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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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Back up and restore OS from NVMe?

Hello all, I’m a Mac newbie and non-native English speaker.

I have a newbie question that can’t find anywhere. I have a 2017 27’ 5k with 2TB fusion drive iMac that I want to upgrade the internal blade SSD(NVMe), but I don’t know if I need to back up the OS before I change the NVme or I can just plug-in the new SSD and install a new OS through wifi. Also, I know that 2tb fusion drives come with a 128gb internal drive and what will happen or I can change only the SSD and leave the 2tb HDD?

What are the exact procedures before I upgrade NVMe blade drives. I’ve seen the hardware tutorials like this one( iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Blade SSD Replacement ) but don’t see anyone saying if I have to back up the OS.

Thank you all for reading

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Most Helpful Answer

First you don’t need to backup your OS as you can re-install it from Internet Recovery. If you want to you can also setup a Bootable OS installer USB flash drive which is much faster than trying to do it over a WiFi connection (a direct Ethernet would be faster in any case)

Follow one of these guides to setup the OS installer

I don’t recommend High Sierra!

OK, the next thing is making sure you have a full TimeMachine backup on your external drive just in case as well as allow you to restore your user accounts, apps and data.

Now you need to break the Fusion Drive so you can safely remove the blade SSD this is the steps How to split up a Fusion Drive

Now you can continue taking your system apart. Make sure you use the correct tools as its very easy to damage your display as well as the logic board! Here’s the guide you’ll need to follow iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Blade SSD Replacement and you need this kit to replace the adhesive strips and get the needed pizza cutter to cut through the current adhesive strips. You’ll also need 2 sets of the Plastic Cards make sure you don’t insert the cards any farther than 2/3 of the blue area.

Now the most important part! What SSD are you planing in installing? I strongly recommend you stick with the custom Apple SSD’s. Here’s what I would install custom Apple Samsung SSPOLARIS SSD.

The next question is size! What is the usage? Are you someone working on pictures, videos or music? If you are you likely want to keep your dives independent of each other! Not a Fusion Drive! Thats if you are using a SSD thats 512 GB or bigger as you loose the benefit of the SSD in a Fusion Drive as you go bigger than 128 GB.

So lets say you are going with a 512GB or 1 TB drive. Once you install it you’ll want to format the SSD drive with GUID/APFS using Disk Utility after you boot up with the OS installer or via Internet Recovery. Install the macOS and at the end it will ask you if you have anything to migrate. You want to use the TimeMachine backup to recover your user accounts and apps (not the data! As you still have that on your HDD drive. Now finish installing any updates as needed and check your apps to make sure they are all working. Now the rest of your SSD you want to leave empty! As your system will leverage it for virtual RAM, Caching & Paging. Depending on your apps they will also leverage it for scratch space. You want to leave 1/3 of the drive unused for 512GB or smaller and 1/4 for 1TB or larger SSD.

The last step is we need to deal with the HDD. Here we just want the your stuff not the apps. Delete the OS and your apps to make space for new stuff. I do recommend you leave the drive as GUID/HFS+ so you can use any HDD defragmenter. If you have already upgraded it to GUID/APFS you’ll need to make sure the drive tools are compatible.

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I find the apple ssd so expensive, in case I want to use a samsung 970 evo works fine with adapter?

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As I stated I don't recommend them. Don't take my word, look at the others in this Question: Samsung ssd for MacBook Air (13, Early 2014)

For most people I recommend 512 GB SSPOLARIS If you are into video or music editing a 1 TB would be a good choice.

Yes, they are more expensive. But in iMacs it doesn't make sense going cheap as its quite a bit of work to get to it and most people want a reliable system.

I stock the 512 as well as the 2TB units as I upgrade so many systems.

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