Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Friday, January 7, 2005

Successful Firmware Update

Thanks to a web site pointer, I have breathed new life into my PowerBook’s SuperDrive. The original Matshita (Panasonic) UJ-815 that the early G4 PowerBooks shipped with would only burn DVD-R media at 1X, CD-R media at 8X, and CD-RW media at 4X.

After a successful firmware patch, and so long as I use decent media, I’m now burning DVD-Rs at 2X and CD-Rs at 16X. CD-RW burning speed is unchanged. As an added bonus, the drive now fully supports DVD-RW media burning at 1X. No type of + media support, however.

Strangely, even though DVD-RW media is supported at 1X, I just burned a 43-minute VIDEO_TS folder in about half that time. I imagine the speed doesn’t always have a direct correlation to the amount of video. What I was burning was probably much more compressed than typical DVD video. Less data, thus a faster burn.

Oh yeah, the patch also stripped the drive’s region code, so it’ll now play DVDs from anywhere!

Interesting side note (or annoying, depending on your point of view): the early Aluminum PowerBooks reported a UJ-816 drive which was the exact same thing as the UJ-815, except that Apple already applied the firmware update. So why didn’t we Titanium owners get that in the first place? Well, this downloadable update is better since it has the option of stripping the region setting.

For what it’s worth, newer Aluminum PowerBooks have a UJ-825 drive which is better still. I believe its major difference is that it supports + media as well as - media.

» Posted by ALBj at 08:13 PM (ET)
Category: Cool Technology, Journal


That reminded me that I needed to investigate this for my own TiBook, which has the Combo drive rather than the Superdrive.

Here’s a link with information on nearly every Mac DVD drive firmware:

Caution: it’s written by someone whose first language is not English, so some of the directions sound kinda funny.


» Posted by Chris Lawson
January 7, 2005 08:45 PM

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