Macbook Air Superdrive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ParishM, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. ParishM macrumors regular

    ParishM

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
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    Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
    #1
    will the MBA SD work on a regular windoze PC or did Apple do something to cripple it on anything but a Mac ?
     
  2. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    One Nation Under Gordon
    #2
    No, they made an afterthought that only works with the Air, not even just Macs. The reason is that it requires 1.5A of current to work, and that isn't delivered by any PC, let alone any Mac bar the Air (they tweaked it to allow the Superdrive to work). You're better off with the LG GSA-E50L - a bus-powered, by any PC - lightscribe drive.
     
  3. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #3
    The SuperDrive for the MacBook Air wont work with any other computer (Windows PC or Mac). The SuperDrive does not have a separate power adaptor, so it must draw all of it's power from the USB cable itself. No single (standard) USB connection (Mac or PC) can supply this amount of power. The MacBook Air was designed differently, though, to provide the extra power. They did not "cripple" it.

    External DVD burners of any brand will either have a separate power adapter, or require you to plug in two USB ports simultaneously, to draw the extra power.
     
  4. ParishM thread starter macrumors regular

    ParishM

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    Aug 12, 2007
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    #4
    thanks for the quick replies

    leave it to Apple to screw up a good thing.
     
  5. tangledweb16 macrumors regular

    tangledweb16

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #5
    I don't see why you would want to use it on a different computer.

    Most other computers have their own drives. Also, it needs a super powerful USB connection, which I don't think is found in other computers.
     
  6. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

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    Jun 7, 2007
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    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #6
    Umm... huh?

    They didn't screw up anything. It's actually an advancement of engineering. Low power output is an inherent limitation of USB port technology that Apple overcame by providing more power to the MacBook Air's port. Like I said, all other drives like this make you plug in an extra power cord in addition to a single USB plug. The MBA Superdrive is an elegant solution to the limitation of no internal drive. If you want a drive that works with different computers, then buy a third-party drive. It'll just be clunky and you'll just have to plug in a separate power adapter.
     
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #7
    Wow. Just wow.

    I'm getting an insight into the true levels of Apple-addledness that some (well - I'd actually say many) have on this board.
     
  8. err404 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #8
    I agree. The "U" in USB is for Universal. Making a USB drive that only works on one machine is a poor decision.

    That said, the drive is not sold as a USB drive. It's a "MacBook Air SuperDrive" that attaches via a USB cable. They do this to reduce the number of ports needed on the Air (form over function). They should be more clear that it is not a USB drive, and maybe even key the plug so it only fits on the Air.
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    Oh, please. They say it only works on the Air. If people are too stupid to read the requirements then that's their problem. Designing a different plug for it would be even stupider.
     
  10. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

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    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Londinium
    #10
    Not with the LG GSA-E50L as prescribed by Sesshi - it works fine with the single USB cable according to MBA user reviews. Which is why I'm getting it. Same price (or less) with lightscribe in a not-to-shabby slimline enclosure? Yes please!
     
  11. err404 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #11
    Saying something is stupid doesn't make it so. Here is my argument.

    USB was largely created to reduce confusion by having a universally standard port and protocol. USB was a huge step forward for compatibility. With USB, a person can assume that provided the correct drivers, a device will work on any USB compliant device. At least until Apple stepped up with this. Fragmentation of an ISO standard is always harmful to end users and should be discouraged.

    Please present an argument for utilizing an internationally recognized standard plug for an interface to one-off device is a correct and proper design. Also why differentiating the connection in some way to signify incompatibility is 'stupid'.
     
  12. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

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    #12
    USB does not guarantee compatibility with anything. You say, "provided the correct drivers", well, that is a pretty big qualification. I can think of hundreds of USB devices that are not Mac compatible for this exact reason. To an ignorant end user, does it matter if it's a driver problem or a power problem? There is no easy solution to either of these issues.

    Apple Engineers are not idiots. I am sure they recognized the implications of their choice when they made the drive, and hence the product name "MacBook Air SuperDrive". USB is a standard for data throughput, connector, minimum power, etc. not a guarantee of "universal" compatiblity. There are platform and hardware limitations to anything. For example, there are low power USB ports on Apple keyboards that will not charge an iPod, etc.

    I wasn't trying to be snarky, but, I'm just trying to convey the fact that this drive was a solution to a specific problem, and was never marketed in any other way. I'm not sure why there is any expectation otherwise.
     
  13. err404 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #13
    To a large extent I agree. I mentioned earlier in the tread that he drive is NOT sold as a USB drive and it's an assumption to think that would be. The question is more whether that assumption is reasonable given the use of the commonly recognized plug.

    I know that drivers are a huge qualifier, but I am a bit of an ideologist when it comes to standards ;). The ISO spec does not specify driver compatibility, but it does define communications, power and plug. There is a distinct difference between lacking a driver and a devices hardware being fundamentally incompatible. If a device fails to comply on these grounds, it's not really USB. Using a standard USB plug has obviously resulted in confusion (as evidenced by the number of posts on this topic). Questioning the intelligence of people who made this connection is unfair.

    I usually hate analogies, but this one seems to be reasonable: If I bought an internal HDD that said it connected via a SATA cable, would it be reasonable to assume that it is a SATA compatible drive?

    I understand the reasons behind Apples choice and it does make for a convenient solution for MBA user. On that ground alone it's hard to be upset at the decision. But the use of an unmodified USB plug still feels like bad form.
     

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