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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives System
A user named Cynikal has created a firmware hack that enables the PowerBook SuperDrives to burn at their full capability - that is, burn DVD-Rs at 2x, burn and erase previously unusable DVD-RWs, and burn CDs at 16x. This hack is possible because the drives included in PowerBooks can, unmodified, burn the above formats, but have been disabled from doing so. Visit the above link for more information; an upgrade and downgrade are provided, and have worked as advertised for me.

[robg adds: As with anything that modifies your firmware, exercise caution to insure that the process is not interrupted!]
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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives | 29 comments | Create New Account
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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: beisenberg on Aug 19, '03 10:51:59AM

I have been running this for over a week, with no problems. Be smart, and don't start burning when your PB is already hot....but that's a good idea regardless. Successful DVD burns at 2x, and cdrw burns at 16x.

b



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Failed on my first DVD burn
Authored by: Erik9999 on Aug 20, '03 04:33:53PM

12" Powerbook G4 867

Firmware upgrade worked well but the first DVD-R I burned, about 1.2GB of data failed with a buffer underrun. Never had a failure before even with identical media. Switched back to 1X and had no problem.

It did however enable DVD-RW ability which I wanted.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: cynikal on Aug 19, '03 12:49:52PM

nice.. i've been a macosxhints fan for a while..

thanks to whoever submitted the article, i would have done so myself but didn't think it would make it since it wasn't mac os x specific.. (i posted a hint or two before that were os x specific and even that didn't make it).



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: rustyano on Aug 19, '03 12:58:19PM

I've been running for a week too and it works perfect. I've been using it with an Alubook 17".
Regards

---
A computer is a lot like an air aconditioner, it works better without windows.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: DelVach on Aug 19, '03 05:43:36PM

I fear to modify my precious 17, but am intrigued.

How do you erase the existing contents of a DVD-RW? Can you add to it, or do you have to re-write the entire disc?



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bluehz on Aug 19, '03 07:33:39PM
On a semi-related note. I just purchased a Pioneer DVR-105 drive last week. I successfuly used this hacked 1.3.3 firmware to update my drive to "imake the drive RPC-1, rip at 12x and potentially write some 1x media at 2x".

Info and download here:
http://forum.firmware-flash.com/viewtopic.php?t=15958

Lots of good info at the site above:

Macintosh Firmware forum
http://forum.firmware-flash.com/viewforum.php?f=30&topicdays=0&start=30

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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: neier on Aug 21, '03 09:25:01AM

The 105 firmware you pointed to worked fine for me too. I haven't tried ripping yet, but RPC1 works as advertised, and I have burnt CDs and DVDs with no trouble after the upgrade.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bogdescu on Sep 18, '03 03:18:16AM

the links above are dead - any suggestion where to look for the info you mentioned? thanks!



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: Anidel on Aug 19, '03 05:18:58PM

I'm using for a week too on my PB 12" and it's working very smooth..a pleasure :)

Anidel

---
Anidel



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: talonwood on Aug 19, '03 07:37:59PM

so far it's worked smoothly, i don't usually burn DVDs but i burn a lot of CDs and the x16 speed is great!

the one "issue" i have with it is when waking from sleep -- the superdrive seems to go through some kind of mechanical action on waking up, and since applying the firmware update, now it does this action twice on wake up.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: Jadey on Aug 19, '03 08:24:13PM

Just reporting another successful firmware update. 12" powerbook.



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what abot 15inch gigabit ethernet
Authored by: nicholasoften on Aug 19, '03 11:40:52PM

anybody tried it on a 15 incher?



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what about 15inch gigabit ethernet
Authored by: PaulMerrison on Aug 20, '03 04:53:42AM

Yep, it installed fine, and I've verified it working burning both CDs and DVDs at twice the previous speeds on my 1GHz 15" TiBook.



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what abot 15inch gigabit ethernet
Authored by: checkov1771 on Aug 20, '03 09:48:02AM

Yep, works like a charm on my 15 incher!!

Thanks again Cynikal

checkov



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: Steve Case on Aug 20, '03 03:09:00AM

I am new to the board. I just purchased a 12" powerbook with an 867 and 640 ram. So far this program is working wonders. : ). glad to see that someone is really tweeking the system.
-Steve



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: miker71 on Aug 20, '03 04:13:53AM

another 12" PB success story

i did get some verification errors on a cheap CD at 16x (not that I ever normally bother to verify a burned CD), but that's hardly surprising and error correction seemed to work when copying back off CD



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DVD-RW
Authored by: Beweis on Aug 20, '03 04:38:03AM

Another 12" successful superdrive upgrade.
I wonder what is the best way to erase a DVD-RW media which I burned yesterday. As described in another forum I also had this problem that Toast didn't stop writing the leadout - so I had to quit Toast. Is there a fix for this issue?



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Erasing DVD-RW disks
Authored by: Han Solo on Aug 20, '03 10:47:50AM

Have you tried Apple's Disk Utility? Erases DVD-RW disks on my PM MDD Dual 1.2 GHz machine with a stock Pioneer DVR-104....



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Erasing DVD-RW disks
Authored by: thoughts on Sep 12, '03 11:10:17AM

Actually, it DOES write the leadout, albeit slowly...as in, sometimes it takes 30 minutes :|

However, being impatient and force quitting, like you, I fixed the DVD-RW with a full erase through toast (disk utility works well, too).



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: amplitur on Aug 26, '03 04:03:38PM

Worked on my 12" PB without any problems.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: saudio on Sep 14, '03 12:04:08PM

!!!!! BIG PROBLEM !!!!!

I had been running this for a while on my GHz TiBook without any problems, until I decided to backup my drive, re-format and re-partition. The built-in DVD-R will NOT recognize ANY APPLE OS DISK for booting. This includes OS9, OSX, even the disk that came with AppleCare and TechTool Deluxe. Running the Apple Hardware Test shows that everything is OK, but it's not necessarily checking the DVD-R.

I was able to use my wife's iBook as a Firewire drive ('T' upon boot) and run the DOWNGRADE patch, but nothing changed.

I AM HOSED, unless I can grab a Firewire DVD-R to re-install OSX. Anyone else feel like trying this? Just try booting from the Jaguar disk!

Thanks.

---
Eric Seaberg - San Diego



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bogdescu on Sep 17, '03 10:40:26PM

re: saudio's message above
-I guess this is a "bump"-
would anyone please report on the success (or lack of thereof) of booting from an "upgraded" drive in their powerbook?
I'm scared to make the leap...



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bogdescu on Sep 18, '03 03:09:34AM

Saudio he has researched the above-mentioned problem further and tracked its roots to the fact that 17-inchers don't start up on older Jaguar CD's - they need the DVD that came with them.
So it was not the firmware upgrade's fault, his PB starts just fine with the original OSX DVD...
Thanks Saudio!



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: televisionmind on Sep 18, '03 12:30:18PM

hmm...ok, i'm confused.
saudio said he had a Titanium PB, which is a 15-inch.

bogdescu, you said that the 17-inch couldn't boot from older Jaguar disc.

was saudio trying to boot from an older jaguar disc on his 15-inch Tibook? meaning that the updated superdrive is now "behaving" like a 17-inch?

just want to cover all my bases before flashing my new PB



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bogdescu on Sep 18, '03 01:47:41PM

Sorry, my mistake, Saudio's was a 15-inch indeed (the 'titanium' says it).
In the meantime I flashed my 17-incher.
DVD burning speed jumped to 2x as advertized (tested on apple branded media).
I failed however to burn DVDRW's but this may be because of media incompatibility (tried Imation's DVDRW discs version 1.1). Neither Toast (5.2.1) nor Disc Copy could write those, though Disc Copy could erase them.
Of course nothing happened to my CD writing speed, that is uncrippled on 17inchers anyway.
Will post if I manage to burn DVDRW's.
BTW - on the 17inch the upgrade is a one-way ticket, there is no way to return to the factory software on your drive... see the manual for more details.
On a boot-related note, I tried to start my machine from a 10.0.3 OSX cd but it woulnd't start. My guess is that this is not related to the new firmware - that OS is ancient :-). Have not tried the original CD yet... To be honest I am not very concerned, since my reinstals usually amount to carbon-copy-cloning back from a backup partition on an external FW drive. Also (just as Saudio did) one can target-firewire the PB to another machine to solve the problem.



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: televisionmind on Sep 18, '03 03:12:15PM

Well, you can target FW the powerbook...if you've got another mac.

So, was saudio ever able to boot his PB from the Jaguar DVD? Or was the work-around the only solution?



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: bogdescu on Sep 23, '03 12:10:21PM

apparently yes, he was able to boot it from the PB original startup DVD (but not from the jag one)



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: keana on Jan 18, '04 04:58:57PM

Hi, I just want to add another success. I updated my superdrive on my powerbook g4 1 ghz, 10.3.2 . Everything is working better than it ever did!! I was losing about 1/2 of the dvd's I burnt with an error message on the lead out. I have now burned 10 dvd's with no error message!! I am a happy camper. The only thing is that it is still taking an hour to burn but it reports 1/2 hour. The web site where you download the firmware says that this happens when you use cheep media. I am using FujiFilm dvd-r's so I don't think they could count as cheep media. However, I don't care. My superdrive is working better than it ever did and thats all that matters. The next brand of media I try will probably burn at the 2X speed.

Keana



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Enable features on some PowerBook G4 SuperDrives
Authored by: fred bloggs on Jun 25, '04 07:34:37PM

Hi...
I used this on my Pioneer 104 DVDR in my Mirror-door Dual 1GHz and...
IT KILLED IT STONE DEAD!!
Not sure if my having a drive in the second bay had an influence, but it just wiped the firmware clean! The system sees a Pioneer 104 on the bus, wit a ROM version 0.0. As you'll guess, I've tried everything to make it "intelligent" again, both on Mac and PC, and even with Pioneers own ROM updater but to no avail. Unless someone has a bright idea out there, I guess this unit is scrap.
All I can say then is CAUTION, CAUTION, CAUTION!!!!!



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