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Model A1419 / EMC 2806 / Late 2014 or Mid 2015. 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (ID iMac15,1); EMC 2834 late 2015 / 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (iMac17,1) All with Retina 5K displays

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Is this possible to add a HD drive in a SSD model?

I watched this disassembly video: It looks like this 2015 iMac has both the flash storage and a hard drive, something I thought wasn't offered.

So I'm guessing it should be possible to add a HD drive to a flash storage CTO iMac and get the best of both worlds.

One could presumably put in a SATA SSD, adapter bracket for a 2.5" form factor drive and maybe a digital thermal sensor cable from OWC.

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Yes, you can add in a HD drive to a SSD only model. I must warn you this is not an easy task! The 'Thin Series' iMac's are a bear to open and if you've not careful you can damage the display if you don't follow the IFIXIT guide to the letter and use the correct tools. Here is the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Hard Drive Replacement. This model uses a 3.5" drive you'll need both a drive frame and the OWC inline thermal sensor. If you decide to put in a second SSD you'll need an adapter frame to hold the 2.5" SSD in the 3.5" drive bay.

Frankly, I recommend going with an external Thunderbolt 2 drive as the throughput is higher than the internal SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) of the HD port. Here's one choice: OWC Elite Pro Dual

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An internal drive avoids yet more cables. And a external single drive via Thunderbolt is a waste. I looked a OWC's Pro Dual benchmarks and even with a striped pair, it's not much faster than the USB 3.0 connected striped pair via USB 3.0. Not really worth the dollar difference. Thunderbolt is worth it of you have say a 4 drive RAID 5 setup or better. Now a external SSD, singly or RAIDed is another story.


I think you need to review the numbers again. A RAID'ed set (traditional HD's) via Thunderbolt 2 is faster than the internal SATA III interface by a long shot. True you have something external dangling which some don't like. But given the costs and risks I still think I'd go with the external solution.

So far their just not that many USB RAID drives. Of the two we tested (dual USB3 & Thunderbolt 2) the Thunderbolt interface was faster. So it does appear the data stream dialog is more efficient over TB. If you can swing SSD's its faster still.


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