It has been recently discovered that Apple uses a new 7 pin hdd connection in their mid 2011 iMacs. When a none Apple certified hdd is installed the fans kick on during boot and system fails to start. Is a way to override the check for an Apple certified hdd either through a software(ktext?) or hardware(jump pins) modification?

  • OWC GRant was wrong, as can be seen in OWC's later blog post reporting that HDDFanControl does work
    – user6727
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


I would stay away from the hdd fan control, mainly because it isn't a long term fix. Although it is an easy solution now, all it would take is a software upgrade from apple to cause it to be useless... a patch could then be made by hdd fan control, but there may be a time delay, in which you would be stuck with the imac fans spinning at nearly 6000rpm instead of the idle speed of 1000rpm... its loud to say the least. If you want a hardware fix, i've come up with a solution. I'll expand on it a little without going into too much technical detail. (sorry my reply is a bit late, i only just came across this message online)

For starters, a standard SATA power cable uses only 4 cables, despite having a 15pin connector. This is because the pins are broken down in sets of 3, and each cable type can be combined after it leaves the connector. (the main reason for this is because the current on each individual pin cannot move fast enough on a single pin to power the 3.5" drives, so they have to have 3x 12v, 3x 3.3v, 3x 5v then 2 sets of 3x coms, which are then combined onto 1 cable... so the 4 cables used are 12v, 3.3v, 5v and coms)

Without going into too much technical detail, two coms tracts send the data from the internal SMART disk of the hard drive to the main logic board. The difference between Apples drives and an industry standard drive is that the firmware revision differs... The logic boards in the 2011 iMacs can only communicate with certain revisions of this firmware, and after testing nearly 100 different drives, i have been unsuccessful in finding a revision that works with it without changing the hardware or running the software. (which isn't free by the way, its a £20 download, but you can download a sample of the app to test it beforehand) With the 2009 and 2010 iMacs that use the internal SMART disk to convey the hard drives temperature, i have found certain industry standard firmware revisions do work with it, but each manufacturer uses a different connection type, as they dont use the SATA power cable to send the data, but instead use a separate 2 pin connector cable that goes to the logic board directly. As there is no central source of firmware revisions that will work with it, maintaining stock of the drives that do work has proven to be a pain, as testing a drive from each stock with a 2009 or 2010 machine is not the easiest option. (suppliers are not able to specify firmware revisions when shipping drives in my experience, so restocking a specific revision that previously worked is not possible)

Needless to say, i found a sensor that operates at the same frequency as the internal SMART disk for the 09/10 imac, and its part number is 593-1029 (you can look it up on www.thebookyard.com) its listed as the LCD cable for the same range, but it is compatible with the hard drive port, as i have done rigorous testing on this. all you need to do is replace the current sensor cable, then adhere the sensor to the drive (then it will act as a surface temperature sensor instead of an ambient temperature sensor)

As for the 2011 iMac problem, the easiest solution was to make a cable myself. So, instead of explaining the whole process in all its technical glory, here is the link to the part on the site. http://www.thebookyard.com/product.php?products_id=10085

As for an easier to fit solution, i am currently working on an adapter solution that will not require loosening the screws on the logic board to fit a replacement cable. (As the SATA ports are on the underside of the logic board by the graphics card port)

I have also written a small blog about it here if you want a bit more detail, otherwise i can explain the process in more detail if you'd prefer. http://thebookyard.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/the-aluminium-imac-ranges-and-their-hard-drives-2011-hd-problem-resolved/

But all is not lost, as there is always a solution! Even if it takes a bit of creative finagling to do so.


HDD Fan Control is supposed to effectively solve this problem, which they reiterated today at TUAW.

Check OWC's blog post about it and the comment by OWC's Grant from this morning: they're getting close to figuring it out.

  • Thank you for pointing to where developments are being made. I'm new to SE but should this be a comment instead of an answer since someone coming to this site looking for an answer will be redirected? I'm upvoting but not accepting. Commented May 13, 2011 at 18:10
  • @Matthew - Thanks for the link. Wow, I was ever so keen to replace my ageing MacBook with an iMac. I'll need to think a little bit more now about that. Thanks to you both for bringing this to my attention.
    – boehj
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 18:24
  • @Steve I added a better answer, one that should solve the problem today. Commented May 13, 2011 at 20:00
  • @Matthew - Excellent, accepted. Commented May 13, 2011 at 20:02
  • @Steve Erm... I just noticed that comments on the TUAW article by OWC Grant indicate that despite some people saying HDD Fan Control solves the problem, it may not. You may want to unaccept, or... heh, tough in a volatile "breaking news" situation. :) Commented May 13, 2011 at 20:09

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