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Model A1311 / Mid 2011 / 2.5 & 2.7 GHz Core i5 or 2.8 GHz Core i7 Processor

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A way to use a non apple drive in one of these?

As we all know, I have a aging MacBook Pro from 2009, which I will admit is a solid computer in the end, but almost 4 years old in the end, well not just yet, it's going to happen quick

I was looking into a new iMac 21.5(27 is too big, I have a 20'' monitor for my Linux PC too) and I knew about this HDD sensor bull where i will make my fans run at full speed with no help

Apple, !^!* off with this, i'm a freelance technican, this really @@^%!^ me off because if I want to upgrade a client's drive, I need to be CERTIFIED by apple to get a drive for a client(or they won't sell it to me, just tell me screw off), and they have to pay crazy fees, screw that!

I REFUSE to upgrade these 2011 iMac's because of this, only the memory

Enough ranting

before I buy one, is there a workaround just yet so when Iget mine, i can replace my drive and actually work on the HDD's and not just memory, for my own and other iMacs

just to clarify how i handle iMacs, I will do HDD's on anything before the mid 2009 because of the issue and various ways to stop upgrades on the mid 2009, so it's mixed which ones have the HDD swapped, but all of them have memory done

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Yes it is very easy to use a non Apple Drive Nick! There is no problem! Just go to OWC and but a new drive and stick it in! Install this and you are in the go!


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Larry O'Connor, founder, president, and CEO of Other World Computing, pointed to his own 2,000-word posting on the OWC blog.

He scrupulously details OWC's testing of various drives in the new iMac, which essentially confirmed the conclusion of the original post by OWC's Michael Perry, which said that replacing a 2011 iMac's internal hard drive with a drive not provided by Apple specifically for that series will break the [onboard ] Apple Hardware Test and cause the fan to ramp up from a base level of 1,100 rpm to 5,600 rpm over time.

O'Connor also provides in his post a section entitled "Possible Solutions", which he wisely characterizes as NOT FULLY TESTED/Approved/Recommended, etc. Among his suggestions is to short the lines that carry the drive-temp info – but as he sensibly points out, "a consequence could ensue for obvious reasons." He also mentions HDD Fan Control which works with a drive's SMART interface to control fan speed.

it is important to note... This issue has zero impact on adding a drive to the SSD bay."

So you either pop for Apple Certification (not necessarily a bad thing, and a deductable business expense) OR don't accept work on EMC iMacs, OR inform your clients of your lack of certification and the work around you propose to use.

If this Answer is helpful please remember to return and mark it Accepted.

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I've only been working on Apple products since 1979 so am obviously unqualified to change out a hard drive on a new iMac. Apple is just begging for a class action law suit. They wanted me to inventory $250,000 in parts to be an authorized service provider. When I was a UMAX Apple clone Authorized Service Provider all I had to do was demonstrate my skill not the depth of my pockets.

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I REFUSE to buy this computer if i means I have to hunt this propriotary drive down or pay apple to install it for me. I like apple, but the stuff they are doing really is bugging me. first pentelobs crews in my iPhone(I fixed that easily), now a propriotary harddrive?!?! screw that! i am getting a Mac Mini next! I do not believe in this bull practice to sell more computers and jack up repair costs, PERIOD. If apple reverses this bull move on future Macs, i'll buy a iMac


BTW..... it is EASIER to go through technical school then becoming CERTIFIED with apple


I had one come in with a bad drive. Some of the prices for the original 360 GB drive are outrageous! $422 for a 320 GB drive: But I also found it for $79.95

The larger drives were cheaper, so spend some time shopping on these drives.


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I can understand why people are angry with Apple's direction on making their systems harder to repair.

Being devils advocate here for a moment Apple has two things it needs to maintain: It's image of its devices as being reliable and having exceptional design.

Locking people out of their iPhones with peta-lobe screws prevents anyone to open the phone and inserting improper parts.

As an example, a few years ago Motorola had a run of cheap cellphone batts being sold as theirs. Three people where badly burn't when the batteries blew up. Apple has encountered a few cases them selves which forced them to seek ways to make it harder for just anyone to open their phones (due to law suits). Just to see the ramifications of going to court look at how McDonald's is now required to lower their hot drinks temp and having to put a warning on their cups of the drink being a burning hazard! due to a law suit which they lost!

As to the SATA connector temp sensor issue:

Steve's extreme nature pushed the design of both the iMac & iPad making them very difficult to open, in addition, Steve had a thing for fans. When his dreams could not be designed without them he had his designers use every trick in the book to minimize there need. With larger hotter HD's the designers could not get around the need for a fan.

While some had noted SMART services spec does offer a means to access a temp sensor within the HD it is not mandatory option within the HD by the spec. So Apple could not use the SMART services not knowing if someone would put in a HD that didn't have the needed sensor. What to do? Apple started off with the external mounted sensor, but again some law suits with systems catching fire put Apple on the defensive. At which point they went with an custom HD which then forced the custom SATA connector.

Which is were we are today. So don't blame them completely here, as it's someones actions on selling a bad Li-ion battery or doing a crappy job repairing an iMac forced Apples actions.

FYI - I own a 27" iMac and I knew about Apples custom HD issue before I bought my system. Yes, I most likely will replace my HD myself when I have to. I'm hoping by that time Apples connector becomes part of the standard with HD's with built in temp sensors, only time will tell.

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there are better ways that don't smell like planned obsolesce to EVERY TECH out there, and this smells like planned obsolesce.


Also, I should add steve jobs hatred of fans is NO exuse to me..... never have OR will


I understand that it isn't in the drive itself but the Sata Cable. After searching part numbers I have not been able to successfully find an Apple Sata cable anywhere. I've been told if I purchase the iFixit kit, the cable will not have the proper thermal sensor and cause my fan to run at full speed. Is this true?


John - Apple does not sell these custom SATA cables. Also note, the Apple supplied HD also has the same custom connector for this custom cable. So replacing the HD with a non-apple HD will require a standard SATA cable with the needed header to connect into the logic bd. Getting a replacement HD kit from iFixIt or any other supplier will need to include this cable. Yes, the fan speed will ratchet up slowly until it hits max speed with a non-apple HD. And, you are correct you will need to use some software to control the fan (i.e. Fan Control) see below for a link to the software.


John -

Your correct the SATA cable is a custom Apple cable interfacing to a custom Apple HD I/O connector on the HD. The temp sensor is within the HD it's self not the cable.

The '11 and newer iMac's currently have these custom HD and SATA Cables. So exchanging the Apple HD with a non-Apple HD will cause the fans to kick into high speed as the fan control logic doesn't have the HD temp input to tell it the fans don't need to be running (system is cool Vs hot).

Using the SSD SATA connector does not have the custom cable so you could use it to add in a second HD instead of the expected SSD.

There's a JEDEC meeting in Boston this month maybe some headway will be made in making this new connector a standard soon.


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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned HDD Fan Control.

HDD Fan Control

"HDD Fan Control works to fix this issue by reading the drives internal temperature using the S.M.A.R.T protocol and set the fans actual speed to a value good to protect the drive.

It runs at startup and continually to always control the fan correctly, prevent the loud fan noise and protect the drive from overheating." Of course, if you're a tech, you wouldn't want to depend on the user to keep the software in place.

I didn't know about this issue before I bought a new imac expecting to put in a ssd & a bigger drive & more memory. Still debating about sending it back and buying a used 8core pro before I tear in to it using the ifixit kit.

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Tony -

'Fan Control' can only use S.M.A.R.T services on drives that have an internal temp sensor. Sorry to say many don't as it's optional per the spec. I would recommend you check the given HD you are planning to install before you buy it to make sure it has the needed temp sensor.

Many Fan Control software add-ons allow you to fake out the OS so the fan is forced on, and then set to a given speed. While this will work it does not know what the HD's temp is so you could over heat your drive if you're not careful.


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Nick sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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