Five years ago, DVD burners cost something like $5000. Then Apple started fitting them to Power Macs as a standard feature. When I bought my G4 tower back in mid-2002 I remember working out that the DVD burner accounted for almost half the cost of the machine (admittedly knocked way down to £1000 as end-of-line stock).
That built-in DVD burner was one of the very early ones, able to write a complete disc in a little over an hour. Which is a tremendous thing, but not when you’re hoping to write a couple of dozen discs. However, it’s a standard piece of kit, so… it turns out one can just rip out the factory-fitted DVD burner and slot in a new one.
XLR8YourMac have a clumsy but incredibly useful Drive Compatibility Database; I bought a Pioneer DVD-110D from the local PC components shop for a hair over – get this – thirty quid. Apple have an excellently clear video showing how to remove the optical drive caddy from the G4, then it’s merely a matter of swapping the drive unit over and bunging it all back together. Oh, and slipping off the front bit of the drive tray, so it doesn’t jam on the G4’s natty bezel door thingy.
Boot up again and basic things ‘just work,’ but for some more funky stuff in iDVD and the like one needs to give OS X a little kick to reassure it that, yes, the drive will play ball. Download and run Patchburn, restart, and you’re done.
So… I’m now burning DVDs eight times faster. The drive will go twice as fast again, but I was a cheapskate with the blanks I bought.