byEvan Blass||October 9th 2006 at 4:24pmOctober 9th 2006 4:24 pm
Oh, those tricky engineers over at Apple; how they love to slip little treats inside their boxes. Recently we found out that Cupertino had surreptitiously included 802.11n chips from Broadcom into its latest lineup of all-in-one iMacs, and now we've learned that many of the SuperDrives in the Mac Pro are even more super than their spec sheets or current functionality would have led us to believe. The good folks over at HardMac decided to find out the real deal behind Sony's DW-D150A DVD burner that ships with most Mac Pros (the others sport a Pioneer DVR-111D), and after disassembling the drive and doing a little research, discovered that this previously-unknown model is actually just a rebadged NEC ND-4570A. Normally such a revelation wouldn't be very interesting, except for the fact that NEC's version of the burner touts superior performance and more features than Apple endowed the Sony with, and a fairly simple firmware tweak is all it takes to make your SuperDrive even more powerful. We won't go into the specifics of the hack here, but after you've successfully followed the instructions laid out in the Read link, your drive will suddenly be able to burn DVD-RAMs and dual layer DVD-Rs, write CD-R discs at 48x (as is, these SuperDrives max out at 32x), and perhaps best of all, read DVDs from around the world (i.e. the new firmware is region-free). Next up for Team HardMac? Getting ahold of some LabelFlash-compatible discs and attempting a firmware update to the ND-4571 -- soon, your Mac Pro may be able to get its label on as well.