just saw the new options, and I have nothing to say but WOW!!! (again).

    Getting ready to pull the trigger… I do have two questions I’d love to hear people’s ideas on though (feel free to chime in anyone).

    1. It seems as the Caviar Black is fast, and proven… But the Barracuda XT is $10 more, and I cannot help but think more expensive = better (terrible I know). What do people think? I’m leaning towards the Caviar Black, but I want the fastest drive, so if the XT is indeed faster than I’d want that.

    2. Is there any read/write speed difference between the 120gb and 240gb SSD’s? I only need 120gb for my boot volume… but if the 240gb would lessen the change of performance degradation, or was just faster generally, I would choose that option…

    Thanks much for the input, and for offering this AMAZING service. I am super excited!

  • Hi OWC
    what about the shipping to Europe? Is it possible and at what rates? I haven’t found information on that yet on the website
    Thank you

    • Hi Alex:

      A couple of things for you and our other international customers to keep in mind:

      1. at this time, we’re only offering inbound shipping to OWC options to customers in the US.
      2. The dimensional shipping weight of an iMac is 37 pounds, so you can check with carriers in your country as to what it would cost to ship your iMac to us here in the US.
      3. You can find out what the estimated shipping charges are back to you if you set up a checkout chart via the ordering page and then in the checkout cart page, check the shipping options.
      4. Any warranty repair work for international addresses would require the customer to pay for inbound and return shipping and related fees.
      5. You may also want to check with your local customs office to confirm their preferred procedure for shipping outside your country as some countries require notification prior to you shipping to prevent any duties/taxes from being assessed when the parcel is returned to you.

  • I would ABSOLUTELY get rid of my optical drive in trade for an esata port on my 21.5 inch i3 iMac

    It seems a lot of people agree!

    Any chance?

    • Ryan,

      The program we are offering right now includes only the 2010 27″ iMac. We don’t have anything to announce at this time regarding any other iMac models, but if we do, this blog will likely be first with that information.

  • Grant…thanks for the reply. Now all I have to do is come up with the $$$ for a new computer. I’ll start by buying a lottery ticket, then I’ll run out and see if I can find me a leprechaun somewhere!

  • Hi OWC…sorry for what might be a basic question, but I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere. Will the eSATA port help the iMac become a better video editing station? Right now, the iMac has only 1 FW bus, whereas high-end editing requires 2 busses: one for drive storage, one for a capture device (like the Avid Mojo or the AJA IO HD).

    Is the eSATA a separate bus from the FW bus? If so, that would allow a RAID array for storage to live on eSATA and the capture device to live on FW. I would put the savings (from not buying a MacPro) into drives or software.

    Thanks for your thoughts and you time. And also for coming out with this mod. All the best…

    • Hi Bill…yes…the eSATA bus is separate from the FW bus. So you can use an external eSATA equipped RAID storage solution (we have many…all depends on your RAID level and capacity needs) and use the capture device on the FW bus.

    • Hi Ryan and yes…only the Mid 2010 27″ has the third SATA connector. Likely why Apple doesn’t offer any type of HD and SSD upgrade option for the i3 21.5″ models…

    • Correct. The 21.5″ models don’t have the third internal SATA port that makes this all possible.

  • This is very cool that you’re offering this up as an option, what a great gestation of an idea…nice job!


    If you guys sold this little SATA gender changer:

    to go along with this cable you already carry:

    then all of us iMac late-2009’ers (or 2010’s) could happily cannibalize the optical drive SATA connection and bring it out through the memory door. you don’t have to worry about getting too deep into the iMac to reach the port on the motherboard, just a simple tie-in to where it would have connected to the superdrive. the only real hack I had to do to get it all to work was shave the internal SATA end of the cable down a little bit around the main bulk of the connector to squeeze it through the small vent just above where the memory slots are.

    it’s not as elegant as your cut and mounted eSATA slot, but it’s something you can sell to those of us who are comfortable with opening up the iMac (as much as if you were to replace the 3.5 HD on your own)…and it didn’t involve cutting into the case. the metal memory door bulges a little bit, but otherwise it works great!

    once you release your external superdrive enclosure, I’ll be able to make use of it again as well.

    (oh, and don’t forget to detach the optical drive temp sensor from the superdrive and leave it connected to the iMac…otherwise the fans will spin constantly)

    cheers, -C

  • Amazing!

    Very interested in the possibility of getting updates done in Australia some how.

    Nice work OWC.

  • >
    The Elite-AL Pro mini uses 2.5″ drives and provides the highest performance available in a single bay 2.5″ solution. This includes models with SSD inside that sustain Read and Write speeds of over 230MB/s.

    Larry, I tested this with several SSD brands on my macbook pro with the OWC eSata & it couldn’t match the internal stock drive from Apple. There isn’t anything faster? Tested the same SSDs attached to an i5 27″ iMac, 17″ MacBook Pro & Nehalem MacPro.
    The only configuration that produced true SSD performance was internally connected to the MacPro. No config using the enclosure met expectations.

  • Hello
    Brilliant work!!!
    I am currently planning to buy a new iMac and am very interested in being able to use the third SATA port without having to buy an SSD preinstalled by Apple. Unfortunately, I live in Switzerland ;)

    So I wanted to ask you:
    1. what are the options concerning shipping to you from Europe for your e-SATA modification (I’m afraid though that there won’t be any really “profitable” option here)

    And in case I wanted to open the iMac myself and install an SSD in the designated space myself:
    2. where exactly does this third SATA-port lie?
    3. do you offer the necessary cables/plugs/any tipps or some kind of mounting parts to fix an SSD in the designated place in the iMac, or could give me some advice on that?

    Thank you so much!

  • These mods are a great idea. Thank you for taking the initiative!

    Would you consider offering a mix that would involve removing the optical drive, and using its port for the external esata connection, and having both a Mercury SSD and an enterprise class 3.5 HD on board?

  • Damn here’s my wishing I didnt have the 2009 model.

    Dont suppose you fancy doing this mod on 2009 models whereby users sacrifice the optical drive?

    Id be interested in having a SSD mounted in place of the opti-drive and using the vacant mainbay sata port for estata. Or having SSD in the main bay and using opti-drive’s sata port.

    Also, get some partners in the UK or extend your services to outside the States.

    Good work guys.

  • Great service guys. Really starting to wish my iMac isn’t the 2009 model!

    Would you consider a similar service to the 2009, whereby users sacrifice the optical drive for a eSata?

    Although what I was thinking it may be better to get a SSD in an optibay and have the eSata connected to the logic board with a vacant main bay.

    Also… find some partners in the UK or extend your service to outside the States!

    Great work guys :)

  • Any chance you will be offering a configuration that replaces the optical drive with a SSD, and also install an eSata port? So that you would have a 2tb HDD, an OWC SSD, and an eSata port?
    Don’t get me wrong I’m very excited about this but just want to make sure I don’t pull the trigger only to find out you are offering better options later. Thanks!

  • I am so going to do this… My only question is this: Is it likely that you will soon be offering an additional option to replace the optical drive? If a drive doubler type solution will be forthcoming, and available through the turnkey program, then I will wait… An iMac with an OWC SSD and 2tb HD would be awesome… But an iMac with an OWC SSD, and TWO 2tb internal HDs (and external optical drive) would be unreal…. Should I hold out for this option or pull the trigger now?


    • We have a line up of external DVD/CD solutions – even models with Blu-ray – from under $60. These models, with the exception of the ‘Slims’, offer all same capabilities(including being able to boot) as the stock optical drive. The stock drives don’t have a bezel and we are working on a good enclosure solution with an affordable cost.

      The iMacs only have room for one 3.5″ hard drive. Also, from the stand point of heat, etc – we’d not want to put a 2nd 3.5″ drive inside even if we could.

  • I understand that the Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini is a newer design than the Mercury Elite-AL Pro, but as it houses the generally lower performance 2.5″ drives, I would have hoped the desktop model’s bridge board would get the same performance upgrade ASAP. Particularly for a desktop computer like the iMac or Mac Pro, top performance is expected.

  • What is the address I give my vendor to drop ship it to you guys? I already ordered my turnkey upgrade.

    • On Monday you will be contacted to confirm the installation request. While these come to our main address, for proper handling – all installation orders are assigned a specific reference number which will also be provided at that time.

  • Is there any possibility in the future of adding an eSATA port to the late-2009 27″ i7 iMacs?

    If not, why?

  • gosh, i’m sorry to post again, but the is the WD Black for 229 the same drive you are selling for 209?

    • While we sell the drive bare for $209 – yes, it is a $229 option in terms of it being installed. Installation includes any needed cabling (thermal sensor cable in particular), pre-formatting, and pre-testing. It’s a pretty low adder recognizing we’ve already got the iMac open for the other parts of the upgrade. Looking at Apple’s options for the Mac Pro – which is very simple to add a drive too, designed for users to upgrade and with nice trays included – Apple charges $550 to add a 2TB drive of a model not even identified. :)

  • This is a very exciting upgrade you are offering!

    So eSATA ($169) + 240GB Mercury Pro Mini ($699) + AC adapter ($8) = $876. Versus adding a 240GB as a second drive within the iMac ($749).

    The advantage of eSATA is if the drive dies or I want to replace it then it’s a trivial task. Doing the same replacement within the iMac is super-difficult obviously.

    Some questions:

    1. Can you boot off the eSATA? I assume yes (since it’s the same connector as the internal would use) but thought I’d ask.

    2. Chris S. mentions that the Mercury Elite-AL-Pro mini is only slightly slower than the Dual Bay straight pass-thru. Can he share actual MB/s read/write? It’s not as low as Apple’s purported 215 MB/s is it? Also is there a straight pass-thru that is in a more compact package? Basically a Mercury Elite-AL-Pro mini that is SATA-only and supports pass-through? I just don’t need a dual bay case….

    3. To echo a statement above, I’d also need to make sure the eSATA operation doesn’t void the original Apple warranty or AppleCare extended warranty.


    • The advantage you point out for external – in terms of ease of replacing – certainly true. As rare as such failure probability is, doesn’t matter how rare if the inconvenience hits you.

      To answer the questions –
      Yes, this eSATA is bootable.

      The 240GB SSD sustains both read and write speeds of over 230MB/s without degradation in the Elite-mini solution via eSATA:

      We currently have Dual-Bay eSATA straight through solutions, but there had not been a driving demand for single eSATA only.

      Concerning warranty – No modification is physically made to the iMac for the internal upgrade options. The eSATA port requires a modification to the grill, but also no actual modification to the iMac logic board or other components. That said, we are reviewing the full implications to the Apple factory warranty with such contexts as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

  • I am wondering is OWC going to possibly offer this for a Macbook pro? Is it even possible to do this with a Macbook Pro? I am wanting to upgrade from a 5yr old G5 probably to a macbook pro and I keep hoping Apple will put in some type of ext port faster than FW800. Give me esata or USB 3.0 Apple I don’t care, FW800 in this day and age is too damn slow. If the awesome guys at OWC can come up this, I’m buying. Insight anyone?

    • The MacBook Pro Unibody models are too tight for any practical eSATA port addition. It is easy to add eSATA to the 17″ MacBook Pro as Apple still provides an ExpressCard/34 expansion slot on this model. No mods or hacks needed. The 15″ models had this same slot up until the June/2009 ‘refresh’ where Apple replaced the ExpressCard slot with a SD Memory slot – which was a real kick in the shorts (with Expresscard slot can add multi-reader, eSATA, additional FireWire ports, USB ports, future USB3.. etc.).

      What should be lobbied for is for Apple to bring that slot back on 15″ model as well as make it standard on the 13″ too.

  • Figured I’d chime in on a couple things. This week moved really quickly and it’s been extremely exciting to quickly execute and develop options to take these new iMac 2010 27″ models to a brand new level.

    For quite some time, in addition to do-it-yourself, we’ve also provided various turnkey custom Mac upgrade/installation services. Be it the Modbook Tablet or super-charged Mac Pro and Mac Pro ‘MPG’ Solutions.

    Today, this process usually starts moving after we provide the ship to address instruction after which our customer arranges their Mac order with the system drop shipped directly to us (from Apple or other retailers/etailers of their choosing) for the Upgrade/Installation service. For customers who already own the Mac intended for the service, we are able to provide a pick up label services to make the process simple. We even will provide the appropriate box if the original Apple packaging is no longer available.

    We are reviewing options to support additional localized options, especially for our customers who are outside of the contiguous 48 US States.

    For the mounting of the SSD as an additional drive, we have a specific thermal adhesive solution designed for this application.

    Quick note on what happens to the existing hard drive if option chosen to replace it during the upgrade: While we do not currently offer any trade in for the stock drive, we offer options for its continued use as an external drive via FireWire 800 as well as the option just to simply ship it to you with the iMac.


    Why no ‘DIY’ Kit? this is not a simple upgrade. Even without needing to modify the iMac case (that’s the easy part, really) – this is a process that really should be done by a technician who regularly works on/takes apart Macs. We have an exceptional team of Apple Certified technicians who have the familiarity for us to do this process right.

    OWC has and continues to produce quite a library of do it yourself installation videos:

    Some of these installations can be relatively tricky, especially the laptop hard drive and optical bay upgrades. That said – they are still relatively straight forward and these videos make it easy enough for most to feel comfortable doing these upgrades in, well, the comfort of their own home. We do plan to produce a video which shows the iMac eSATA port upgrade – and this video will make it pretty clear to most that this is one of those best left to the pros. That said, never say never and if we do provide a ‘Do it yourself’ kit – will be with major disclaimers in terms of the professional installation recommended.

    Blu-ray…. While we currently are not offering an internal optical drive option, we will likely do so once Apple officially supports Blu-ray video playback under OS X. The slim type drive required for inside an iMac (we do have options for Mac Pro internal) are both very expensive and slower compared to standard profile drives.

    That said we do offer external solutions which are plug and play for any Mac (or PC):

    Although OS X currently does not support video playback, you can read blu-ray data discs as well as access the files on blu-ray video(even convert them to a file on your Mac which can be played). Multiple applications on the Mac will burn Blu-ray Data discs for up to 50GB on Blu-ray media, Toast 10 Titanium Pro (which we offer in bundles with select solutions) as well as Adobe Premiere even allow you to author and burn Blu-ray video discs that are playable on standard Blu-ray players.

    OWC Chris even produced a nice how-to for using Toast for Blu-Ray video authoring:


    We really appreciate all the feedback and enthusiasm. We’re all about providing the best solutions and services to make every Mac a Faster and Better Mac. :)

    – OWC Larry

  • Can you do the eSATA upgrade to either of the new 27-inch iMacs, or just the Core i5/i7 27-inch iMac? Can you do the eSATA upgrade to the Core i3 27-inch iMac?

    • Although Apple only offers a factory SSD option on the i5/i7 Quad-Core 27″ offering, ALL of the new iMac 27″ 2010 Models (model identifier 11,3) do have the additional SATA channel and everything needed for this upgrade.

  • One more question…how do you attach the SSD to the iMac? Did you fabricate an enclosure of some type or do you use industrial velcro or double-sided tape?

  • This is… Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

    I am in the market for a new iMac this September. When I do get it, I am definitely utilizing your service!

    Can I add an eSATA port and SSD? What is turnaround time excluding shipping?

    • Certainly, you could opt for an external eSATA port, and replace the main hard drive with an SSD. Turnaround time is within 48 hours (excluding time in transit).

  • Just so I’m clear, the turnkey SSD solution installs the SSD as the boot drive and makes the default HDD a secondary drive? Does the iMac come with an OS X installation disc for me to reinstall the OS on the new drive or do you guys handle reinstalling the OS too?

  • Hey OWC guys, this is very cool! I’m planning on buying a new 2010 Core i7 soon, and I’m definitely thinking about having you guys do the eSata mod for me. But put me down as someone who’d need assurances that this wouldn’t void the original Apple warranty in any way. That’s paramount in my mind.

    One question for you: I know that OS X doesn’t natively support Blu Ray drives, though I think various 3rd party software (such as Toast) does. Would it make sense to also offer a BD swap of the optical drive as well?

    • Unfortunately, at this time we do not carry a Blu Ray drive that is compatible.

    • No, I’m sorry, but the eSATA port is not being offered as a DIY option.

  • sorry to ask so many questions, but what is the difference between to the two 2TB drive options?

    2TB ‘Intellipower’ 64MB Cache WD Caviar Green w/3yr WD Warranty
    2TB Caviar GP2 Intellipower 64MB Cache w/3yr Western Digital Warranty

    • —The 2TB Drive options have been updated. Current options include WD Caviar Black 7200RPM, WD Caviar Green, and Seagate Barracuda XT.

  • Awesome!

    BTW, how are you dealing with the internal hard drive temp sensor?

    • –in regards to the thermal sensor connection for hard drive upgrade: We do have the correct components for connecting to the various pin-outs different hard drive manufacturers provide. Why Seagate, WD, Hitachi, etc didn’t all use a standard pin out for this – one can only guess. None the less, we have it covered.

  • Awesome options! The drive updrage options doesn’t say if the old bare drive will be returned. It would be nice if you made that clear.

    Also, the Turnkey page doesn’t have an HTML page tit.

  • Hello OWC Michael
    I was asking about a OWC Data Doubler for the iMac. I thought replacing the optical drive with a housing that could hold a HDD or SSD would be ideal as you could also put the external esata connector in that housing and not have to create another opening in the iMac case.

    • The Data Doubler is only compatible with MacBook/MacBook Pro unibody body models. The requirement for the iMac’s optical bay is slightly different. We do expect to release a kit similar to the Data Doubler for the iMac and Mac mini as well.

  • Congrats guys – this is really exciting. Is the pictured port location the only option? Any chance it can be on the back of the machine?

    Also, are there any plans to offer a SSD retrofit kit for those of us who are frustrated with the cost / speed of the factory offering?

  • I would LOVE LOVE LOVE something like this for the Mac mini – either the older models or the current “unibody” models. They would make ideal servers except for the Firewire 800 port not being fast enough for good external storage options, and my clients would tend to balk at the DIY eSATA hacks I could do.

  • I saw your answer on the other blog posting. I guess I could get this (or something like it)


    You might consider offerring a hard drive upgrade option too. I buy the 1TB drive from apple, I send you the iMac, you upgrade the drive to 2TB and add teh eSATA port and ship it back with the 1TB in the box (loose). I would pay $250 all that.

  • will it support port multiplier enclosure? If not, is there a converter or anything to let it?

    • No, it will not – the on-board SATA port that the modification will attach to is single-channel only.

  • What is the chance that you will also offer an optical drive enclosure replacement to house a second HDD or SSD? Looks like a given as it could also house the eSATA interface. I would be interested in both.

  • You guys may want to consider partnering with a Mac retailer to let their customers order the upgrade during the configuration process. That way the retailer can ship it to you and then ship it to the customer with the upgrade already installed.

    • At this time, this upgrade service is only provided in house at OWC. Customers can opt to have new iMacs drop shipped directly to OWC or we can arrange for pickup of an iMac from a customer’s location.

      Hopefully, this clears up any confusion on this matter.

  • Any insight on how this will affect the Apple warranty? Is the mod “undo-able”?

    • I believe there are precedents that state you can do this sort of mod without affecting the warranty, but I can’t recall the specifics. However, I am sure this is ine of the facets being investigated, and will be detailed further once we have the full information.

      The eSATA mod is not reversible, as it involves cutting a hole in the bottom grille of the iMac in order for the plug to fit through.

  • Will be curious what kind of performance you get.
    I found using OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro with the premier performing Intel x25-e on the iMac to have throughput a little over half that of the built-in HDD over FW800. When tested (DigiLyod tools) on a mac book pro using the OWC eSata i/f performance again could not match my built in drive (in that case the stock SSD option from Apple). I have to conclude the OWC Elite-AL Pro &/or the OWC eSata has very significant latency costs. Actually putting a HDD into the external enclosure was just as good. So do you have a better performing external enclosure otherwise this is a route to nowhere fast?

    • As the upgrade will be an extension of the built-in port, the speed of the interface will be on par with the speed of the other internal SATA busses. We’ve did some testing of this port using three different cases

      A straight pass-thru enclosure, such as our Dual Bay Enclosure Kit (OWC p/n OWCMESATABEK)
      The Mercury Elite-AL-Pro mini, which runs at the SATA2 spec.
      The Mercury Elite-AL Pro, which has a bridge running at SATA1 speeds (SATA 1.5 for those who care)

      The results were about as expected – The pass-through is fastest – at about 271 MB/s Read, 265MB/sec Write – because it doesn’t have to negotiate through a multi-interface bridge board. The Elite-AL PRo Mini was only a little slower, due to the multi-interface bridge board the data had to go through. The Elite-AL did run slower, mainly because the version we used was one that used the older SATA 1.5 spec on its bridge board. As newer versions of this bridge board come out, performance will be on par with the mini.