MacBook: Literate?
December 6, 2007 4:41 AM   Subscribe

Macfilter: Does the MacBook "combo drive" (as opposed to the "super-drive") read DVD-R and RWs?

Having weened myself from Windows, I'm looking to purchase a MacBook. The specifications are not clear whether the combo drive, on the bottom-of-the-line, can read DVD-R/RWs. It writes CDr, but not DVD. I've never encountered a CD-writer that reads DVDs, so I'm totally unclear on this. Calling my 'local' Apple retailer is a waste of time, as the guy there has poor English skills and may be clueless. It's important, but I'd rather not pay for added drive space and speed I don't need, in the model with the "super-drive". They told me I can't upgrade just the optical drive.
posted by Goofyy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Yup. Reads all DVD variants, writes CDs.
posted by Pinback at 4:46 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't have any problem with mine reading DVD-Rs or any form of DVD, actually. It just can't burn them.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:47 AM on December 6, 2007

The wikipedia entry for Combo drive explains the idea pretty well (boldface mine):
A Combo drive is a type of optical drive that combines CD-R/CD-RW recording capability with the ability to read (but not write) DVD media. The term was popularized by Apple Computer as a name for the low-end substitute for their high-end SuperDrive, which was designed to both read and write DVD and DVD recordable media. The device was created as a mid-range option between a CD burner and a DVD burner, which at the time the combo drive was introduced was generally an expensive option costing in excess of US$300 a unit.
posted by Remy at 5:45 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Funny, it never occurred to me to find such information on Wikipedia. Thanks for the fast answers! Amazing, I got that faster here than I could get calling the South African Apple store. I hope this thing doesn't drive me too bonkers, after years of Windows and lately, Ubunto Linux. (In South Africa, I only see laptops sold with Vista, do not want, so Macbook it is! Suck it, Microsoft)
posted by Goofyy at 5:59 AM on December 6, 2007

Surely it'd be cheaper to buy a Vista laptop, format it, and install Ubuntu. The Macbooks are nice (I have one myself) but you're definitely paying for the ability to run OSX. If you're not doing that, you could save some money. On the other hand, they are nice pieces of hardware. The DVD burner premium is a shoddy decision on their part though.
posted by Magnakai at 7:15 AM on December 6, 2007

The bottom end Macbook doesn't come with a DVD burner? That's pretty lame. I'm seconding Magnakai - if you don't like Windows, why not get a regular laptop and go with Linux? Hell you can probably even install OS X on it.
posted by sid at 7:36 AM on December 6, 2007

Well, this way I don't pay for a Vista license. And I get to see how OSX/Apple does things. My partner has professional reasons for wanting to get familiar with Apple's stuff.
posted by Goofyy at 8:07 AM on December 6, 2007

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