Adding USB3.0 to late 2009 iMac (11,1)

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
Hi, as I see a lot of people trying to achieve the same thing on his old imac 27'', and searching the net trying to see if someone has already done this, we end up here thinking it's not possible to swap the mini pci-e wifi card, I'll update with my experience: it works, you can have usb 3.0 on older imac (with some caveats).

I have an imac 27'' Quad core late 2009 (11,1). I've successfully removed the airport card and put a mini pci-e usb 3.0.

What you'll need:

IMG_4662.JPG

1) A mini pci-e usb 3.0 card. I've used this one with sata power. Swap it with the wifi card.

IMG_4659.JPG IMG_4663.JPG

2) A back panel expansion connector. Closing the imac is almost impossible, because the back panel expansion connector to the mini pci-e card is very rigid and it collides with the screen panel. You'll need this modded low profile adapter. The height is just 7mm, but maybe a right angle adapter could work but I doubt there's just too little space in there.

IMG_4666.JPG

- A sata power cable splitter in order for the card to power and mount the drives. The sata cable, even a right angle connector, it's too high and collide just as the 20-pin did and you'll not be able to close the imac. There's no slim low profile cable for an esata that I could find, so I had to remove the plastic protecting the connector header (some scissors and a LOT of patience, it's very hard to remove without damaging the wires) and have just the barebone connector that'll be around 7-8mm height and protect it with electrical tape. Now the imac closes, still it collides and you have to push a little and put the screws in place, but now it closes and works.

IMG_4664.JPG

You'll have to now put all cables together and put them in place towards the bottom of the imac where the ports will need to be drilled. Space is minimum be VERY patient and cautious or you'll break something.

IMG_4667.JPG

IN the end, as I've already replaced the optical drive with a ssd, I cutted the plastic that separate the optical drive. It has no purpose anymore and I could put the back panel extension cables below and it was easier to close the case. It is optional, but it's easy to do and helps a lot.
IMG_4687.JPG IMG_4688.JPG

- A dremel to drill two holes at the bottom of the imac case. Be sure to know what you're doing!

IMG_4658.JPG IMG_4665.JPG

- Installing the GenericUSBXHCI.kext (or the modded AppleUSBXHCI v710.4.11), for the card to work. Drives are mounted and read/write works as fast as you expect from a usb 3 connection.

What you should expect:
- USB 3.0 at full speed.
- Random mount/dismount of usb 3.0 devices and USB power warnings. (usual with mac usb 3.0)
- Only one usb 3.0 port is working at full speed at the same time: If I plug two usb 3.0 drives, one is recognised as "Superspeed bus" (5Gb/s) while the other as "High-Speed bus" (480Mb/s). If i only plug one drive at a single port it works at 5Gb/s (I can switch port and same speed). I don't know if this is a kext limitation because in the specs it's specified it allows 2 usb 3.0 ports.

DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK! :)
 

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
It is possible to add esata?
Should be. In fact, that's where I took the inspirations for the modification (but this is the 24' version, airport card is on the bottom of the imac). In my case I prefered usb 3.0 ports.
 
Comment

AnakChan

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2015
21
1
Hi @icpmac, is there any guidance you could provide to installing the GenericUSBXHCI.kext please? i'm stuck with it being an unsigned code :-


bash-3.2# kextutil /System/Library/Extensions/GenericUSBXHCI.kext
Diagnostics for /System/Library/Extensions/GenericUSBXHCI.kext:
Code Signing Failure: not code signed
Untrusted kexts are not allowed
ERROR: invalid signature for net.osx86.kexts.GenericUSBXHCI, will not load

I've tried nvram kext-dev-mode=1 and nvram boot-args=kext-dev-mode=1, and rebooting but doesn't seem to work. I have an iMac11,1 running El Capitan 10.11.6.
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
Hi @icpmac, is there any guidance you could provide to installing the GenericUSBXHCI.kext please? i'm stuck with it being an unsigned code :-


bash-3.2# kextutil /System/Library/Extensions/GenericUSBXHCI.kext
Diagnostics for /System/Library/Extensions/GenericUSBXHCI.kext:
Code Signing Failure: not code signed
Untrusted kexts are not allowed
ERROR: invalid signature for net.osx86.kexts.GenericUSBXHCI, will not load

I've tried nvram kext-dev-mode=1 and nvram boot-args=kext-dev-mode=1, and rebooting but doesn't seem to work. I have an iMac11,1 running El Capitan 10.11.6.
Sorry, I'm still on Yosemite. I think you'll have to disable SIP or whatever is called now. dev-mode afaik doesn't work anymore.
 
Comment

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,510
6,750
First of all, this is monumentally awesome and thanks for sharing.

read/write works as fast as you expect from a usb 3 connection
Can you run BlackMagic Disk Speed Test (free on Mac App Store) to check?

Typical speeds:
  • A USB 3.0 rotational hard drive can do about 170 MB/s.
  • A USB 3.0 SSD can do about 300-400 MB/s.
So you should be somewhere around those numbers. For reference, a rotational hard drive connected to USB 2.0 can do about 45 MB/s.
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
Can you run BlackMagic Disk Speed Test (free on Mac App Store) to check?

Typical speeds:
  • A USB 3.0 rotational hard drive can do about 170 MB/s.
  • A USB 3.0 SSD can do about 300-400 MB/s.
That's the first thing I did :)

For a hard drive (green caviar, not 7200rpm) I get around 130, with a black drive around 170. And around those values with a usb 3.0 raid0 enclosure.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ActionableMango
Comment

robcrouch

macrumors member
Jul 8, 2015
32
2
As you have removed the airport card what does this mean exactly (idiot question) does it mean you can no longer use wifi connections?
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
As you have removed the airport card what does this mean exactly (idiot question) does it mean you can no longer use wifi connections?
Exactly :) you'll need to use ethernet or a wifi dongle.
 
Comment

coryndiego

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2008
182
2
San Diego, Ca.
Could this same or similar hardware be used to connect to the optical drive cable? I have a 2010 27" imac and already have a SSD installed but no longer need the superdrive. I've been searching how to make this USB 3.0 modification...
 
Comment

qwerty0

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2013
6
0
This was tremendous. I did this today and I am having trouble with one thing. I am running 10.10.5 and I just can't get it to run quite right. The generic driver didn't really do it for me so I installed the moded apple driver. I changed it to dev mode. Now I get two drives but they are both USB 2. Any ideas?
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
This was tremendous. I did this today and I am having trouble with one thing. I am running 10.10.5 and I just can't get it to run quite right. The generic driver didn't really do it for me so I installed the moded apple driver. I changed it to dev mode. Now I get two drives but they are both USB 2. Any ideas?
Did you do it? You are brave! :)

Are you using the AppleUSBXCHI v710.4.11 (10.10.5), right? In that case, it should work. Reinstall it, sometimes I had problems with drives not being mounted, etc... and reinstalling it with kext utility did the trick.

Make sure also that under System information>USB you got at least one "USB3.0 SuperSpeed Bus" with the driver "AppleUSBXCHI" listed.
[doublepost=1526648847][/doublepost]
Could this same or similar hardware be used to connect to the optical drive cable? I have a 2010 27" imac and already have a SSD installed but no longer need the superdrive. I've been searching how to make this USB 3.0 modification...
If you have the SSD installed in the hard drive bay and you want to get rid of the optical drive, just switch them. I don't know if you can split the sata power of the optical bay, but if you can then you can just install it there.
 
Comment

qwerty0

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2013
6
0
I will try that. What is the best way to install the driver? Because it is within the contents of the usbfamily I wasn’t sure how to use a utility to install it. By default everything just drops into the extensions folder whenever I use a utility. I just copied it in replacing the old one and ran kext wizard to repair permissions - but I don’t know if that is sufficient.

Did you do it? You are brave! :)

Are you using the AppleUSBXCHI v710.4.11 (10.10.5), right? In that case, it should work. Reinstall it, sometimes I had problems with drives not being mounted, etc... and reinstalling it with kext utility did the trick.

Make sure also that under System information>USB you got at least one "USB3.0 SuperSpeed Bus" with the driver "AppleUSBXCHI" listed.
[doublepost=1526648847][/doublepost]
If you have the SSD installed in the hard drive bay and you want to get rid of the optical drive, just switch them. I don't know if you can split the sata power of the optical bay, but if you can then you can just install it there.
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
I will try that. What is the best way to install the driver? Because it is within the contents of the usbfamily I wasn’t sure how to use a utility to install it. By default everything just drops into the extensions folder whenever I use a utility. I just copied it in replacing the old one and ran kext wizard to repair permissions - but I don’t know if that is sufficient.
That’s what I do too, put the kext within the usbfamily folder (removing the stock one) and then use “kext utility” to repair permissions and reboot. So I think you are doing it the right way.

Is the patched kext being loaded in system preferences?
 
Comment

qwerty0

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2013
6
0
That’s what I do too, put the kext within the usbfamily folder (removing the stock one) and then use “kext utility” to repair permissions and reboot. So I think you are doing it the right way.

Is the patched kext being loaded in system preferences?
It says it is loading but no matter what I do nothing mounts on the SS just the high speed bus. Strange.
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
It says it is loading but no matter what I do nothing mounts on the SS just the high speed bus. Strange.
That’s weird, because if the kext is loading it should work. Maybe you could try to plug the drive in the SS (and no other drive in the high speed bus) and reboot and see if that mounts. Still, dunno why it doesn’t work for you.
 
Comment

Doudou13

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2018
3
0
Hello I'm new, here I explain my concern ...
I have on my Imac 2010 21.5 inch no USB port that works, the hub is down.
I went through the forums in the end of remedied and I can not find a solution, whatever may be that if
a USB mini pcie card instead of the Wi-Fi card.
So my question would be whether it could work.

That's how I see the thing .... I take this little cable to bring the mini pcie card instead of my cd rom drive (also failed)



This one so plug in the place of the wifi card, and after connecting to this famous mini card pcie sata, connect to the port sata of my reader.

So I just have to plug the cable on the mini-card and take it out on the bottom of my Imac two holes in the grid below


It could do it. for the pilot I have no idea by cons thank you sorry for my English (I'm French) of the island of Reunion
[doublepost=1535814081][/doublepost]
Hi, as I see a lot of people trying to achieve the same thing on his old imac 27'', and searching the net trying to see if someone has already done this, we end up here thinking it's not possible to swap the mini pci-e wifi card, I'll update with my experience: it works, you can have usb 3.0 on older imac (with some caveats).

I have an imac 27'' Quad core late 2009 (11,1). I've successfully removed the airport card and put a mini pci-e usb 3.0.

What you'll need:

View attachment 637867

1) A mini pci-e usb 3.0 card. I've used this one with sata power. Swap it with the wifi card.

View attachment 637870 View attachment 637868

2) A back panel expansion connector. Closing the imac is almost impossible, because the back panel expansion connector to the mini pci-e card is very rigid and it collides with the screen panel. You'll need this modded low profile adapter. The height is just 7mm, but maybe a right angle adapter could work but I doubt there's just too little space in there.

View attachment 637871

- A sata power cable splitter in order for the card to power and mount the drives. The sata cable, even a right angle connector, it's too high and collide just as the 20-pin did and you'll not be able to close the imac. There's no slim low profile cable for an esata that I could find, so I had to remove the plastic protecting the connector header (some scissors and a LOT of patience, it's very hard to remove without damaging the wires) and have just the barebone connector that'll be around 7-8mm height and protect it with electrical tape. Now the imac closes, still it collides and you have to push a little and put the screws in place, but now it closes and works.

View attachment 637873

You'll have to now put all cables together and put them in place towards the bottom of the imac where the ports will need to be drilled. Space is minimum be VERY patient and cautious or you'll break something.

View attachment 637874

IN the end, as I've already replaced the optical drive with a ssd, I cutted the plastic that separate the optical drive. It has no purpose anymore and I could put the back panel extension cables below and it was easier to close the case. It is optional, but it's easy to do and helps a lot.
View attachment 637876 View attachment 637877

- A dremel to drill two holes at the bottom of the imac case. Be sure to know what you're doing!

View attachment 637879 View attachment 637880

- Installing the GenericUSBXHCI.kext (or the modded AppleUSBXHCI v710.4.11), for the card to work. Drives are mounted and read/write works as fast as you expect from a usb 3 connection.

What you should expect:
- USB 3.0 at full speed.
- Random mount/dismount of usb 3.0 devices and USB power warnings. (usual with mac usb 3.0)
- Only one usb 3.0 port is working at full speed at the same time: If I plug two usb 3.0 drives, one is recognised as "Superspeed bus" (5Gb/s) while the other as "High-Speed bus" (480Mb/s). If i only plug one drive at a single port it works at 5Gb/s (I can switch port and same speed). I don't know if this is a kext limitation because in the specs it's specified it allows 2 usb 3.0 ports.

DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK! :)

is posible for me ?
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
Hello I'm new, here I explain my concern ...
I have on my Imac 2010 21.5 inch no USB port that works, the hub is down.
I went through the forums in the end of remedied and I can not find a solution, whatever may be that if
a USB mini pcie card instead of the Wi-Fi card.
So my question would be whether it could work.

That's how I see the thing .... I take this little cable to bring the mini pcie card instead of my cd rom drive (also failed)



This one so plug in the place of the wifi card, and after connecting to this famous mini card pcie sata, connect to the port sata of my reader.

So I just have to plug the cable on the mini-card and take it out on the bottom of my Imac two holes in the grid below


It could do it. for the pilot I have no idea by cons thank you sorry for my English (I'm French) of the island of Reunion
[doublepost=1535814081][/doublepost]


is posible for me ?
I guess it should be able to swap the wifi card in the 2010 imac model, but you never know until you try it, so that's always a risk to take into consideration.

What I don't know is why you need the first cable for, is that a pci-e extender that you'll plug into the wifi slot and then place the mini pci-e card in the cd player space, and then from there take the cable to the bottom of the imac and drill the holes for the ports? In that case, in theory, it should work.
 
Comment

iMacGvyer

macrumors newbie
Oct 5, 2018
3
0
Hi, as I see a lot of people trying to achieve the same thing on his old imac 27'', and searching the net trying to see if someone has already done this, we end up here thinking it's not possible to swap the mini pci-e wifi card, I'll update with my experience: it works, you can have usb 3.0 on older imac (with some caveats).

I have an imac 27'' Quad core late 2009 (11,1). I've successfully removed the airport card and put a mini pci-e usb 3.0.

What you'll need:

View attachment 637867

1) A mini pci-e usb 3.0 card. I've used this one with sata power. Swap it with the wifi card.

View attachment 637870 View attachment 637868

2) A back panel expansion connector. Closing the imac is almost impossible, because the back panel expansion connector to the mini pci-e card is very rigid and it collides with the screen panel. You'll need this modded low profile adapter. The height is just 7mm, but maybe a right angle adapter could work but I doubt there's just too little space in there.

View attachment 637871

- A sata power cable splitter in order for the card to power and mount the drives. The sata cable, even a right angle connector, it's too high and collide just as the 20-pin did and you'll not be able to close the imac. There's no slim low profile cable for an esata that I could find, so I had to remove the plastic protecting the connector header (some scissors and a LOT of patience, it's very hard to remove without damaging the wires) and have just the barebone connector that'll be around 7-8mm height and protect it with electrical tape. Now the imac closes, still it collides and you have to push a little and put the screws in place, but now it closes and works.

View attachment 637873

You'll have to now put all cables together and put them in place towards the bottom of the imac where the ports will need to be drilled. Space is minimum be VERY patient and cautious or you'll break something.

View attachment 637874

IN the end, as I've already replaced the optical drive with a ssd, I cutted the plastic that separate the optical drive. It has no purpose anymore and I could put the back panel extension cables below and it was easier to close the case. It is optional, but it's easy to do and helps a lot.
View attachment 637876 View attachment 637877

- A dremel to drill two holes at the bottom of the imac case. Be sure to know what you're doing!

View attachment 637879 View attachment 637880

- Installing the GenericUSBXHCI.kext (or the modded AppleUSBXHCI v710.4.11), for the card to work. Drives are mounted and read/write works as fast as you expect from a usb 3 connection.

What you should expect:
- USB 3.0 at full speed.
- Random mount/dismount of usb 3.0 devices and USB power warnings. (usual with mac usb 3.0)
- Only one usb 3.0 port is working at full speed at the same time: If I plug two usb 3.0 drives, one is recognised as "Superspeed bus" (5Gb/s) while the other as "High-Speed bus" (480Mb/s). If i only plug one drive at a single port it works at 5Gb/s (I can switch port and same speed). I don't know if this is a kext limitation because in the specs it's specified it allows 2 usb 3.0 ports.

DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK! :)
[doublepost=1538765590][/doublepost]Hi all -
Newbie to this forum but been tinkering with iPhones and old macs for a few years now...

My question regarding this thread -
If I am not using the SuperDrive (it’s sort of dead and I rarely need it and have an external) - can I make a hack like this in its place using its sata connection - and if I do it there, can I have a multi-port USB 3.0 card and which type would I need?

I’m fairly handy for the cutting and fitting etc, and will shortly be replacing the current 3.5” mechanical drive with a double mount SSD bracket (got one sabrent and one inateck to see which fits better).
I don’t mind having the ports up on the SuperDrive side, or down below like you have done.
I presume from the one working 3.0 port you can run a powered 3.0 hub externally to give more ports?

Any advice appreciated...
Thanks
 
Comment

icpmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
21
15
[doublepost=1538765590][/doublepost]Hi all -
Newbie to this forum but been tinkering with iPhones and old macs for a few years now...

My question regarding this thread -
If I am not using the SuperDrive (it’s sort of dead and I rarely need it and have an external) - can I make a hack like this in its place using its sata connection - and if I do it there, can I have a multi-port USB 3.0 card and which type would I need?

I’m fairly handy for the cutting and fitting etc, and will shortly be replacing the current 3.5” mechanical drive with a double mount SSD bracket (got one sabrent and one inateck to see which fits better).
I don’t mind having the ports up on the SuperDrive side, or down below like you have done.
I presume from the one working 3.0 port you can run a powered 3.0 hub externally to give more ports?

Any advice appreciated...
Thanks
Hi,

You could use in theory the superdrive sata connection to power the usb3 mini pci-e card but I think it's not a regular sata connection, but I'm not sure (i don't remember to be honest). You'll have to open and check what type of connection it has.

From the working usb 3.0 port, you can run a powered (and unpowered) usb 3 hub to have more ports :)
 
Comment
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