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Model A1419 / EMC 3070 / Mid 2017 / 3.4, 3.5 or 3.8 GHz Core i5 or 4.2 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor (ID iMac18,3) / Retina 5K display. Refer to the older iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015) guides as the system is very similar.

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Add HDD Drive to a SSD only iMac 27" 2017

What parts are required when i want to add a 8TB HDD. My iMac 27" 2017 is equipped with 512GB internal SSD but no HDD. Is the HDD carrier already inside the iMac?

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If you have a SSD only system (PCIe/NVMe blade SSD) then you can add a second drive! This can be either a 3.5" SATA HDD or a SSHD for a hard drive. Or, it can be a second 2.5" SATA SSD.

Here's the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Hard Drive Replacement

Now you do need a special SATA cable Retina 5K Hard Drive Combo Cable, Side frames: Retina 5K Hard Drive Mount Left & Retina 5K Hard Drive Mount Right and an in-line thermal sensor and replacement tapes OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for Hard Drive Upgrade for 27" iMacs 2012 and Later. If you decide to go with a 2.5" SSD drive you'll need a adapter frame to mount it into the 3.5" frame.

Now before you go down this path keep in mind you need to use the correct tools and technique to take the display off if not you can easily damage it which will be an expensive oops!

Lastly, an external Thunderbolt RAID drive will be faster and can offer deeper protection of your data so think it though which way is best for you.

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Thanks for your helpful answer. Yes i would recommend also an external drive but i took so often my iMac to online events that i decided to add an internal drive. I would use the internal HDD fro Ortho4XP (ortho's for X-Plane 11) which do not requires hig speed transfers :)


Thanks so much for this answer!! Very helpful in my purchase of a used iMac with a built-in SSD.


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HI Dan, thanks for your informative posts! I was reading specs on Everymac.com and it lists the 2017 27" iMac OEM SSD in the Primary Storage position (SATA) with the PCIe slot empty (secondary). But from your post it sounds like the opposite, the SSD come in the form of a PCIe "blade" with the SATA slot empty?

any clarification would be helpful, as Im buying a used 2017 iMac 27" 5K and I'd like to upgrade to two internal SSDs, 1st for OS/apps, 2nd for files. And it sounds like getting an OEM 256G blade would be difficult to say the least. (yes I aware of Ext SSD option/warranty/teardown/etc but I need both T3 ports for audio hardware)

many thanks

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It depends! Apple offered the system with either a SATA or PCIe drives! The default is the 1 TB SATA HDD but you could order the system with the 1 TB blade SSD as well!

To add to the confusion you could have gotten the system with a 1 TB Fusion Drive which is a 1 TB HDD and a blade SSD which is used as a cache drive to speed up the drive access.

Here's a good reference on the custom blade SSD's this system uses The Ultimate Guide to Apple’s Proprietary SSDs Jump down to the Gen 5 for the details. While costly I do strongly recommend a dual drive config as being the best for performance. You talk about putting in a 256 GB drive as you appear to be into music you will likely want something a bit larger. If you are working on short pieces then I would recommend having a 512 GB drive and if you are working on larger pieces I would go with a 1 TB drive.

The reason is your boot drive (blade SSD) will host your OS & apps as well will be used for Virtual RAM and Paging depending on your app's you can also set the scratch space on the drive as well so you get the best performance.

In this question the person had gotten an iMac with a 256 GB blade SSD model and wanted to add the SATA drive (here a HDD) a SSD is also possible but as the PCIe/NVMe interface is so much faster it makes sense to maximize the PCIe drive interface to the largest you can and leave.


thanks for insight dan! yup, already read/bookmarked it, great resource ;) https://beetstech.com/blog/apple-proprie...

trying to grab a used SSD-blade loaded unit!


Btw, you can daisy chain TB3 devices. Might not be ideal or the ultimate in performance but could be an alternative solution to your current use of the TB3 ports on the iMac.



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Does the harness support a SATA 2700 rpm drives? Or is their one that does?

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I assume you mean 7200 drives. I have not done the upgrade yet but my understanding is it fits 3.25" drives. I am going to use an adapter for 2.5" drives.

For the cost of SSD's these days I would go with a smaller SSD so as to a maximize throughput but also minimize additional heat in the system (would dread if my iMac fans went on more often). Choice is up to you but I picked up a Samsung 4TB SSD for a good price and will add it to the m.2 1TB Apple SSD.

While I did the better thing which was to get an SSD only iMac the bad part is the apple cable connector is on the back side of the mother board so I will need to disassemble the entire thing and not get toasted handling the exposed power capacitors (apparently you just need to grab the board from the edges).

Of course if you are upgrading the fusion drive then the cables are all there for you and disassembly is minimized however you will have a tiny m.2 SSD which is the downside as the drive is so much faster than the SATA drive port. HTH.


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There is no room for more drives inside the iMac. Some previous models could have the CD removed, but then had slow SATA connection. Best to use a thunderbolt external drive, check out macsales.com

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You do not understand the question, he wants to know if there is 3.5 HD mounting hardware in the imac if he only has a m.2 ssd installed. Basically he wants a Fusion setup and he only has the ssd.


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