Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am planning on replacing my internal SuperDrive with a SSD and I was wondering if I should get an external enclosure specially for the internal SuperDrive or I can use my old drive (with an external enclosure) - Asus DRW 24B3ST.

Any reason I should invest more money in buying an external enclosure to the SuperDrive?


share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

tldr; version:
No. But if you do then use your old Asus DVD drive in an external case with power supply.

Long version:

If you get an external enclose for a previously internal SuperDrive then check the power needed to run this drive. It might (will) be more than your external case supplies if it is just powered via USB.

Some numbers:
External USB1 powered case: Max 500mWatt
External USB2 powered case: Max 500mWatt
External USB3 powered case: Max 900mWatt

Power use of an external Apple Superdrive I bought before I thought of this: Up to 1.2 Ampere at 5 volt. (More than even USB3 can supply).

All of this comes down to: Get a big external case with its own PSU. Since it is already big the difference between the normal sized Asus DVD and the SuperDrive does not matter. Just keep the SuperDrive as it is, it might come in handy later. (E.g. when selling the old laptop, or when returning it under waranty.)

Do you need any external DVD device at all? You can (re)install a modern Apple from USB. Ditto for a PC with windows or GNU/Linux or FreeBSD.

Basically, I just said 'no' twice. No need to get an external case.

Edit to answer the comment. (can't fit the answer in a comment).
I still don't understand what's the difference between the two drives

The Asus 24B3ST is a normal sized DVD burner. it looks like this: Image of an Asus 24B3ST, copied from the Asus site.

According to the specifications on the Asus website it requires both +5 volt and +12 volt. (as do most desktop CD and DVD devices).

The apple SuperDrive is a name used by apple for two different storage drives: From 1988–1999 it refers to a high-density floppy disk drive. From 2001 onwards to refers to a combined CD/DVD reader/writer.

A assume your post is about the latter.

Apple uses this name for both internal laptop CD/DVD drives as well for external one. The SuperDrives are laptop drives. As with most laptop devices they are a lot smaller. And as most laptop devices it only needs +5 volts. This is the same voltage as USB supplies and that makes it easier to run it without an external power supply.

(For an idea about size, look at this picture of an Apple SuperDrive in an external Apple case. Use the USB plug in the left upper corner as a reference to gauge the size).

Picture of an external Apple SuperDrive DVD-RW

This does not mean that you can just put any SuperDrive an an external USB power case. it will use more power than a single USB lead can supply, leaving you with these options:

  • You can get an external case (with PSU), mount the Asus drive and happily use it.
  • You can get an external case (with PSU), mount the SuperDrive and happily use it.
  • Or you can get a case which supports 3 or 4 (!) USB2 plugs to power the Asus drive.
  • Or you can get a case which supports 3 or 4 (!) USB2 plugs to power the SuperDrive.
  • Or you can get a case which supports 2 USB3 plugs to power the Asus drive.
  • Or you can get a case which supports 2 USB3 plugs to power the SuperDrive.

Using 3-4 USB plugs is insane. Even if your laptop has that many connectors it might not be able to power them all. An external USB hub will not work unless it has its own power supply (in which case you might just as well get a case with a PSU).

The only exceptions to this are:

  1. Very low power DVD drives. These are expensive. Neither a normal SuperDrive nor the Asus is one of these.
  2. Get an SuperDrive for a Mac Air and use a Mac Air. (In which case apple will cheat with USB specs, but only if it detects a the right apple hardware. And that will rapidly drain the power of your Mac Air).
share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer, but I still don't understand what's the difference between the two drives. – AdamGold Sep 17 '12 at 7:32
There is no significant difference between the two devices. – Ramhound Sep 17 '12 at 14:42
I appreciate your long answers, but you're making it more confusing. Does it matter if I use my old drive, or is there a special reason I should prefer the SuperDrive? – AdamGold Sep 17 '12 at 16:43
For all practical things it does not matter. – Hennes Sep 17 '12 at 16:57
I see that the Asus drive requires Microsoft Windows Vista / XP / 7. Does this requirement make any difference if I get an external enclosure? – AdamGold Sep 17 '12 at 17:15

I also replaced my superdrive with an SSD. I purchased a combo pack: internal bay + extrrnal case for the super drive. I did not have another external optical drive, so it was an easy choice for me. I do know that the superdrive is able to boot, so you still can boot from optical media through the usb port. If your old extrrnal optical drive is also able to boot, then I don't see any reason to buy a new external case (except for possible higher read/write speeds and dvd burning: I dont know the specs of your old external drive).

share|improve this answer
What does boot mean? What's it good for? – AdamGold Sep 16 '12 at 11:27
Boot means you can start your computer from that drive. Normally a PC gets power, runs some integrated setup from a ROM (the BIOS) which checks the system (POST) and then it starts (boots) from a HDD or CDROM. These are generic terms, even when an Apple will not use the old BIOS but the more modern UEFI. – Hennes Sep 16 '12 at 13:14
You mean I put an OS disc in it and start the computer? why would I need to do that? – AdamGold Sep 16 '12 at 13:23
OS reinstall / OS reparing / diagnosis – Vincent Sep 17 '12 at 8:16
There is nothign special about the Apple SuperDrive that allows you to boot to the media. – Ramhound Sep 17 '12 at 14:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .