Is the optical drive in your Mac sensitive to scratches?

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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After getting my MacBook a few days ago I've had quite a few problems playing CDs/DVDs and importing songs on discs that have any amount of scratching. This same drive does absolutely fine if there are no scratches, but it seems particularly sensitive.

My PC drive/Xbox, etc has no problems with the same CDs and DVDs. Doing a little Googling around it appears that I'm not the only one with the issue.

Is there anyone else here who has/had a sensitive drive in their Apple and did you ever figure out a solution to that? I have a SuperDrive if that makes any difference.

Thanks
 

Josias

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Mar 10, 2006
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I have had no issues with my SuperDrive. I tried to insert "Busted Stuff" by Dave Matthews Band, which is very scratched, and my MB took it with no problems. My old Xbox (not 360) couldn't read it, so I have experienced the opposite of you:eek:
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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Josias said:
I have had no issues with my SuperDrive. I tried to insert "Busted Stuff" by Dave Matthews Band, which is very scratched, and my MB took it with no problems. My old Xbox (not 360) couldn't read it, so I have experienced the opposite of you:eek:
Do you know what model drive you have?

Mine is the MATSHITA U-857.
 

Josias

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Mar 10, 2006
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I have no clue, I just know it is a SuperDrive in a white 2.0 GHz MacBook.:confused:
 

davegoody

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Apr 9, 2003
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Nottingham, England.
jesusphreak said:
After getting my MacBook a few days ago I've had quite a few problems playing CDs/DVDs and importing songs on discs that have any amount of scratching. This same drive does absolutely fine if there are no scratches, but it seems particularly sensitive.

My PC drive/Xbox, etc has no problems with the same CDs and DVDs. Doing a little Googling around it appears that I'm not the only one with the issue.

Is there anyone else here who has/had a sensitive drive in their Apple and did you ever figure out a solution to that? I have a SuperDrive if that makes any difference.

Thanks
Normally this problem is due to the fact that low-profile drives (obviously) are used in Laptops, not just Apple Laptops. These slimline drives use a somewhat less complex drive mechanism than a full size desktop drive. As well as this, they tend (for some reason) to have less error correction on them for hard / soft read errors. XBox etc all use FULL SIZE drive mechanisms and therefore are more tolerant of scratched and dirty disks
 

Josias

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Mar 10, 2006
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davegoody said:
Normally this problem is due to the fact that low-profile drives (obviously) are used in Laptops, not just Apple Laptops. These slimline drives use a somewhat less complex drive mechanism than a full size desktop drive. As well as this, they tend (for some reason) to have less error correction on them for hard / soft read errors. XBox etc all use FULL SIZE drive mechanisms and therefore are more tolerant of scratched and dirty disks
Im sure you're right, but how come my Xbox wouldn't read Busted Stuff, while my MacBook would?:confused:
 

davegoody

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Apr 9, 2003
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Nottingham, England.
It is a lottery, unfortunately !

Josias said:
Im sure you're right, but how come my Xbox wouldn't read Busted Stuff, while my MacBook would?:confused:
Good question . . . . not all drives are made equal........ Depending on when your XBOX was built, it may have any one of three or four different DVD-ROM drives fitted, LG, Samsung, Sony drives have all been used at one time or another. Some XBOX and PS2 Consoles will not read CDR or DVDR media due to the differences in reflectivity on these disks. It is a lottery, if you build your own PC, you have a choice in what hardware you put into the box, if you purchase an Apple or a games console, you are 100% in the hands of the hardware manufacturer as to what optical drive they fit, I would be willing to wager that in a lot of cases, this comes down to who is the cheapest volume supplier at that time, as well as who can supply the volume required for a specific period of manufacture. Hope this helps !
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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davegoody said:
Good question . . . . not all drives are made equal........ Depending on when your XBOX was built, it may have any one of three or four different DVD-ROM drives fitted, LG, Samsung, Sony drives have all been used at one time or another. Some XBOX and PS2 Consoles will not read CDR or DVDR media due to the differences in reflectivity on these disks. It is a lottery, if you build your own PC, you have a choice in what hardware you put into the box, if you purchase an Apple or a games console, you are 100% in the hands of the hardware manufacturer as to what optical drive they fit, I would be willing to wager that in a lot of cases, this comes down to who is the cheapest volume supplier at that time, as well as who can supply the volume required for a specific period of manufacture. Hope this helps !
You are right about this. I did some Xbox modding back in the day, and there were primarily (or only) 3 drives used - a Phillips, a Thompson, and a Samsung drive. The Samsung drives were highly valued and people would pay extra for those. The Phillips drives were the next-best, and the Thompson drives were disliked by most everyone.
 

Josias

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Mar 10, 2006
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Oh, I see. Is it the same case with 360, that there are different types of drives?
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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Josias said:
Oh, I see. Is it the same case with 360, that there are different types of drives?
Not really sure.

But now that I think about it, the only people on Apple forums I see complaining about sensitive disc drives have been laptop owners. I'm starting to wonder if its related to this MATSHITA drive or the problems exist with more than just those.
 

Josias

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Mar 10, 2006
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I dunno for sure, but I think the SD in the iMac and Mini is thicker than MBP's and MB's...
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
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jesusphreak said:
Is there anyone else here who has/had a sensitive drive in their Apple and did you ever figure out a solution to that? I have a SuperDrive if that makes any difference.
Interesting. My iMac G5's SD is also really sensitive, well, in particular, it hates scratched DVDs. It does all right w/ most scratched CDs but still doesn't play nicely w/ all of them. :p

I don't care enough to bother bringing it in to Apple. Especially since they already replaced the SD (it was busted the 2nd day I had the machine :rolleyes: ).
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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devilot said:
Interesting. My iMac G5's SD is also really sensitive, well, in particular, it hates scratched DVDs. It does all right w/ most scratched CDs but still doesn't play nicely w/ all of them. :p

I don't care enough to bother bringing it in to Apple. Especially since they already replaced the SD (it was busted the 2nd day I had the machine :rolleyes: ).
Will Apple actually fix something like that or will they just say, "Sorry, scratched CDs aren't our problem - go clean them"?
 

devilot

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May 1, 2005
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jesusphreak said:
Will Apple actually fix something like that or will they just say, "Sorry, scratched CDs aren't our problem - go clean them"?
Haha just like everything else in life, it probably depends on who you happen to speak with. ;) My original SD was seriously busted, it wouldn't spit out my Dave Matthews CD, yes, even after trying all the fixed that MR had to offer (which was more than what the AppleCare phone technician had to offer) so Apple had no choice but to repair it.

As for this whole scratched disc issue, I wouldn't get my hopes up. None of my personal discs are scratched up, but sometimes I rent a movie and ARGH, it's all scratched up. :eek:
 

jesusphreak

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May 24, 2006
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devilot said:
Haha just like everything else in life, it probably depends on who you happen to speak with. ;) My original SD was seriously busted, it wouldn't spit out my Dave Matthews CD, yes, even after trying all the fixed that MR had to offer (which was more than what the AppleCare phone technician had to offer) so Apple had no choice but to repair it.

As for this whole scratched disc issue, I wouldn't get my hopes up. None of my personal discs are scratched up, but sometimes I rent a movie and ARGH, it's all scratched up. :eek:
Well, another issue is that when it encounters a scratch, it doesn't just go on to the next track like iTunes on my Windows PC will, it'll actually freeze up iTunes, the drive will spin, spin, and spin, and I have to Force Quit to get iTunes to stop.

I think that is a software issue though it could also have something to do with my drive.
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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Well I just tried playing a DVD and not only did the DVD program lock up after while, it won't "Force Quit" either and I'm about to have to restart my Mac to get it working right. Honestly, my PC never had issues like this. I came across this story from a year ago, and I'm terrified it will happen to me, too:

I had decided to try switching from PCs to macs recently, and thought the mac mini would make a good first mac computer.

I ordered my first mini with all the extras and when i got it, i tried importing all my cds to itunes. The optical drive was malfunctioning whenever i put in a cd with the slightest scratch on it. It would freeze up, making an awful skipping sound, and i would have to force quit itunes and sometimes shut down the computer and turn it back on just to get the sound to stop and get my cd out.

I called tech support, and the first man said there was nothing wrong with the drive, it was my cds that were at fault. Their solution was to take my scratched cd to my PC, burn it and take it back to my mac mini and then try to import it.

I said, ok, so my cds should work on other computers, but not the mini? and he kept saying how it was my cds and not the mini. I asked him if i could return my mini and he said no because i had bought extras like more ram and bluetooth. so i got off the phone with him and called back again.

The next tech support "help" also told me there was nothing wrong with the computer but i could return it (but not exchange it because there was nothing wrong with it). He transferred me to someone who told me i could exchange it, which i did.

Now, my next mini comes in the mail, without my bluetooth and airport extreme options. "Oops, sorry", they say, "we can return it and we'll send you another mini." I took it to my local store and they very nicely installed them for free in 45 minutes. So, now with less enthusiasm for my new purchase, i took my mini home, and tried out the optical drive again, which again had troubles. Now i should mention I took the same cd's that wouldnt work on my mini, and they worked on my PC and on my friend's mac.

I called back the apple store and all they would give me for compensation was a return for my mini (not the $60 keyboard i can no longer return at the store) and $100 credit for my next apple purchase. I said sorry, that's not enough for the hassle that i will probably go through again.

Never, never again will I buy an apple product. This whole hassle lasted for most of a month, and it is still not over yet. Time for me to buy another reasonably priced PC. My mac friends are all about their mac's, but first impressions are lasting, aren't they?
That was a year ago! Apple still hasn't fixed issues like this and just lets them stick around. I love this system but I just think its absolutely ridiculous that I should have to take in my $1300 system in a week after receiving it for service. I'm tempted to just return it and get a Dell as opposed to that idea I would have been a week ago.
 

iHeartTheApple

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Feb 13, 2006
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I haven't used the drive in my MB long enough to say, but my 17" Rev.E PB superdrive is really touchy when it comes to scratched cd's...It's really frustrating actually. :(
 

Spectrum

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Mar 23, 2005
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Never quite sure
My 15" Powerbook is pretty sensitive too. And it causes iTunes to freeze, with the drive continually spinning up and down, making a horrendous sound.

Only solution was to hard power off, and boot up with trackpad pressed to get the disc out.
 

jesusphreak

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Original poster
May 24, 2006
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Spectrum said:
My 15" Powerbook is pretty sensitive too. And it causes iTunes to freeze, with the drive continually spinning up and down, making a horrendous sound.

Only solution was to hard power off, and boot up with trackpad pressed to get the disc out.
Yep that's pretty much what mine does, too.

What confuses me is if I get a too-scratched disc on my Windows PC in iTunes (and it has only ever not been able to use one of my CDs), it won't freeze up, it'll just tell me that the track was too scratched up and it'll go to the next one. Kind of nuts that the Windows is more stable in that situation that the platform that iTunes was made for.
 

Spectrum

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Mar 23, 2005
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jesusphreak said:
Kind of nuts that the Windows is more stable in that situation that the platform that iTunes was made for.
Agreed. For all the benefits of the Mac/OSX platform, there are a number of minor niggles that Apple really ought to address.