External CD/DVD Recommendation for iMac

Pixelmage

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 22, 2008
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I just recently got a 2019 iMac to replace my 2011 iMac. I still need an external CD/DVD drive. Is the Apple USB SuperDrive any good or can someone recommend an alternative? I was also considering getting a drive that can play Blu-Ray. The only time I would really need it is to play rented movie from the library. I don't really see myself burning Blu-ray Discs. I read an online article that suggests it is too much of a headache.
 

RogerWilco6502

macrumors 65816
Jan 12, 2019
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From what I've heard the SuperDrive works well, but in all reality any standard DVD drive should work I believe.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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The Apple SuperDrive can't do BluRay.

I'd suggest a 3rd-party USB drive, and I'd also suggest one that DOES NOT have "slot loading". That is, you want one with either a "lifting top" (to access the drive), or a tray that slides out.

Be aware that some (not all) USB drives require a "Y-cable" because the Mac's USB port doesn't furnish enough power for everything. The single end of the Y goes to the drive, the double-end goes to TWO USB ports on the Mac.

For BluRay burning, you'd probably want an app like Toast.
 

kyjaotkb

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2009
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London, UK
I don't think you can playback any blu-rays with macOS, but I haven't tried in a long time.
I wanted to play HD-DVD on my 2011 Mac and the only way I found was to buy an old Toshiba slimline internal HD-DVD player (or scavenge one from a 2006-era Toshiba laptop), put it in a USB case, Bootcamp into Windows XP and run TotalMediaTheater 5. Works well but what a pain!
For Blu-Ray, you might want to just Bootcamp into Windows 10. Thankfully, there are loads of generic Blu-ray players out there that you can use.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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"I don't think you can playback any blu-rays with macOS, but I haven't tried in a long time."

Of course you can.
I use something called "Free Mac Bluray Player".
It will run "in free mode" but put a small, always-there icon in the upper left hand corner.
No problem, I just use it that way.

Or... rip the Bluray disc into a file with "MakeMKV" (warning, the file will be about 20gb in size, but still playable -- just delete after watching).
 

Pixelmage

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 22, 2008
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I think I would prefer a tray loading than slot-loading. It was annoying whenever a disc got stuck in my old iMac. I was looking at a few different brands, the Pioneer BDR-XD05B, Pioneer BDR-XD07B, MthsTec USB. Does anyone have any experience with these models? And would I need authoring software, like Toast Titanium to burn Blu-Ray? Do I need special software to burn CD/DVD?
 

Erehy Dobon

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Feb 16, 2018
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Freeware utility Burn will burn audio CDs, DVD-Audio discs, DVD-Video discs, and data discs. Burn does not provide Blu-ray burning capability; I think Toast Titanium will do, check their website.

iTunes has featured audio CD burning capability pretty much since its inception. What? 20+ years? I believe Apple Music in Catalina still has this capability although I know nothing about it (I stayed with Mojave).

I have not used any of the drives you posted. I am using an external slimline Blu-ray drive with a Pioneer mechanism. It is probably twelve years old.
 
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flehman

macrumors 6502
Feb 21, 2015
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I used a LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray burner inside a 2009 Mac Pro for several years with no issues. Native support, reads and burns everything up to and including the 100GB+ Blu Ray XL discs. After migrating to a 2019 iMac I threw the burner into an OWC external enclosure and can connect it to the iMac as needed. Still working great.



As far as software...I think you can do some native burning in OS X for CDs and DVDs, but authoring software will offer more capabilities. Not sure about Blu Ray though. I have had Toast for several years and it has been generally OK, although I have not been as pleased with it lately - I recall getting nickel and dimed just for Blu Ray compatibility a few versions back. I am still on version 17, and am thinking of researching other options next time I need to upgrade.
 

Erehy Dobon

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Feb 16, 2018
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5.25" drive mechanisms are more sturdy than the flimsy slimline units.

If you are going to be doing a lot of burning, it's probably worth paying extra for an internal 5.25" drive and shoving it into the appropriate external drive enclosure like flehman did.

Since 5.25" drive enclosures are powered by an AC adapter, the drive will use just one USB port for data connectivity.

My geriatric Blu-ray drive is a slimline model but it only gets light usage -- mostly ripping discs and almost never burning discs.
 

Pixelmage

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 22, 2008
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You mentioned you are using a Pioneer drive. Has that brand proven reliable/dependable for you? I notice the newer Pioneer models offer a PC based software (CyberLink Power2Go). I am seriously considering a Pioneer or OWC disc read/write device.

I notice after examining the photo that the OWC drive uses a LG mechanism. I haven't used LG computer products so I don't know how reliable they are.

Is there performance advantage/difference between a USB powered one versus one that relies on a AC/DC adapter?
 
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