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On Apple's site in the 12/15/17" PowerBook G4 hardware section in the specs tab, it lists the Superdrive in the 12" AlPB as being 1x DVD-R, 24x CD-ROM, 8x DVD-ROM, etc.

Now, the drive in the 12" PowerBook G4 is the Matsushita (aka Panasonic) UJ-815. I performed a search of this and came up with the following specs, directly from Panasonic/Matsushita:

- 2x DVD-RAM Writing
- 2x DVD-R Writing
- 1x DVD-RW Writing
- 16x CD-R Writing
- 8x CD-RW Writing
- 24x CD-ROM Reading
- 8x DVD-ROM Reading

http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/computer/storage/multi/images/pdf/UJ-815.pdf

Now, I have a DVD-RAM 2.6GB burner here, and I tried it without its cartridge, in the 12" AlPB, and it couldn't read it, format it, and Toast Platinum 5.2.1 couldn't do anything either.

I checked my firmware version, and it's at 'D0CB'.

I performed additional google searches, and came-up with this VERY interesting thread on the MacNN forums:

http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=150774

It seems Apple uses this Superdrive in all three current 12/15/17" G4 PowerBooks, but all three with different firmware revisions. Each firmware version supports different write/read speeds. In other words, Apple is selling 2x DVD-R, 1x DVD-RW, 2x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R Superdrives in all three PowerBook G4s, but are limiting each drive through firmware blocks.

Why the hell are they doing this? I paid as much for my Superdrive as any of the BTO's on the 15 or in the 17" PBs. I suppose I could rip-out the drive, transplant it into Dell Inspiron or other PC laptop, and firmware flash it to the latest version, drop it back into the AlPB 12", and have 17" Superdrive features.

It confuses me as to why this is done. I had the coin to buy a 17" AlPB, but found the screen/Book to be too damned big. Why was I punished with this 'blocked' firmware on the 12" for only spending $3000 and not $5500 - for the exact same Superdrive drive in both PowerBooks?
 
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