it turns out that there are 2 things going on here. First off, I had to return the drive for a replacement because when I connected the drive to a good, working Win10 laptop that has usb 3.0 ports and it only was able to connect at 2.0 speeds. This was confirmed by the utilities on the laptop and with my own speed tests. With the new replacement drive, it connects to the laptop at 3.0 speeds and all is well and the files transfer at blazing speeds.
The other issue may be my iMac. Even with the new drive, when i connect the HDD to the iMac, it connects for about 10 seconds, the drive flashes a few times and then it disconnects. I fear there may be a bad logic board for the usb ports on the iMac and i further suspect that perhaps it damaged the first drive (the one i replaced).
Its unfortunate because I bought the HDD specifically for the iMac. It turns out that for now, i can only use the new HDD with my wife’s windows 10 laptop.
I smell a new iMac coming