The world’s first SSD-equipped Apple TV

by editor @ on June 13, 2008


Josh Lee is not a typical kind of guy so why should his Apple TV be like anybody else’s? Why settle for a 40GB traditional hard drive when there are solid-state drives out there that run faster, quieter and cooler?

And that was exactly what Josh did. He replaced his clunky old 40GB hard drive on his Apple TV with a new state-of-the-art Transcend 32GB SSD. All he did was taking an image of his 40gb drive, doing a little diskutil repartitioning trick and then writing the image back to the new drive. Voila – the world’s first SSD-equipped Apple TV.

So was it worth it? Josh reported that the heat coming off of the Apple TV has been reduced. However, as far as speed, it is more or less the same. He mentioned though that it might have made a difference if he got a faster version of the SSD.

Here is Josh’s original email to me:

attached are a few pics..

its the Transcend 32GB SSD model# TS32GSSD25-M
I picked it up for about 160 bucks + shipping..

all i did was take an image of my 40GB drive..

then mounted it, resized the Media Partition with “diskutil resizePartition disk sizeG”

which didnt change the size of the DMG file, i suspose there is a way to compress it with hdutil.. ?

then i DD’d the image to the SSD, which took forever. it came back and said it was full not enough space..

i tried it anyway in the apple tv. then did a factory restore, (i think this recreates the partitons) and came out like you see in the pics… then it asked if i wanted to upgrade, and i did.

used the patch2stick and im up and running without all that HEAT! 🙂 lol

its basically the same process for upgrading the drive…. as far as space is concerned.. who needs so much space on the ATV anyway? i store everything on a NAS.. 🙂

Here are the photos forwarded to me:


  • mr confused

    it’s nice how you have done this… but what is the point..? considering, you are now $160 worse off and a sizeable chunk of your life shortened 😛

    is it me or does that look like an pata/ide…

  • Joe

    Capacity = 6.88GB ??

  • Mack

    …about as much point as getting Apple TV!

  • James

    “Capacity = 6.88GB ??”


  • I did it to try to get the ATV to run cooler, i want to mount it where there is not enough air flow to keep it cool… It now runs warm to the touch, but not hot like before. and its Quiet.. you only hear a small small amount of fan noise only when you press your ear to the unit.

    im unsure of the 6.88G size. i thought it would be closer to 9gig. my SSD is only a 32GB pata 44pin device.

    I dont store ANY movies or music on the actual ATV so 6 gig is still to much wasted space 🙂 — and even if i did need space i can mount my home folder to my NAS where there is over 4TB of storage 😉

  • Cool idea. But wouldn’t it be cheaper just to get 2 X 12 cm fans aimed at the apple tv?

  • Dizzle

    I honestly don’t feel it was worth the time and the $160.

  • derrick: the whole point was noise & heat.. buying more fans defeats the purpose.

    anyway, this will be the only ATV of the 4 i have to get this mod.

    This mod is not worth the hassle & price 🙂

  • Michael

    My three questions are how much cooler (as in temp) does it run, how much less power does it use and what’s it’s boot time? Sounds pretty cool to me, though I would probably wait until the prices come down some on SSD’s.

  • Chas

    I just put a 250GB drive in my AppleTV. I was worried about any excess heat from the drive but everything seems to be working fine.

  • zarkoff

    Remove the power supply to an outside ‘brick’, put the hard drive in an external case, and drill some airholes in the top and bottom, and then finally put some .25″ rubber feet under the atv case. That should fix any heat issues… 😉

  • ric

    Chegou à hora dos orea secas terem TV A CABO em casa
    Aproveitem à mamata Em menos de 1 minuto você estará assistindo tv a cabo de graça em seu pc.

  • tvdigitalnopc

    Você está disposto a pagar quando para ter 157 canais em sua casa?
    Então acesse e descubra como ter 157 canais por apenas R$1,26 por mês

  • carlos

    Você está disposto a pagar quando para ter 157 canais em sua casa?
    Então acesse e descubra como ter 157 canais por apenas R$1,26 por mês

  • Petronio

    I hake my 40 gb apple disk blocked.
    Is it possible to have the image used by josh and a small paper with the procedure he have done for istalling this image in the new disk?
    Thanks in advance.

    I have xp and ubuntu NOT apple. Ask to the administrator for my mail.

  • jerry

    Nice hack if you see it as a “proof of concept”, otherwise it may be a liitle expensive.

    A much cheaper alternative with a similar result would be replacing the internal ATV HD with a cheap Compact Flash card in an IDE-to-CF adaptor. I did not try this in my Apple TV but have succesfully tried this in laptops.

    What you would need is:
    – adaptor that plugs in your ATV HD cable and enables plugging in an CF card. Can be had for $10 or so.
    – A CF card. The ATV operating system requires less then 4G. Would cost you another $10 or so.

    Such an ATV could be used normally for streaming from an Itunes library on a PC. With the proper hacks playing media from a USB disk attached to the ATV or a NAS have been reported to work.

    Total of $20 an probably some hours of your life.

    Who dares?

  • snowleopardsam

    nice choice, 15GB/32GB Solidata SSD SLC Indilinx can work

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  • Umm, not the worlds first, sorry, i put my old macbook pros ssd in my AppleTV in the car, last year…

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