Apple SuperDrive fails to write DVD DL disks?

It looks like I’m a victim of some kind of CD/DVD curse. I encountered various problems when trying to burn CDs from the moment I bought my first (very expensive) CD writer. That’s why I’m very reticent when someone asks me to make a copy of some disk, and that’s no surprise I’m rarely burning disks.


This time I wanted to make backups of the two Mac system disks. Since both are larger than 4.7 GB, the single layer DVD+/-R would not be enough.

I bought a box of Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL, but the write failed. I also tried Traxdata 8x DVD+R DL, and Memorex DVD+R DL, with the same negative result.

Writing single layer DVDs was not a problem (so far).

The System Profiler lists the ‘Disc Burning’ device as a Pioneer unit:

PIONEER DVD-RW  DVRTS08:
Firmware Revision: Q81F
Interconnect: ATAPI
Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipping Drive)
Cache: 2000 KB
Reads DVD: Yes
CD-Write: -R, -RW
DVD-Write: -R, -R DL, -RW, +R, +R DL, +RW
Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO

I do not know if the problem is only in the unit installed in my Mini or it affects all similar Pioneer drives.

It would be interesting to know other experiences with writing DL disks on Macs.

[Oct 13 Update] Problem solved

On Oct 11 I took the Mac to be serviced. They acknowledged the problem, removed the defective optical drive and placed an order for a replacement.

Two days later they called me and we installed the new drive, solving the problem. The replacement drive seems to be identical, ruling out a problem with the Pioneer DVRTS08 model.

As a curiosity, after replacing the drive I noticed a problem with the Disk Utility program in use on my system, failing to write DL disks (the error claimed that the disk is not compatible with the writer). However, Roxio Toast worked flawlessly on the same hardware. Booting the original Mac OS X 10.6 system from an external disk and running Disk Utility was again flawless, so the problem seems to be with my system (this needs to be further investigated, but as long as Roxio Toast works, there is no hurry).

About Liviu Ionescu (ilg)
Hi! My name is Liviu Ionescu (ilg, ilegeul or eunete for colleagues and friends) and I’m a senior IT engineer. Or should I say a real programmer?

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