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Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: April 26, 2022 11:38PM
A friend has asked me if I could change out a failed hard drive in his 2012 iMac. I went to OWC's DIY videos to see what was involved. With the tools and techniques that I see in the video, I believe I am capable of doing that changeout for him. We would get the hardware for the change out from OWC.

Questions:

(1) The DIY video makes the opening of the case look rather easy to do - tedious, but looks easy. Anyone here done this changeout? Thoughts?

(2) I suppose another option might be to consider an external hard drive to boot from? I assume the 2012 iMac probably has both USB 3 and FW800, I have not checked myself yet what is on that machine - if booting from an external drive, what would be preferred port?



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2022 03:40AM by SKYLANE.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: jdc
Date: April 27, 2022 12:09AM
No FW, but USB 3 is 5X faster than FW800 anyway.

External is a good option... and love OWC and its products, have bought plenty from them (staring at an imac, RAID case and several other things right now) but there is really no reason to spend Mercedes money on a SSD for a 2012 Ford iMac.

You can DIY or buy a pre built external. 1 TB should be $100.

Not a huge savings to go DIY, id prob pick up something like a Crucial X6 ($90) or X8, Samsung T5 or T7.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: April 27, 2022 01:37AM
jdc

I have bought stuff from OWC for years as well, I totally agree with your comments about them. All I have to say about OWC is good things, I have really enjoyed their products and their support. Also, their DIY support videos are terrific.

Thanks for your inputs. I am thinking that the external may be the way to go. (although, would be fun to see if I could actually get in there and replace it! :-) )
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: DP
Date: April 27, 2022 05:59AM
What size iMac? I have a late '12 21.5" and replaced the HD with an OWC 480GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. Yes, it is relatively tedious but the only issue I had was getting the screen back on exactly right! I think mine is about a 16th of an inch offset!

But I just blocked out the time to do it and followed OWC's instructions. It went quicker than planned-maybe an hour from reading thru all instructions first, prepping the workspace, the final replacing of all the screws and bits-and I do not hesitate to recommend DYI with an OWC product...





Back to music...

Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 27, 2022 08:36AM
Skylane,

I'd try an external SSD connected via USB 3.0 before replacing the internal drive of the iMac. Sure, you can DYI the internal job but it's a pain in the but and likely unnecessary. Replace the internal only if it's causing a problem booting off the external and/or the normal operation of the machine.

Note, though, being that it is a 2012 iMac, the machine in proper running condition is likely only worth $250 to $300. Not sure if it's really worth putting much money into it. And, at least if you go with an external, he can use the drive with a newer new to him machine.

The Micro Center deal for new customers - sign up for emails and get a free 256GB SSD - would be solid. Get the freebie SSD, spend another $10 to $15 on a USB box and he's done.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2022 08:37AM by Robert M.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: JPK
Date: April 27, 2022 10:47AM
I have replaced a lot of drives in both iMacs, minis, and MacBooks.

That iMac is not one of the good ones.

I would suggest simply going with an external first and see if that is workable.

JPK
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: April 27, 2022 12:03PM
IMO, one nice thing about booting from an external is that for whatever reason, you could always grab & go (vacation, bad weather, other emergencies, etc.).



Where is there dignity unless there is also honesty? - Cicero
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 27, 2022 12:10PM
Ammo,

I like that in the event the computer fails, it's easy to move the external to a new/newer machine and get everything operating again.

Robert
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 27, 2022 01:22PM
You are a winner! The 2012 iMacs have a Thunderbolt port. If you can find a Thunderbolt 1 case, that will give you the best speed, especially if you put an NVME in there. Might need a Thunderbolt 3 case, with an adapter cable:
iMac TB1 > TB1/2 Cable > TB2 to TB3 adapter > Externally powered TB hub < TB3 Cable < TB3/NVMe Enclosure

New Note in response to Robert's comment below: NVME in USB 3.2 enclosure is best bet.

Looks fiddly an expensive. Better, perfectly adequate example would be plain old USB 3 with an SSD. Should be as fast as the internal.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2022 01:57PM by anonymouse1.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 27, 2022 01:32PM
Anonymous,

I've yet to see a Thunderbolt 1 or Thunderbolt 2 NVME enclosure. Easy to find a dongle to convert Thunderbolt 3 enclosures to older flavors but they only convert data. Dongles will not provide power. You might be able to pull it off by purchasing a Thunderbolt dock and connecting the drive to it. May.

Absolutely positively not cost effective to try and get an NVME stick in a box connected to a Thunderbolt 1 or 2 port. Better to get the NVME stick, drop it into a USB 3.2 box and connected it to the USB 3.0 port and call it done. That way, the SSD is pretty well futureproofed and it's done at a reasonable cost.

Robert
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 27, 2022 01:56PM
Robert-

That's a much better answer-thanks!
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: April 27, 2022 03:22PM
Wow! Lots of great ideas here.... in response to one of the earlier questions, the iMac is a 27”, if I heard him correctly.

I like the idea of using an external first to see if it boots without issues from the internal. If it does work fine on the external, then call it a day. The main things for me to consider with him is the best solution for the external on the USB port - lots of great ideas above! I can setup an installation thumb drive for the macOS...

I did consider the TB port on that machine. I use that port for storage devices that I move between my current macs (2011 MBP, 2011 Mac Mini, and 2017 MBA), works great.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: April 27, 2022 03:57PM
Now that I am thinking about it, I do have a 128GB SSD in an Envoy case from OWC. The 128GB SSD came out of a 2017 MBA that I replaced with a 1TB SSD. That drive isn’t getting much use around here, maybe I will offer that to him. If it works, then he can get any other drive that he wants, when he wants, for storage.


I will report back here in the future to let you know what the final solution was that we take. I am leaning away from opening the case unless absolutely necessary to fix booting issues.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 27, 2022 04:47PM
If he's going to keep that case, then only Apple SSDs will fit in it.

Quote
SKYLANE
Now that I am thinking about it, I do have a 128GB SSD in an Envoy case from OWC. The 128GB SSD came out of a 2017 MBA that I replaced with a 1TB SSD. That drive isn’t getting much use around here, maybe I will offer that to him. If it works, then he can get any other drive that he wants, when he wants, for storage.


I will report back here in the future to let you know what the final solution was that we take. I am leaning away from opening the case unless absolutely necessary to fix booting issues.
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Re: Failed hard drive in 2012 iMac, change out easy?
Posted by: jdc
Date: April 27, 2022 05:02PM
NVMe in a box is fine. I used one as a daily boot for my 2014 iMac via USB 3 for years.

But cost wise, meh. Again, I would just go with one of the prebuilts I mentioned.

TB is a no go for reasons RM mentioned.

If he wants more power... M1 mini + screen. Easly under $1000.... less if you count the cost of a new drive + selling old iMac as is..





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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