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Review: Toshiba's 6X/32X SD-M1212 IDE DVD ROM Drive
Plug and Play Operation in Beige G3/B&W G3 Macs

Published: 5/3/2000


Toshiba's DVD ROM drives are one of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) brands used by Apple for their own systems, so I was not surprised when the SD-M1212 model worked plug and play in my Beige G3. The drive was recognized by Apple System Profiler as a DVD drive (necessary to play DVDs) and worked flawlessly in my tests with OS 9.04. Using the infamous patch for the Apple Software DVD player v2.2 and a Rage128 PCI graphics card (required for the software player), DVD movie playback worked fine. (Of course just as with any Mac using the software player, the controls are sluggish, but that's not the fault of the drive.)


In case you're not familiar with installing a CDROM drive (this one is no different than any other), I've created an illustrated step-by-step installation guide for Beige G3, 86/9600 and Blue and White G3s/Apple G4 systems. I am glad to report that the Toshiba DVD drive has worked great in my Beige G3 and should also work fine in a B&W G3 as well. On the Beige G3 minitower, the tray cleared the stock bezel (but was close).

The drive ships jumpered as Master, which is the correct setting to replace the existing Apple CDROM drive. There's no need to change the default settings, but the drive has the settings marked on it for those that are curious or want to run the drive as a slave to another IDE drive. (Toshiba also has a jumper settings page with the info.)

Compatibility Tests:

  • Apple CD/DVDrom Extension Compatible? Yes (OS 9.04 tested)

  • Bootable from CDROM? Yes
    (with Onboard IDE - I doubt a PCI IDE controller would work)

  • Reads CDR Discs?: Yes

  • Plays Audio CDs w/Apple Player: Yes

  • Connectix Virtual Game Station Compatible? Yes*
    (* Based on reader reports with Toshiba 6x and 8x IDE drives)

Like most IDE CDROM drives, the Toshiba ships set to Master, the same setting as the original Apple IDE CDROM drives. My Beige G3 (rev 2) has an IDE ZIP drive set to Slave and the combo works fine.

SCSI Mac Owners: Many readers ask if their older SCSI-based Macs could use IDE CDROM drives with a PCI IDE card like the TurboMax. ProMax officially does not support CDROM drives connected to the TurboMax and I doubt cards like the Acard ATA/66 support them either but I've not verified this. I had limited success with a Kenwood drive connected to the Turbomax, but it would not boot and locked up the system if an audio CD was inserted. I have not attempted to use the Toshiba DVD drive with the Turbomax card, but I suspect it would not work properly.

MacBench 5.0 CDROM Tests

MacBench 5.0 CD Tests

Finder Tests

The stock Apple 24X drive is long gone so I didn't have it available for comparisons, but copying the contents of the OS 9 CD resulted in a average transfer rate of about 2.5MB/sec. The main reason for buying the drive is DVD movie compatibility of course, but the performance with standard CDs is good.


I am very pleased with this drive. I purchased it for my Beige G3 for use with the Wired4DVD decoder card (reviewed here previously) as well as with the Apple software player. (To use the Apple Software DVD player on a Beige G3, the patch on the internet is required as well as an ATI Rage128 graphics card.)

The fact the drive was plug and play with the Apple CD/DVD extension and bootable is a big plus. This saves the cost of a 3rd party CDrom driver utility.

Pricing and Availability:

I purchased this drive at a local Office Depot several months ago, they no longer carry the drive now. The Memorex retail box had a price of $99.95. I've also seen the same kit at Best Buy in the past. On the internet, the drive may be available in an OEM (drive only, not retail boxed) version for a lower price. Faster Toshiba DVD drives are now available. Check the Mac Drive Compatibility Database here for other DVD ROM drive owner reports which often include pricing and sources.
Note: As of Feb 2001, OWC has an OEM Hitachi (Apple ROM) 8x DVD ROM drive for $79.00 as of Feb 2001.

Specifications and Technical Details: (From Toshiba's site)

  • 6X DVD/32X CDROM rating

  • Compatible Discs: DVD-ROM (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18), DVD-R (read), CD-DA, CD+(E)G, CD-MIDI, CD-TEXT, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I Bridge (Photo-CD, Video CD), CD-I, Multisession CD (Photo-CD, CD-Extra, CD-RW, CD-R), CD-R (read), CD-RW (read)

  • Ultra DMA (backward compatible)

  • 256KB Buffer

  • Access Times:
    • Average Random Access: 110ms (DVD), 85ms (CD)
    • Average Random Seek: 90ms (DVD), 80ms (CD 32X)
    • Full Stroke: 210ms (DVD), 140ms (CD 32X)

  • Sustained Data Transfer Rate (Claimed):
    • 3,366 - 8,112 KByte/s (DVD)
    • 2,069 - 4,800 KByte/s (CD - mode 1)
    • 2,360 - 5,475 KByte/s (CD - mode 2)

  • Burst Data Transfer Rate (Claimed):
    • 16.7MB/s (PIO Mode 4)
    • 33.3MB/s (Ultra DMA)

  • Spin Up Time: 1.4s (DVD), 3.1s (CD)

  • Rotational Speed:
    • 3,500rpm (DVD)
    • 1,100 - 2,800rpm (DVD-R)
    • 6,900rpm (CD)
    • 4,300rpm (CD-RW)
    • 1,200 - 2,000rpm (CD Audio, Video CD)

  • MTBF: 100,000 hours

Memorex (PC retail) Kit Included:

  • Toshiba DVD ROM drive
  • Audio cable (PC)
  • IDE Cable (not UltraATA)
  • PowerDVD Software DVD Player (Windows only)
  • Manual (geared to PC)
  • One year warranty

OEM or other retail box kits may have different contents.

Related Links:

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