Your iMac is slow as hell, frequently freezing over a short period of time. The spinning beach ball of death! You know something’s going on and sure enough, your computer dies and you find out you need a new hard drive!
There used to be a time when you bought Apple computers thinking you could count on them for a long time. Well, not anymore. After my hard drive died, a second time since I purchased my iMac in 2010, I went to the Apple Store to see if I could get it fixed. I was told my iMac is now considered “vintage” and they will not service it. They’re hoping that by calling it vintage, I will drop another $1800 on a a new computer. Ok, I’ll have to do this myself, I can’t afford to pay for expensive labor, even less purchase a new computer. In fact, I don’t want a new computer, I just need a computer that works! But which hard drive should I get? I sure would like to stay the hell away from another Seagate drive (the brand that came stock with my iMac). And also, I have never replaced an internal hard drive before. So here comes Google.
After doing some research I found out that Segate’s 1TB, 2TB and 3TB Barracuda internal hard drives have a high annual failure rate. Apple was aware these drives were defective as my first hard drive was replaced through one of their recall programs (this recall ended in 2013). I don’t need more proof, I’ve now had two 1TB Seagate Barracuda drives die on me. I’m ready to try a different brand. Backblaze.com, a cloud backup company, reported earlier this year that the 3TB Seagate Barracuda drives in their data center had an annual failure rate of 43.1%. Not good! On the other hand, all their 4TB hard drives (WD, HGST or Seagate) had the lowest annual failure rates. Their Seagate 4TB Desktop HDD.15 hard drives had a low annual failure rate of 2.6%. This Seagate model is also the cheapest option within the 4TB drives (the HGST 4TB drives priced a little higher, had an even lower failure rate, but not enough of a difference to be a big factor according to them). This is the only reason I’m giving Seagate one more chance. At least this time I have some sort of data to backup my decision. So here comes Amazon.
Along with the 4TB Seagate drive I purchased from Amazon, I ordered an upgrade kit from OWC. OWC has an installation video on youtube that proved to be extremely helpful. The installation was not as hard as I though, you just have to follow the steps carefully and make sure you disconnect and connect the right cables. I went slow. It took me about an hour, but I was able to do the installation myself, upgrade to a 4TB drive and stay under a $200 budget. The OWC kit came with the necessary installation tools and a thermal sensor cable that “eliminates fan noise and maintains proper system fan control”, a known problem with this iMac model. This sensor cable got rid of the horrible fan noise problem I had since Apple replaced my hard drive. The OWC kit also “fixes firmware incompatibility issues with third party hard drives”. This means you can install whichever hard drive brand you prefer. If you are looking for a hard drive replacement for your Late 2009 iMac (I have the 27 inch model), you have several options: the Seagate ST4000DM000, WD Green WD40EZRX, HGST Deskstar 0S03664, among many others (just make sure you get the OWC kit). If you do buy a Seagate, go for the 4TB model (stay away from the Barracuda models).
It has only been two weeks since I installed the 4TB Seagate HDD.15 internal hard drive in my “vintage” iMac. Only time will tell if this one will last…