Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fitting a Superdrive to my Apple Powerbook Pismo

I love my Pismo, I've had it for over a year now and although it's almost 6 years old it still does a wonderful job for me. The only downside was that it didn't have CD/DVD burning capabilities. After looking at external firewire options I decided to go down the internal mod route and fit a clone laptop DVD±RW drive. Not only would it take up less space but it would work out cheaper too!

Philippe Helman's superb guide: A 8x Superdrive +/-R slot-in in a Pismo gave me the confidence to give it a shot. Here's how easy it was:

Here's my brand new Lite-On SLW-831S-01 DVD±RW drive which I picked up on eBay along side the original Powerbook DVD drive. After removing 6 screws and taking off the caddy which holds the Powerbook drive and fitting it to the DVD±RW I ended up with a drive that looked like this:
That really was the hardest part (a 2 minute job with the right tools). Once the Powerbook caddy is on the new drive all I had to do was slip the new drive into the Powerbook. Obviously the new drive didn't match the curves of the Powerbook's but the slightly degraded looks were easily outweighed by the added features that come with having a Superdrive installed. Also being a slot loading drive makes this new drive a lot easier to access than the standard tray drive it replaced.
Once I booted the Powerbook back up it was a simple job to install Patchburn and have the drive recognised for burning by Apple's apps. One more reboot and everything was working great.

If you're looking to add a DVD Writer to your laptop I highly recommed this method. It would work for most laptops. In fact many laptops use off the shelf drives which would look 100% at home if you replaced them with a stock drive like the one I used.

The Low down:

Pros: An internal Superdrive for almost half the price of an external firewire drive. A really simple mod.

Cons: The new drive won't match the curves of the Powerbook's case. The bright orange light on this Lite-On drive is a little bit annoying. This drive isn't region free, unlike my old DVD drive.


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