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Model A1419 / Late 2013 / 3.2 & 3.4 GHz Core i5 or 3.5 GHz Core i7 Processor, ID iMac14,2

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How to switch from HDD to PCIe SSD?

Dear Forum,

Here is the case: I plan on buying a cheap 27’’ Late 2013 iMac equipped with a standard 3.5’’ HDD. Catalina is installed so basically the last critical firmware update has been done (since High Sierra if I am not mistaking). I won’t install Monterey as it is not natively supported by this model so won’t face the following critical firmware update.

Now, I want to remove the original HDD and replace it by a blade SSD that I will install in the PCIe slot. Two options here, as I won’t consider an original Apple SSD that is too expensive and not that performing: either an OWC Aura Pro X2 or a standard NVMe (probably Samsung) with an NGFF adapter.

Question is: will this PCIe drive be recognized and useable to install and run Catalina without any issue in one or both cases?

I raise the question because I read that before using the Aura, you should first use an Apple standard SSD to realize the firmware update and then you could switch to the Aura. But if the update is already done, even if done with the HDD, will it work without doing that trick?

I need a precise and accurate answer please, as it will validate or unvalidate the project. ☺️

Many thanks for your help.

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Let’s review what this system offers for a Blade SSD interface referenced here https://beetstech.com/blog/apple-proprie...

So you will need a two lane PCIe/NVMe SSD and all of Apple Blade SSD are custom you either need a real Apple SSD or one of the pin compatible SSD’s like from OWC. I don’t recommend using a M.2 adapter as they have been proven not to be that reliable, to add to that the depth you need to go to even get to it makes having to go back in not worth the trouble.

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the quick answer. I know the Aura is an overkill as it is 4 lane. It will work bit not at its full potential, I know that, and I accept it.

My question was more related on the warning given by OWC on the web page where to purchase that drive:

Other Requirements

The host computer must be updated over an Apple factory SSD to the latest OS available before installing this drive.

Great. But what about if this update has been already done using not an Apple SSD but the original HDD the iMac shipped with?

Thanks again.

par

@timbleking - There is two pieces here that need upgrading! The first is the systems firmware which offers the needed PCIe/NVMe interface driver API's. The second is within the given macOS version as you need one that supports the newer APFS file system that being High Sierra or newer (I recommend you get to at least Catalina (10.15.7).

That gets into which comes first? The chicken or the egg problem! Internet Recovery won't offer you the needed macOS version so you need to have already in hand a Bootable USB OS installer thumb drive! So both actions can be done on the just installed SSD within your system. Even if you are only applying the same macOS version your current SSD has on it.

I haven't encountered issues with the need to have a real Apple SSD present as long as I have an external bootable OS installer drive.

par

@danj ,

The iMac already runs Catalina on the factory HDD. I plan on reinstalling Catalina from the internet recovery after removing the HDD and replacing it with that blade SSD provided by OWC, brand new. If for any reason internet recovery is not working, I have in hand a High Sierra bootable key. Everything safe on that side.

Shall I understand that given all this the Aura will be recognized because the firmware is already updated?

par

@timbleking - You really mean you have a bootable external drive of some sort.

As you already have Catalina running on the system I would recommend you update your external drive to it as well. Internet Recovery won't offer you Catalina, while it should its messed up! Use the bootable OS installer drive and besides its quicker!

Enjoy your new SSD!

par

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Timbleking sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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