14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 17, 2006 5:24 PM by mrtotes
Rick Pierce Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

My DVR-104 SuperDrive no longer rips CDs, burns CDs, burns DVDs, and periodically can't read DVDs. Time to replace it. The machine in question is an iMac 15" Flat Panel, 800 MHz, running OS 10.3.9. I think the drive is either 1X or 2X DVD burn speed. I see there are many posts here regarding similar issues.

Apple Store won't sell me a parts kit, so looking aftermarket. I see that Pioneer drives are available fairly cheap, but are getting updated constantly. Compatibility is more important to me than speed. Also want to make sure the drive fits properly. I have the Take Apart information, so should be no problems there.

Can anyone recommend which Pioneer drive to buy for best compatibility and ease of replacement?

Also, will I need to use Patch Burn, or would this be avoidable if I upgrade to Tiger?

Thx Much!

iMac Flat Panel/iBook G4/PowerMac 6500, Mac OS X (10.3.9)
  • Donald Morgan Level 6 Level 6 (12,645 points)
    See if this helps, this is only one of hundreds of different sites on the replacment.
    Look under Products.
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)
    I think Donald may have overlooked the fact that you have an iMac G4, not an iMac G3(Slot) or iMac G5 (both of the latter use the laptop slot loading drives).

    Message was edited by: mrtotes: iMac G4 MCE Listing -- sorry my mistake...




    xlr8yourmac.com have an excellent drive database where you can read other iMac G4 users reports on fitting various drives. Currently the Pioneer DVR111DBLK seems to be nearly the cheapest DL DVD±RW drive out there plus it's fully compatible with Tiger and iLife. With a Pioneer drive it's a little hit and miss under Panther - you may or may not need Patchburn.


    I wouldn't purchase Tiger at this time of the year. It's a little long in the tooth now.



  • Big Rocco Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    Hi All,

    I want to upgrade my SD also. What does Apple offer for an upgrade?
    I still have a year to go on my warranty and do not want to void it.

    If I bought one of those drives that are mentioned in the links, who can I have install it?



    iMac 20   Mac OS X (10.3.9)  
  • Rick Pierce Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    The Apple Store told me $310 for the replacement drive, plus $85 to install it. They would not just sell me the drive outright. They also indicated that I could not speed up the drive performance over the original. The replacement would perform no faster.

    Again, this was for a 15" Flat Panel, 800 MHz G4 iMac.
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)
    So about $400 for Apple to do it and about $40 (inc shipping!) to do it yourself. I'd pay myself the $360 for the labour!


    BTW the new drive would be significantly faster. Who ever told you it wouldn't be faster was talking bollards. Admittedly the ATAPI bus speed wouldn't be faster but the burn speed would be and that's what really counts. Plus you'll get Dual Layer support too with the new drive. I suspect the $400 drive from Apple would only be single layer to conform with the original spec.

  • Advocate DaveLs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I found a great link if you want to go with the original Pioneer DVD burners included with the iMac system at the following link:


    A long time ago, maybe 4 years, I remember that Macworld ran an article on how to upgrade your iMac flat panel. Some interesting tips were to use the original styrofoam that came with the flat panel iMac as a workbench protecting the screen.

    Personally, I have been tossing around the idea of installing an internal light scribe DVD burner by Lacie. It's about $20 more. My concern is that once installed, there will be some sort of hardware incompatibility preventing it from being used as a boot disk or from being used natively by the os for burning. Has anyone else tried this?

    BTW - I read on the Lacie website that "iDVD 6 supports LaCie external DVD burners running on OS 10.3.9 and newer and supports dual layer media. Older versions of iDVD will only recognize the internal SuperDrive built into the Mac."

    Hence my concern. I am going to try them next.

    iMac G4 800 MHz 17"   Mac OS X (10.4.7)   Mac Plus / PowerMac 6500 250 MHz with Sonnet 400 MHz G3 / PowerBook 165c
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)

    Welcome to Apple Discussions and thanks for your contribution.


    I'd advise you to have a good careful read of the following drive database before purchasing or installing a drive. Once you've installed a drive file a report - to help build up the data!





  • Advocate DaveLs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you, Mrtotes, for the link to the drive database. I didn't find anything immediately, but I'll try again, later.

    I'll let you know what happens when I install the new lightscribe drive. At the very least, I will have to convert it to an external drive rather than use it as an internal. Another concern, would be that I have to install iLife '06.

    Also, I found the article on Macworld. It can be found at:
    Upgrade the 15-inch flat-panel iMac


    iMac G4 800 MHz 17" Mac OS X (10.4.7) Mac Plus / PowerMac 6500 250 MHz with Sonnet 400 MHz G3 / PowerBook 165c

    iMac G4 800 MHz 17"   Mac OS X (10.4.7)   Mac Plus / PowerMac 6500 250 MHz with Sonnet 400 MHz G3 / PowerBook 165c
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)
    In this recent post (scroll down to 28 Jun) I've linked to an alternative installation guide (supplied by Apple to it's engineers); a $200 external Lightscribe drive for Mac with software for Lightscribe; a $40 internal drive and the free driver required if choose not to use iLife 06.



  • Rick Pierce Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Well, the new Pioneer from MacSales.com was installed last night. The repair is a bit tricky with all the tight fitting cables and such. The inside of my iMac was disgustingly full of dust despite my regular cleaning of the area around the computer.

    Once installed and powered up, the iMac gave me the blinking question mark. I had to go back and set the drive jumper to position two (same setting as the original drive). Then it booted fine.

    OS 10.3.9 recognized the drive, but I had to install Patch Burn to support burning. So far it burns CDs fine from iTunes and the Finder. It reads DVDs fine. Haven't tried a CD-RW or burning a DVD yet.

    Will report back with those results soon. Thanks for all the advice!
  • Rick Pierce Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Okay, I was able to burn a quick movie using iDVD with no problems, and I can boot from my Panther disk without problems. The only wierd thing I noticed was that, when running Disk Utility booted from Panther disk, I got errors trying to Repair Permissions. The error message was something like "Disk Utility has lost connection with the device." I've never seen this one before, but thought it could be an OS/drive compatibility issue. It could also be totally unrelated. In either case, it is likely to happen only rarely.

    Thanks again for the assistance.
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)


    Bizarrely this is an iTunes 6.0.2 under Panther issue!


    Here's the fix.



  • Loren Casey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm in the same boat as everyone else here it seems, having gone the step of replacing the Superdrive, a Pioneer, but after a false start (there's a pin thing on the back of the drive that no one seems to mention in other than computer speak that needs to be in the same place as the original drive, the drive will read, but it will not burn. In the system profiler, it says that it is not set up to burn (my language). Anyone have any idea how to get the computer to recognize the new Superdrive as the cd/dvd burner by the system?

    Also, part of what started this for me in the first place is how slow my iMac got in translating my cd audio discs into mp3s, going from about 4x or 5x to an impossibly slow 1x or so. Also even merely copying them wnet from an 18x to a 2x or 3x. Anyone have an idea why or how to fix? (not fixed with new drive.

    Any insight much appreciated.
  • mrtotes Level 6 Level 6 (11,815 points)


    Have you installed Patchburn. It's required under 10.3.9 to enable non-Apple installed burners to work.