iMac Upgrade to Samsung 840 SSD Complete

23 February 2013

Yesterday evening I decided to perform surgery on my 2010 27" iMac. I took it apart and removed the 1TB HDD and installed a Samsung 500GB 840 series SSD. It was just a swap of the HDD to the SSD, I didn't remove the optical drive and put the SSD there and leave the HDD like I could have. Everything went smoothly though.

Last year I took it in to have the display replaced due to some severe discoloring. When I took the glass panel off, last night, I noticed a smudge-marked fingerprint on the display which had to have come from the Apple technician. Meh, no biggie to me; I didn't even know it was there until I removed the glass. But I tell you, working on these things should be done in an Intel-grade clean room. Seconds after I removed the glass, a hair of mine fell on the display and I could see dust falling on it too. When I put the display back in I used the new cleaning cloth that came with my MacBook Pro to wipe the fingerprint and a super-fine haze of dust from it. I also wiped the inside of the glass, though I don't think I did a good enough job and will need to remove the glass again later to clean it better.

I was also especially careful around the display panel too. I locked myself in the home office room or locked my cat out, so he couldn't get in the way or mess things up being curious. Plus I was super cautious and deliberate to move around the display with my body and tools, ensuring that nothing was passed over top of or too close to it. I didn't want to accidentally drop anything on it. I saw the warranty cost when it was replaced last year, it was over $600. I didn't want to have a $600 "oops" of my own.

It took about 2 hours or so to restore from a Time Machine full back up which was about 228GB when I checked just before I shut it down for the operation. The restore came from an external USB 2 HDD, so that's where the slow bottleneck was.

I wish it didn't take that long because, as expected, the fan was spinning at full tilt due to the fan control sensor from the HDD being disconnected. Once the restore was done, I downloaded the smcFanControl app and created an Automator workflow to knock down the fan speed. I don't like hearing the fan going like that for so long as it could potentially reduce it's life.

The packaging for the Samsung 840 SSD was very nice too. It was very similar to how Apple packages their iDevices.

The iMac now has a 23 second boot time. That's about 8 seconds longer than my 2012 MacBook Pro with the Samsung 830 SSD. I figure that is because the MacBook Pro is SATA III (6Gbps) while the iMac is a couple of years older with SATA II (3Gbps). Not a big deal at all because at 23 seconds, that's a dramatic improvement over the traditional hard drive.

Samsung Electronics Samsung 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 500 GB SATAIII 2.5-Inch MZ-7TD500BW

There is a firmware upgrade available for the 840 and I'll be doing that in a few hours. For OS X users who have this Samsung 840 SSD, here is the software/firmware page to create an ISO for use in OS X. It's kind of hidden on the Samsung site and if you just searched or browsed to the main support page for the 840, all you would find are downloads to the Windows files.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.