12 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2008 10:22 AM by Bobbbo
Iain Simms Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
Okay, so I got one of the "early 2008" Mac Pro's with the dual quad-core 3.2ghz Xeons (8-cores total), with AppleCare (£141).

Recently however, I've discovered that the super-drive that came with it is defective. It reads DVDs/CDs but extremely slowly, it took over an hour to import a CD with read-rates in iTunes ranging from 0.5x to 15.4x. I assumed it was just the CD, but I've since tried to play a DVD and am having the same trouble, with every disk that I try.

I've done some searching around and get the impression that the drives included in the Mac Pros are actually pretty rubbish, heck, you can buy them online for £15, in a machine that cost in excess of £3,000 that's a bit of a blow.

So anyway, I phoned AppleCare and they said a lot of conflicting things. Firstly, if I want to replace the drive, I have to take it into an Apple certified repair shop. That's not happening, as it would cost me more than £15 to get TO the place, double that for the return trip to get it back, and factor in productivity lost and you're looking at a good £200-300 for three days without the machine. Not really worth it. The guy however is adamant that I can't just get a replacement sent out despite how easy it is to install, but also said that AppleCare is void if I even open the machine? Huh? I couldn't get transferred to someone else to confirm this so just lost patience and gave up with the support line. Can anyone confirm/deny if this is the case? I mean what's the point in having an easily expandable/upgradable Mac with included step-by-step instructions on how to add and replace stuff if you're not allowed to touch it?
This of course is a problem because I opted to save myself around £1,000 by installing extra RAM and hard-drives myself, didn't touch the DVD drive or anything else, didn't have to as Apple have engineered the machine well.

If someone could clarify my options regarding the AppleCare then it would be much appreciated, as I don't see the value for money in spending £141 for peace-of-mind when it actually costs me more money to get things replaced than it would to do it myself. If I can't get the part under AppleCare then I'd much rather just have them give me the money to get the part myself; this isn't what I'm paying for. I also can't find anywhere in the damned guide book anything that says what can and can't be replaced by the user, it just mentions a lot of repair options but apparently I don't have any options at all.

Secondly, since getting the replacement done under AppleCare seems to be pointless, can anyone suggest a good alternative drive? I'm not looking for anything higher than £50 as I don't need super-high speed DVD writing, heck, I rarely write disks at all, but it's nice to have the option.

MacPro (2 x Quad-core 3.2ghz Xeon), Mac OS X (10.5.2), 10gb RAM, 4 x 750gb hard-drives (RAID-0)
  • Keith Parobek Level 4 Level 4 (3,065 points)
    Opening the Mac Pro and adding components will not void your warranty or Applecare. Even the Mac's manual shows you how to Do It Yourself (DIY) for most components. I've had replacement optical drives, hard drives, memory and even power supplies that Apple sent to me to repair/fix past problems myself, so I think the guy you were talking to is either misinformed or untrained.

    Anyway, I would suggest the Pioneer DVR115 Optical drive from OWC, or wherever you can find it:


    Also, Apple has instructions for adding or replacing an optical drive in the Mac Pro. It can be found here:


    Good Luck,
  • Larryapple Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    The Pioneer DVR-112D from Other World Computing works very well ($30!). I see they now have the 115D. Just plug it in. My "superdrive" was still working, but I was burning HD DVD images at a high bit rate, and the Pioneer did much better.
  • Iain Simms Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Thank you for the responses (both of you), I'll try another call to Apple to see if I can get through to someone who can help. I've gone over the terms and conditions supplied with the AppleCare and there is no such clauses, the closest you get is the statement that AppleCare doesn't cover things you add to the machine yourself, so if I purchase a USB toaster then stick a fork in it they probably won't help =)
    It does in fact go to great lengths to repeatedly indicate various options with AppleCare:

    - Covered repair at Apple certified technician
    - On-site repair if you live within 60 miles of an Apple Store (I don't think there are many places in Scotland that AREN'T within 60 miles of the Glasgow Apple Store).
    - User-replaceable parts (DVD drive seems like one to me, I've managed to add drives to much more poorly designed cases than the Mac Pro's!)

    None of which the person I spoke to offered me. If they're still stubbornly set against their own terms and conditions then I'll get a better drive and write in complaining that I have to spend my own money to repair a covered machine.


    Message was edited by: Iain Simms
  • SplendidWarrior Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Keith, could you tell me which internal optical drive with Lightscribe capability is compatible with the Mac Pro? I live in Singapore and the only 'internal' drive brands with Lightscribe available here are from Sony and LG but they all indicate that they are for Windows only.

    I could get a Lacie one but they are 'external' only.

  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
    If they did send you a new drive, it might still be the Sony model which is more likely to be troublesome. Just buy a Pioneer 115. It works well and is faster (20X burning). Set the jumper to CS (Cable Select). Be very careful not to pinch or cut the cable when installing. If you ever need the computer repaired, put the original drive back and have them replace it. When it comes back, add the Pioneer to get two drive capability.
  • Keith Parobek Level 4 Level 4 (3,065 points)

    I haven't done any research on LightScribe drives, but I can only recall reading about the external Lacie LightScribe drive's software working with the Mac. Sorry I can't give you any more information.

  • SplendidWarrior Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Keith, I'll do poke around some more.

  • dmorrisdavemorris Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Iain--

    I installed a second Superdrive that I bought retail in my Mac pro. It cost about $38 USD and is a 20X drive with lightscribe. (You'll have to download the lightscribe software from lightscribe.com and/or Lacie. Lacie's software is a little better.)

    The drive I chose is the Philips SPD6004P. It works great. I've had no trouble buring or reading any kind of disk so far. It is a bit loud when burning at tops speeds, but ti is no louder than the Apple drive, which is the Pioneer DVR-112D. The Philips also handles DVD-RAM disks, which the Apple/Pioneer does not.

    Can I ask you a small favour, however? Is there anyway you could send me the front bezel off your bad Apple drive-- just the bezel attached to the drive sled. It's attached to the drive sled with double sticky pads. My address is:

    Dave Morris
    2016 Pacific Avenue #301
    San Francisco, CA 94109-2258

    I'm happy to reimburse you for the postage which would be $1.80 going from me to you, but don;t know what the journey the other way would cost.

    Hope my advice helps.

    Dave Morris
  • Iain Simms Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    I'm not sure what you mean by drive bezel, there appears to be no such thing on the drives in the Mac Pros, they are covered by a sliding metal door built into the case of the computer.

    Anyway, I got onto Apple to send me a replacement to try instead, and as my luck would have it it didn't help at all. Apparently the issue is with the ATA controller, or the cable connecting the drives, none of which I can get at without taking the whole machine to bits which I think WOULD void the warranty.

    I have however seen in the past issues with master/slave drives when installing multiple drives, in relation to various PCs at least. Is there any way to check if this could be the issue, or is it not a problem with ATA drives? Preferably without having to open the case again, my computer is sideways against a wall with an HDTV in front of it, not very easy to get into the case =)
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
    The drives have a jumper than can be set to Master, Slave, or CS (Cable Select). The Apple drive should be shipped set to CS. Other drives are usually shipped as Master. Either will work as the top drive (end of cable) in a Mac Pro.

    Next time you take the drive out, take a good look at the flat cable. It is easy for it to get pinched or cut. If so, get a replacement 80-wire (40- pin connectors) cable at any computer store.
  • dmorrisdavemorris Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Iain--

    Malcolm is right about possibly the Master/Slave/cable select setting being the issue. On the Mac pro, the cable provided can accomodate cable select on both drives. Therefore set the jumper on both drives to "Cable Select". The from bezel is the little plastic piece on the front edge of the drive tray when the tray is open. If you look closely, you'll see it is stuck to the drive tray with double-sticky pads and you can pull it right off.
  • Bobbbo Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
    I have the Lite-On model LH-20A1H drive that does lightscribe. I works great and does not make noise when watching a dvd as the built in drive, Pioneer DVR-112D