Great superdrive alternative

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by financeguy, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. financeguy macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2009
    #1
    I wanted to see if there were any alternatives to the $100 superdrive that seems pretty fragile and some people suggested this Fastmac (http://fastmac.com/blurayext) for $110, which can ready Bluray discs.

    I did a little diging on this forum and found this tread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=647170), which basically says it's a Panasonic (Matshita) UJ-120 drive in an external enclosure and an IDE-to-USB bridge.

    Then I went on eBay to see if they sell the UJ-120 and found this seller (http://cgi.ebay.com/Panasonic-Blu-r...rnal?hash=item230312ca88&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14) selling it for $80.

    I took the plunge and bought it, and it works fine. When I plugged it in, nothing happen, but when I inserted a DVD it played it and when I inserted a blank disk, it let me burn it with itunes.

    Anyway I just wanted to let everyone know that this is a great alternative for $80. I haven't tried the bluray yet, but I got what I wanted.
     
  2. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #2
    If you purely wanted a superdrive alternative, there are plenty cheaper that work just fine. If you want bluray under Windows, that's your prerogative I guess.
     
  3. alpinadvl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the suggestion

    2 questions,

    1. Does it work off a USB hub.... if you plug the drive into a USB hub attached to the MBA, does the drive still work ?

    2. can you boot into the drive... example for reinstalling OS X?... I believe you restart and hold down "C" until the drive loads?

    thanks !
     
  4. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #4
    It should do both. I don't think there's ever been a problem w. the Air using other ext. USB opticals. The problem is using the MBA superdrive either on a hub or w. other computers.
     
  5. financeguy thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2009
    #5

    Yes, this model is pretty slim, compatitible with PC laptops, and can play bluray under windows. I think having these extra options. In any case I think it is a much better deal than a superdrive or fastmac.
     
  6. stoconnell macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Funny you should bring this up

    The whole SL upgrade process has gotten me thinking about this, and I really don't want to do the Apple solution since it really is a one trick pony. I like the idea of being able to use it with the Air and possibly other future or existing machines (should one have a failed drive, etc). I also don't always have access to another Mac or a Windows box. It would also be a nice feature to be able to use a single USB and not wall wart, too.

    There are 2 that kind of fit this at least based on impressions:

    1) Fastmac Blu-Ray drive http://fastmac.com/blurayext (looks like the base model is $99.95)
    2) Plextor PX-610U drive http://www.plextoramericas.com/index.php/dvd-rw/external-dvd-rw/px-610u, which has both a Mac and a PC version. The PC version is relatively inexpensive at amazon. I believe the only difference is the software bundle, and I don't need Toast for my modest use cases.

    Are there others out there that work off the MBA's single USB connection w/o external power?

    Looking at the Panasonic drive you listed (and re-reading your comment .. sigh), it looks like it works as well without external power.
     
  7. financeguy thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2009
    #7
    Yes, it does not need external power and work's off the MBA's single USB connection.
     
  8. Gadgetman99 macrumors regular

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    Sep 1, 2009
    #8
    I use the Pioneer DVR-XD09. It is a USB DVD player/burner. It boots fine on the MBA and I did a re-install of Mac OS before selling my old MBA. Small, thin and about $85. Plus it works with other PC's (unlike the superdrive).
     
  9. 1rottenapple macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #9
    thats good to know... I got my mba apple superdrive on ebay for $50. used of course but its a drive, it works and I use it like once a month, usually for importing dvds.
     
  10. stoconnell macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Sweet. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  11. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #11
    I highly recommend anyone considering buying an MBA SuperDrive rethink and buy an external BluRay drive. Apple is going to potentially cave and support BluRay at any given update... when it does, Blu Ray will be capable on the Mac and the same $100 will get you BluRay instead of just DVD: it's backwards compatible too.

    Also note, the MBA SuperDrive has a terrible cable which splits apart due to design and poor materials. I have gone through two and only used the first one maybe five times. It looks nice, but that's about the only positive.
     
  12. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #12
    I totally agree with looking for a Blu-Ray drive. Sure Mac OS X can't play back movies (yet) but there is ripping software for the mac that does a pretty good job, looking at this thread.
     
  13. breakfast macrumors member

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    Sep 17, 2009
    #13
    I'm looking for an up-to-date external drive for my rev.C MBA under SL.

    Does anyone have a good recommendation handy?

    Lightweight, bootable and one USB-conection only for both power and data would be great.

    Thank you! :)
     
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #14
    Funny, 6 months later and it's still not the case. This post reads so "matter of fact" too. Holy thread revival is always good for a laugh.

    I would spend the money on an Apple one and actually hack it to run on all machines. Check out this write-up here:
    http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macbook-air-superdrive-for-all/

    I really need to do this to my own. It would seem the consequence of screwing it up is minimal at this point as I hardly use the drive today.
     
  15. breakfast macrumors member

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    Sep 17, 2009
    #15
    Na, no screwing around for me... :D

    More like looking for a non-Apple product that works fine. Any ideas?

    PS: Nice ***** cat! :)
     
  16. stoconnell macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I recently picked up one of the Plextor PX-610U units from amazon.com (option 2 in my earlier comment) for about $90. I didn't buy the Apple-specific version as it includes some software I don't care about and is $20 - 30 more. It only requires one USB port and is compatible across multiple machines.
     
  17. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #17
    "Apple is going to potentially cave and support BluRay at any given update..." - by me.

    I don't call that matter of fact, and I call it "POTENTIALLY" cave at "any given update." That means that within a few updates Apple MIGHT cave and support BluRay.

    The more important factor though is the Blu Ray drive buyer, for the exact same $100, gets Blu Ray for the MBA on Windows 7... and a drive that actually works in USB hubs for DVDs/CDs within OS X. And eventually, Apple will either cave in and make the optical drive relevant by using Blu Ray, or it will completely remove the optical drive from the Mac notebooks. Even then, Apple will eventually be forced to allow Blu Ray as a standard to play movies on Macs via external drives, iMacs and Mac Pros. Blu Ray is going nowhere, and a DVD/CD drive is just about WORTHLESS as of right now.

    I think an external Blu Ray drive lasts many years. Especially if it's not an Apple MBA SuperDrive which would be fortunate to last one year. All in all, the Blu Ray external drive has so many benefits right now that there is zero reason to buy an MBA SD. I would use one with an MBA in Windows 7 if nothing else... and it's fully backwards compatible with DVD and CDs. There was no reason to buy an MBA SD over an external Blu Ray when I wrote the post, and there's certainly no change to the Macs not even an update since I wrote it. I said within "any given update," and that's not even one update yet.
     
  18. gglockner macrumors 6502

    gglockner

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    #18
    If you have another Mac with an optical drive, you can eliminate the need for the USB SuperDrive. Besides AirDisk, you can buy a USB flash drive, then copy a disk image on your Mac to the USB flash drive and use the flash drive on your MacBook Air. This is what I (will) do for the 1-2x per year when I really need an external optical drive on my MBA.
     
  19. ctrack52 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #19
    Superdrive Alternative

    I used a Toshiba External DVD PA3761U-1DV2 ($54). Works great using the MBA Rev 2. Loaded all my software and that's the last time I needed a DVD RW with my MBA. I do have a SuperDrive, bought it on sale $75 but it is still in it's original packaging. Not much need for a DVD drive so far.
     
  20. Celphish macrumors newbie

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  21. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a

    Ice-Cube

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    #21
    I need one that is multi-region actually. Any ones out there like that?
     
  22. Celphish macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2010
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    Boston
    #22
    Superdrive Delima

    Can you use any usb DVDrw external drive on the macbook air?
     
  23. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #23
    Yes, as some of us were discussing, why not buy an external Blu Ray reader which is DVD/CD backwards compatible. A non-Apple brand is less than an MBA SuperDrive. The MBA SD is actually junk too. Its cable is terrible and frays on many drives. In addition, one can play BluRay in Windows 7 on the MBA. With OS X, it will work as a DVD/CD, and when OS X gets Blu Ray support it will play Blu Ray in OS X too. There is no reason to buy Apple's inferior tech and it doesn't even work in USB hubs and in all honesty is just about the most worthless Apple product available. I have bought two stupid MBA SuperDrives, and they're nothing but junk... only pretty until the cable frays and becomes unusable too. I saw an aluminum Blu Ray drive a few weeks ago, and it looked nicer than the MBA SD. I asked the guy where he got it, and he replied "online." Don't know the brand but there are plenty of options.
     
  24. Celphish macrumors newbie

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    Feb 24, 2010
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    #24
    Scottsdale

    Thanks for the info, Your everywhere man, I've seen you on like 7 different threads...Thanks again:)
     
  25. stoconnell macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Yes, but you have to be careful if the drive uses a Y-style USB adapter requiring 2 USB ports (one for power, one for data). If you have a powered USB hub then these will be fine or if you have a power supply they will be fine. It just depends on your expectations in terms of it being portable and working with the single USB port on the MBA (hence, my purchase of the Plextor PX-610U) as it can function on the one port w/o external power.
     

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