View Full Version : superdrive: can I live without it?

Aug 7, 2003, 08:37 AM
As some of you know, I am selling my iMac on ebay (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2746270355 ; PLUG!! sorry, I had to), and putting the money toward a laptop. Of course this brings about a whole new "which powerbook" discussion, but there are other threads about that. . . . Anyway, I am looking to keep costs down, and began to contemplate the usefulness of the superdrive. I have had one in my iMac for a year, but in actuality only every used DVD-R seven or eight times. I do enjoy the backup ease it provides, and I have burnt a hom emovie for my friends on it, but that 7 uses doesn't quite seem worth the cost increase (that money could go to something used everyday, like maxing out the RAM). Also, the more common activity of CD burning would be much faster and usable; though more would have to be burned for backups. Let me know what you guys think.

Aug 7, 2003, 08:52 AM
I completely agree. I will be purchasing the next 15in AlBook available. However, I will NOT be getting a SuperDrive. Why? 99% of the time that I use it, I'll be using it for it's CD burning capabilities, which are significantly faster in the ComboDrive. While easy backup would be nice, that's why I have an external HD. So I am in the same situation as you.

If you ARE asking for advice, I would say go with the ComboDrive because most of the time that you use it, you will have a faster experience (not to mention save some dough!).

I completely agree with you, 100%.

Now, all we need is that 15in AlBook! :);)

Aug 7, 2003, 10:07 AM
i dont think your supposed to sell 10.3 with it.

Aug 7, 2003, 10:41 AM
thanks for the input michaelrjohnson, I think that is what I will do as well, though I still worry about the future. I want the system to last, and dvd-r is coming more into the mainstream. I think I can survive fo rthe money I save right now though.

as for selling 10.3: I am not. It is just a list of software that I have running on my iMac, thus showing its abilities and giving people an idea of what they can look forward to using; With proper licences and legitimate sources of course - as legality dictates.

Aug 7, 2003, 11:55 AM
While the usefullness of actually having the SuperDrive built into the PowerBook is questionable, I got it because I thought I might use it, and because I wanted iDVD which you can't get without a SuperDrive equipped Mac. I've used it a few times now and really like it.

There will always be external HDs and burners, but I wanted all that built right into my portable computer...


Powerbook G5
Aug 7, 2003, 11:57 AM
It would be interesting if Apple decided to put Superdrive in the lineup across the board like they have with the G5 systems. I didn't think people would rather get combo, but then again, I am one for cool gadgets. I wonder if they do put in Superdrives all across the line, if they will increase the speeds on them to make up for its slower burning characteristics. The only issue I'd have with opting against the super is the fact that iDVD doesn't come installed and OS X doesn't support DVD burning as integrated with external drives as it does with its internal superdrive.

Aug 7, 2003, 12:30 PM
It all depends on how much money your willing to spend and how much you will use it (if any).

I am saving a bunch of money going to a combo drive from a superdrive on my G5, and money is tight (Im 16:)).

I think it is mainly a money issue. For me at least.


Powerbook G5
Aug 7, 2003, 12:32 PM
You are one lucky guy...when I was 15 I was victim of the serious misfortune of owning a Gateway Pentium II. That experience was enough to convert me from a die hard PC fan to a die hard Mac addict.

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 7, 2003, 12:33 PM
it's handy for backing up a lot of data (like mp3s), but at 1x it's slooooow. took me 80 minutes or so on my gf's TiBook to burn a nearly full DVD-R.

Powerbook G5
Aug 7, 2003, 12:34 PM
80 minutes? Holy ****! Oh God, please, put in a 4x superdrive in the PowerBook, Apple!

Aug 7, 2003, 01:52 PM
I had the same debate when getting my 12" powerbook. I remember when I got my ibook 500 I only got a DVD drive because the internal combo drives were too slow. I bought an external. Now that was cool until I was on a plane one day and was wishing I could burn a cd for my girlfriend.

Now when getting my powerbook I thought I don't use it now but what's life going to be like in a few years? It may come to the point (and I don't know why it would) that you need the superdrive. And your choices would be either pay for the expensive certified upgrades from MCE or buy an external drive that won't work with all the i-apps. Granted, drives will surely be faster by then but by that time a $400 upgrade might turn into you going out and buying a new machine whereas if you just got the superdrive now, you might be able to justify holding out a little longer for an even faster machine than you would if you were forced to buy one sooner than necessary.

It's really up to you, but I'd say get it... it's either $200 now or $350+ later and you'll feel better when you don't have to kick yourself on those rare times you need it.

Aug 7, 2003, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
80 minutes? Holy ****! Oh God, please, put in a 4x superdrive in the PowerBook, Apple!

Slotloading superdrives are rare enough. The only company that makes them is Panasonic or that other company that starts with an M. The UJ-815 is rated at 2x, but Apple crippled it with Firmware on all three powerbooks. The 12" and 15" also can only burn CD's at 8X while the firmware on the 17" allows for 16X CD burns.

There's an article in the forum at www.rpc1.org where someone found a firmware D101 that makes the DVD burner faster. He says maybe 2X but more like 1.5X. He sent his laptop in to Apple for a repair so we're all waiting for him to give the final OK and then he'll post the firmware.

Aug 9, 2003, 01:07 PM
There was a macpoll not long ago asking how many people actually used their superdrive. The answer was not very many.

I have a PB 15"/1ghz/512/Superdrive, and honestly I would have been just as happy if I had bought the 15"/867mhz/512/CD-RW. But of course, you never know, maybe next month I'll get into DVD authoring or i'll need to start backing up gobs of data, and I'll be thankful I have it. You never know the future.

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 9, 2003, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
80 minutes? Holy ****! Oh God, please, put in a 4x superdrive in the PowerBook, Appl

yep, and i can't remember if that included the time to copy the files to the DVD prior to burning. i think it didn't. let's see what happens with the next PB revs - maybe a faster slot superdrive is due.

Aug 9, 2003, 02:39 PM
There's a 2x slot-loading DVD-RW drive out... (http://store.powerbook1.com/mceindvsupup.html)

And I think the reason for crippling the current Superdrive was because of heat, it made more expensive coasters under 2x than it did usable DVDs, maybe the new drive has better heat dissapation..

Aug 9, 2003, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
You are one lucky guy...when I was 15 I was victim of the serious misfortune of owning a Gateway Pentium II. That experience was enough to convert me from a die hard PC fan to a die hard Mac addict.

Luxury! I had a Tandy TRS-80.

As far as the Superdrive is concerned, that's a tough call. I haven't burned a DVD yet after owning my iMac for 6 months. (In fact, I think there was a MacPoll on this a few months ago.) However, I don't regret getting a Superdrive. Backup is easy, you get iDVD, and for those few times you DO use it for home movies, it's great. (I plan on using it in the near future.)

But, then again, how much RAM can you get for the price of a Superdrive?


Powerbook G5
Aug 9, 2003, 07:29 PM
You can get a gig of RAM for your iMac for the price of that superdrive. :)

Huked on Fonick
Aug 9, 2003, 10:51 PM

dvdr are to slow and u cant copy movies for much longer(cuz that company that manys the software to do it wont be around much longer) i dont see much of a need for most people to be making home movies and putting them o nthere computer then buring them etc not what the superdrive is worth and if u are talking about backup by a firewire harddrive for the same price alot more space, alot quicker read write times......maybe in 4 years dvd-/+r will be a good technology (when it reaches the speed of todays cd-r but its too new and to slow and not very practile right now in my book

but to each is his own

Aug 9, 2003, 10:54 PM
external hard drive + cd-rw = no need for dvd burner. Unless you're really in to making movies I guess... but i say save the money.

Aug 10, 2003, 04:21 AM
Originally posted by Huked on Fonick
i dont see much of a need for most people to be making home movies and putting them o nthere computer then buring them

Picture this. A young couple has a DV camcorder. They have one or two kids. The grandparents are far away but own a DVD player.

There's your market for the superdrive on a Mac.


Aug 10, 2003, 07:37 AM
I have an iBook that's a year old and although I really love it, I have since purchased a digital camcorder and will be upgrading to a G4 (maybe G5) with a superdrive.

I remember when I got it thinking that I would eventually want to burn DVD's as I knew it was the wave of the future and that I would be getting a camcorder down the road. But I was also trying to keep the expense down. Bottom line: I'm going to be out a lot more money now than if I'd gone ahead and gotten what I really needed/wanted to begin with.

If you are absolutely positive that you won't be needing a superdrive, fine. If you have doubts I would seriously consider spending the extra bucks now because if you wait, it will be a lot more costly.

Aug 10, 2003, 08:58 AM
I had a nephew destroy my Matrix DVD; and thought in addition to filmmaking I could make archival DVD's of my collection once blank DVD's got cheaper. As far as I know PC's have DVD X Copy - Is there a similar one for Mac's?

Aug 10, 2003, 09:38 AM
Just remember that hard drives are very large these days, and you have to back them up at some point. You could either burn them on, say 10 DVD or 70 CD's. Personally, I'd rather burn 10 than 70.

Powerbook G5
Aug 10, 2003, 10:46 AM
As far as backing up, wouldn't an external hard drive be most cost effective and much less time consuming than spending over an hour per DVD to burn 10 discs? It takes a matter of minutes to transfer to a FW HD but hours to do the same to a DVD. If you are looking for value for your money, the combo is a good drive. If you aren't going to be making DVD movies, then the extra money can get you a nice RAM upgrade or an external backup solution. Personally, I'd go for the superdrive just for that good feeling that I can burn DVDs, but it seems that currently DVD burning isn't yet as matured as CD burning is.