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I love my 27-inch iMac with its big ol' display, screaming speed and 2TB hard drive. But with all my digital files, including those 1080p movies now available at iTunes, I can never have enough storage -- iCloud or not.
Hard disc drives (HHDs) are economical, but not as fast as solid state drives (SSDs). However, SSDs are very pricey and offer limited storage -- as least compared to HDDs. So what can be done? "iFixIt" has a solution.
The iFix-ers, who tear apart and examine gadgets and gizmos so you don't have to, recently found that all mid-2011 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs can accept an additional hard drive, regardless of whether Apple will let you outfit your machine with a second drive. iFixIt also found that although some iMacs may have mounting holes for hard drive brackets, others don't.
So they introduced the 21.5-inch iMac (http://bit.ly/imac_21_dual_drive_kit) and 27-inch iMac (http://bit.ly/imac_27_dual_drive_kit ) Dual Hard Drive Kits for US$69.95. These self-install kits work on all Mid 2011 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs.
You can check out the installation manuals to get a feel for the install process at http://bit.ly/imac_21_dual_drive_guide and http://bit.ly/imac_27_dual_drive_guide . The kits come with everything you need to install a second hard drive inside your iMac: a custom SATA power and data cable; custom-cut 3M mounting tape, two heavy-duty suction cups, a 26-piece bit driver kit, and a spudger. IFixit says the kits will work with all processor speeds, regardless of whether Apple offers the additional SSD option for your desktop.
One huge selling point: unlike with some other kits, you don't have to remove your optical drive. You can use the iFixIt solution to soup your iMac up with two drives, as well as a functioning optical drive. All you need is an extra 2.5-inch SATA drive (which isn't included with the upgrade kit). IFixit recommends (and I concur) installing an SSD and using it as your boot drive. This gives you the fastest boot-up time possible. However, you can install a 1TB hard drive for more storage space, if you prefer.
Though iFixIt gives you all the tools you need, as well as an easy-to-follow manual, upgrading your iMac isn't for the faint of heart. There are 31 steps involved; you can see 'em at http://macte.ch/QJLaX . I'm not a tech whiz, but I muddled my way through. However, if you don't want to take any chances, you could order the kit and have someone do it for you.
Rating: 9 out of 10
-- Dennis Sellers