Found on Craigslist this last week. Ouch.
I recently bought a used 17″ iMac for use in my kitchen – Emeril & Iron Chef vids, recipes, iPhoto collection and, of course, iTunes. The iMac had 1GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive. I thought that might be enough, but once I transferred a few Emeril videos and half of my iPhoto library, I had only 3GB left over. Clearly, 160GB is olde schoole.
So I set out to increase the RAM to 2GB and pop in a new 500GB hard drive. My first task, opening the iMac case. Apple makes this harder than opening other, earlier cases. They use Torx screws instead of phillips screws. Home Depot has sets of Torx screws for $10 and eBay has similar sets for $8 to $15.
Here’s the iMac opened up on the operating table. I didn’t disconnect the LCD 100% from the iMac. I left the video connector attached and used the foot of the iMac as a nice stable holding spot during the surgery.
In this pic, the insides of the iMac are exposed. A late note about warranties. This completely voids the warranty on the iMac. I don’t care, but if you try any of this, you should consider preserving your warranty. Unlike repairs on most Macs, opening Intel iMacs results in obvious cosmetic scarring inside. It’ll be 100% clear to any Apple tech that your iMac has been opened and messed around with.
Here’s the 160GB SATA hard drive. It’s tucked tightly inside the case.
Luckily, it’s very easy to remove. Two screws and a little slight of hand, and the drive pops right out.
Unplug the SATA power and data cables.
Carefully remove the HDD heat sensor. There’s a glue-like substance underneath. Try not to tear it.
The new 500GB drive is back in place. I secured the heat sensor on with some electrical tape. It may give a slightly inaccurate read due to the thin insulation, but it’s fine. Again, be gentle with the adhesive.
With the hard drive secured and the LCD replaced, I screwed the internal Torx screws back in.
A little more electrical tape to affix the thick tinfoil-like metal sheeting back to the inside frame of the iMac case.
Aligning the top of the front bezel onto the case is important. It can be a little tricky, so take your time. It may take a few tries. The best way to tell if you have it right is to see and/or hear the metal clips snap into place. The back side of the iMac will also be snug against the bezel. If the setting isn’t right, the bezel and frame will be slightly misaligned and will feel sloppy. A tight, clean fit is desired.
Tighten the Torx screws on the bottom of the case to complete the surgical process.
Boot the iMac into FireWire Target Disk mode and clone the old drive to the new, blank 500GB drive. I used Carbon Copy Cloner. Because I had to clone a drive with around 150GB+ of stuff on it, the whole clone process took about 4 hours. Egads.
With cloning done, the new 500GB iMac boots up just fine. I had about 320GB free at that point. After moving the rest of my iTunes, photos and cooking vids, I had about 220GB free. We’ll see how long that lasts. A nice 1TB drive may be in order sooner than I expected.
Post op, I hooked the iMac up to some speakers by way of an Airport Express unit. It’s a very nice setup. It’s not a brand new silver & black iMac, but this is fine for me. Besides, it’s likely to get some ragu on it now and then, so I’d rather have an oldie in la cucina mia.