OWC Turnkey Program for 2011 iMacs Announced.

You know that feeling of accomplishment when you’ve overcome a huge obstacle and you can’t wait to tell the entire world about it? Well, we’ve got it; we’ve overcome the whole “fan/drive sensor” problem found when installing a non-factory drive in the 2011 iMacs. That means we can now officially announce the OWC Turnkey Program for the 2011 iMacs.

We’re also going to one-up the 2010 program by including upgrade options for both the 21.5″ and the 27″ 2011 iMac models.

That drive sensor thing was a big hurdle. Apple uses a custom firmware that sends temperature info in a non-standard fashion. Unfortunately, unless the drive has this special firmware, the fans spin at full speed. We wanted a solution that would be a long-term solution that wasn’t dependent on a software patch or hack. Though those sorts of fixes can be temporarily effective, we didn’t want to rely on them for two reasons:

  1. they put overhead on the bus which can reduce performance
  2. a software solution can can fail or be rendered non-functional by a wide variety of actions (software updates, system reinstalls, etc.) which could risk the hard drive and the data contained on it.

So, we went another route and developed a hardware solution that interfaces accurately and properly with what can be viewed as a frustratingly unique temperature data monitoring method by Apple. While our solution adds a little bit to the cost of upgrading the iMac’s hard drives, we feel that cost is more than offset by the advantages it has over software solutions.

While our hard drive solution is proprietary (read as: we’re not gonna tell you how we did it), we can guarantee that—unlike other “solutions” out there—it’s 100% compatible with Apple Hardware Test and maintain proper fan operation.

The 2011 iMac Turnkey Program will allow you to custom configure and have OWC professionally install:

  • Up to three* OWC 6G Solid State Drives up to 480GB each.
    We all know Solid State Drives are the way to go if you’re looking for the best performance, and our Turnkey Program is the best price/performance deal out there. To get an Apple SSD, it’ll cost an even $600 for a 256GB that runs at 3.0GB/s; for $30 less we can install a comparably-sized OWC 6G SSD in there, which has shown nearly TWICE the performance of Apple’s SSDs in similar setups. Want crazy fast performance with two SSDs? While we don’t offer a RAID configuration as a Program option, you can create a software RAID using Apple’s Disk Utility or 3rd party software such as SoftRaid. By having us install two OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSDs of the same capacity and then self creating a RAID-0 Stripe, you can have data rates of nearly 1GB/s (1000MB/s).
  • A Higher-Capacity Hard Drive—Up to 3.0TB
    On most models, the largest drive you can get from the factory is 2.0TB; with the entry-level model, your only option is a paltry 500GB! Just because you don’t necessarily need all the processor horsepower the “higher” models offer, it doesn’t mean you don’t have similar storage needs – an 80,000 song iTunes library takes up the same amount of space, regardless of how fast your processor is. And even if you are getting one of the “bigger” versions, doesn’t a 3.0TB hard drive sound a heck of a lot better than a 2.0TB drive? Of course it does. Better to get it right away than not have it down the line – nobody ever regretted getting too big a hard drive.
  • OWC Memory Upgrades up to 32GB.
    If there’s one thing that we can claim with authority, its that adding more memory to your Mac makes a significant difference to performance; we’ve got pages of benchmarks to back it up. Unfortunately, these iMacs still come with a measly 4GB of RAM from the factory. Sure, you can bump up the RAM on most models to 16GB (that entry-model only has a 8GB upgrade available from the factory), but they gouge you there, too – that 16GB upgrade will cost you $600. That same upgrade from OWC will run you $160 (a little better than a quarter of the cost). You know what, though? We can go higher, too – try a whopping 32GB! While installing RAM in the iMac is easy to do yourself, it doesn’t hurt to have us do it “while we’re in there.”
  • An eSATA port
    With the 2011 iMacs sporting Thunderbolt ports, you may wonder why you would even bother getting an eSATA port. The answer is really simple: Thunderbolt devices just aren’t widely available yet. And they do come at a premium price. On the other hand, eSATA devices are fairly ubiquitous, reliable, and fast enough for all but the most demanding end user’s needs. We need to warn you, though; while all the other upgrades can be done for both the 21.5″ and the 27″ iMacs, the eSATA port can only be added to the 27″ model…there’s just not enough room in the 21.5″ model.

With the 2011 iMac Turnkey program, you can buy a base-model iMac, send it to us, and in 48 hours have it upgraded to experience the 550MB/s+ speed of an OWC Mercury EXTREME 6G SSD, storage capacities up to six times higher than Apple’s offerings, and up to four times the amount of memory available from the factory (along with the performance benefits that come with those increases).

Speaking of  price, we think our service is priced very comparably to rates charged just for labor by professional certified technicians. Check out the video below for the 2010 iMac upgrades, and you’ll see why we’d recommend professional installation; the 2011 models are pretty much the same, and we plan on creating a similar video for the 2011 models

However, for those of you that may “know someone who knows someone,” we’re planning to offer 3TB Hard Drive Kits and SSD Bay Kits that will allow an Apple Certified technician to install upgrades in your iMac without having to send it to us. More on that as things develop so again, just keep revisiting the Blog to learn about those details.


*Installing a third OWC SSD requires that the factory SDHC Memory Card Reader be disabled. When choosing this option, OWC includes an external OWC 68-in-1 Media Reader/Writer that offers the same functionality as the factory card reader as well as supporting additional card types including Compact Flash, SmartMedia, MMC, and more


LEAVE A COMMENT


  • Are you guys still providing this service?
    If so, are you doing it on newer models than 2011?




  • I have an iMac 27″ mid-2011 16GB RAM and 1TB 7200 HDD that I am interested in upgrading to SSD via the TurnKey program. My question involves Windows and BootCamp. How does that work with the SSD? Would you recommend a SSD for software and a SSD to ‘write’ on? Could you point me in the right direction for research? Thanks!




  • Hi! I’m super excited to have come across this! I bought my Mac in 2011 with some pretty nice specs to start – i7 processor, 8gb of RAM expanded to 16, 2TB HD.. So much so that the specs are still pretty decent four years later. That being said, I’d love to add to my disk performance with some solid state storage, and I know that a 16GB increase in RAM would also make a huge difference. I am curious whether there are any available upgrades to the video card, or whether that is too embedded/customized to be upgradeable?

    Lastly – what is the best way to package a 27″ iMac…? I don’t have the original box anymore..
    Cheers




    • Hello Andrei,

      At this time OWC does not offer any video card upgrades for the 2011 iMac.

      The best way to package a 27″ iMac if you do not have the original box would be to purchase an iMac Shipping Safe Box! This will ensure that your iMac is safe during shipping!




      • Hello! I’m curious why there is no turnkey program for the new iMacs, like the just released late 2015 27″ iMac? Is it because of the default fusion drive making the job difficult or lack of slot/space in the sleeker iMac compared to the older models? Thanks!




  • I’m looking at having you guys do a 1 TB SSD for my 2011 12,2. When you install the hard drive can you also install Yosemite iOS and use the original 1TB as the second hard drive?

    thanks,

    Greg




    • Hello Greg,

      With the OWC Turnkey program we do not transfer data or install Operating Systems (OS). Please make copies of and/or backup your data before sending in your iMac. Even if you choose to have your factory installed hard drive returned to you, please note that OWC is not responsible for any lost or corrupted data.




  • Will you be offering professional HD replacement or SSD upgrades for the late 2013 27″ iMacs? (3.5 mhz i7 Haswell) Thanks.




  • Do you have a ssd drive upgrade program on late 2012 iMac models? If so, what configurations are possible? Thanks




  • Hi there,

    I am planning to upgrade my 2011 27″ top of the line iMac with 4TB hard drive and 240GB SSD. Two questions:
    1. Will the OSX be installed on the SSD?
    2. Will my data be copied to a new HD?

    Thanks,




    • The Operating System will be installed on the smallest capacity drive. Upon receipt, you can change this and format your drives to suit your needs. So in your case, the 240GB SSD would have the OS installed.
      We will not be transferring data. Please make copies of and/or backup your data before sending in your iMac. Even if you choose to have your factory installed hard drive returned to you, please note that OWC is not responsible for any lost or corrupted data.
      http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/iMac_2011/faq/




  • I have read through a number of your blog post regarding the installation of a replacement HDD in a mid 2011 27″ i7 iMac. From my reading, there is a solution to replacing a failed hard drive with a similar unit and passing AHT, etc with no fan rev, but we have to send the unit to OWC to have the work done? As your solution is proprietary?

    I would like to buy a hard drive (from you), the special tools needed (from you) and any extra hardware (special cables etc.) to install the replacement hard drive and have it work as it did when new. Is that possible?




  • I’ve got a 27″ 2011 iMac with a bad optical drive. Could that space and internal connection be used for an SSD?




    • We do offer our Data Doubler that would work to replace the optical drive in the 2011 model to swap the optical drive with an SSD.




    • Absolutely! Our OWC Internal SSD DIY Kit For All Apple 27″ iMac 2011 Models includes everything you need to make that swap yourself. We even created an installation video to show you how to do it.

      And if after watching the video, you decide the installation just isn’t for you – our turnkey program has been setup to do that install for you.




      • First, you guys are awesome. You provide careful, detailed, step-by-step videos for all sorts of things we adventurous types would otherwise never attempt. Thank you!!! Hats off.

        I purchased an SSD (Samsung 840 EVO 120GB) and also the OWC Internal SSD DIY Kit For All Apple 27″ iMac 2011 Models, followed the instructions in your video, and had a flawless installation – or so I thought.

        After booting up, I got the Fan Curse. Some research determined my CPU fan is the culprit – or at least what is left over after implementing solutions to deal with the other fans.

        In you blogpost for installing a HDD you say you solved the problem by including a new power cable, and in this SSD blogpost you say you solved the problem “proprietarily” (I think I just invented a word).

        My question is: Is the solution you devised for post-SSD add-on integrated with the DIY product (e.g., something to do with the SATA/power cable in the kit)? Because if so, it may not have worked – at least not in my case.

        If the solution is not something that is part of your kit but only part of the “ship-us-your-iMac” turnkey program, then OK – but can we at least know whether we should expect to have silent operation after using the OWC DIY kit? It’s not like you guys to keep those of use who manage to muster the cajones to open our own iMacs in the dark – but one would hope you would offer up a solution that does not require us to ship you our entire machines (after all if we were the types to do that, we’d never have tried the DIY route to begin with).

        Proprietary solutions aside, thanks again for helping us get as far as we have – you rock, there’s no two ways about it.

        Thanks




        • The DIY kit for adding an SSD into the space behind the optical drive doesn’t employ any temperature sensing in the cable itself like the HDD replacement kit does – so that cable wouldn’t be causing the “Fan Curse”.

          The issue is probably that one of the temperature sensor cables is not fully seated or that one of them got pinched during re-assembly. They’re quite fickle and the slightest mis-connection will make the machine assume the reason for the failure must be overheating, so the fans go wild (to cool things down – it’s actually a nice “feature” even though it can cause a few headaches in figuring out which cable/sensor pair is the culprit).
          I’d suggest opening the machine back up and checking the cables & connections – most likely, you’ll find that one of those little 2 or 3 wire cables has an end that is popped up ever-so-slightly from its connector. Push it the rest of the way in and the “curse” should be lifted.




  • 27-inch, Late 2009. Mac11,1. Intel Core i7. 2.8 GHz. 16 GB

    I want to add a SDD drive to my existing 1gig drive.

    how much would it cost to do this turnkey?




  • Why did you stop offering the turnkey upgrades on the Late 2009 27″ iMac ?




  • I have an iMac11,1 are there any SSD options available through your turnkey program for this mac that include keeping the original HD?




  • I’ve got a 2011 27″ 3.1 GHz iMac, is it possible to upgrade the processor to an i7?
    Also, if I install an SSD, how do I get my OS and all my apps over to it?
    And, will these upgrades work on EU machines? (I dunno, we use different electrical standards over here, maybe it’s different?)




  • I have a 2010 27″ iMac with 2 hard drives (256 SSD and 1TB SATA), and I would really like an eSATA port because I am stuck with FW800 and USB 2.0 with this machine.

    What are my options?




  • Hello. I have a 2010 21.5″ iMac. The disc utility says the hard drive is failing, cannot be reparied, and should be replaced.
    First, it is unclear if you are offering this service on the 2010 21.5″ iMac’s ?
    If you are, can this service take place and simultaneously then fix by reparing the failing stock hard drive?

    Also, once I get it back, how do I load the OS? I have the original installation disc. I also have everything on an OWC 2TB external hard drive via time machine.

    Thank you




    • No, we do not offer the Turnkey service on the 2010 21.5″ model iMac as it does not have the additional SATA port or space to install the SSD that the 27″ version has available.




  • Is there any reason the DIY SSD install shouldn´t work on late 2009 27″ iMacs (ID:11,1)? Or, can the main HD be swapped for an SSD?




  • The article states, “we’re planning to offer 3TB Hard Drive Kits and SSD Bay Kits that will allow an Apple Certified technician to install upgrades in your iMac without having to send it to us.” In searching the DIY section I only see an option for adding an SSD. Instead, I am interested in replacing my stock 1TB with a 3 or 4TB HDD without the “fan issue”. Could you please let me know what my options are for this type of DIY? I am confident in doing it myself, I just worry about the fan issue. Thanks!




  • Are the DIY kits out yet?




  • So if I send my base mid 2011imac in for a 120gb ssd. Will the os be transferred over to, and boot from the ssd? Also does the existing hdd turn into optional storage at this point?

    Thanks




    • Correct, The Operating System will be installed on the smallest capacity drive with the larger drive reserved for storage. Upon receipt, you can change this and format your drives to suit your needs, however, for most, this setup is optimum.




  • “While our hard drive solution is proprietary (read as: we’re not gonna tell you how we did it),”
    You just used the cBreeze external temp sensor developed by Gravis.de. Isn’t it?




  • Any update on the turnkey program for install by Apple Authorized Service Providers?




  • I am really interested in sending my iMac to you guys to upgrade. I have 2 questions.

    If i have a 1TB hard drive 2011 27 i7 model is it possible to add 2 SSD drives on that?

    and

    After I purchase what I would want on it. I just ship it to your address or will I get some kind of email telling me what to do?

    Thanks again

    Joe




  • How soon will you have the DIY hard drive replacement kits? I think most of us go to OWC to do our own installations with your fantastic video tutorials. I look forward to not being held hostage with Apple’s proprietary tricks, it’s pathetic that we would have to rely on them to swap out an HD.

    Thanks!




  • Been waiting since this initial announcement for any news about the DIY kit. Any updates on that?

    Love your stuff,

    Thanks for all you do for the Mac community!




  • So you wrote “for those of you that may “know someone who knows someone,” we’re planning to offer 3TB Hard Drive Kits and SSD Bay Kits” – any word on when/if this will happen? I’ve got a GREAT local apple-certified tech 2 blocks away, would really prefer to drop the iMac off with her (or have her do it at my office) than to pay shipping AND wait over a week :(




  • Do we get to keep our old hard drive that you take out of the machine?

    How much warranty coverage will we get if the machine doesn’t have a factory warranty? I ask because I plan to wait at least a year before I upgrade.




    • Yes, you get to keep your old drive.

      For machines with no original factory warranty coverage, the included and optional, extended warranties will only apply to the components being installed by OWC.

      For more detailed information about the program, please see the FAQ page.




  • I just bought my iMAC 27″ 2011 and apple says it can only hold 16 mb of memory. reading this board, are you saying it can actually hold 32 mb?




  • No support for the Late 2009 27-inch iMacs? :(




  • i am from Singapore and shipping an iMac to the United States for the turnkey program is almost not possible given the fact that it will be very expensive,i just hope that OWC will release a kit that is user upgradeable and all i need is to replace the stock HDD with an OWC SSD.




  • I’m not clear about warranty issues in the 2011 iMac turnkey program. You say, “OWC will assist/fulfill the iMac factory warranty, as well parts and labor, for all OWC installed enhancements.” When you add an OWC SSD and RAM to a 21.5″ 2.7GHz iMac (with only the Apple 1TB HDD), does that void Apple’s own 1-year warranty or 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan?




    • Nothing being performed should void your warranty entirely. However, OWC cannot guarantee the actions of the original manufacturer. OWC suggests that consumers familiarize themselves with their consumer rights per US law and regulation. The Federal Trade Commission has very specific laws that provide consumer warranty protection.

      The OWC Turnkey Upgrade Program comes with up to a 1-Year Parts & Labor Warranty. This Warranty includes:
      Labor to repair or replace upgrade program components;
      The upgrade program components themselves; and
      All original factory components still installed in the iMac with the exception of the factory installed SSD.**
      Length of Standard Limited Warranty is based on time remaining on original iMac factory warranty. Parts and labor to replace or repair defective hardware, factory original or upgrade program components, is covered until the conclusion of the original factory warranty. (Ex. An iMac purchased on 8/1/2011 has factory warranty coverage until 7/31/2012. If this iMac participates in the iMac Upgrade Program on 10/31/2011, the customer will receive 9 months of coverage under the Standard Limited Warranty.)

      **Original, factory components will only be covered on factory sealed iMacs. Any iMac arriving where the machine itself has been opened by a third party or contains non-factory installed components, will receive warranty coverage on the OWC installed components only.

      For further details see the OWC Turnkey Upgrade Program FAQ

      Should an issue arise during the coverage period that requires the iMac to be sent in to OWC for service, the customer is responsible for any and all shipping fees of their iMac to OWC. OWC covers the cost of Ground shipping the iMac back to customers located within the 48 contiguous United States. Should the return shipping address reside outside of the 48 contiguous United States, the customer is responsible for the return shipping fees.




      • If you have this done on a warranty machine and bring it to an Apple store they will not work on the machine till the original parts are put back. You’re warranty isn’t technically voided but Apple will often refuse to warranty machines that do not have all the original parts, this includes ram.




  • For upgrading a 27” 2011 iMac the OWC Turnkey Upgrade Program page says: (SSDs pre-installed from factory not recommended). For OWC to add a drive in the Apple SSD position you will need to provide the mounting bracket and cables. I was wondering what OWC’s solution is for mounting an SSD behind behind the optical drive or elsewhere. For an upgrade I am planning for 2 480 GB SSDs and 24GB of memory.




  • Hi i have a 2009/2010 MAC PRO 2x 2.26GHz 8core and want to change the Processor to a 2.66ghz or 2.93ghz or sell it and buy a new one. any advice will fine Thanks




  • Excellent news!
    Can you tell us an ETA for the upgrade kit availability?
    Thanks




  • This is amazing news. Way to go OWC!

    I’m interested in adding two SSDs, but leaving my HD alone. I read on the order form and in the blog that this will take my card reader out of commission, but I wanted ask if this also removes the optical drive. If I get 2 SSDs and a HD, do I still have a working optical drive?

    Cheers,
    Bailey




    • While it takes your card reader “out of commission”, it does keep your optical drive intact and working internally. Also. we do include a more functional external card reader…so really you don’t lose anything and gain big in terms of # of internal drives, speed of such, and a wider format card reader. A “trifecta” of upgrade goodness!




  • hope you guys will release the self install SSD kit with mounting cage/cables as it is will cost way too much to ship to US and back to AUS.




  • This is great! But I can’t use turnkey programme, because I live in eastern Europe.
    So, I am interested in buying hdd kit with mount bay panel.
    When are you planing to sell those?
    Thanks!




    • We do offer this Turnkey Program worldwide, but please note additional shipping charges will apply for upgrades shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or international locations. You can view estimated shipping costs with your checkout cart.

      As far as the DIY kits are concerned, that was addressed in the post already… “More on that as things develop so again, just keep revisiting the Blog to learn about those details.”




      • Had a look at the shipping costs. Shipping costs for one way alone to the country I am were over a few hundred dollars. At that price it’d be far better to get a local tech to install a kit than to get you guys to install it directly.




  • Placed my order today for a 27″ i7 with 6Gb/s eSATA, 240GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD, 3TB HDD and 16GB RAM. Thanks for all the hard work getting this program going!




  • Waiting patiently for the SSD bay kits to be available. I passed on the Apple SSD when I ordered my iMac with the intention to put my own in at some point. Bundle it with an OWC SSD and price it aggressively please!




    • Hi Matt, did you get your OWC upgrade project finished? How did it turn out? How did it effect operation of your Imac? Have you found any issues with what OWC did for you? Has apple sent out any software “upgrades” that you downloaded that effected your Imac? thanks




  • A kit for sale including the proprietary hardware fix (but of course not explaining what you did to make it work) would be most welcome. For those outside the US, the Turnkey program doesn’t look like it’s an option (or if it is it would be very expensive).

    I have 4 base 2011 iMacs I may wish to get upgraded at some point. Spending about an extra grand to get a SSD in an iMac from Apple (had to get a CTO upgrade to the high end 2011 iMac from Apple for them to do this) versus getting the base 2011 iMac model wash’t worth it.




  • Can I get the turnkey service to install an OWC Electra SSD that I just purchased into my iMac? Will you perform turnkey service that I’ve already installed an SSD in and third party hard drive?




    • Original, factory components will only be covered on factory sealed iMacs. Any iMac arriving where the machine itself has been opened by a third party or contains non-factory installed components, will receive warranty coverage on the OWC installed components only. Additionally, parts to be installed through the Turnkey Upgrade Program need to be purchased when placing the order.

      That said, you could feasibly return your newly purchased OWC Electra SSD for refund under the 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and re-order the same drive though the Turnkey Upgrade Program.




      • Hi Michael,

        Thanks for your sage advice. I should have called it the “ADD Curse” instead of the “Fan Curse” – when I opened my iMac back up I found I had forgotten to reconnect the three cables at the top-center of the logic board. I’m surprised the only error that caused was a running fan!

        Anyway things are back up and running. Thanks again for your excellent tutorials.

        Tim




  • I’ve upgraded my 27″ iMac with 32GB RAM from OWC and it rocks!




  • Congrats guys! I knew you’d figure it out eventually!

    Now do I have the sac to take apart my baby, or do I send it in…… hmmmm

    Question, can we assume the “kits” that you will be offering contain the proprietary hardware fix you mentioned?




  • The article said:

    “With the 2011 iMac Turnkey program, you can buy a base-model iMac, send it to us, and in 48 hours have it upgraded to experience… up to four times the amount of memory available from the factory.”

    Actually, 4GB to 32GB is eight times the amount of memory available from the factory.




    • hey…the base comes with 4GB…upgradable to 8GB or 16GB depending on model….

      so the base 21.5 only offers 8GB option from factory…but we offer up to 32GB….

      8GB x 4 = 32GB

      The math is tough when we are just blowing away the limited options form the factory…but ya gotta trust us….we research, test and live this stuff before posting…