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supernova777's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 18
100% "supported" DVD drives for mac g4's

hey guys
so ive been taking a closer look at optical technology this week..
in particular DVD-RAM technology (http://www.oldschooldaw.com/forums/index.php?topic=400.0 which i stumbled on to while trying to figure out if there was any possibility of burning DVD DL with toast (which so far has failed miserably -- http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php?topic=1826.0)

ive noticed in system profiler in os 8/9 some optical drives come up as "Apple Disc Burning : Supported" i have a few questions surrounding this..

what makes a drive "supported" or not? is it on which side of the DVD standards it lies? (ie: DVD"-"R vs DVD"+"R)

so far the drives that i personally own that are "Supported" are:
DVD-ROM Toshiba SD-R1312 (found in my MDD 1.25ghz)
"2X Superdrive" Pioneer DVR-104 (found in my Quicksilver 933mhz)
these are the only two that ive confirmed.. im wondering if anyone else has any other "apple supported" drives? if they could post model numbers?

i learned earlier this morning of the "patchburn" app (http://www.patchburn.de) that after runnng, hacks mac os x jaguar, panther or tiger to show "vendor suppported" when it previously didnt show as such.. is there a mac os 9 equivelant of this app?

ultimately i want to find out what the best truely supported drive for a powermac g4 under mac os 9 is.. my wishlist:
-DVD-RAM 3X or 5X "Cartridge loading tray, /w support for 8cm "midi"dvd-ram
-as fast as possible DVD-R support
-DVD+R support if possible?
-"apple disc burning : supported"

obviously DVD+R DL support doesnt make sense to put in a g4 that i intend on running os 8.6 or 9.x on all of the time...

the DVD-RAM drives that i suspect will come up as "apple supported" would be The Panasonic LF-D111 which was the first dvd-ram drive shipped by apple in the 500mhz sawtooth. Later i believe they shipped the Panasonic LF-D211 drive in the gigabit ethernet g4s.. then, as far as i understand, they made an abrupt about face and stopped supporting DVD-RAM altogether and introduced the 2X Superdrive.

im really intrigued by the ability of DVD-RAM to act in the same way as a floppy drive.. I have felt sort of like something is missing from computing for a long time since i was very young i always used floppies obviously .. the zip drive even was kind of a joke.. but i remember having a special container for all my zip disks and at the time they were actually really usable.. (we're talking windows 95 days.. right about the time i got my first mac, the performa 6400) id love to have the safety of an optical hard copy having been thru a few hard drive crashes im now surrounded by RAID Arrays.. which provide redundancy.. but write-once dvd's lack the ability to edit the contents.. which really irks me throwing out dvd's to redo the contents of the disk.. i remember using dvd-ram at my work in around 1999 when the dvd-ram drives were first shipped by apple.. and i also remember not fully understanding why i couldnt drag + drop files to the dvd optical drive around the time that apple dropped dvd-ram technology in favour of dvd-r.. i remember having alot of trouble burning dvd-r around 2001-2002 (ie: coasters)

anyways.. if anyone has any DVD-RAM Experience.. is it a waste of time? is it terribly slow + close to unusable + useless? im hoping that i can somehow figure out a 5x DVD-RAM drive that would be "supported" in everyway under mac os 9 and use this to backup my music projects + midi files. ive also read that theres many drives that support 12x dvd-ram and that the 12x discs are only available from maxell in japan, and are "Cartridge-less" and single sided 4.7gb

any feedback on supported drive models (dvd-ram or not) is greatly appreciated!
would a 2007+ new Pioneer drive in the DVR- series still show up as "apple supported"?
regardless of SATA/IDE connection? ie: using an adapter..

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sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I would point out that Toast 5.2.3 in OS 9 should support just about any DVD writer.
Certainly more than would be supported by Apple.
So you might look into what DVD-RAM drives might be supported by Toast.

What are you really trying to accomplish?
I'm not sure investing in DVD-RAM drives and blank disks makes a lot of sense when you can pick up a 160GB Firewire External for $30-40 on e-bay. IDE drives in the under 250GB size are basically free-to-good-home these days. If you have an OSX partition on the machine you can use Carbon Copy Cloner to do a complete backup of your OS 9 disk in a few minutes once you've done the initial clone.
If you want one click backup there are probably some apps on this site that will automatically sync an internal folder to an external folder with one click.

supernova777's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 18

hi sfp;)
dvd-ram discs are apparently one of the best formats of backup for longevity next to M-Disc...
they are used by governments all over the world for this purpose
if your house gets flooded... i read that dvd-ram discs can survive after being submerged in water for a prolonged time which makes them susceptible to alot more then any SSD or rotational hard drive!

the combination of this, combined with the ability to drag + drop files is very appealing to me...
i used to use these discs at my work to backup our photoshop master templates + files for web design projects back around 2000-2001-2002. also the fact that you can get 9.4gb on a single disc + reformat it many many times and that mac os 9 directly supports this tecnology have all added up to spark my interest in this format.. not only that but its now cheaper then ever to get the media + drives on ebay

sfp1954's picture
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You could also use DVD-RW blanks with Toast or CD-RWs if the files are small enough.
They are appendable ie you can keep adding things until the disk is full.
And when you decide you've moved on you can simply erase them.
You can also use the "write session" option with CDRs.
This keeps the disk open and you can keep adding to it until you use the "write disc" option.

I'm not sure a DVD-RAM blank has a big advantage over a DVD-RW blank.

As far as I can see nobody has made a full size 5.25" drive that writes DVD-RAM in years (although they all read DVD-RAM). The only DVD-RAM drives I know of are the slim ones that were used until recently in things like this Panasonic DVD/VHS Combo I own (http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMR-EA38VK). You can record a show to DVD-RAM and then erase it to record next weeks show. But those have been made extinct by hard drive recorders and set top boxes.

My view has always been - if it's worth archiving - make it a permanent archive so you can't destroy it by accident.

supernova777's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 18

the last drives that support the cartridge loading mechanism were produced around 2008 from what i can tell.. but many many drives still are being produced that support dvd-ram.. they are labelled as blu-ray writers of course but if u check the specs they support up to 12X dvd-ram writing.. the LG "HL-DT-ST" drives usually support it.. and same with the Panasonic drives.. some pioneers even support it too.. but def not all pioneers.

dVD-ram discs also have a "write protect" tab just like a floppy disc!!!!!!! sorry i dunno why im so fascinated with the dvd-ram cartridges.. they are just the ultimate optical floppy disc!! so freaking cool;) this all hinges on the actual usability of them of course.. once i get my hands on one

actually this drive looking closely appears to say march 2009 on the label
http://www.netcomdirect.com/pamaswiddvds.html and its 100% cartridge supporting dvd-ram 5x

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

I know precious little about DVD-RAM. Wikipedia has a reasonable page on the subject:

Mac OS up to 9.2 (Mac OS Classic) can read and write HFS, HFS+, FAT, and UDF formatted DVD-RAM discs directly. In Mac OS X (versions 10.0.x through 10.4.x) UDF-formatting of DVD-RAM is no longer supported, instead formatting and writing DVD-RAM is done in HFS+ format.(UDF support was re-implemented in 10.5 Leopard) (HFS and UFS should also be supported on older versions of Mac OS X that retain support for these file systems.)

This old Apple TIL page has relevant info too:

Beginning with Mac OS 9.0.4, Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics and Gigabit Ethernet) computers can use DVD-RAM media as a startup disk. Other computers, which may have a DVD-RAM drive, including the Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) and the Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) cannot use DVD-RAM discs as a startup disk.

FIW In my beige G3 I have an IDE Pioneer DVD-RW. The Apple System Profiler under Devices & Volumes, lists it as Product ID: DVD-RW DVR-112
It works great, for burning I use Toast version 5.0 which runs in 8.6 - I can't see where in Mac OS 8.6 you can find that "Apple Supported" info tho'. I thought that only came about after 9.x or OS X. Anyway, Toast is fine for my needs.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Toast 5.2.3 will run in 8.6 if you install Carbon Lib.

MikeTomTom's picture
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But won't install on 8.6 even with CL in place (I have an original Toast 5.2 install CD) - I initially attempted to install 5.2 and found this out shortly after setting up the 8.6 system on the beige...

I could try a pre-installed copy on it, but its OK thanks (In hindsight, I really don't want to run above version 5.0 here). Version 5.0 is more than ample for the amount of use Toast is going to get on that particular setup Wink

supernova777's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 18

i often wondered why the cd drives showed up in ddrive setup but always showed "you cannot initalize a read only disk" even if it was a RW disc...

now we know! this is 100% for the purpose of formatting a dvd-ram disc!

supernova777's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 18

does anyone know if therse some type of "Rule" that determines if a cd/dvd drive is seen as supported by apple? i was hoping someone would chime in and say it needs to only support DVD-R/RW or CD-R/RW or something.. and that its only the multi-recorders + players that seem to come up "unsupported"

i guess theres no patchburn app for mac os 9 either..

is it the Apple CD extension that is deciding if the cd/dvd is supported?
does anyone have any documentation on this thing lurking somewhere ?
maybe it has a compatible hardware list or something?

perhaps most cd/rw only drives are more likely to show up as "apple supported disc burning"?

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I would say that the "Rule" is simple. If a particular drive was ever shipped as a stock drive then it will be compatible even if it doesn't have an Apple logo on it. So, as far as I know there is no difference between a Pioneer DVR-A04 and a DVR-104 other than the Apple logo. (And any Pioneer IDE would also be compatible up through the 112.) The only actual difference was in the warranty. An 104 would be guaranteed by Pioneer. An A04 is OEM equipment and would have to have been replaced by Apple.

Apple also used Sony CD-RWs (I think I have one in a drawer) in the early G4s that couldn't read DVDs at all. After that they pretty much stuck to Pioneer and Hitachi.

One brand they never used was Yamaha and I don't think they used Lite-On in the PPC days either.
If you search ebay for "powermac + G4 + dvd" you will see that everything is either Sony, Pioneer or Hitachi. There are two DVD-RAM drives up for sale as well - Matsushita LF-D111A. Matsushita drives were used in all the laptops.

At some point it looks like Hitachi became Hitachi-LG Data Storage (H-L). That's what you find on the G5 drives.

By the way I believe that even drives that can't burn will say "apple supported disc burning" if they were original stock drives.