Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

Zack Stern's picture

Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

OPTICAL DRIVES: That's 'Disc' with a 'c'


Today's optical drives rip through a CD quicker than the original optical drive that came with your Mac. But we're more interested in a new drive to take advantage of the latest burn formats: A double-layer DVD burner, for example, can archive longer movies or about 8GB of data on a single disc. Best of all, Leopard should support most drives - especially Pioneer options at because those feature some of the same parts as Apple's SuperDrives, and so they don't require extra software. (You could even opt for a Blu-ray burner for 50GB per disc, but those are still pricey at about $550.)


As with hard drives, any Mac can accommodate an external optical drive via FireWire or USB, but internal drives are cheaper and keep your desk free of clutter. You may be able to replace the internal optical drive on an iMac or a notebook, but this upgrade scores a high degree of difficulty. (A company like TechRestore can switch out a burner in those machines, and Other World Computing has kits for some G4 PowerBooks that make this fairly easy, too.)


TO INSTALL Tower Macs allow easy access to all drives, making it a fairly simple operation to swap in the latest burner in several minutes. Follow the chart printed on each drive to position the new drive jumpers - the small, removable contacts - at the same configuration as the original. (You'll likely match the position for "cable select" printed in the chart.) Connect a free internal power cable, too. If your Mac can support two optical drives installed at once, consult the computer manual for the correct jumper settings - also likely cable select - and connect them both to the ribbon cable. Once both drives are installed, use the regular Eject key to open the first drive, and push Option-Eject to open the second.


> WHO'S IT FOR? Backup barons, iDVD junkies
> OPTIONS: Pioneer DVR-710 ($59.95)


Equip your Mac with an optical drive that hadn't even been invented when the Mac was made.






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