Adding USB 3 to the iMac via mini pci-e?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Detosx, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Detosx, Jan 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011

    Detosx macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #1
    Is it possible to add USB 3 to the 2010 27" iMac via the iMac's internal mini PCI-E socket? I noticed on ebay that there is such a card and wondered if it would work in the iMac. Can anyone link me to a thread where someone has tried. I did a search but didn't find anything. Unfortunately the video capture card that I am interested in has USB 3 as a requirement.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #2
    There are only two USB 3 cards that work with OS X and those are for Mac Pro and MBPs with ExpressCard slot. They use special drivers as OS X does not support USB 3 natively, yet.
     
  3. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #3
    Hellhammer, thank you so much for your response. If anyone knows of a high quality video capture card that works via Firewire I would be grateful to read about it. But getting back to USB 3.

    I wonder if the hack community can come up with a solution. I would think an external power supply would be needed as I am not sure mini pci-e alone could deliver enough power to power a USB 3 hard drive or the USB 3 video capture card? I also wondered if there was any way of converting esata to USB 3 having momentarily misread a news story about a new device that sounded promising. I need to find a video capture card for around £400 that works via Firewire but so far I have drawn a blank. The Apple store in Aberdeen were well meaning, really nice enthusiastic folks, but clueless. Of course, I should have bought an Apple Pro, should have bought 'the right tool for the job' as my grandfather used to say, but my budget was limited.
     
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    #4
    Might I ask why your capture device has to be usb3 or firewire? There are already a couple of great quality usb capture devices on the market.
     
  5. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #5
    I had read about a number of high end Firewire cards but the cost was staggering. I then read about one that sounded great, didn't require a separate time base corrector, no sound sync issues. I can't find the link but unfortunately it turned out to be USB 3. A budget card that interested was the BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle - USB 3.0 HDMI Video Capture. I don't know if there are sync issues with that one or not but the spec was impressive. A requirement is that is that the card has composite in as the old Hi-band Umatic machine that I would be transferring from has composite.
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    Why not just get a hauppauge hd pvr? Or is it that you're in dire need of a device that can record in more than 13.5mbps h264?
     
  7. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #7
    I had read about the Canapus ADVC-110 and similar but the quality and range of inputs and outputs seemed limited and the customer reviews didn't inspire confidence. I want to get the job done as quickly as possible. There are a lot of tapes, some of them have mould on them.
     
  8. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    Nov 5, 2009
    #8
    You're making things too hard on yourself. I can guarantee the hauppauge hd-pvr's quality, and the elgato eyetv software can be bought for it as well (or alternatively you can use windows on the iMac)

    The elgato eyetv hd works just as good, but you'd need cable splitters if you want to output to both your computer and tv at the same time.

    Those are both good usb 2.0 capture devices that provide excellent quality, and have inputs for both composite, s-video and component up to 1080i.

    Live encoding h264 means you still get pretty good quality for usb 2.0's limited bandwidth. So in essence you do not need a pci express card or usb3.0 if you want a good quality recorder.
     
  9. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #9
    I need to read up on that, thank you. Does it have a composite in? I need to transfer the tapes to the Mac as lossless-ly as possible, clean up the picture, edit and put onto DVD in as lossless a way possible. The most commonly reported problems with the cheap and cheerful boxes seem to be sync issues and colour shifts. The thing I get told most often is that I will need a time base corrector or I am making a lot of work for myself.
     
  10. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #10
    The machines being used are old hi-band and lo-band Umatic, which unfortunately don't have built in time base correctors.I might be able to borrow a TBC unit but it is ancient and I need to run it through an oscilloscope to get the best out of it. Some of the newer high end capture cards have tbc built in but very expensive. A new USB 3 model seemed to be generating a lot of excitement, claiming no sync or colour shifts, but I hadn't read any reviews of it. I need to try and find it again but, again, without USB 3 I am a bit stuck. If anyone can link me to Umatic users with success stories with certain products, that would be great.
     
  11. Detosx thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Potential hardware problems aside when booting into OS X I know this wouldn't work in OS X without a hacked driver but I am wondering if it might work in Windows 7.

    Model number 1507880 - Mini-PCI Express (mini-PCIe) USB 3.0 Card

    1 x USB3.0 Type A IO Module (CN on the Mini PCIe card is +5V)
    1 x DF14 20-pin Cable ( for USB3.0 )
    1 x DC input Cable ( for power ) - would need to connect to an external power as I don't imagine I can take that off the motherboard and wouldn't want to try; anyone got a tech manual? Power requirement +3.3V & +12V,

    drivers for Vista/Win 7

    This card appears to have been available for a while but I have yet to find any iMac users who have been rash enough to try it.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. axuak macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #12
    ExpressCard and Mini PCIe are the same as PCIe

    Both ExpressCards and Mini PCIe cards are connected to the PCI Express Bus in the motherboard. ExpressCard and Mini PCIe are just smaller form factors of PCIe. Any driver for a chipset that works on the PCI Express Bus will work on any of its other shapes and sizes. The OS sees Mini PCIe cards and ExpressCards as just another PCI Express Card.

    As long as you can find a Mini PCIe card that uses the same chipset as its bigger cousins, it will work. If it does not have the same chipset as the larger variations, than the driver will NOT work. Ask the manufacturer of the mac-compatible cards what chipset they're using or try to find it on their specs page. Share any progress you make!

    I will try to do the same, as I am also excited about adding this to my white 2006 iMac, which also uses a mini PCIe card for AirPort. This method should work in any Intel Mac with Mini PCIe (in theory even the MacBooks, but it could prove difficult to fit it in such a tight space without removing the optical drive).

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for Windows 7 - if the box says Windows 7, it will run on Windows 7.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional Info. Regarding the PCI Express Standard:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express
     
  13. axuak macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #13
    I have an ADVC-110 and it is great for integrating into a video-editing workflow. Both iMovie and Final Cut recognize it as a DV device right out of the box. Another great benefit is that the DV format is less complex than the H.264 format, meaning you can edit them quickly on newer and older machines. I have edited some clips on my TiBook G4 (1 GHz) in Final Cut HD 3.5 (ON LEOPARD!!) with the thing and had fun doing it!

    The only downside is the format and the limited resolution. It is limited to a standard DV frame size - no HD here. Also, the DV format leaves minor compression artifacts, where H.264 leaves virtually none.


    Both the ADVC-110 or its USB-powered rivals would serve you well. The USB ones might give you a little more bang for your buck, though.
     
  14. Dansk macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #14
  15. axuak macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #15
    well probably the best option would be to remove the wireless card and put a mini pcie to expresscard adaptor and you could cut out a slot in the side of your iMac. Then you could just add one of the expresscard adaptors for the macbook pro. Im sending this from my PS Vita 3G . Ill find the link to the specific adaptor when i get home, kay? I have some good parts bookmarked on my iMac at home. I should be back in an hr or so to give you the links to the parts

    Once the hardware is installed, it should be a matter of just installing the drivers that came with the adapter for the expresscard macbooks.
     
  16. Dansk macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2008
    #16
    AWESOME! So there is hope! This is one of those VERY FEW Times where my frustration in waiting for the parts I ordered actually helped me out LOL. Looking forward to the parts link and I REALLY appreciate the info

    woot
     

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