Burning two discs at once with MacPro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by csista, May 7, 2007.

  1. csista macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2007
    I added the second superdrive to my MacPro, and I'm trying to figure out how to burn two discs at once. Is it possible, and if it is, how do I do it? I have Toast 7, and will soon be upgrading to Toast 8. Thanks for any help.

    - Chris
  2. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    Possible? I don't know.
    Recommended? Not by me.
  3. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    Why wouldn't that be recommended? The Mac Pro is a powerful machine. The days of an Intel pentium 233 powering a 2x cd-burner are gone. I don't see why you couldn't burn two at once.

    Do the SuperDrives have the burn protection like many PC burners? SmartBURN and the other things that turn the laser off when the buffer empties.

    I haven't tried it, but you can try the "Burn!" program. Its open source.
  4. eMagine macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    The only setback about buring 2 discs at once is the parallel IDE bus that's driving the DVD burner drives. If the IDE bus cannot keep up with the data rates going to those 2 drives at once I can see problems popping up.
  5. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    2 at once

    Make a duplicate of the Toast app. Then you can run two instances of Toast and make sure that they are not trying to talk to the same drive. This should work.
  6. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Just tell toast which drive to use, just direct it to the drive with an empty disc. I think that should work.
  7. diehardmacfan macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    if you are using finder to burn data on the disks the two blank disks will show up as two different burn folders
    and u can just hit burn for both of them

    you can;t in iTunes
    and you can in toast
  8. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    The ide bus would have no trouble keeping up. each drive would use about 20 megabytes per second so thats 40 for both and ide can handle that.
  9. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Agreed, and that is a dodgy sig to have.
  10. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    This is true in a sense, but in reality it doesn't work out that well.

    Read the second page of this thread and look for my comments


    In theory the IDE bus should keep up, but it doesn't.

    If you try to read and write to TWO separate optical devices on that IDE bus things tend to go south (not work properly) very quickly.

    Here is an experiment:

    With the stock Mac Pro equipped with two superdrives from the factory on the IDE bus, try to burn TWO 4.3GB ISO images to the drives at the same time. Try to copy a DATA DVD from one drive to the other on the fly.

    According to my tests and real world experiences something that takes 3-5 minutes using one drive takes 20 minutes when utilizing both drives at the same time.

    I yanked those superdrives and replaced them with SATA Plextors using the two extra SATA ports on the Mac Pro board.

    Now both units are superior to the stock optical drives AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ON SEPARATE BUSES!

    I guess you could leave one stock superdrive on the IDE bus and replace the second one and put it on the SATA bus. That would have the desired results too.

    Works like a charm.

  11. bobm macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2006
    installing a 2nd drive

    how much work is it to install a 2nd SATA drive?

    (and any pointers to what model to install)?

    I'm looking at getting a MP for the primary purpose of ripping my 700 dvd library so the dual dvd is a requirement.

    (I might also try to use my firewire dvd drive to rip 3 at once).

    thx for any suggestions,
  12. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    Look at www.plextor.com

    PX-755SA are the models I replaced my two superdrives with.

    It's a pretty straightforward swap.

    You need low profile SATA cables with a 90 degree connection to the motherboard. The SATA connections are directly under the large fan assembly in the front of the machine.

    The cables are KEY here. I didn't get these at first and I had to DREMEL a part of my fan assembly out so it would clear the SATA cables. Needless to say I found low profile SATA cables after the fact.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask away.

    The Mac Pro SHOULD have shipped this way. The IDE scenario shouldn't have even been engineered into this computer or used for this caliber of machine.

  13. JeffreyM macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I looked up the burner mentioned and noticed it's a bit pricier than the IDE Pioneer drives. Would it work if I put the second Pioneer burner on the SATA bus by using a cheap IDE-SATA down converter? That'd be a cheap fix as opposed to getting a more expensive SATA burner.
  14. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002

    Good idea but it won't work.

    I tried the same thing with dual Plextor PX-760's but those optical drives are packed in there.

    Look at how they are situated and the connectors and what is directly behind the drives.

    I don't remember any IDE/SATA adapters that will fit in that space.

    Or, just buy a cheap SATA burner, but in the end you sometimes get what you pay for.

    Can't understand cheaping out on peripherals in a 3000 dollar machine.


    The CHEAPEST way to fix this problem:

    Keep the dual superdrives

    Buy a PCI IDE card and use each channel on that for the dual superdrives instead of the ONE channel they are plugged into now.

    I just went SATA because its there, the Plextor drives I chose are excellent performers, and no slots are used with the other idea I posted above.
  15. JeffreyM macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Can you give a detailed description of how you routed the cables? I just got my Mac Pro and a SATA burner today on your suggestion. I appreciate you gives the heads up about IDE not keeping up.

  16. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002

    First things first the SATA cable you use are KEY. If you get ones that are not low profile (and you will know that when you see it) you will have to dremel out a piece of the fan cage so they clear.

    Anyway, the two SATA cables are right under the front fan assy. You can figure out how to take all that out using the service manual.

    Once you have the fan assy out of the way plug in your sata cable(s) and route them up the top of the case following where the IDE cables are routed.

    Once you see that, it is very easy to make this work.

    If you need detailed help I will take pictures, but seriously its easy peasy if you have the right "right angled" SATA cables.

    If you are local I can help you out in person.

  17. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I burn 2 discs at once all the time using 2 copies of toast.

    I'm sure the only speed limit would be your hard drive (transferring data to the burners), not the IDE bus... I'm kind of amazed anyone even mentions it, that's just silly.

    I use a RAID-0 for my hard drives and have no problems. I don't know about anybody else though.

    I get the feeling sometimes that the hard drive is slowing, but if the burning is all that's going on, it works fine.


    Btw, there's a lot of pictures of stuff you can do with drives in the mac pro here:
  18. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    Slug, Nobody is saying you CAN'T burn two discs at once, what I am saying and I have found in my own testing is that burning two simultaneous discs or copying a disc on the fly to a blank with two superdrives is OPTIMIZED when using separate buses, or completely removing the drives from the antiquated shared IDE channel.

    It's not silly and your comment is ignorant.

    I have a RAID 0 Mac Pro 3.0Ghz with 4GB of RAM and with the stock configuration, if I put one DVD in one drive and a blank in the other and tried to copy that DVD (unprotected) it would take FOREVER.

    The optical drives DO NOT QUEUE DATA like a hard drive. If you READ on ONE and WRITE on the other, it doesn't happen at the SAME TIME which causes the lag. This is the entire reason why SCSI ruled the roost in high end applications. Where IDE would choke with mutiple requests to read or write data to multiple devices, SCSI could queue the data and have all the devices on one chain read/write simultaneously. IDE (in this incarnation) is not a high end bus and when saturated with multiple commands does not prioritize events.

    Now, that all goes out the window when you put the burners on their OWN SEPARATE BUS!! What you fail to realize is that you have two optical drives on ONE IDE bus and simultaneous transfers do not happen with that connection!

    You are kidding yourself and the performance of your machine if you don't put each drive on a separate bus!!!

    The weakest link in that chain is the IDE bus with TWO BURNERS sharing that bus. IDE can't READ and WRITE to two different devices at the same time, hence all the problems I can demonstrate all day everyday doing what I do with my machine.


    It is what it is and you are not realizing the full potential of two superdrives unless you are just a casual user, which I am not.

    So here are the facts:

    Two drives on one IDE bus = not the optimal config, impossible to read data or write to/from both devices at the same time.
    One Drive on IDE, One drive on SATA = Better, allows simultaneous reads/writes to each optical drive
    Both drives on SATA = Best performance
  19. spyderracer393 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2006
    ...out of cursiosity — how do you open the second drive bay?
  20. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    You hold down the command key while pressing the eject key.
    (It could be the option key, I don't remember right now)
  21. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Its option.
  22. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Newegg has Liteon SATA DVD burners for less than $40 too and they work ok.
  23. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Calm down. The drives burn at the same speed on my computer whether 1 or both are burning at once.

    I'm running a Pioneer DVR-111D and the stock sony which is common.

    I also routinely rip a DVD on one drive while burning on the other (both to/from the hard drive)

    Again, no issues or slowdowns.

    I'm sure you're right about 2 drives on 1 bus being theoretically bad. All I'm saying is: it hasn't mattered for me, and I don't think it would matter to most other people. Copying from one drive to another may not work well, but I haven't had any reason to try that.
  24. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    you can actually modify the command keys using Tinkertool (a free customization tool available online)

    I use F11 and F12 for my two drives
  25. timish macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    Hey Slug,

    Thanks for the reply. I only reacted because you said this was silly and for me this was a serious problem.

    Anyway, here was my problem with two superdrives on the stock IDE bus.

    Writing or reading from one drive at a time was normal and speed was fine, since the HD and the ONE optical drive each had a bus to work on.

    However, trying to write and read or a combination of those actions at the same time would slow optical operations down tremendously.

    So, if I normally burned a 4.3GB DVD from an image on the hard drive, it would take 5 minutes.

    But, if I took a dvd I wanted to copy, and put a blank in the other drive this process would literally take 20 to 25 minutes. Burnproof would keep kicking in because of the IDE bus being saturated with data and command requests to both drives.

    Same media, same conditions, every time.

    At this point I ripped the two stock drives out and replaced them with top of the line Plextor PX-760 drives. Much to my surprise the problem remained.

    Once I remembered that the IDE bus was being shared, I replaced the units with Plextor SATA's and put them each on their own bus.

    Now regardless of what I am doing simultaneuous or separate I get 4-5 minute burns every single time with no hiccups.

    My beef is that this 3000+ machine should have been engineered this way from the get go.


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