Mac Pro 3,1 Optical Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pl1984, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #1
    I needed to replace the optical drive in my Mac Pro 3,1 and ended up purchasing one from Ebay. The replacement drive is the exact same model as the original but it lacks the ability to burn DL -R discs. A review of the 3,1 tech specs at Apple lead me to believe this model was capable of burning both DL -R and DL +R discs. However EveryMac suggests it was only capable of burning DL +R discs which is exactly what the replacement drive is limited to.

    My question is: Was the Mac Pro 3,1 marketed as being capable of burning DL -R discs?

    Here is the System Information for each drive, the first is for the original and the second is for the replacement. The firmware in the original drive appears to be later than that of the replacement drive which is likely the difference in capability:

    OPTIARC DVD RW AD-7170A:

    Firmware Revision: 1.NC
    Interconnect: ATAPI
    Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipping Drive)
    Cache: 2048 KB
    Reads DVD: Yes
    CD-Write: -R, -RW
    DVD-Write: -R, -R DL, -RW, +R, +R DL, +RW
    Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO

    OPTIARC DVD RW AD-7170A:

    Firmware Revision: 1.N8
    Interconnect: ATAPI
    Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipping Drive)
    Cache: 2048 KB
    Reads DVD: Yes
    CD-Write: -R, -RW
    DVD-Write: -R, -RW, +R, +R DL, +RW
    Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    I don't know much about the original specs for the superdrive in a MacPro3,1 -- but, I do know that DVD-R DL have always been much less common than the DVD+R DL.
    Do you actually have a supply of the -R DL disks?

    I see in Mactracker, that the superdrive for the MacPro3,1 is listed as DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW

    Updating firmware on those drives might be a problem, as it is not a commercial model, but supplied to Apple for use in Apple systems. It's only used the MacPro, I suppose. The Optiarc firmware updates probably only work on commercial versions, not the OEM version that Apple provided.
    And, you would need to try the firmware update from Windows. if the drive won't accept it, I expect that nothing will happen if you try the update, or likely you will get an error that the firmware can't be installed on that model. but, might be worth the attempt. Here's firmware that you might try - http://www.firmwarehq.com/Optiarc/AD-7170A/files.html
     
  3. pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #3
    Thank you for this information. Currently my DL discs are the +R type so they'll work with this drive. However that may change in the future when I reorder and forget which type I need to buy. It's not a significant issue because I have other Macs which can write both formats.

    There are a few reasons I would like to ensure it can write both formats:
    1. At some point I will have a -R DL disc and attempt to use it in the system. When it fails to work I'll look up the specs and see that it should be able to write them. If I don't recall this nuance then I might conclude the drive is bad.
    2. I replaced the original drive because it was unable to read video DVDs. Data DVDs seem to work fine. Recently I needed to use this system to read video DVDs and it did not do so. It was frustrating having to move between two systems in order to complete my work. So I decided I'd buy a replacement drive to avoid such a situation in the future. I can see, because of point one, this happening again if I only have -R DL discs.
    3. I like to keep systems at least at the minimum level of capability they shipped with.
    I did come across the firmware link you provided. I agree in that it's unlikely to work as the version numbers do not resemble the version numbering from the drives themselves. I'm going to look into swapping the PCB assemble from the marginal drive to the new drive. I suspect the marginal drive has issues with the optical / mechanical assembly and that the PCB is fine. Since they're the same model this should work.

    My conclusion from this is Apple used the same drive from the 1,1 and 2,1 models but altered the firmware for to unlock -R DL capabilities for the 3,1.
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    You don't need to use an Apple OEM drive. Have you considered a modern blu-ray writer that does all the formats? You just pop off the front bezel and connect it to a SATA port on the logic board.
     
  5. pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #5
    I had given that some thought but thought I'd go with the Apple OEM drive because I wanted to ensure I didn't run into any glitches with and Apple software. I may consider that still, it would be nice to have BluRay support.

    Pulled the drive apart and it doesn't look like swapping the PCBs will be as easy as first thought.
     
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
  7. pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #7
    Thank you for this reference. At $65.00 it looks like a good deal.
     
  8. Project Alice macrumors 6502

    Project Alice

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #8
    Just put any drive in there you want to. It wont have any conflicts. I have the OE IDE one in there still, but I also have a BD-R drive plugged into the sata port. The only reason the IDE drive is still in it is because bootcamp doesn't detect the 2 extra sata ports. I use the SATA one for disc burning actually because the OE one seems to ruin every disc I try to burn in it. Just make sure you use an extra long sata cable if you go this route.
     

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