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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac dvd/cd drive broken

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The Austringer

Member Since: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 10
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Hi all, my duel core intel Mac throws out all cds and dvds from the side slot. I understand that this is a common fault!! It about 2 years old and the drive has only been used half a dozen times - its very annoying but I am trying to stay positive. I can see no point in fitting a new drive if this is the quality I could expect.

So the question I would like to ask here is, can I connect some sort of external dvd/ cd drive (LG / Samsung, whoever) to play and copy my cds to my itunes library, which is completely empty at the moment. I would also like to play dvds in the same way I would be able too if the Macs drive was working. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated. Thanks, The Austringer
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BSD Meister

Member Since: Jun 16, 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 62
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Mac Specs: Too many to list. Typically use an Intel iMac for most of my stuff and a Mini for web video.

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The most unreliable component on a Mac computer are the optical drives. This isn't a "Mac thing" this is an optical disk thing.

Several years ago Audio/Video stores started selling DVD recorders to replace VCRs. Do you see them on the market anymore? No? Why?

Because people bought them as replacements for their VCRs and treated them accordingly - as in they'd record everything they wanted. The optical lifespans of optical drives is only thousands of hours, and that's average. I could go on web sites and read reviews of DVD recorders made by some of the best manufacturers in the world and instead of the 4 and 5 star reviews and high praise, they were getting 0 and 1 star reviews with comments like "will never buy one again."

Optical drives (especially DVD R/WR) are a not ready for prime time device if there ever was one. Old, read only CDs and even DVDs seem to do OK, but once they're R/WR they deteriorate rapidly.

I found an old clunker FireWire external hard drive on eBay that takes standard ATA half height DVD and CD units. I use it for all my recording use because I don't want to put any more use on my internal drives as possible (like for installing the OS or doing emergency repairs). Once the DVD R/WR units inside the Firewire unit fail, I'll just replace them with another from any old store (they're about $25 U.S.).

You might have problems booting or installing an OS from an external drive, and remember that the interface will be of importance on OS's prior to Leopard/intel.
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