Blu-Ray drive questions (SATA/HDCP/bezel)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jb60606, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    I'd like to add a Blu-Ray drive to a new Mac Pro (receiving it within the next few days).

    First - The only available BR drives are SATA. Does anyone know if a SATA optical ROM can be added to a new Mac Pro? System specs say the current drive is IDE. Just want to make sure.

    Second - Is the Mac Pro's ATI 2900XT video card "HDCP" compliant?

    Third - Does the common design/bezel of after-market optical drives interfere with the face/grill of the Mac Pro(disk tray open/close)? I noticed the disk tray must fit through the thin cut-outs of the Mac Pro's grill. Too wide or tall, and it won't fit.

    I realize I can't view Blu-Ray/HD-DVD in MacOS as of yet, though I plan to use them in Windows/boot-camp.

    I'll be purchasing the following HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo drive:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136133

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #2
    To get drives to fit through the cutout, you would just pop off the front of the drive tray, all CD drives allow this front part to be popped off, and then it slides just fine through the bezel.
     
  3. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Chicago
    #3
    that sucks.

    Thanks for the heads-up.
     
  4. newtech macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2007
    #4
    The new mac pro ship stock with ATI HD 2600XT ( not HD 2900XT ) and the card is HDCP compliant.

    There are two additional SATA ports intended for ODD use ( windows requires an altered GRUB boot loader to use them )
     
  5. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    So Windows won't recognize it, within the Windows environment, without a GRUB tweak?

    Thanks
     
  6. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #6
    Suck? Why? The front of your drive will come off for exactly this purpose, you're fine.
     
  7. BajaBurrito macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #7
    Having just successfully installed an LG Blu-ray drive (LG GGW-H20L) internally in my Mac Pro connected to one of the SATA ports on the logic board, let me offer you the following advice: don't do it! You will likely avoid significant hassle and be much better served by purchasing an external drive with USB 2.0 connection or, less desirably, by getting a SATA to USB 2.0 enclosure to house your internal drive.

    Here is a summary of problems you may encounter by placing a SATA Blu-ray drive inside your Mac Pro:
    • Drive bezel removal. As stated, it is necessary to remove the tray bezel from the drive (not the entire faceplate, but just the front of the tray itself). This can be a slightly delicate operation and you risk damaging the drive itself if not careful, since you will placing some strain on the tray while removing the bezel and you will likely need to use the emergency eject to get access to the tray itself which can strain the drive motor assembly. Even with the tray bezel removed, clearance through the Mac Pro front panel may still not be perfect unless you have the drive cage and drive tray perfectly aligned with the cutouts on the case.
    • Extra parts for the operation. You will need to purchase a P0 and P1 phillips screwdrivers if you don't have them already, an L-shaped SATA cable of sufficient length (preferably with the L-connector on just one end to connect to the logic board, although I was able to use a double-L), and a 4-pin-to-SATA power adapter if one did not come with your drive.
    • Logic board SATA port access. Gaining access to the Mac Pro's SATA ports on the logic board can be a frustrating experience. You will need to remove the front fan assembly to gain access to the ODD SATA ports as shown here. I did not have any particular difficulty removing the fan assembly, but putting it back together required patience, a steady hand, and frequent use of pliers and case rotation to fetch screws that I dropped into the cavernous depths of the Mac Pro case. Additionally, snaking the SATA cable into the drive cage was somewhat difficult since there is little clearance, but this was partially due to my use of a double-L cable.
    • OS X Compatibility. This is obviously dependent on your drive model, but I am not able to burn with BD-R or BD-RE media using Toast 8.0.3 or Disk Utility when connected using SATA, however DVD+R, DVD+R DL, CD-R work fine as does read access to BD media. Reportedly, BD write support for my drive is available when connected using USB 2.0.
    • Windows Compatibility. The additional onboard SATA ports in the Mac Pro are not available in Boot Camp Windows, and thus your drive will not be detected, unless you enable AHCI in the EFI firmware by using the GRUB bootloader to chain load Windows as described here. Additionally, Parallels Desktop 3.0 does not appear to have the ability to connect a SATA optical drive (although VMWare Fusion does). However, all of these Windows environments should theoretically function fully when using a USB 2.0 connection rather than SATA.
    I should be receiving an Addonics ZESU2CS SATA-to-USB/eSATA enclosure tomorrow and I will be removing the LG drive from the Mac Pro to place in the enclosure instead, so I can more fully report on some of my assumptions that an external USB solution will cure my woes. However, at this point I would strongly recommend against attempting an internal install.

    Another possible option is to install a separate SATA PCI card instead of dealing with the onboard SATA ports. That may help with some of these problems, although it could also create issues of its own.
     
  8. toke lahti macrumors 68000

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    Helsinki, Finland
    #8
    Has somybody actually tested that hdcp is working under boot camp?
    Link?
     
  9. BajaBurrito macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #9
    I wonder about this as well, since I have not seen any definitive statements one way or the other. I cannot confirm this personally since I have a non-HDCP display. I did run the Cyberlink Advisor which tests the card, cable, and display in tandem and got a failure on this point - although it does not indicate which component has failed the HDCP test. If there is another compliance test that isolates the video card, I'd be more than happy to provide results. However, I don't really care all that much since there is a well-known software package for bypassing the HDCP requirement that works transparently.

    With that in mind, the Mac Pro's ATI HD 2600XT does an excellent job of Blu-ray playback under Boot Camp Windows. Using OEM PowerDVD with ATI Avivo acceleration enabled, I was able to play an AVC 30 Mbps 1080p/24 elementary stream with absolutely no hiccups. That same stream gives Mplayer 1.0 RC1, VLC 0.8.6d and Quicktime 7.4.1 fits under Leopard (listed in order of increasing spastitude).
     
  10. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    Thanks for the great info. Internal installation sounds like too much of a hassle to me.

    My initial plan was to, like you, buy an external enclosure though I was worried it would suffer from performance issues, especially BR playback. Last I checked, the only pre-assembled external BR drives available were not capable of BR (movie) playback.

    Also, I tried to purchase an external SATA enclosure to possibly throw a BR drive in, though couldn't find one. Are you sure that Addonics enclosure is for a 5.25" drive? At Newegg, it says it's for 3.5" hard drives.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817345008


    Thanks again for the info.
     
  11. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Chicago
    #11
    thanks - is yours an internal or external drive?
     
  12. Random Chaos macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2008
    #12
    Just checked Newegg - they do have a 5.25" Addonics, but it goes USB->PATA->SATA - not exactly the most efficient transition...

    Keep updating as you find stuff. I'm thinking about that drive (GGC H20L) also.
     
  13. BajaBurrito macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #14
    I went with the Addonics ZESU2CS enclosure since this reportedly works with the LG GGC/GGW drives and in fact is sold by Addonics themselves along with the LG GGC drive as a preassembled package. ExtremeTech has a review of this solution, although they only tested it using the eSATA connection. I ordered the enclosure from Addonics directly on Sunday and it is set to arrive tomorrow, so I'll know more about how well it works this weekend.

    If you have some patience and are interested in write capability and a slicker looking case, you may want to wait for the new GGW-E10L external which is due this quarter at a supposed $499 MSRP. This model mysteriously and briefly appeared on Best Buy's website last week with availability listed as two weeks.

    EDIT: I should probably say that I went with the LG because I am also interested in its HD DVD read capabilities. Also, I did not wait for the new LG external myself since I hope to house this baby in my Mac Pro once all the software glitches get worked out - i.e. Apple (or third parties) provides Blu-ray movies playback in Leopard and/or Apple releases new Boot Camp drivers to expose the onboard SATA ports. I've already done the hard part (drive installation and wiring) and I can always leverage that work with something like Newer Tech's eSATA Extender Cable kit.
     
  14. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Chicago
    #15
    Nice - thanks for the links. I think I may actually go with that Addonics Zebra drive. And judging by it's reviews, USB 2.0 isn't an option for burning BR or watching BR movies so eSATA looks like a necessity. I've read that the PCI-Express FirmTek eSATA card works well in the Mac Pro (and G5). It's a little pricey at $100, though sure beats snaking cables and dismantling part of a $3k+ machine (I wouldn't mind doing that to a Windows PC; knowing replacement parts are right around the corner. It's a little different with a Mac).
     
  15. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
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    Chicago
    #16
    actually - that SATA extender with instruction manual looks to make the installation a little more bearable. I'll give that a try first and if all else fails, I'll try the PCI-E card.
     
  16. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #17
    Wait, so that drive doesn't burn Blu-ray or HDDVD? Anyone know what drive does burn actual Blu-ray for the MacPro? :)

    Edit* Actually, never mind, this drive looks pretty sweet.

    http://www.mcetech.com/blu-ray/
     
  17. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #18
    My display is HDCP-compatible, and I use the HD2600 XT to connect to it with DVI. Hope that helps some. :)
     
  18. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19

    nm, I was wrong.

    LG's drive can read BR/HD/DVD and write DVD only.
     
  19. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #20
    Plextor has also launched the PX-B920SA which will burn Blu-Ray and read Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

    I am not sure how Mac compatible it is, but Plextor is a major player so Toast and such should support it quickly.
     
  20. toke lahti macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Could you test HDCP compliance under Boot Camp?
     
  21. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #22
    Sure. Sans the PS3 I'm not sure if I have anything that requires HDCP as far as content goes, but if you've got anything I'd be glad to try it out.
     
  22. toke lahti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    #23
    If you have hdcp monitor connected to 2600XT and blu-ray drive installed to your MP, you could test eg. with PowerDVD's test software if the whole chain is hdcp compatible under Boot Camp. Playbacking brd movie should also confirm compliance.
     
  23. ComeOnDieYoung macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #25
    if you don't have an unlimited supply of money I suggest everyone waits.
    if you're not a professional who needs to make BR or HD-DVD discs... wait.

    You'll be saving money and avoiding hassles.

    BD-Rs cost like $20 right now...

    Do you remember when DVD-Rs were that expensive?

    Just remember CD-PLAYERS cost $800 at some point, you can practically buy them at a dollar store now. I'm not suggesting you wait ten years, but a couple months could save you a couple hundred.

    remember the Cylon Mantra "This has all happened before, and it will happen again."

    be patient, i'm trying really hard myself.
     

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