News Archive for: Wednesday Jan. 2, 2008
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MBP owner report on USB adapted LG GGW-H20L (SATA Combo Blu-Ray writer/HD DVD reader)
From a reader mail today. (Updated with info from another reader on a FW800/USB2 to SATA bridge board he put in an old SCSI Ext. drive case)

"Just got ahold of one of the rare new LG Combo Blu-Ray Burners, Model: LG GGW-H20L. (6x max BR write, 16x max DVD writes, 40x max CDR writes + HD-DVD Player drive - see below for links to (PC site) reviews including CDRinfo's review with performance tests.-Mike.) Local Fry's have just started carrying these for $399.
I have a Macbook Pro 2.4GHz with 4GB of RAM running 10.5.1 and this drive is currently connected via a USB 2.0 to SATA adapter (cheap one I picked up from Newegg a while back). Toast 8.0.3 seems to recognize the drive fine and I have so far done a single burn on a 25 GB BD-RE and then erased it within Toast. Putting a Blu Ray movie into the drive results in it mounting on the desktop, but I can't play it (and the USB connection would be too slow anyway).
(No Blu-Ray DVD Movie support in OS X yet - although there's also said to be some unofficial basic Blu-Ray burning (in Finder for instance) in OS X Leopard, although it may not be bug-free based on some discussion I've had with a Mac CD burning software developer. Also there was said to be some sort of issue with Toast 8 and this drive.-Mike)

After the computer wakes from sleep, I seem to have to unplug the USB cable and plug it back in to have it recognized again. Leaving it plugged into a powered USB hub does not help. (there's been several similar problems reported from Leopard owners w/PCI USB card cards also after wake from sleep.-Mike) Annoyingly, Toast will hang if the drive was being used before and then it can't find it when the program is launched--you'd think it would just ignore it and move on, but it doesn't.

I'm looking for an external enclosure for this thing, but all the optical enclosures out there are for IDE (PATA) drives, and this one is a SATA (which most of the new Blu Ray burners seem to be). I have found two options thus far:

1) Addonics AE5SACSUF
2) Cooldrives OPT525-EXTE

Both of these drive Enclosures offer USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. Since I'm using a Macbook, I'd prefer Firewire 400 or 800 connections, but I haven't found these on any enclosures. Not sure why, but all the Firewire enclosures say that they won't work with SATA optical drives. Any prepackaged burners with firewire ports out there for sale (like OWC's) all have an IDE (PATA) drive in the case (like the Panasonic SW-5582).

I haven't had the chance to try multiple burns yet. I'm still waiting for my blank discs to arrive (Frys.com has some good Panasonic 4X media on sale right now for $10 each).

I'm disappointed in the lack of enclosure options and would like a faster connection to the drive in the event I want to read files or watch movies from it faster than USB will allow. I'd love to hear anyone's suggestions or thoughts.
- Ron"

I'd asked OWC about this last month (Ext. case for SATA Optical drives) when it came up previously in some posts on SATA burners and Larry said they will have one available early this year. John suggested using the drive with an ext. SATA case and low-cost eSATA Expresscard like this one ($44.99). (Update - The Jan 3rd, 2008 news page has a MBP owner report on Express34 SATA card w/SATA LG 1st gen Blu-Ray/HD-Combo drive.) If anyone has other suggestions for Ron let me know. For full specs on the LG GGW-H20L, see this page of the CDRlabs review of LG GGW-H20L which has their (as usual very complete) page of Performance Tests with Blu-Ray, DVD and CD media under Windows. (I wish Mac OS X had such a complete array of benchmarking apps for Optical drives.) I'd also linked previously to the (much less detailed) PCworld review of LG GGW-H20L.

Update: Here's a clip from a recent reader mail (later reply to Monday's feedback on other LG DVD burners) where he mentions using an old SCSI case with a separately purchased FW800/USB 2.0 bridge board.

" For the external (eSATA) LG 62N I found a more convenient solution: I have an Oxford 924 bridge (like this one: http://www.datoptic.com/cgi-bin/web.cgi?product=IF8UC-S&detail=yes) that I put into an old external SCSI case together with a modified eSATA slot bracket (so that it fits the Centronics (scsi connector) slot) hooked up to the bridge's SATA ports.

In the end it's hooked up like this:
eSATA device - eSATA slot bracket - SATA to USB/FW800 bridge - USB/FW cable - USB/FW port on a Mac/PC.
This works very well to bridge between the FW800 and USB ports of any Mac/PC and the eSATA ports of devices like the external eSATA LG 62N burner. This way I can even boot older Macs from a SATA burner/SATA disk or flash the firmware via that Windows only LG utility.
-Jan"

It sounds like he's seen no issues with Optical drive support with this bridge board (that's a potential problem with some bridges/SATA adapters). A FW800/400 cable could be used for those with no FW800 ports as the specs list it's also 1394a compatible (aka FW400). Ron later wrote he's ordered one of these bridge boards - I asked he report back after he's tried it with the drive.

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Express34 Card Reports page updated
I've updated the page of MacBook Pro owner reports on Express34 Cards with an OS X 10.5.1 user's comments on the Griffin Technologies eSATA Express34 card used with two Cavalry 500GB external drives that have USB 2.0 and an eSATA interface. (Some problems noted using the eSATA card/interface.)
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HierarchicalDock (for Leopard) v1.2 released
Eternal Storms sent a note they've released HierarchicalDock v1.2 for Leopard. The release notes for v1.2 list:
  • Improved Performance
  • Fixed a bug that prevented creation of folders with "/" in the filename
  • Better positioning
  • Show Finder's color labels
  • Show number of items of subfolders
  • Fixed .essdocker extension bug for good (you may have to re-add folders with this new version)
  • Per-Folder settings (hold down option and command and click on the folder)
  • Doesn't mount servers anymore if not wanted vFixed sizing of menus
  • Open QuickLook windows with option-click
  • Size of QuickLook Previews adjustable
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Other News/Articles, Misc. Software Updates
(includes updated apple support/troubleshooting docs)

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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