After Apple has banned the optical drive from all models, one must now be content with an external solution, if you want to burn DVD or CD blanks. For many Apple users, the Apple SuperDrive was certainly the first choice, but after looking for a USB hub for my MacBook Pro, I had to read that the SuperDrive has a built-in lock so it only works if it is connected directly to the Mac. Connecting through a hub causes the device to not be detected. On the corresponding Apple support page of the “SuperDrive” you will find this simple entry:
The SuperDrive is specifically designed for use with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, which do not have a built-in optical drive. The SuperDrive must be connected directly to the USB port on the computer. Usage via a USB hub is not possible.
Cheap Apple Superdrive alternatives with faster technology
I will now sell my Apple SuperDrive used and grow me another external DVD burner. As alternatives, of course, offer devices that have already been several tests of Apple users behind and were classified as 100% working. You should not make the mistake of assuming that any cheap external USB DVD drive works on the Mac. With some models, it does not work very well.
Current recommendation DVD burner for the Mac
Since I update this article over and over again, since the offer of DVD burners as SuperDrive alternative changes very fast, I do not go into detail on a certain device, which would be outdated anyway in a month. Instead, here’s my current recommendation for people who are looking for a reliable external DVD burner to connect to the Mac and do not want to spend the quite high cost of an Apple SuperDrive:
- 【WIDE COMPATIBILITY】The drive works with Windows 98 / SE / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista / Windows 10/8/7, all Version MAC OS. Specially designed for Apple Samsung ASUS HP Dell Sony Acer and other Macbook, Ultrabook, Netbook or Laptop PC without drive hardware.
- Drive Type: Slim External Tray-loading DVD+/-RW Drive
USB 2 or USB 3 burner – which device should I buy?
The above-mentioned external DVD drive works with USB 3. In contrast, Apple’s SuperDrive supports only USB 2 – another catch that makes the drive for newer Macs uninteresting. However, the difference between USB 2 and 3 is not as noticeable when playing and burning movies as with hard disks – that’s why USB 2 DVD burners like the Apple SuperDrive are not really “bad” either.
Much more interesting, however, is that the USB 3 port delivers significantly more power than the USB 2 port (USB2: 500 mA and USB3: 900 mA). This has the advantage that the burners work less “hard on the limit” and produce fewer dropouts, because they get just enough power throughout. For that reason I would strongly advise to a USB 3 burner. If you have an older Mac with USB 2 outputs, it might be helpful to add an active USB 3.0 hub(for example, this one from Anker ). This then provides enough power to operate the burner. And the USB is backward compatible, it is technically no problem to plug a USB-3 hub to a USB-2 port on the Mac.
In terms of speed, USB 3 may have less impact on movie playback than on burn. I found this in Wikipedia : “Drives for use in film players are operated at up to 1.6 times this speed, that is 54 Mbps.” This means that even with a 12x BD drive, the data rate is only 432 Mbps. With the maximum data rate of the USB-2-Port of 480 MBit / s, you can easily get away with it in practice. Only when writing data is a USB-3 burner faster.
External Blu-Ray burner on the Mac
For those who want to burn DVDs and Blu-ray discs with USB-3 fast, I can recommend this external Blu-Ray burner, which is also tested on the Mac and runs smoothly. Incidentally, Apple’s SuperDrive is unable to burn or play Blu-ray Discs: