Customer Reviews: Apple MD564ZM/A USB 2.0 SuperDrive [Old Model]
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on June 27, 2012
This "Apple USB Superdrive" is basically the exact same thing as "Apple Macbook Air USB Superdrive", except with the new Macbook pro's shipping out without an internal disc drive, they just decided to drop the "Air" from the Superdrive.

What is wonderful about this drive is that it only requires one USB Port. Often you'll find external drives requiring 2 USB ports, one for Power, and one for data. On a laptop with as few USB Ports as Apple ships with, this is borderline unacceptable. As a computer Engineer, I need at least 1 port free for various interfaces, so an external drive that requires both my usb ports just wont work.

Design: While I have my gripes about Apple, build quality is not one of them. This thing is sturdy, thin, and requires a minimal amount of desk space. I actually fashioned a "bookstand" like enclosure which makes it vertical, which means it takes up even less desk real estate.

Speed: I didn't notice any major difference in speed between a medium quality laptop internal disc drive and this one.

The one thing I wish it had: Blu-ray support. I can dream can't I? That said, discs are on their way out. Which is why I'm okay with the superdrive being seperate from my laptop. I only use it when I'm at my desk anyways.

All Said and done: If you already have the superdrive for the air, don't get this one, its not any different, at least not enough to notice. If your computer does not have a disc drive like the air and retina pro, this is the drive to get, if you plan on using it for anything besides emergency purposes. If you plan on using an external drive 1-2 times a year, there are cheaper options out there. That said, this one is a great blend of build quality, ease of use, and not using a ton of my valuable ports.

Update: I had a chance to look at an air superdrive again, the USB Cord does appear to be a couple inches longer on the new superdrive. This is actually a much appreciated addition, I had forgotten how short the old USB cord was. I wouldn't have had room to plug it in from the back of the desk with the old cord length, I do now.
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on October 1, 2012
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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on August 6, 2012
I can CONFIRM that you can use this superdrive with a MacBook Pro 2010 and other recent Mac computers (supposedly not supported by apple).
My stock internal drive refuses to accept blank DVD's, but will read and burn CD's. I decided to go the easy route and get the external for the times I need to read or burn DVDs rather than repair the MacBook Pro myself and risk ebay purchases for a similar cost. This drive is extremely convenient since it doesn't require any other power cords - just a single USB cord for power and connection. I bought my USB MacBook Air Superdrive directly from the local mac store. This one has the CD-Raw format which means it is the newest version of the mac superdrive. It appears to be slightly better than the one it is replacing.

Found online, by typing (copying and pasting) one line of code and pressing return in the terminal window (run the application called Terminal in your Applications/Utilities folder),

sudo nvram boot-args="mbasd=1"

and restarting the drive becomes 100% functional when plugged in. Prior to this, plugging in the superdrive into the USB port didn't work in the least - it wouldn't even accept a inserted DVD! After the trick and restart, I could insert, eject, burn blank DVD media. After you press return in the terminal window, you'll need to type in your administrator password.

The computers I successfully tested with this superdrive and trick were:

17" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 OS X 10.6.8
MacMini Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz OS X 10.6.8
iMac Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz OS X 10.7.4 (and also booted it from 10.7 OS DVD to see if it would boot)

The computers I tried unsuccessfully were (trying a variety of complicated tricks):
15" Powerbook G4 1.67GHz
17" Powerbook G4 1.67GHz
Powermac G5 Dual 2 GHz

Based on this I would deduce that Intel Core Macs should be able to utilize this trick and have success. There may be more involved ways to get this to work with older systems - but I am unwilling to risk it. In the case of the Powermac, I am not really sure why I tried (no need)! Sure you could buy a faster external DVD burner without any limitations - but where do you get one with a single cord and the elegant small form factor? My biggest concern in getting a replacement drive for my laptop was longevity, and from what I read online the internal superdrives had a reputation for early death.
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on May 8, 2014
Purchased Superdrive about a week ago and came must faster than expected. Came in a padded cardboard box (foam around each interior edge) in original Apple packaging (expected).
Very speedy disk reader and burner. Would purchase again.
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on January 29, 2013
Did you ever go out with a really good loooking blind date only to discover she was a witch-on-wheels later? That's how I feel about the Superdrive. It's really a nice looking design and goes well with all my other mac goodies.

When it works, its just fine. I like the single plug design, and the slot loading system, and have been using it with a mac mini just fine for several weeks - until last night when it's true personality emerged. I put a disk in and a great big 'NOTHING' happened: no icon on the desktop... no drive shown in Finder... no response to EJECT key... just a still silence.

It just sat there, looking good, but smug, knowing it had just eaten one of my favorite movies. I went on-line and found that this is a common problem with the Superdrive. I tried all the recommended tricks. It just stubbornly refused to give me back the disk - I'm pretty sure I heard it laughing at me when I left the room.

It's going back to the store today with my movie still stuck inside (no doubt being slowly digested by now.)

Did I mention that this was my SECOND Superdrive? Yep, the first one did the same thing the first time I put a disk in it. I exchanged it for this one thinking 'surely those nice folks at Apple wouldn't release a product that eats your dvd disk with no way to recover it.' Steve Jobs, we miss you.

I'm going to buy another brand this time. It will probably be a homely little thing but I'm hope for a 'nice personality.'
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on July 3, 2012
Apple's new USB Superdrive looks identical to the older model. Setup is quick: just plug right in and go.

It is made for the current Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Retina Display, which do not have built-in optical drives.

The bottom is slightly grippy, which helps keep it from sliding. It has a nice footprint, slightly larger than a DVD. The aluminum top is stylish. It would travel well.

It works great with both audio CDs and video DVDs. Easy to use.

I would like a longer USB cable, as it would be nice to have the option to set the drive aside when I am watching a movie. Note: Just like the previous generation, the USB cable is non-removable. If the USB cable fails, the device fails. It would be nice if the two were separate.

For Apple's dazzling new Retina display MacBooks with their 2880 x 1880 display, it would be nice to see Apple support Blu-ray and 1080p for this Superdrive.

Overall, a functional and stylish new offering from Apple.
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on February 15, 2013
I do not recommend this quirky device. Price is too high for its weird limitations, such as
-- no provision to manually eject a stuck DVD,
-- a USB cable that is very short, and not replaceable,
-- firmware that deliberately stops this DVD drive from working with any but the following listed Apple-Mac computers.

Short answer, guys, to dispel all of the confusion in these reviews. --> The guys at the Apple Store Genius Bar tell me that this SuperDrive model MD564ZM has firmware that deliberately prevents it from working with any Apple-Mac computer NOT on the following list, found at the page-->

At that page, Apple clearly states that SuperDrive model MD564ZM is compatible with (and only with)
MacBook Pro with Retina display
MacBook Air
iMac (late 2012)
Mac mini (late 2009) and later

This SuperDrive works with my July2012 vintage MacBook Air, running OSX 10.8.2. My SuperDrive model MD564ZM will only grunt and refuse to load a disk, when connected to any of my other Mac computers, which are MacBook Pros, years 2008, through 2011. Like some other reviewers, I thought my SuperDrive was dead on arrival. I emailed the Genius Bar about this, and had to visit the store to get the news about the unusual firmware, in face to face conversation. Anyone else hear this news?

Since some reviewers have reported losing a DVD, stuck inside the SuperDrive, I must ask--> Was your SuperDrive out of its one year warranty? Or did Apple warranty repair (Genius Bar) give you some excuse for refusing to fix it, or at least extract your stuck DVD? If the SuperDrive was out of warranty, could you find a way to break it open, to free your irreplaceable DVD?

IME, I have found that the Genius Bar always repairs Mac hardware, when still under warranty. My most extreme case was in Feb2012, when at no charge, Apple completely rebuilt my MacBookPro2008, which was having multiple problems, 35months into the 36month Apple Care warranty. This MacBookPro2008 was actually close to four years old. It probably sat in its box, unsold, for some time.

Thanks for all your reviews. However, a review is not at all helpful, especially for peripherals, unless you share with us
?---> WHICH MODEL COMPUTERs do you use? <---?
?---> and WHICH version of OSX do you use? <---?

Further, it would help it you would FIRST state your conclusions and recommendations, and then follow up withs all the interesting details.
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on November 10, 2012
I've had a 15 inch macbook pro for almost 3 years now and am loving it, but it was just too big to carry to and from places. Thats why I got a an air over the summer that is just as great as my pro. Still, there was one gripe I had about the air, it had no cd drive like my pro, and even though there is cd sharing I could do between my pro and air, I couldn't share movies and music, two of the things I use the most. Thats why I went to the apple store and tried to find a external disc drive that was also small enough to carry around with me.

The Apple store was still carrying around the old air superdrive for 50 bucks and this one for 80. I asked about the difference between the two, and the guy told me that one worked on the air and mac mini, and the more expensive one works on every current mac model out now. Since I could use this on my pro too, I decided on this. Still, I knew that Amazon would be a bit cheaper, so I bought it here.

I only got this a couple of days ago, but I am loving this product already. It is very light and a great edition to my air and pro. It burns and reads as fast as the drive on my pro, and sometimes even a bit faster. The usb cord is a bit on the short side, but is long enough for my needs. I was also informed by the Apple store guy that this will work on the new imacs coming this year as I might pick up one of those as well. All in all, this is a great sleek product that burns, copies, and reads any dvd or cd out there.

P.S: This drive does not support Blu-Ray discs so if you are planning to buy this to burn or play those, it won't work.
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on August 17, 2012
I am a long-time Apple computers user, but I am not thrilled with the direction the company is heading since few months before the untimely death of Steve Jobs. However, I feel compelled to write this comment anyway, even though, I think, Apple does not need my help (correct me if I'm wrong ;) ).

I bought this drive from my neighborhood Apple Store (I couldn't wait 2-3 days for my Amazon Prime shipment) and I am using it with my new Retina MacBook Pro, running Mountain Lion.

First thing I used it for was installing the entire Adobe CS6 Production Premium suite from DVD. It took only about 1/4 of the time I spent a couple of weeks ago when I did the same installation on my 2-years-old MacMini (through its built-in SuperDrive).

I really don't want to repeat all the superlatives other commenters already posted before me. I just want to say that this is the piece of technology Steve would be proud of. It works flawlessly as soon as one takes it out of the box and plugs into the USB port. The design is an epitome of simplicity, functionality and understated elegance. Its size is barely bigger than a standard CD/DVD disc. It works without any power-brick and without using 2 USB ports at the same time (in order to get enough power from the host). It's built of solid aluminum and does not slide all over the table surface, because it has a rubbery bottom. It does not use a drawer, either.

What more can I say? What more can I wish for?
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on July 4, 2012
I thought about buying a different brand - maybe Samsung or Asus, but realized that almost all other brands require the use of TWO USB ports to power the drive as opposed to the one that the Superdrive requires. It's a about a $40 premium that you'll pay for this convenience, but it might be worth it to you.
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