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  • Buyer Beware New iMacs Hard Disk Not Upgradeable




    Other World Computing, the de facto after market iMac upgrade retailer and servicer, is reporting they are unable to replace the main hard disk in the recently released iMacs.

    This sucks. A lot.

    Apple has become increasingly unfriendly toward the do-it-yourself community over the years. While the iMac and other all-in-one devices aren't inherently designed to be tinkered with, I always held solace in the fact I could replace my hard drive if it ever died. I could add ram. Maybe even sneak in a SSD in the extra drive bay (which you can still do). However, these dreams with the new iMacs are crushed.

    Before, Apple limited the ability to change hard drives by using its own specific thermal sensor cable connected to drives that featured internal temperature sensing. Drives could be replaced, but users were relegated to replacing Seagate drives with larger Seagate drives and Western Digital drives with larger WD drives etc.

    However, according to OWC, Apple has moved from a common 4-pin SATA power connector to a 7-pin configuration with hard drive temperature being controlled by a combination of the cable and Apple's proprietary firmware on the drive itself.

    From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).
    Even more depressing, the latest iMac EFI Update increased the speed of two internal eSATA ports to 6Gb/s speeds and one of them is the proprietary drive. Which can't even take advantage of the speed increase.

    Despite this tomfoolery the iMacs can still take advantage of OWC's Turnkey Upgrade Program. Users will only be able to add an additional SSD in open drive bay within the 27" iMac's casing. Still, for users to be forced to take a 27" iMac to an Apple Store or accredited service provider all because a hard drive fails, is overly restrictive.

    Hard drives fail. I've had three fail on me. I replaced them. Even if it is a pain to do, I'd at least like the option to be able to upgrade or fix my system without Lord Jobs' approval.

    Hopefully a workaround is figured out soon.

    Source: OWC
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Buyer Beware New iMacs Hard Disk Not Upgradeable started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      No surprise Apple knows its selling products that users feel they must upgrade every year. Its proven by the posts here and elsewhere, Why get mad?

      Few specs on products listed
      Non user replaceable batteries
      Non user replaceable / upgradeable
      Killing JB

      Apple is based on marketing and getting you hyped to upgrade the product when you want more.

      From what I have seen its working
    1. JedixJarf's Avatar
      JedixJarf -
      I own 4 macs and not one of them is a desktop, primarily for reasons like this. If my drive goes out I need to be able to swap it out to continue mission critical work. Apple has forced me to purchase snow leopard and install it on my own hardware.
    1. donkeykongking's Avatar
      donkeykongking -
      Reading this makes me want to put a nice solid state drive in my pc
    1. jamesgunaca's Avatar
      jamesgunaca -
      The convergence between iOS and OS X continues....this time from a hardware standpoint.

      Can't upgrade memory/storage on any iDevices and that now includes the iMac.
    1. Xenthis's Avatar
      Xenthis -
      Quote Originally Posted by JedixJarf View Post
      I own 4 macs and not one of them is a desktop, primarily for reasons like this. If my drive goes out I need to be able to swap it out to continue mission critical work. Apple has forced me to purchase snow leopard and install it on my own hardware.

      I wonder what happens when they do this to the laptops?
    1. Axecaster's Avatar
      Axecaster -
      Apple is truly the solution for the average Joe. The one who doesn't know any better anyway.
    1. TheGrandFinale2001's Avatar
      TheGrandFinale2001 -
      I think the thing that really stuck for me was tomfoolery lol. Don't get to that word a lot lol.
    1. PatrickGSR94's Avatar
      PatrickGSR94 -
      All the more reason to stick with a PC and continue to hate Macs. I have been tinkering with and building PC's and tweaking Windows OS installations for nearly a decade now. This hands-off "you can't mess with this" approach is a huge turn-off for me.
    1. spider_romeo's Avatar
      spider_romeo -
      So don't buy iMacs.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      The article is written as if this is some big surprise...Apple's always been restrictive with their products, that's just the way it is. If you don't like it then don't buy from Apple, it's pretty simple.
    1. iKillYou's Avatar
      iKillYou -
      Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
      All the more reason to stick with a PC and continue to hate Macs. I have been tinkering with and building PC's and tweaking Windows OS installations for nearly a decade now. This hands-off "you can't mess with this" approach is a huge turn-off for me.
    1. punjabi212's Avatar
      punjabi212 -
      Pc ftw!!
    1. Cowboy's Avatar
      Cowboy -
      Inam sure someone will come out with a solution
    1. dennder's Avatar
      dennder -
      Hey!
      Guys from apple, what the hell are you thinking? I wanted to buy a new iMac and upgrade it with new veloceraptor hdd (since i have no need in ssd, but want my comp be fast enough)
      Now what? Sigh... Back to hackintoshing i think...

      THIS IS STUPID!

      P.S. Seeing ifixit 21.5" iMac disassembly, i have not found any strangeness in HDD or connection, neither ifixit wrote of it.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
      All the more reason to stick with a PC and continue to hate Macs. I have been tinkering with and building PC's and tweaking Windows OS installations for nearly a decade now. This hands-off "you can't mess with this" approach is a huge turn-off for me.
      While this deosnt deal with laptops, yet, good luck getting replacement parts for them from any number of PC laptop makers. This is a damn shame, but PC laptops and 'Best Buy' desktops can be just as difficult to upgrade and repair as well. All the more reason I won't buy and iMac. They are great machines but I'd rather have a dedicated tower with industry standard parts that I can replace. I will, however, continue to purchase their notebooks because they are just too damn well made. Nothing I've ever touched has come close.

      EDIT: I'm agreeing on the BYO part as well, I'd much rather build a desktop than buy an off the shelf one because both Apple and PC vendors have proprietary parts that aren't easily and cheaply obtained by the customer.
    1. NakedFaerie's Avatar
      NakedFaerie -
      more reason to get a PC/
      If you need to use MacOS then get Hackintosh.
    1. Mr. Quackers's Avatar
      Mr. Quackers -
      I just have OSX running on my Win7 with a Virtual Machine....
    1. reprazent1's Avatar
      reprazent1 -
      That's just stupid from Apple - the last apple machine I owned was the G3, I was interested in the new iMacs because I wanted a dedicated machine for photo editing.

      Guess I'll build a new PC. Heck for the price of one iMac, I can build two.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      so if the hard drive fails i gotta pack up my imac and drive 70 miles to my nearest apple store?
    1. sadsamurai's Avatar
      sadsamurai -
      This is exactly why I hated farking Apple and especially that piece of shite Jobs from the get go. No hardware manufacturer will tell me what I can or cannot do with the product once I purchase it. Of course it isn't just Apple, the wife's Sony desktop has a proprietary connector the the monitor so only Sony monitors can be used (she wasn't my wife when she bought it).
      Now only clones allowed in this house, I build them and upgrade and replace parts as I please.
      The laptops are brand names but they have always been slightly more difficult to upgrade depending on configuration (built in sound, video and network cards). That said I did replace the mother board, upgraded the hard drives (I've got two in my laptop) and the memory and replaced the screen when the lamp failed on my laptop and replaced the screen on the wife's when junior dropped hers (on a side note Sony wanted 80,000 yen, about $700, to repair her (4 years old)Sony laptop, I got a used screen off e-bay for $150 including shipping and only charged her a six pack for replacing it :-), talking about disgusting corporate greed if there ever was one).
      Bottom line is if you are a brainless drone and like walking in locksteps with no individuality buy Apple, if you like freedom buy a PC.
      F. Jobs and f. Apple.
      Come to think of it f. Sony too.
      The only reason I have an iPhone is because it is jailbreakable and unlockable.