IMac 27″ late 2012 SSD upgrade

hard driveimacssdupgrade

I'm the proud owner of an 27-inch iMac 2012 with high-end configuration, but the 1TB fusion drive keeps being the bottleneck. As my warranty has expired now, I want to upgrade the 128GB SSD to a larger one (preferably as large as possible), but I want to keep the traditional HDD for storage reasons, and upgrade it later.

Here are my questions:

  • What type is the slot the iMac has for it's SSD? In the iFixit repair manual it kind of looks like an M.2 SSD, but I'm not sure.
  • What is the maximum size (length) for SSDs to fit into that slot? I know that there are different sizes of M.2 SSDs (if it's M.2 at all).

I've heard of adapters that translate that whatever slot the iMac has to a regular SATA connector, so one can use regular SSDs in an iMac.
This is interesting because regular SATA SSDs are the cheapest, after all, and offer larger storage options.

  • Does anyone know if these are usable (maybe recommend one)?
  • Would it be possible to place an 2,5" regular SSD (e.g. Samsung 850 Evo) somewhere in the case of the iMac and hook it up to that adapter?

I'd be glad if there's anonye out there to answer some of these questions. Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Allan said in his answer that an mSATA SSD is used in the iMac late 2012. Anyone who can confirm this?

Best Answer

I have an iMac 27 Late 2012 and I upgraded my SSD.

The fusion drive is a misnomer - it's actually two drives. There is an PCIe SSD, probably about 128GB that attached to the logic board, then there's a 3.5" 1TB HDD. Technically, you could upgrade the PCIe blade SSD drive, but after some research, I found it wasn't really economical.

All you need is a standard SSD to replace that HDD. You then create a fusion drive using CoreStorage and you will end up with an SSD with 1.13 TB of total storage.

As per

enter image description here

The basic steps for this upgrade are:

  1. Back up data
  2. Remove the screen
  3. Replace the SSD (you will need a 3.5" to 2.5" HDD adapter
  4. Replace the screen
  5. Reinstall / Restore from Backup.

I've actually answered this question on another thread: 27 imac Late 2012 HDD Failure

While you are doing all these upgrades, I would upgrade the memory as well. I used Crucial Memory and your iMac can get up to 32GB of RAM