Model A1419 / EMC 3070 / Mid 2017 / 3.4, 3.5 or 3.8 GHz Core i5 or 4.2 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor (ID iMac18,3) / Retina 5K display. Refer to the older iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015) guides as the system is very similar.

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NVME M.2 SSD with adapter

Is it possible to update 2017 iMac 27" 5k with NMVe m.2 SSD using m.2 to Apple PCIe adapter?

I used to use SM951 AHCI in Mac Pro 5.1, 6.1, all Retina and Air 2013-2015 but what about NVMe once? Have anyone tried?

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First you may want to look at this Vid: 2017 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display Unboxing and Teardown jump to the 10:00 time point which shows the PCIe SSD Apple is using. It's very different from the M.2 SSD's.

Apple's PCIe NVMe SSD's use a custom device driver so while you might be able to get the adapter and NVMe SSD to physically fit it won't be recognized by the OS.

While I haven't tried anything in this new iMac I can tell you I've tried the newer MacBook Pro retina series which has a 2 lane NVMe SSD and it didn't work.


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Which MacBook you tried? AHCI m.2 SSDs with adapter works fine with all late 2013-2015 MacBooks Pro/Air. Confirmed many times.

Don't get confused here! AHCI is not the same as NVMe! What worked in the older systems does not work in the newer systems.

Review this: SATA Express (SATAe) Your older system uses the Red path with the AHCI (SATA) the newer systems use the Yellow path with Apples PCIe (NVMe) drive.


Upgrading an 2017 iMac 27" with an off the shelf NMVe m.2 SSD + M.2 Apple PCIe adapter is definitely possible.

I am amazed how much confusion information is on the internet about this topic. Even from OWC, which only wants to sell a SATA upgrade kit for the 2017 iMac.

So I thought, try and find it out.

I did my 2017 iMac with a EVO 970 NVMe SSD + Sintech M.2 NVMe to Apple PCEe adapter.

I only recommend the Sintech adapters, others are known to have issues.

I used:


I have some images on instagram where I did my upgrade.:



I am happy I did it and got rid of the FusionDrive setup.

As a note, if you plan to replace the SATA drive with an SSD, which I also did then "No" you do not need the overpriced and useless thermal Sensor from OWC either.

I recommend the regular EVO not the EVO Plus or EVO Pro.

If you still insist on using the non standard EVO then Samsung released an firmware update for the EVO Plus that fixes issues on Mac, you need to upgrade it first using a PC before putting the drive in your Mac.


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@xarbit - Theres a couple of issues here that you glossed over.

First the newer 'Thin Series' iMac's are harder to open up without damaging the display and taking the logic board out adds to it (and a bit of a shock risk). Many people are just not skilled enough which is why OWC (and Transcend) decided not to get into supporting exchanging out the blade SSD as it was just so much harder.

As for using these M.2 adapters I'm not a fan. Maybe they are getting better I haven't tried one in the last year. The systems I get in with these adapters tend to have bad SSD's as the CRC error's finely catch up killing the SSD, SSD's that die in a couple of years is not good economics! Putting one into a iMac is risky in my option as its already so hard to get to. Don't forget some of these SSD & adapter combo's won't allow the drive to be the boot drive which is a strong reason too.

As far as the SATA drive replacement true the newer '17 and newer iMac's no longer require the inline thermal sensors ... But! If you run diagnostics you'll get a few errors which can confuse. I just install them as its just easier and the cost factor is not that much.

With the issues with booting under this config with some setups and hibernation gets messed up which can cause OS crashes. Is also not worth the time to debug or trying to always work around.


Thanks for your reply, while you are right it is harder to do yes, but truth is, it is not really that hard. I understand OWC and Co. not wanting to support endusers in opening thier sealed macs.

It is more the misleading and false information about this which also prevents pro's from doing it.

I believe People have fun doing things on thier own and are pretty much capable in deciding if they trust thier self in doing it on thier own.

As for the thermal sensor for the SATA drive, believe me.. I ran diagnostics and have zero errors and even have a screenshot somewhere that I posted to a user on instagram that asked me that.

The cost factor of around 50 euros here where I am from is more than too much if it is useless.

I also have no isuues with hibernation on my 2017 iMac.

The Sintech is a very good adapter and the EVO pretty much the same what Apple uses for its own blade SSDs.

There are bad M.2 adapters, if you tried one in the past then give the Sintech a try.


Here is a question for you! I used that same Sintech adapter you listed and a WD Black NVME 1tb SSD in a new 27" iMac 2019 and when I'd hold option on the keyboard at startup, the computer would boot up to the boot options page but as soon as I clicked on anything, ie, A USB Mac OSX Mojave install disk, or Internet recovery, the computer would show the Stop symbol and need to be re booted.

I even tested it and bought a second adapter and tried with a Samsung 970 Pro I had but the exact same thing happened.

Do you know why that would be? As far as I can tell it should have worked.


You did it on an iMac 2019, interesting .. don’t know anyone who tried it on a brand new 2019 iMac. Do you know what manufacture Apple used in the 2019 series SSD‘s and do you have pictures? Contact: http://telegram.me/scujas

Hi I have a same year iMac and going to do upgrade to m.2 ssd, would you upload a screenshot for the disk speed? either black magic or aja thx!!



I installed a Samsung 970 EVO 2TB M.2 in my mid-2017 27” 5k iMac and it works great with 4x NMVe speeds.

You can use the adapters from the MacBook Air etc… with your 5k mid-2017 iMac … and you will get NVMe 4x speeds with a 4x lane drive . Physically the adapters are the same (different protocols ACHI vs NVMe with same pinout).

I haven’t seen this posted anywhere, but the newer sockets on this logic board have an extended shield that can easily shorts to the adapter header. I confirmed with my multimeter. This can short out the power rails and most of the PCIE bus! This would help explain why some people have issues (failure to start and crashing).

I used Kapton tape (electrical tape works also, but is not as clean). You want to cover the soldered header pins on the adapter socket on the mating side but obviously not the gold plated card edge pins. See attachment.

Block Image

Block Image


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Good job, you know the newer Sintech adapters have insulating tape already on them. But you’re right it needs to made be aware of.

Any sleep issues with your upgraded iMac? Thanks

Sleeps and wakes up fine.

can you do internet recovery or still need a flash drive? Thanks!

I believe that Samsung 960 EVO or PRO with the adapter like this one:


WILL work fine in the iMacs 2017.

All the opinions that are different - come from people who aim to earn money on you.



Samsung has updated firmare for the SSD 970 Evo Plus PCIe NVMe, this is the direct link.

Now it works on Macs https://www.globalmac.cl/SSD-Samsung-970...

Best Regards!



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I just recently updated my plus drive. Unfortunately, despite the claim of performance enhancement, I am getting very MEDIOCRE write speeds of 976 MB/Sec with decent read speeds of 2490 MB/Sec with multiple Mac and Windows benchmarks (when used in the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 enclosure).


I bought M2 SSD SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus M.2 .

Which adapter should I buy now for my: iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)


1.- Your comments appears off-topic in this thread.

2.- Samsung X5 1TB SSD (enclosure included) $399.99 ... lol! very expensive.

U can look for M.2 NVME Type-C (USB3.1 gen2) SSD enclosure ~ $36 instead of $$$.


To install upgraded M.2 NVMe PCIe 2280 SSD your iMac 5K needs the "M.2 NVMe to Mac 2013-2017 SSD Adapter" like anything of the following:

1.- https://www.globalmac.cl/Adaptador-Corto...

2.- https://www.globalmac.cl/Adaptador-SSD-M...

Hibernation must be disabled in Mac models 2013 and 2014, but your's 2015 has 0 problems and this is a 100% recommended upgrade.

Faster SSD also means faster VRAM processes.

@rxs0 Performance relies on PCIe 3gen x4 lanes. Older Macs has PCIe 3gen x2 lanes (50% bandwith) or less.


Here is my experience with this upgrade. Hope it helps.



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I already bought 512 GB Samsung Pro 960 M.2 SSD. After I disassembled my iMac 2017 27". I'm shock realizing the interface is different! I feel stupid.

I'm ordering the adapter which is about 1 month to arrive. =( I'll buy the adapter to SATA for now and use it as storage. Later on I'll buy the correct SSD and install the OS on it.


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I've had to pull two adapted drives out of a iMac & MacBook Pro. While they may appear to work there's long term issues. With the MacBook Pro its at least an easy job, not so for an iMac!

I strongly recommend you put in the correct drive and call it a day. I'm sure you can return it or find a better home for it

so lets say i install the OS on the ssd sata. and i use the nvme m.2 with adapter for storage. its working right? and do i get full speed with the m.2 adapter to 12+16pin adapter?

@blacksinner - What are we trying to do here? This makes no sense. Forget the adapter and the M.2 drive aspect. Which is the faster I/O? SATA or PCIe. So why would you put the software which ideally needs the highest I/O speed on the slowest device between the two I/O's?

As to using a M.2 NVMe/PCIe drive in a iMac I would recommend you don't.

First no one has qualified one and the adapters we tested out a few years ago when we looked at it with MacBook Pro's where just junk (AHCI/PCIe)!

The newer NVMe drives Apple uses use a custom driver so I don't know if it would even work.


Can we leave the Fusion drive in after we install the NVMe?


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A Fusion Drive is physically two drives made up of the SATA drive and the PCIe Blade Drive, so you'er not adding a drive here you’re trading one drive for another.

If you need performance I don't recommend Fusion Drives, I recommend dual dedicated drives. The Blade SSD being the Boot drive with the app's and the rest of the drive left bare for V-RAM, Apps Caching and Paging. I would also set the drive as the scatch drive is the app allows it and you may need a larger drive if you do. Then use your HDD as the date drive holding your stuff.

Yes, you can create a Fusion Drive from your new NVMe SSD and the SATA drive of your iMac. If you want a really faster upgrade then replace the 3.5˝ HDD SATA with a "big" 2.5˝ SSD as they are a lot cheaper now.


I bought M2 SSD SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus M.2 .

Which adapter should I buy now for my: iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)

And will it work with 970 EVO Plus?


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I tried the EVO Plus on my iMac 2017 27” and it didn’t work. Sorry to tell you that. I eventually recycled my SSD from my 2015 MacBook Air and that worked.

I strongly recommend not using any M.2 SSD in iMac's at all!

They tend to wear out more quickly than the custom Apple SSD's as well as the OWC 3rd party drive.

At least in a MacBook Air or Pro you can easily gain access to it, unlike the iMac's as you need to completely remove the logic board to gain access to it.

Also be aware there have been reports of the 970 EVO Plus not working even in MacBook Pro's.

@happycarl Evo Plus needs the Samsung Firmware Update.


1.- Give proofs of your comparison of Apple/Others about M.2 SSD wear out please.

2.- The "Apple original SSD" are made by Samsung, Sandisk and so.

3.- Actual M.2 NVMe SSD like ADATA XPG SX8200 and Samsung 970 Evo Plus are TWICE as fast as the apple 2013-2017 replaceable ones: https://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Sa...

1 - Proof of failure: I have a drawer full of them and the different adapters! We even did some testing years ago and found they have a high CRC rate. While things are constantly moving forward I still not convinced it makes sense in iMac's. I've been fixing systems for a living for over 30 years.

2 -The Apple SSD's are not like the commodity M.2 drives. Apple defined the specs of the custom drives.

3 - Your benchmark is fixed! Sure compare to the oldest and slowest Apple SSD (AHCI/PCIe) why would you want to compare to the NVMe/PCIe 3.0 x4 interfaced Samsung SSPOLARIS drives You might get a shock! As it's very fast!

And while some of the drives that have just come out this year maybe a bit faster at best a few % they are not twice as fast.

Don't forget Apple stopped development on NVMe/PCIe SSD drives as they've moved on to T2 direct Flash module drives which is interleaved! Which is a magnitude of 50% faster! Than your NVEe/PCIe drives!



Hello everyone,

I opened my iMac 5k 2017, I already changed to a NVMe SSD (Samsung 970 EVO Pro with the M.2 adapter) and a Crucial SATA SSD. I also upgraded my CPU for a i7700 k,

After the re-assembly, my system didn’t even start, is there any step by step guide to help resolve the problem?

Do I need the bootable USB drive first…? What screen should i see?

Thanks for the advance !


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Yes, you need a boot USB first beforehand.

Then after the install you boot from it using command+r to start DiskUtil to format the NVMe drive and your SATA drive.

Then you boot from USB again using command to start the bootmanager.

Does your screen light up?

As a side note, after you did the install and have a working computer, you can reinstall recovery to your NVMe drive with this nice script:


@Johnny How is your system going so far? Any issues with the SSD? What is your SSD speed now? May I have a link with your adapter? Thanks

If you’re not getting LED3 in the logic board, you may have an adapter header shorted to shield. Check out my post.

Any update? You may have bent or misaligned your CPU during re-installation. See post below. Thanks.

Its not smart changing to much at one time!

I really not recommend using these M.2 SSD's with the adapter as they tend to fail more often. At least in a MacBook Air or Pro you have a much easier time getting to it.




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