A 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac in 2019

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Buying a new computer can be a major investment and more so if you need to customize the configuration to meet your specific requirements. For instance, someone who uses a computer primarily for e-mail, surfing the web and streaming content will not need all the “bells and whistles” that a graphic designer or video editor may need. That said, when budgets are tight, you’ll need to find ways to maximize the life of your computer while being able to work efficiently.

A few years ago, I had a similar situation dealing with an Apple 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac. The iMac was originally configured with a 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1GB of memory. At the time, this accomplished what it was intended for. However, over time it began to run slow. Formatting the hard drive and performing a clean installation of macOS (OS X at the time) did not resolve the performance issues.

One obvious course of action would be replacing the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). Of course, opening an iMac and replacing a standard hard drive with a solid state drive is no easy task and having it done by an authorized Apple Service Provider wouldn’t be cheap. So, what to do?

Well, the iMac did have four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port and two Thunderbolt ports so I was already thinking about using an external bootable drive as a workaround in lieu of replacing the internal hard drive. After doing some research, I opted to go with the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive. I had found several cases where this drive had been implemented and worked well as an external boot drive on an iMac. I’ll include a link to the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt SSD at the end of this post.

I also did some additional research on the RAM limitations for the Mid-2011 iMac. While Apple’s technical specifications list a maximum of 16GB of RAM, I did check the OWC website and found that the Mid-2011 iMac did support up to 32GB of RAM. While 16GB of RAM would likely suffice, the cost of an additional 16GB of RAM wasn’t too expensive. If the external bootable SSD worked and brought new life to this Mid-2011 iMac, the additional RAM would be well worth it. I’ll include links to OWC compatible memory modules at the end of this post.

Since the original internal hard drive was recently reformatted with a clean install of OS X and all applications, it didn’t make a lot of sense to go through this exercise again unless absolutely necessary. So, the solution was to clone the internal hard drive onto the new Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive and then boot from the new SSD. This required the use of Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable clone of the internal drive. Back then, there was a free version of Carbon Copy Cloner. Today, you can still get a 30-day trial before you need to pay for the software which should be fine to create a one-off bootable clone of your internal hard drive to an external SSD.

The result . . .

It all worked out well. The drive cloning worked perfectly. The iMac was able to boot from the external solid state drive and gained a huge performance boost over the standard internal hard drive. Note: I left the internal hard drive intact as a backup. The additional RAM gave it a beneficial boost to support newer memory intensive applications. There was one small issue. You could restart the iMac without an issue but if you shut down the iMac and then started it up, the iMac would defaultly boot to the internal drive instead of the external SSD as the SSD would not yet be powered up at initial startup. The way around this would be to hold down the Option key on startup to get boot options, power cycle the external SSD so that the external SSD would be an available boot device then select it as the startup disk. Of course, this would be tedious to do on a daily basis, so the simpler workaround was to restart the iMac under normal conditions and only shutdown when needed. It was a small price to pay to bring new life to the Mid-2011 iMac.

While the Mid-2011 iMac is not supported by macOS Mojave, you can still use it with macOS High Sierra. Eventually, this iMac will be retired but for now, it’s gotten a few extra years of life for a fraction of the cost of a new iMac.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt Solid State Drive StoreJet 500 for Mac (TS512GSJM500) - https://amzn.to/2Eu6fYm

OWC 16GB (2x 8GB) 1333MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SO-DIMM 204-Pin Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S16P) - https://amzn.to/2XoGLD0

OWC 32GB (4 x 8GB) 1333MHz 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S32S) - https://amzn.to/2ErZB4L

 

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Apple Announces Apple Watch Series 4, New iPhones at September 12th Special Event

Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Apple team took the stage this morning at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino to announce Apple Watch Series 4, three new iPhones and release dates for iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12 and macOS Mojave.

iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS

iOS 12, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12 will all be available this coming Monday, September 17th. macOS Mojave will be available a week later on Monday, September 24th.

Apple Watch

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Apple Watch Series 4 was the first product announced at today’s Special Event. The Series 4 comes in new 40mm and 44mm cases. The Series 4 features a new edge-to-edge display with curved edges and a viewing area that is thirty-percent larger, a black ceramic and sapphire crystal back, new Digital Crown with Haptic feedback, a fourth generation S4 64-bit Dual-Core processor which is up to 2x faster, a 50% louder speaker, the microphone has been moved to the opposite side for noise reduction, a new watch face which supports eight customizable complications and up to 18 hours of battery life on a single charge. The new Series 4 accelerometer and gyroscope add fall detection. Series 4 also adds new heart health features including low heart rate & atrial fibrillation detection and an electrocardiogram (ECG).   

The aluminum case will come in Silver, Gold and Space Gray. The stainless-steel case will come in Silver, Space Black and Gold. Existing Apple Watch bands will be compatible with the new Apple Watch Series 4.

The Series 4 wireless models will start at $399 and the cellular models will start at $499. Apple will begin accepting orders for Apple Watch Series 4 on September 14th and the Series 4 will be available beginning September 21st.

Apple is also reducing prices on Apple Watch Series 3 with pricing starting at $279.

iPhone

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Following the announcement of Apple Watch Series 4, Apple announced three new iPhones today – iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

The first two new iPhones announced were the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are made from a surgical grade stainless-steel and come with Super Retina HD OLED 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch displays respectively, a 7-nanometer A12 Bionic Chip with a 6-Core CPU, 4-Core GPU and next-generation 8-Core Neural Engine offering faster app launches by up to thirty-percent, dual 12MP (wide-angle and telephoto) rear cameras, 7MP front TrueDepth camera, Smart HDR and dual SIMs (nano SIM + eSIM). The iPhone XS and XS Max also include a new feature that lets you adjust the depth of field of photos AFTER you’ve taken them from an aperture of f/1.4 to f/16. The iPhone XS offers an additional thirty-minutes of battery life over the iPhone X while the iPhone XS Max offers an additional ninety-minutes of battery life over the iPhone X.

Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max come in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. Capacities will include 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. The iPhone XS will start at $999 and the iPhone XS Max will start at $1,099. Apple will begin accepting orders for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max on September 14th and both devices will be available on September 21st. 

The third new iPhone announced at today’s event was the iPhone XR. The iPhone XR is made from a 7000 Series grade aluminum with a glass back and features a new 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina HD Display, the same 7-nanometer A12 Bionic Chip available in the XS and XS Max, a single 12MP wide-angle rear camera, 7MP front TrueDepth camera, Smart HDR, Haptic Touch instead of 3D Touch, Face ID and dual SIMs (nano SIM + eSIM). The iPhone XR offers an additional ninety-minutes of battery life over the iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone XR comes in White, Black, Blue, Coral, Yellow and (Product) Red. Capacities will include 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. The iPhone XR will start at $749. Apple will begin accepting orders on October 19th and the iPhone XR will be available on October 26th.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Apple is keeping the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in their iPhone product line. The iPhone 7 will now start at $449 and the iPhone 8 will start at $599. The original iPhone X has been discontinued.

For full product details, technical specifications and pricing, visit Apple’s website.

“Gather Round” . . . Apple’s next Special Event set for September 12th

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The stage is set for Apple’s September 2018 Special Event. The Special Event will take place on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs Theater.

As with previous Apple events, if you weren’t fortunate enough to be invited to the special event, you can watch the livestream on Apple’s website starting at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT.

We are expecting Apple to announce new iPhones at the September 12th event. Rumors are pointing to the announcement of three new iPhones – a 5.8” OLED model, a 6.5” OLED model and a less expensive 6.1” LCD model. The models may be called iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus and iPhone 9; respectively. The OLED model is expected to be available in a new gold version and the LCD model is expected to come in a variety of colors.

It’s also rumored that Apple will announce Apple Watch Series 4, which will include a larger display and new watch face interface that takes advantage of the added real estate. We may also get final release dates for iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12.

Last year, Apple announced that they were working on AirPower, a wireless charging mat that would allow you to charge your compatible iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously. Apple also announced that they were working on a new compatible case for AirPods which would work with AirPower. To date, neither product has been released, so Apple may provide an update at the September 12th event.

Apple is rumored to be working on a less expensive replacement for the MacBook Air that would include updated hardware as well as a new iPad Pro. While possible, I’m doubtful that Apple will make such an announcement at the September 12th event. If Apple does plan on making these announcements before year end, they may hold a separate event in time for the start of the holiday season or make announcements via press release if we’re looking at a product refresh.

We’re about a week and a half away from the September 12th event, so stay tuned!