Upgrading the Late 2015 27-inch iMac: Navigating the SSD Dilemma

Upgrading the Late 2015 27-inch iMac: Navigating the SSD Dilemma

Posted by Marian on 5th Jun 2024

The late 2015 27-inch iMac, model identifier iMac17,1, is a powerhouse known for its sleek design and impressive performance. While you can still upgrade/change main mechanical hard drive for 2.5-inch SSD, when it comes to upgrading the PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), users may encounter some unique challenges. Unlike its predecessors and successors, the 2015 model features a PCIe SSD that differs in shape from those used in other iMacs from 2013 to 2020. This distinction creates a significant obstacle for users seeking third-party SSD upgrades, as popular brands like OWC and FLEXX do not offer compatible options for this specific iMac.

Understanding the PCIe SSD Difference

The late 2015 iMac17,1 model introduced a PCIe SSD design that deviated from the standard shape used in earlier and later models. While Apple has a reputation for innovation and pushing the boundaries of technology, this particular change has posed a dilemma for those looking to upgrade their machines. The unique shape of the PCIe SSD in the late 2015 iMac means that third-party manufacturers would need to produce a custom SSD specifically for this model. Given the limited quantity of this iMac in the market, it is not economically viable for companies like OWC and FLEXX to produce such specialized components.

Why This Matters for Upgrades

For many iMac users, upgrading to an SSD is a game-changer. It significantly boosts performance, reduces boot times, and enhances overall system responsiveness. However, the unique SSD design in the late 2015 iMac restricts users from leveraging third-party options, which are often more affordable and offer greater variety compared to Apple’s offerings. This leaves users with limited choices, primarily having to rely on Apple for upgrades or trying to find a compatible SSD from a less-known third-party supplier, which can be risky and less reliable.

Exploring Alternatives

Despite the challenges, there are a few pathways iMac17,1 users can explore to upgrade their storage:

  1. Apple’s Official Upgrades: While more expensive, Apple’s official SSD upgrades ensure compatibility and reliability. Users can either opt for an upgrade at the time of purchase or seek an upgrade service through Apple or an authorized service provider.
  2. External SSDs: An alternative to internal upgrades is to use an external SSD. While it may not offer the same level of performance as an internal SSD due to the limitations of USB connections, Thunderbolt-enabled external SSDs can still provide a significant speed boost compared to traditional hard drives.
  3. Hybrid Solutions: Some users opt for a hybrid approach, using both an internal SSD (for the operating system and essential applications) and an external SSD (for additional storage and less critical applications). This can provide a balance of performance and storage capacity.

Looking Forward

The unique SSD design in the late 2015 iMac17,1 serves as a reminder of the rapid pace of technological evolution and the challenges it can present for upgradability. As technology continues to advance, users must remain informed about the specific requirements and limitations of their devices. For those looking to upgrade their late 2015 iMac, understanding these nuances is crucial in making informed decisions that balance performance, cost, and compatibility.

In conclusion, while the limited availability of third-party SSDs for the late 2015 27-inch iMac may seem like a setback, it also highlights the importance of adaptability and resourcefulness in the ever-changing landscape of technology. By exploring alternative solutions and staying informed, iMac17,1 users can still enjoy enhanced performance and longevity from their beloved machines.

Flexx offers 2.5-inch SSD kits for changing main HDD for SSD as well as Thunderbolt 2 External SSD for this iMac.

Internal drive upgrades

OWC Mercury Electra 6G upgrade kit

OWC Mercury Extreme upgrade kit

Transcend SSD upgrade kit

Crucial SSD upgrade kit

Samsung 870 Evo upgrade kit

External SSD upgrades

Transcend 855 series

OWC Envoy Pro FX Thunderbolt 3