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Customer Review

290 of 311 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Functional, within limits, October 1, 2012
This review is from: Apple MD564ZM/A USB 2.0 SuperDrive [Old Model] (Personal Computers)
The new Mac Mini desktops no longer have a superdrive. I bought this USB external to go with my Mini used as an HTPC. It is nice aesthetically, has a slot-load, and fits very cleanly into my setup. Funtionally, I have had no problems with this drive. It has played every disc I have used in it and successfully burned all writeable/rewriteable media without making any drink coasters. There are a few things I think others should know before they buy:

1. The drive must be directly connected to the Mac. A USB hub will not work. I have tested it with several USB hubs and the drive will not function. I was told that this is due to the drive's firmware limitations only allowing itself to work with Mini or Air products.

2. The USB cable is extremely short, just a few inches long. This is not in any pictures or mentioned in any specifications on Amazon. Combine this with #1 and you must have the drive in the immediate vicity of the Mini (or Air). If you're like me and have the Mini stored in an out-of-the way location (typical in HTPC setups) then this is a big inconvenience. I had to use a USB extension cable to relocate the drive to a convenient place without having to relocate the Mini too.

3. The chassis is flexible enough that you do not want anything placed on top of it or you may encounter trouble inserting/ejecting discs. Even the weight of just the Mac Mini itself was enough to cause me trouble. After I bought the extension cable and located the drive where I desired it, this was not a problem. I did not see any scratches in my media when it had the problems.

PS: I have not tried any 3" or oddly-shaped media in this drive. Based on an unfortunate experience with the Superdrive in my macbook pro, I expect this drive will not support them.
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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 23, 2013 10:41:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2013 10:42:38 AM PDT
I would not use a USB extension cable on this product as the voltage drop over an extended distance may render the Super Drive inoperable or intermittant.

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 3:36:25 PM PDT
gloworm says:
" extremely short,"

A USB extension cable costs a few bucks. One came with my iPhone, so no problem; it has a future job!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2013 3:39:31 PM PDT
gloworm says:
It's around 3 feet. Do you feel this is too long?

Posted on Aug 2, 2013 9:45:28 AM PDT
Did you try a powered hub?

Posted on Aug 28, 2013 5:17:48 PM PDT
The top of a Mac Mini is pretty warm. I Think putting the drive on top of the Mini would cause problems down the road due to excessive heat, in both the drive, and the Mini. In my case I use the Mini as an itunes music server, so it's always on. I have a pretty minimalist appointed apartment so the older, clunky, "battleship" HP external drive I have hooked up now looks like "beauty and the beast". I was hoping to stack the Apple drive with the Mini to make to make the exposed hardware in my living room more aesthetic.

It's easy to let the Mini live on top of the drive and swap positions when ripping music. Let's hope Apple springs for a stronger enclosure in their next iteration, or enables its use plugged into an Airport hub. Cupertino?

Posted on Nov 10, 2013 3:07:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 11, 2013 8:56:52 PM PST
P.K. Frary says:
I have a Mac Mini (build to order October 2013) and this Superdrive reads and burns perfectly plugged into the powered hub built into my Cinema Display. Realize it gets power from the USB bus so a passive (non-powered) hub will not work.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2013 3:11:12 PM PST
gloworm says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2013 8:35:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2014 10:36:17 AM PST
P.K. Frary says:
I wasn't commenting on your post so no reason to ponder and fret over it. I was commenting on something stated in the review above: the reviewer indicated USB hubs didn't work with the Superdrive. I commented that it does in fact work perfectly with my Cinema Display powered USB hub. And I suspect a few buyers would appreciate knowing they can plug the Superdrive into their Cinema Display. I'm guessing the reviewer tried a passive hub, low power hub or a hub with a funky chip set.

Posted on Apr 1, 2014 9:39:17 AM PDT
THIS IS A WORK AROUND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LOST THEIR INTERNAL SUPERDRIVE! EVEN IF YOU HAVE MAVERICK'S

TRUST ME, IT WORKS! Mine has worked fine with my 17" MacBook Pro since this SuperDrive came out in 2012! It is now 2014!

I wrote a review about this! So, I will repeat it again:

Go to "Applications" and click "Terminal"

Copy and paste the following line of code into Terminal pop up window: sudo nvram boot-args="mbasd=1"

Close all Apps if you like.

Restart your computer.

Plug in the USB Superdrive OR unplug it and plug it back in. [THIS THING IS AS QUIET AS A MOUSE! SERIOUSLY!]

Go to iTunes [blank CD-R in hand] choose a play list to burn.

NOTE: You might need to choose which Superdrive to use if you have one already. I did not have one in my 17" MBP. I took it out and replaced it with an Optibay that includes another OWC 480GB SSD. Yes, I have TWO OWC 480GB SSD's in my 17" MBP. THIS THING FLIES!

I was using a different burner but I wanted the look of the new Apple USB Superdrive. It told me the other one I was using is not available. "Would you like to use..." THE NEW ONE! Of course I said "YES!"

IT WORKS!

THANK GOD NO RETURN TO AMAZON IS REQUIRED!

IT WORKS! I TELL YOU, IT WORKS!

TRUST ME, IT WORKS!

NO TRICKS! NO GIMMICKS! IT WORKS!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2014 6:03:47 AM PDT
xgrep says:
That's a pretty amazing workaround that I hadn't heard of before. I plan to try it. But even before trying it, I have some experience that suggests that it could work:

People speculate that the reason the SuperDrive has to be plugged in directly rather than through a hub (even a powered hub) is the power required. This is only partly true. Yes it needs more power than many USB ports supply, but it's also Apple software in the OS that's preventing it. How do I know this? Because it works on a hub when booting Windows from a BootCamp partition (i.e., running Windows "on bare metal" instead of in a virtual machine environment like Parallels, VMware, or VirtualBox). Windows recognizes the SuperDrive and can do everything it needs to.
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