I have an early 2006 iMac, the first with Intel CPU and now I am looking for speeding it up a little. I maxed out the RAM (2G) and my only other option is to install an SSD drive there.

  • First of all, I would like to know if this is a good idea to speed up my iMac?
  • Shall I take my iMac to the service for this installation or I can try this on my own at home?
  • Would it be possible to keep the current primary hdd as a secondary hdd in the machine or there is no space inside?
  • i wonder if you are still using your imac, if you put a SSD in and what's your experience with it. i am considering the same with my imac from mid 2006. – harald Jul 17 '12 at 17:55
  • SSD will make everything feel faster, but it's kind of pricey. Your internal HD is probably wearing out anyway, so it's not a bad idea to substitute it. If price is an issue you can buy one of the new 7200rpm with 32/64MB of cache, and do a clean install. Before moving your data into the new HD, install your Applications. This way they will reside in area of the disk which can be retrieved faster.
  • when you say 21.5" you mean a new iMac? – gyurisc Aug 4 '11 at 13:14
  • Yes, sorry for the misunderstanding, I mean the new iMac. – Gio Aug 4 '11 at 13:25
  • Also look at iMacs newer than yours but not the latest e.g. on Apple refurbishment store – Mark Aug 4 '11 at 15:54
  • >For the price of SSD + installation you can almost buy a new 21.5", with 4GB ram, etc Really? I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. They are pricey but certainly not $1000 - $1200. More like $100-300. I think an SSD is always worth it, the performance improvement is vast. Although I must say it's tricky to install in an iMac. – Paul Eccles Aug 5 '11 at 10:54
  • @Gio you should edit you answer because "It fits in place of the superdrive, which can be taken out and fitted in an external enclosure." is vastly inaccurate. Because you cannot fit neither 3.5" iMac's HDD in the place of ODD, nor it's a good idea to put SSD in the PATA>SATA converter bay that is needed for this particular iMac. – iskra Oct 29 '11 at 23:13

You can speed up your iMac with CPU&Memory and SSD upgrades.

  1. SSD upgrade is cheaper, easier and more efficient overall: You will need an SSD, some patience and skills with screwdriver and this link on how to take apart your iMac (search for 17" if yours is 17") and get to HDD. You may also use 2.5" to 3.5" bracket for an SSD but it's totally optional.

    a. Now you may use your leftover drive by putting it into USB or FireWire 3.5" external enclosure. I would recommend FireWire 400 (or 800 if you plan to use it later) one if you want best experience, or USB2 if you need cheapest one.

    b. Alternatively (or additionally) you may add any internal 2.5" SATA HDD in place of optical drive. Here is link on how to replace ODD. You will need a 12.7mm caddy with PATA to SATA converter. If you are going to install OS on it then switch automatic sleep off because it will hang. No problem with using it as a data drive though.

  2. You may upgrade CPU to 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo T7600 Socket M. Here is ebay listing for them. After this you will be able to upgrade memory to 3GB with a help of this unofficial firmware and additional 2GB SO-DIMM DDR2-667 memory module. I believe you should search for it because there is no link guarantee because of legal constraints.

I hope you still find it useful.

  • the CPU upgrade is really interesting. I did not know that this is possible. Thanks – gyurisc Nov 1 '11 at 4:30
  • @gyurisc And regarding your question if it is a good idea to speedup your mac, I would not bother with 17" model because of screen quality mostly. And if you have 20" then I would definitely add SSD because it will greatly speed it up. CPU? Not so much. Up to 20%. I would only do CPU upgrade on it in case I will able to find it really cheap. And to get 3GB bonus with it. – iskra Nov 2 '11 at 0:07
  • I have a 20 inch iMac and I do not like giving up a perfectly good display, so I consider the upgrades. SSD is a sure winner and the CPU would worth it, if I can upgrade to 4GB. – gyurisc Nov 3 '11 at 9:47
  • 4GB is possible but only 3GB will be addressable i.e. used. Chipset limitation. – iskra Nov 3 '11 at 13:04

I am writing this (in March 2014) on my 2006 iMac with an ssd drive that I am using as the boot drive through the USB connection. It is pretty quick as long as I don't have many applications open and gets the job done. I followed the directions here to get the ssd drive to work:


it is a 21" mac and I have a monitor on the side. Forget about stutter free streaming movies but for web stuff it works great.

  • Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone. – Daniel Mar 12 '14 at 12:27

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