Reader Reports: iMac Aluminum
Individual and Archived Topics
I've been having a problem with my iMac (Late 2013), 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5. It was continuously crashing when I was running Chrome web browser, especially when I was streaming using Chrome. I have uninstalled Chrome, but I am still having my computer crash sometimes, especially when I am using multiple programs. I have tried reformatting the computer, but the problem has persisted.
It has been suggested that this could be a CPU problem or a temperature-related connection problem. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what the problem could be.
Douglas RoseTo give Nita some piece of mind or a solution, I would try Apple Hardware Test.
Failing to find anything run EtreCheck.
My recent experience, I had issues on OS X 10.11.2 and found out my VPN client, PIA in this case, was the Culprit. Downloaded an alternative, as in TunnelBlink using Open VPN, problem resolved. PIA had not announced it had updated their clients. Both work now without issue.
So the lessen here, check all you software is up to date. Not all are automated like Mac App Store software.
MacInTouch ReaderFor Nita S, 22983,
In my experience for unexplained crashes, that a disk format didn't fix, that always denotes bad RAM. Have you run Apple Hardware Diagnostic on it?
Using Apple Hardware Test
1. Shut down your computer. Then, press the power button to turn it back on.
2. Press and hold the D key before the gray startup screen appears.
3. It takes a minute or so for AHT to start up and inspect your hardware configuration. While this is taking place, an icon appears on the screen:
4. When the process is complete, select your language and click the right arrow. If you aren't using a mouse, you can use the up and down arrows to select a language and then press the Return key.
5. The AHT console appears. You can choose which sort of test or tests to perform:
To perform all of the basic tests, click the Test button or press the "T" key or the Return key.
To perform a more thorough diagnostic test, select the "Perform extended testing" checkbox under the Test button before you click the Test button.
Note: Your test results will appear in the window in the bottom-right of the console.
6. To exit AHT, click Restart or Shut Down at the bottom of the window.
Mike RetondoSounds like a bad memory chip to me. I had the same kind of thing happen. Chrome is a memory hog for sure. Not a single memory testing application found the problem. After a week of testing and out of options, I returned to my initial gut feeling that is was memory. So at 1 a.m. I pulled all but one of my DIMMs out, and problem went away. After finding the bad DIMM, I realize it was one I bought just 2 months earlier. How quickly we forget when we get old.
"I've been having a problem with my iMac (Late 2013), 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5."
It sounds like a hardware issue, probably the hard drive, but one can't be sure. First Option-restart and choose your recovery partition. Run Disk Utility to "Repair" your hard drive. If it actually repairs something, then restart and see if that solved the crashing.
There are a variety of ways to test the various hardware components depending on what Mac/OS you are running. See
You will use the Apple Diagnostics procedure.
If there are no error codes, create a test User account and see if the crashing happens there. Don't initially sign into an iCloud account. If it still crashes, you have ruled out some issue specific to your User account. If it doesn't crash, then turn on iCloud and activate all your Mail accounts. If you continue to have no problems, then there is something wrong in you original user account. You may want to continue to use the test account. You will have to re-authorize any 3rd-party software you didn't acquire from the App Store.
If it continues to crash in the test user folder, you need to find an external hard drive and, within the recovery partition, install a fresh OS and boot into that. I don't think the Apple Diagnostics from above can discover all hardware problems.
I would initially not use Migration Assistant but create a test user similar to above. You should be able to launch apps from the internal HD to test the crash issue. If there is crashing, then it's probably hardware (but not the hard drive). If no crashing, then try using Migration Assistant to migrate your original user account and see how that works.
Lots of luck.
Brian SNita S wrote:
It has been suggested that this could be a CPU problem or a temperature-related connection problem. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what the problem could be
Evidence will be more helpful than educated guesses. While hardware issues are possible, it makes sense to start with the basics.
My approach would be:
(1) look at the crash reports (if any) by viewing them in the Console.app. This will provide a clue about what crashed.
(2) Download the freeEtreCheck app. It scans (non-destructively) your machine and provides a report summarizing the findings. Its output is often helpful for identifying rogue startup daemons or other software the user isn't expecting. Maybe post the report on Dropbox (or something similar) and then post the link for MacInTouch readers to download the report.
(3) Run Apple's Hardware Test.
This should get you started. Once MacInTouch readers have more information, they would be able to offer more precise guidance. Good luck.
Ed StembridgeMy iMac 27" (Late 2015, 4.0, i7) has been crashing anywhere from a few times a week to multiple times a day for the past three or four months (ran fine for the first few months after purchase). I leave the computer running 24/7, so this often happens when I'm away - I return to find it running the screen saver on the login screen. When I do happen to be using it, it simply freezes up and then reboots itself after a 15-30 second pause. Sometimes I get the kernel panic message, most of the time, not.
Crash logs don't reveal any consistent culprits, and short of nuking and repaving (I can't spare two days to do this right now), I'm at a loss as to what to do other than to save often. I do remember searching online for one of the more frequent errors in the crash log and found a number of hits, but no solutions. I used Onyx to clear all caches, etc., too, but no improvement. I might try setting up a new user account and leave it run for a couple days just to see what happens.
I don't remember exactly, but am suspicious this started happening after one of the El Cap updates earlier this year.
FWIW, I have 40 GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 4TB rotational HD that replaced the memory and storage the computer came with (upgrades all from OWC). All software up-to-date.
System 7 was more reliable than this... heck, Windows 95 was more reliable!
"FWIW, I have 40 GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 4TB rotational HD that replaced
the memory and storage the computer came with (upgrades all from OWC).
All software up-to-date.
System 7 was more reliable than this... heck, Windows 95 was more reliable! "
But I'll bet you didn't have as many pieces of 3rd-party hardware
attached to those machines, and it's probably related to one of those
I guess my advice is to first make sure the only peripherals attached via USB are a keyboard and trackpad/mouse. Unmount your 4TB rotational in Disk Utility, assuming that is a data drive. Run your favorite flavor of a hardware diagnostic test. If negative, then drop the RAM back to whatever came with the machine. If that doesn't solve the problem, install a fresh version of 10.11 to an external drive. If that works, then clone your startup drive to an external and try that.
It's theoretically under warranty, but with all your hardware changes
you are going to have to revert everything to get it covered. On iFixit,
it looks like opening your iMac is a PITA. Hope it's something simple
like RAM or an attached external device.
Harold ZehIn 229853, Ed Stembridge wrote about crashing, panics, auto-reboots, etc., issues with his new 27" iMac. Most telling,
"FWIW, I have 40 GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 4TB rotational HD that replaced the memory and storage the computer came with (upgrades all from OWC). All software up-to-date."
Note exactly a minor "for what it's worth!" Did OWC do the upgrades - you sent them the machine - or did you do all that yourself with their components?
Replacing the SSD involves a nearly complete tear-down - possibly a connection (such as the fan) is suspect? Your description sounds a bit like overheating to me.
Replacing the spinning drive necessitates an addition to the wiring harness to bypass Apple's thermal sensor (or at least it did in slightly older similar machines I have recently worked on.) And the RAM, or a percentage of it, is third party. Any of those things could be a culprit.
I would clone the start-up drive to an external USB, restart off it and dismount the two internal drives one at a time, then both. Bang away and see if it crashes or freezes. If it does, try the same thing with a fresh basic install of Mac OS on an external. If that fails to run smoothly, I would suspect the RAM. Remove the third party RAM and test again with only the Apple installed modules.
The process of finding the fix will be the old fashioned process of elimination - primarily those third party components and all the connections/re-connections that enabled the original transplant surgery.
The hardest aspect of the fix would be to have to open it up and replace the SSD and hard drive with the original components. Try just the spinning drive first as you can do that very quickly and not have to completely tear the machine down or glue it back together to test.
Lots of work ahead, no matter what. But having such a wonderful iMac back to stable and consistent performance will far outweigh the time, and potentially work, you lose to the symptoms constantly plaguing you now. The last thing I would suspect are the updates you made to the OS, although that course is the easiest to check.
Sterett PrevostRe: Ed Stembridge's crashing 27"
You listed the installed RAM as 40 GB. This sounds different from other RAM amounts such as 8, 16, 32, 64. Your iMac will take up to 64 GB of 204-pin PC3L-14900 DDR3 (1867 MHz) SO-DIMMs in its 4 RAM slots. Memory interleaving is supported on your iMac, so perhaps the odd 40 GB total is somewhat confusing the OS which may be expecting "matched pairs?"
Ed StembridgeThanks to all for the responses on my crashy iMac 27". Actually, that's all pretty much what I'd tell someone else to do in my situation, too! I'm just too crunched at the moment to spend half a day (or multiple full days) messing with it.
I've also always found the suggestion to "unplug everything except your keyboard and mouse" to be odd - if that fixes it, then what do you do? All those peripherals are there for a reason! (c:
What's odd/frustrating is that my setup worked fine for several months and only started this business maybe around March or April.
Oh - I did do my own memory and storage upgrades, cracking the iMac using the OWC kit. I really don't want to have to go back inside again if I can help it. Ric had made a number of comments around the time I did this that folks ought to upgrade storage externally rather than internally. I did both, but am now thinking it might have been better to spring for more BTO storage up front, which would have avoided having to go inside in the first place.
My "odd" memory configuration is the result of upgrading two banks with 16GB sticks, and leaving 4GB sticks in the other two banks. I figured I'd upgrade those in the future. Looking back through the Console logs, I do see a number of panics with "Possible memory corruption" listed, so maybe I'll try reverting to my original memory for a while - that won't take long to swap.
Will report back if and when I figure it out or if it stops with a
David CharlapSterett Prevost wrote: "You listed the installed RAM as 40 GB. This sounds different from other RAM amounts such as 8, 16, 32, 64. Your iMac will take up to 64 GB of 204-pin PC3L-14900 DDR3 (1867 MHz) SO-DIMMs in its 4 RAM slots. Memory interleaving is supported on your iMac, so perhaps the odd 40 GB total is somewhat confusing the OS which may be expecting "matched pairs?""
Anything is possible, but this sounds unlikely.
To get 40GB, I can think of three combinations of DIMMs that will work:
The first two combinations are not matched pairs; the third is (or can be, depending on what's in what socket).
Mismatched memory shouldn't cause flaky system behavior. Expected behavior if mismatched memory is not supported would be either a power-on self-test failure or the OS not seeing it all (because the mismatched DIMMs are removed from service.) Expected behavior if mismatched memory is supported would be either normal operation or reduced memory performance.
Crashing tells me that (if it is in fact RAM-related) that one or more
of the DIMMs is either defective or not installed properly. They can
sometimes come unseated from their sockets, so removing and reinserting
them may help.
MacInTouch ReaderEd, you might try downloading a copy of the ISO for MemTest86 for Mac and burning the image to disc. You can boot from that for an extended go to see what it turns up just to rule out any memory problems.
Another thing you can try is to download the latest combo updater for El Capitan and reinstall. The incremental updates you get flagged to install by Apple have been noted over the years to be a bit flaky for some, but in using the combo updaters those problems do not seem to crop up as often.
Both of these are things you can run over a lunch break or other extended break.
Colleen ThompsonEd in #229922 asked,
I've also always found the suggestion to "unplug everything except your keyboard and mouse" to be odd - if that fixes it, then what do you do? All those peripherals are there for a reason!
Unplugging everything else is not a solution, it's a troubleshooting step. It might help you to isolate a bad cable or device which you can then take steps to fix. A one-man band would have trouble tuning his accordion* at the same time all the other instruments are banging and tootling away.
As for the mismatched RAM... an illegal RAM configuration would be flagged by the system, as David Charlap noted. On the subject of interleaving, when I looked into it rather extensively several years ago, I came to the conclusion that interleaving can indeed improve performance but not to the extent that the average user would even be able to detect. So I don't stress about matching RAM. (Insert standard disclaimer that I'm prepared to be proven wrong.)
*Accordion experts will probably jump in to say they're not tunable.
WireRe crashy iMac and 40GB RAM, the comment about RAM matching is worth a further look: there may be rules about which slots are paired, as well as agreement on module sizes.
Ed StembridgeThanks for the continued input on my crashy iMac...
I ran Apple Diagnostics (using option-D) and it passed with no issues.
I then ran EtreCheck, and it found a couple issues with .plist files and such, which I corrected (two of which involved uninstalling and reinstalling Glimmerblocker and Adobe Flash, which is still needed for my employer's HR site).
Just ran EtreCheck again and no errors this time.
The iMac was up for at least a day after I did this (no crashes!), up until this morning, when I...
...Ran MemTest86, which took about 4.5 hours to make one pass through the memory tests (a bit longer than my typical lunch break). No errors. I honestly don't think this is a memory issue, at least not with the hardware (but you never know).
I always update with the Combo installer.
I do get it about troubleshooting peripherals, which is a lot easier today than back in the SCSI days, when a setup that worked perfectly fine for months (or more likely, weeks) would suddenly stop for no reason, and simply switching device order would fix it (again, for no apparent reason at all).
Finally, I play piano and guitar, and my sons both play stringed instruments, so I'm familiar with tuning with the orchestra. No accordions in the house, but we *have* heard a lot of viola jokes over the years!
"What's the difference between a dead skunk and a viola laying in the middle of the road?"
"There are no skid marks in front of the viola."
(I'll be here all week! Try the veal!)
Ed SRe: Ed Stembridge's viola...
Can you take your iMac into Apple store for them to "put on the bench and run Atlas/GSX suite of testing"? it is far more productive for them to have it a few days (so back it up) and find out if your Memtest is suggesting a thermal/memory fail. Apple's built-in test is not conclusive/granular for pro testing.
If it's a 27", see if you can swap slots/modules in/out/around or get pair of new/good memory.
If it's a 21.5", take it in.
I lost much sleep over an older iMac with was determined to have bad motherboard (slot) and GPU card. The combination was enough to not be a consistent, predictable fail. But over time and heat, along with stressing GPU on videos playing, it was clear that the GPU would fail (it did, days after I gave it back) and the user to determine that a 2008 iMac should be put down.
David CharlapEd Stembridge wrote:
"... No accordions in the house, but we *have* heard a lot of viola jokes over the years!"
What's the difference between a violin and a viola? The viola burns longer.
MacInTouch ReaderThere are two Mac Diagnostic suites that Apple makes available to its retail locations and authorized service providers: AST (also commonly referred to as MRI) and ASD.
Apple System Toolkit is, for the most part, a superficial series of tests to make sure that parts and systems are functional and properly connected.
Apple System Diagnostics is the successor to a series of more intensive tests that have been available to different ranges of models over the years. (It used to be you had to build the system discs to run these tests, but for later models the tests have become available over the same Netboot servers that deliver AST, which is very handy.) There are two sets of ASD tests (EFI and OS), which cover different parts and systems, with some overlap between them.
AST is a good first step to find out if a part is functioning properly, and as a post-repair check. ASD is for when you need to dig a bit deeper -- to evaluate, say, graphics hardware or memory. Or for when you want the tests to repeat, to look for signs of intermittent failure.
(GSX and ATLAS are completely seperate systems, nothing to do with Diagnostics.)
In the case of this iMac, based on the symptoms that have been
described, ASD is more likely to yield information of value -- but it's
similar to the Apple Diagnostics that have already been run, and Memtest
can be run by the user.
Manny VelosoOn some Macs, there were preferred slots for the larger DIMMs. I'd try moving the memory around and see if that helps. The reseating that'll happen during this process won't hurt either.
Simon WagstaffItem 230138, Manny Veloso:
On some Macs, there were preferred slots for the larger DIMMs. ...
Tripped over this semi-hidden Apple utility the other day:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Memory Slot Utility
When I run it (from Finder), it says,
"The memory modules are installed in the recommended slots."
Give it a go.
[That's an interesting tip, and, for what it's worth, I gave it a go on a 2011 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. There, it said, "Memory Slot Utility is not intended to run on this system." -Ric Ford]
Ed StembridgeGreat input as always... By way of an update, I have yet to discombobulate the iMac so I can reseat the memory sticks (despite Steve Jobs's best efforts, I still have a plate of spaghetti attached to every Mac I purchase, it seems).
That said, the iMac has been up without a problem for about two days,
nine hours. I'm going to let it run and see how long it goes before
crashing again - if it doesn't, then it's likely that one of the
software reinstalls I did corrected the issue. If it does, I'll reseat
the memory sticks, and run Memtest again (which showed no errors the
first time through).
Colleen ThompsonRe #230173 and Simon Wagstaff's intriguing discovery of a previously-unnoticed utility
Tripped over this semi-hidden Apple utility the other day:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Memory Slot Utility
I tried running it on my Yosemite Late 2012 MacBook Pro (non-retina). It refused to launch, not even bouncing in the dock, and my system log was flooded with the following message:
/24/16 8:02:22.641 AM DXFinderWindowServer: AppleEvents: Send port for process has no send right, port=( port:15387/0x3c1b rcv:1,send:0,d:0 limit:5) (findOrCreate()/AEMachUtils.cp #526) com.apple.main-thread
Will PerezApple's "Memory Slot Utility" is only intended for the Mac Pro towers as documented here:
Same goes for the "Expansion Slot Utility" which controls PCI Express lanes per slots.
Samuel HerschbeinMemory Slot Utility is used on Mac Pros to verify that DIMMS are installed in the proper slots. This is from the Apple Technician Guide for the Mac Pro Early 2009:
If you install different size DIMMs in quad-core or 8-core processor Mac Pro (Early 2009) computers, follow the order in the tables above. If the DIMM configuration you install doesn't provide optimized performance, the Memory Slot Utility will appear on screen and recommend an improved configuration. To use the Memory Slot Utility again, go to /System/Library/Core Services.
MacInTouch ReaderMany years ago I followed the recommendation to purchase the external CD/DVD drive by Pioneer, identified as DVR-112. It has proved flawless in backing up and playing back my DVDs.
In contrast, the CD/DVD reader in my iMac craps out at the slightest error.
Inasmuch as the Pioneer DVR-112 is no longer available, what do MacinTouch users recommend as a truly reliable alternative that handles DVD playback without the frequent fatal errors thrown by the built-in iMac DVD drive?
For now, I dread the day that my DVR-112 fails, inasmuch as this is the
only drive that still reads all of my backup video disks.
Jeff BlumeRe 230194
Apple's "Memory Slot Utility" is only intended for the Mac Pro towers as documented here:
And not for the "Darth Vader Signature Mac Pro." It won't launch.
Doesn't even leave a log error that I can find.
Matt TolchinWill Perez points out:
Apple's "Memory Slot Utility" is only intended for the Mac Pro towers as documented here:
"Mac Pro (Mid 2012 and earlier): How to remove or install memory"
I get the same message as Ric ("Memory Slot Utility is not intended to run on this system") when I try to run the Utility on my 2008 Mac Pro, OS X 10.6.8.
Tripped over this semi-hidden Apple utility the other day:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Memory Slot Utility
Alas, running Mavericks, trying to launch it is futile; nothing happens, not even an error message. This trying the Memory Slot Utility on either the Mavericks or the EC partition.
Console reports login: USER_PROCESS: 11619 ttys000 and nothing else; Terminal spontaneously opens and reports:
Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Memory Slot Utility ; exit; iMac:~
[username]$ /System/Library/CoreServices/Memory Slot
Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Memory Slot Utility ; exit; logout
This on an iMac 27-inch, Mid 2011 running Mavericks.
Billy HelsabeckI use a cheap Amazon branded portable USB self-powered DVD drive when the need arrises.
MacInTouch ReaderI have two external burners, a Plextor and a Liteon. I put them into enclosures which I purchased from OWC. You can buy the entire assembly from OWC, but that comes with an LG burner with which I have not had the best of luck. The Plextor is supposed to be a sturdier drive than the Liteon but I find that they perform in a similar manner for occasional use.
The Plextor PX-891SAF can be found for $31.99 at Amazon
The Liteon I prefer, IHAS-124-14, can be found for $18.69 at Amazon
There are other Liteon drives which offer additional features such as Lightscribe. They are also available on Amazon.
The enclosure I use is OWC's Value Line which sells for $29.99. It is USB 2.0 which is all you need for an optical drive. USB 3 offers no additional benefit. The enclosure can be found at
Depending upon your existing enclosure you may be able to remove the Pioneer and put the Plextor or Liteon in your existing case.
A note with the OWC Value Line enclosure...If you choose to get a Blu-ray burner and intend to install it in this enclosure be sure to check the dimensions of the Blu-ray burner. Some are longer than others and this enclosure will not accept the longer units.
David CharlapAn anonymous MacInTouch reader wrote:
"... CD/DVD drive by Pioneer, identified as DVR-112. It has proved flawless ... what do MacinTouch users recommend as a truly reliable alternative that handles DVD playback without the frequent fatal errors thrown by the built-in iMac DVD drive?"
I am using an Apple external USB SuperDrive on my Mac Mini (and occasionally on my MacBook Air). But I'm not sure I'd recommend it. It has never given me a problem, but it's a slot-loading drive (no tray) so I can't use 3" discs and business-card discs in it. It's also bus-powered and uses more than the USB2-standard 500mA, so it can only work when attached directly to Apple computers (which can put out extra current on their USB ports.)
I haven't gone shopping for drives for a long time, but in the past I always got Plextor drives. I would do some Google searching for reviews to see if they are still as reliable as their past reputation.
Looking at the Plextor web site, it appears that the company is today focused on making SSDs, but they list two optical drives as current products:
PX-891SAF (http://www.goplextor.com/Product/Detail/PX-891SAF). Internal 5.25" SATA drive. CD-RW, DVD+/-RW. Because it's an internal 5.25" drive, you'll need to provide your own enclosure if you want to use it with any current-model Mac. $32 from Amazon.
PX-B120U (http://www.goplextor.com/Product/Detail/PX-B120U). External USB 2.0 drive. CD/DVD/Blu-Ray (CD-RW, DVD+/-RW, BD-RE). I couldn't find an Amazon listing, unfortunately.
I have similar opinions about Pioneer drives. I've never had a problem with them, but I haven't gone shopping for quite a while. Their web site lists six different current models, all are BD/DVD/CD drives - two internal 5.25" models (which you can, of course, install in an external enclosure) and four USB models.
Definitely worth searching out some reviews.
MacInTouch ReaderFor the reader looking at the potential need to replace a Pioneer CD/DVD drive, there are many ways to go. Suffice to say, there is much more to it than I can go into here, but I might suggest the following notes as a starting point.
If you are only looking for a full-sized direct replacement, you might as well look at a drive which supports reading and burning of CD/DVD/Blu-ray/M-DISC. I prefer the full-sized external drives over the slim laptop designed units. Especially when regularly burning discs is involved. New units come equipped with USB 3.0 which should easily suffice more most individual's needs. A good example might be the following:
In reality, what you are buying is someone's case and power supply while using a common optical drive mechanism from a company such as LG or Pioneer.
As for the constant errors you are receiving when using the internal iMac burner, if you have not already done so you might try burning at lower speeds than the defaults or try using a different software package depending on what your needs are. Though, in the end this drive may in fact just be bad as you suspect.
Hopefully, your Pioneer will not need replacing any time soon. My external is an older LaCie using a Pioneer mechanism and still runs fine after all these years. As it runs over FireWire, I will probably be forced to upgrade due to lack of a computer with the appropriate port before the unit itself ceases to work.
Ed StembridgeWell, I made it almost a week without a crash, but as I was getting ready to leave for work this morning, noticed the iMac sitting on the login screen - it had just crashed, with a listing of memory registers and Adobe Update Service (or something along those lines) being the running app.
I did try the Memory Slot Utility app over the weekend, and got the same result as y'all - nothing.
I should hopefully have time to pull the memory and reseat it tonight. Will report back.
MacInTouch ReaderThe Apple SuperDrive does not work with all Macs. It is compatible only with any Mac built after 2008 that does not have a built-in optical drive. It is bus driven and should be connected directly to the Mac, not by way of a hub.
Inasmuch as the Pioneer DVR-112 is no longer available, what do MacinTouch users recommend as a truly reliable alternative that handles DVD playback without the frequent fatal errors thrown by the built-in iMac DVD drive?"
I hate to say it, but I gave up on the slot-load Mac Superdrives a long time ago. Their speed was pretty slow and they just didn't hold up (the only thing replaced on two iMacs). I rely on external DVD drives for all my burning and reading.
I actually use the externals a lot, and probably burn more than I read. I've had good luck with the LG DVD drives that will work with M-Discs. My workhorse is an LG Electronics model GH24NS95B 24X SATA Super-Multi DVD Internal Rewriter with M-Disc Support, $20 on Amazon. It sits in a Vantec NexStar DX External 5.25-Inch Optical Drive Enclosure, $40 on Amazon and has a USB 3.0 interface.
The enclosure has its own fan and is very quiet. The drive make a bit
more noise than the enclosure but blows the doors off the Superdrive in
terms of speed, and so far in reliability. I have a similar setup on my
backup Hackintosh, and I have used the LG drives in some other
Hackintosh's I've built with excellent results.
Harold StoddardWhen my iMac's internal optical drive got flaky a couple of years ago, I bought an external Samsung SE 218 from Amazon for about $30. It's been completely reliable for playing DVDs, which is what it's mostly been used for. It's USB-powered and fits neatly at the bottom of the iMac's stand. It worked out of the box with no setup. The only adjustment I had to make was to remember it's an external drive so the eject key won't eject a disc; you have to eject the drive.
MacInTouch ReaderNot all external slim drives will run when being powered from only one USB port. If you choose to buy one make sure that is will do so. Some may require using two USB ports or a separate power supply.
MacInTouch ReaderInteresting that you have had good luck with LG burners. My experience has been the opposite for their DVD burners. I have had good luck with their Blu-ray burners, although the DVD burn speeds are a bit slower than with DVD only burners.
Samuel HerschbeinIn item 230303 a MacInTouch reader said
"The Apple SuperDrive does not work with all Macs." \
Technically this is true, but there's a trick to allow it to work on all Macs. We covered this on MacInTouch [previously].
This is done by creating or modifying
and adding the Kernel Flag
mbasd=1 (MacBook Air SuperDrive = true).
How this is done is OS version dependent. This site has good info:
Samuel HerschbeinIn item 230345 a MacInTouch reader said
"Not all external slim drives will run when being powered from only one USB port."
Many, if not most, external USB burners will read using a single USB port. Most, if not all, require two ports for burning.
Briefly: USB ports typically supply 500ma. Apple's can supply more. The extra power allows Apple's SuperDrive to work with a single USB connector. Since the majority of USB ports are limited to 500ma, the drive manufacturers use two ports to get the power they need.
Some drives also have a port for a 5V adapter. Very helpful for the newer one-port Macs.
I'd avoid using a USB hub. Many higher speed USB devices have issues when run through a hub. Ironically, my old Elgato eyeTV HD worked better through a hub than when plugged in directly to the Mac. My Elgato eyeTV Hybrid and eyeTV One don't work well with hubs.
Gene LI successfully used this trick to allow a friend to use the SuperDrive on the old 2008 MacBook Pro he got from me. He also uses the drive on his new iMac.
Thanks to MacInTouch!