Apple’s new 21.5-inch iMacs are ridiculously thin and gorgeous. They’re also one of least upgradeable/repairable desktop computers on the market. It’s possible to swap out the RAM on the new 21.5-inch iMacs, but trying to get an aftermarket SSD into the 21.5-inch iMac might be an impossible task.
Teardowns of the new 21.5-inch iMac revealed that in order to get to the hard drive users will have to separate the display from the main body of the iMac. That task isn’t too difficult, but gluing the display back onto the iMac’s body will be pretty tough. On top of that, once you get inside the 21.5-inch iMac there’s literally no room for an SSD and nowhere to plug it in.
Even when creating a custom configuration, Apple doesn’t offer an SSD option for the new iMacs other than the Fusion Drive which is an SSD+HDD hybrid. Ars Technica noted that there are traces of an SSD on the new iMacs, except the factory doesn’t add the connector so you have nowhere to plug it in if you wanted to add one yourself.
If you look at the pictures above, the one on the left shows the 21.5-inch iMac’s logic board. The orange highlighted areas are where Apple’s proprietary SSD connectors should reside but they’ve been left out. The SSD from the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (shown on the right) would fit perfectly here if Apple included the connectors. iFixit assumes that Apple will solder the SSD onto the board of iMacs carrying a Fusion Drive so there’s no way to swap it out.
The other problem with getting an SSD into the iMac is that there are no spare SATA ports available. The SATA connector used for the iMac’s 2.5-inch hard disk drive is the only one present inside the computer.
The HDD isn’t soldered onto the board though so if you really want to get an SSD into the 21.5 inch iMac you could replace it with a 1TB SSD and use the HDD’s SATA port. It’ll only cost you about $1000. Have fun with the glue.
Source: Ars Technica