Computers & Electronics

SSD Upgrade for Late 2013 iMac 27"

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 14th, 2021 7:12 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 24, 2008
83 posts
27 upvotes
Edmonton

SSD Upgrade for Late 2013 iMac 27"

Hey guys, I have a Late 2013 iMac 27" that came with just a HDD.
This model was able to be configured by Apple with a SSD, and so there is an empty slot on the logic board for a PCIe SSD.

My questions are...
- Should I just add a PCIe SSD, or replace the HDD with a 2.5" SSD?
- What is the benefit of doing one vs the other?

I watched some install videos which seem straight forward so installation difficulty is not a factor.
My end goal is just to make this computer faster, and to be able to transfer photos from my iPhone 11 to the iMac faster.
I already maxed out the RAM to 32GB.

Thanks!
7 replies
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19676 posts
5763 upvotes
Toronto
chckn wrote: Hey guys, I have a Late 2013 iMac 27" that came with just a HDD.
This model was able to be configured by Apple with a SSD, and so there is an empty slot on the logic board for a PCIe SSD.

My questions are...
- Should I just add a PCIe SSD, or replace the HDD with a 2.5" SSD?
- What is the benefit of doing one vs the other?

I watched some install videos which seem straight forward so installation difficulty is not a factor.
My end goal is just to make this computer faster, and to be able to transfer photos from my iPhone 11 to the iMac faster.
I already maxed out the RAM to 32GB.

Thanks!
Just add a USB 3 SSD unless you enjoy tinkering.

A great option is the Samsung T7.
Member
Feb 9, 2008
270 posts
209 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
According to a few sources, iMacs have to come with a "blade" (PCIe) SSD or "fusion" drive to have a connector for SSDs.
HDD models may be missing this connector, so you are only limited to SATA SSDs or HDDs.
The chart in the article says late 2013 27" iMac does have it, but verify you got the model right.


PCIe SSD will be the faster option while 2.5" SATA will be a bit slower but cheaper.
The SATA SSD option will also be a lot easier to upgrade, as the PCIe route requires you to take apart the whole iMac to get at the connector.

As for sync, you are still limited to the lightning cable, which is USB 2.0, so don't expect a significant speed-up.
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/imac-aluminum-tapered-edge-faq/how-to-upgrade-imac-hard-drive-aluminum-2012-2013.html
https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/imac-27-inch/2013-2019
https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/imac-27-inch-2013-pciessd/
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 24, 2008
83 posts
27 upvotes
Edmonton
zerod wrote: According to a few sources, iMacs have to come with a "blade" (PCIe) SSD or "fusion" drive to have a connector for SSDs.
HDD models may be missing this connector, so you are only limited to SATA SSDs or HDDs.
The chart in the article says late 2013 27" iMac does have it, but verify you got the model right.


PCIe SSD will be the faster option while 2.5" SATA will be a bit slower but cheaper.
The SATA SSD option will also be a lot easier to upgrade, as the PCIe route requires you to take apart the whole iMac to get at the connector.

As for sync, you are still limited to the lightning cable, which is USB 2.0, so don't expect a significant speed-up.
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/imac-aluminum-tapered-edge-faq/how-to-upgrade-imac-hard-drive-aluminum-2012-2013.html
https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/imac-27-inch/2013-2019
https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/imac-27-inch-2013-pciessd/
Yes I've verified with the chart that my model does have the required connector, however SATA SSD seems to be the way to go seeing as how I'm limited to the lightning cable's speed. It doesn't look like there's a lightning to thunderbolt cable I can find either.

Thanks for the input.
Deal Addict
Apr 10, 2002
2241 posts
730 upvotes
Central Ontario
Why do you keep saying "lightning"? That is the connector on the iPhone.
Member
Feb 9, 2008
270 posts
209 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
chckn wrote: It doesn't look like there's a lightning to thunderbolt cable I can find either.
I think you'd need to hope for new iphones with USB-C or at least USB 3, since it is the phone itself that's the bottleneck (USB 2), not the cable/connector.
You can test if wifi sync is any faster.
JustMike wrote: Why do you keep saying "lightning"? That is the connector on the iPhone.
Because we're talking about iphone sync speeds?
Deal Addict
Apr 10, 2002
2241 posts
730 upvotes
Central Ontario
I'm just going to throw it out there that a 2013 vintage CPU and HDD will be unable to sustain the maximum throughput of even USB 2.0 (480Mb/s or 60MB/s) through a Lightning connection. While it is doubtful you'd see any perceived benefit from an PCIe NVMe drive, it's only a few $$$ more.

FWIW, I was going to do just this on a 2015 (or newer) iMac 27" but ended up getting a deal on a 2019. My boot/root drive is a 1TB PCI NVMe drive connected to TB3.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 25, 2003
16193 posts
4692 upvotes
Markham
For transferring photos buy this app
https://www.macworld.com/article/233500 ... w.html/amp

Transfer via wifi

On my 2012 iMac 27”
I was using ssd thru thunderbolt. The the port died.
Moved the ssd to boot from USB 3.0. Still faster than original Internal hard drive.
96TB Mediasonic H82-SU3S2 / 72TB Raid 50 on Mediasonic H8R2-SU3S2
48TB Node 304 / i5-3570 / Server 2016 Essentials
12TB HP Mediasmart EX 495 (E8400, 3.0GHZ, 4GB Mushkin), with Server 2016 Essentials
16TB Qnap TS-459 Pro

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