The DVD-R media that destroyed my SuperDrive (photos)

The DVD-R media that destroyed my SuperDrive (photos)

Summary: Yesterday I inserted a blank DVD-R disc into my MacBook Pro (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo) like I've done dozens of times before. But this time was different. This time it destroyed my SuperDrive.



Prodisc DVD-R Failure

Yesterday I inserted a blank DVD-R disc into my MacBook Pro (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo) like I've done dozens of times before. But this time was different. This time it destroyed my SuperDrive.

After I inserted the blank DVD-R media I didn't immediately notice that it didn't mount in the Finder and promptly forget about it. About 20 minutes later when I noticed that it didn't mount I pressed the eject key on the keyboard and heard a horrible crumpling sound. I got chills as I watched the disc above slowly come out of my SuperDrive.

When the disc came out of my drive the white thermal printing was mostly de-laminated from the top of the disc surface. About half of the white thermal surface had peeled off inside the SuperDrive mechanism. Note: that is not a label that I installed or some sort of a sticker, it's the white thermal printable top coat that ships from the manufacturer on the media.

Pieces of the label were trapped throughout the inside of my SuperDrive and it wouldn't read any disc, in fact, subsequent discs that were inserted got scratched beyond further use by all the white shards that were distributed throughout the inside of my machine.

Since I couldn't be without my optical drive a trip to the Apple store in Atlantic City was in order. I booked a Genius appointment online and drove to A.C. over lunch.

After dropping off my MBP at the A.C. store around 1:00pm, I got a call around 4:00pm that it was completed. The genius (Kyle) informed me that the SuperDrive had to be replaced and that white flecks of plastic were all over his bench. The manager of the store informed me that the replacement drive would not have been covered if I didn't have AppleCare and that the repair cost would normally cost US$310 for the drive and US$135 for labor.

ProDisc MCCRG20 MediaThe media was Prodisc White Thermal Hub Printable 8x DVD-R (~0.29/disc) purchased from

Imprint code (inside hub, underside): ZC9742-DVR-I47A
Serial number (inside hub, top): 4203E1111-08064C15
Roxio's Toast 8 reports media code*: MCCRG20 (pictured, left)

Save yourself a US$445 repair bill and stay away from this media at all costs.

According to a friend in the optical media business Prodisc is a B-grade product. He recommends Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim which are top quality discs.

*You can search for optical media codes on Video Help's search page.

I posted five images of the defective media in this gallery

What has your experience been with optical media? Have you ever seen anything like this?

Topic: Apple

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  • First time I saw sth. like this!

    Wow, this is my first time I saw the disc thermal printing totally peeled off like that.

    The only time the CD media totally screwed up my CD drive was about 3 years ago when I inserted one picture CD into the drive, the drive then started spinning so fast. The next I heard was a "pop" as if something exploded inside the drive. Yup, that's right. That darn CD exploded into pieces, rendering my drive useless. I tried to remove all the broken pieces, but it seems such a time-consuming job. So I just asked my boss for a new replacement.

    One thing I learn from today's story is, avoid the B-grade disc product! Personally I use Sony medias since Verbatim is hard to find around here.
  • Seen it before a couple of times ...

    ... but only on notebooks. Some discs just can't take the heat and disintigrate. Shouldn't happen but CD/DVD media quality is patchy at best.

    I've had discs come out of the loaner MacBook Pro I have that have been hotter than I've been happy with to be honest, but never seen that kind of damage.
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • There's a reason CDs don't go more than 56x

      There's a reason CD drive speeds have topped out at 56x - and it's not because of limits in the electronics.

      At speeds higher then that the plastic in the discs breaks under the stress. Even at 56x there's plenty of examples of cheap disks shattering spontaneously.

      (Mythbusters did an episode on this if you're interested...)
      • I thought that ineteresting

        I saw that episode also and I was surprised at the outcome.
        Though additionally I would also guess that read/write speeds will have to take a back seat to cost.
        How much would the drive and media cost if they were required to be built and balanced to the point that would allow them to spin at 100X or beyond? I've head some standard drives sing when an ever so slightly out of balance cd was placed in it, so imagine what a single cd would cost if it where designed and manufactured to spin at 100X?
        John Zern
      • Mythbusters

        IIRC they had to power the drive with an external source to get it to shatter. It was spinning well beyong 52x....
        • I re-watched the episode

          Luckily for us, that episode is in iTunes, so I was able to watch it :). I love Mythbusters, so I had the whole season.

          Actually, they had to use tools because the computer they bought wasn't powerful enough to get the CDROM to spin at 52x speed (30000 RPM).

          First test (with microwaved disk): Shattered at 23000 RPM

          Second test (Control CD): Shattered at 25000 RPM

          Other CDs in good condition withstood most the tests, but warped a [i]lot[/i] on the tools they were using. More power did indeed shatter most of the CDs, and damage did indeed make them more suspectible to shattering.

          In the end, they said it was highly unlikely, but [i]they never declared the myth to be busted.[/i] So yes, it's indeed possible for this to happen with a 53x CDROM with damaged media.
      • Seen the Mythbusters episode

        And although they cranked the speed up to SHATTER it was well above anything close considered to be within the realm of what modern disk speeds will ever be. I have purchased many many CD's'/DVD's (probably 300+ of the 'no name type') numbering in the several hundreds, probably over a thousand, and used them in all variety of disk drives and never lost a single one like that. Although, Ive found a few times some large no name spindle packs come equipped with an inordinate quantity of coasters pre installed on the spindle.

        All Mythbusters proved is that no matter how fast your media drive spins, by time the disk blasts into shards your not going to get killed by the shrapnel unless you are the unluckiest person alive. Disk frags and peals are rare to the extreme and any company that produces a disk that does this even once out of many thousand disks should be avoided like the plague.
    • I had one shatter at 52x

      I had an original software installation disc that I needed to read one more time to make a copy, as it had a very light crack in it near the hub. I put it in the 52x drive and walked out of my cube te get something and heard a bang. I returned to find that the disc had shattered and blown the door off the drive as well as sent shards all through my cube. It could have been a bit painful had I been there at the time. I now always check the condition of discs before inserting them, especially in 52x drives. I also have found that the old blank discs that I used to buy that were made in Japan were always trouble-free, whereas the new ones that all seem to be made in China are kind of a crap shoot. Some work, some have errors when writing or reading afterwards, others are not even recognized as writable blanks. I would rather pay more for reliable media manufactured in Japan, if only I could find some. By the way, I saw that episode of MythBusters as well. Those guys are great!
      • Mythbusters!

        I just LOVE that show -- even more since they added Kari Byron, although I believe I missed the original "perfect butt" episode that introduced her (and I haven't caught the shattering CD episode yet, either -- time conflicts, and I have to sometimes catch the re-runs).

        So who here thinks they go rid of the other gals because they weren't as HOT as Kari? (lol) Plus, she's a certified artist in her own right, with galleries in San Francisco displaying her art (from what I've read online).

        I was kind of wondering why the speed on CDs hadn't kept increasing, although I also frankly am fairly happy with where it's at for now, anyway. I just hope I don't have any exploding CDs or DVDs (I rarely buy anything but Verbatim or one of the other major name brands, anyway, for just such reasons, plus the fact that some scientist in Europe said even the best Optical media won't hold your stuff more than 3-5 years before you start to get packet losses, and that the cheap stuff may start doing it in a year or two.)
        Jeff Hayes
        • Mythbusters showed Urban legend

          Those guys tried real hard (as usual) to show that a fragmenting disk might injure someone, and as hard as they tried they proved it would be as close to the order of impossible as can be.

          1. If the disk is cracked/flawed enough to break at 52 speed or even a fair bit higher, it will never accelerate to a high enough speed to do injury. Pieces could wreak your drive but it dosnt blow your drive open and jab you. They tried very very hard to make that happen and despite their best efforts they couldn't do it.

          Secondly, to have a fully intact perfectly fine disk blow into shrapnel it takes such a brutal speed only a mad man would suggest increasing disk speed to that level without having a completely new media standard designed. It would be much like suggesting that a good set of modern rubber tiers would do for a set of wheels on a car that were going to spin at the equivalent of 2000 miles per hour. I hope our engineers of this day and age can force enough of the physics relating to centrifugal force to be concerned about a 1000+ speed DVD drive.
  • Pretty impressive that AppleCare covers damage arising from defective discs

    Interesting that.
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • AppleCare coverage

      I was a little surprised too... after all they could have denied the claim and said that it was the media's fault and NOT covered.
      I am contacting the seller ( now for comment.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Covered because you are known?

        You don't think it was covered because you are Jason D. O'Grady? Also, what's
        with the quick turnaround in the store? Bet I couldn't get that quick turnaround in
        my store.

        Seriously, in everything I've ever read about AppleCare, nowhere does it say it
        gives you extraordinary warranty coverage during the first year of your Mac
        ownership. The deal is that it extends the same warranty coverage for two
        additional years for a total of 3 years, and it extends the phone support from 90
        days to 3 years.

        So if AppleCare has anything to do with them covering your repair, it is completely
        arbitrary from the standpoint of Apple's official info on AppleCare: http://

        Perhaps they told you that to reinforce your AppleCare decision and ensure you
        always buy it, and perhaps report that here so that others see an increased value?
        I don't know if any of this is possible, but I'd be interested to see you attempt to
        get to the bottom of why AppleCare would cover this repair but the ordinary
        warranty (which with a 2.33GHz MacBook Pro would still be in effect) would not.
        • How did you get it covered in-store?

          I've NEVER had an Apple Store repair a laptop in-store. Every time, I have to send it away. And, since I'm tech support for a fair number of people, I've had to arrange not just my own repairs over the years but others' as well.

          Not once has Apple made the repair in-store.

          How did you do it?

          And yes, we always have AppleCare extended coverage.
          • It has to be a real lemon IME ;-)

            I've actually had my MBPro (2GHz Core Duo, the really problematic kind) repaired in-
            store, but only because it failed again just a couple weeks after already having been
            sent to the depot (and the depot repair took longer than usual as well). Still, it took a
            couple days, not a couple hours. And this was not a questionable coverage but a
            main logic board failure. All this took place within a couple months of purchase of
            the MBPro. And it's still not quite right at times. I haven't taken it back again
            because it works well enough and I can't be without it right now.
          • Jason won't answer you 'cuz he'd get caught in another lie (NT)

  • Agreed

    I agree that 300$ for the drive is quite outrageous. But they don't seem to be the only manufacturers who charge this kind of price. Last time I checked the price for my Lenovo T42 internal optical drive, the CD-RW/DVD-RW costs 259$!

    Better go with external drive for me, then.
    • $135 for labour...

      I don't know how Macs are built but on all my PC notebooks you just slide a slidey thing and the drive pops right out.

      And... $300 for the drive? What a ripoff.

      The sooner they get MacOS running on commodity hardware the better.
      • Dealer prices

        When you get serviced at the dealership, it's always more expensive than an
        independent garage, whether it's computers or cars.
        • These aren't cars and it wouldn't cost anywhere ...

          ... near the price quoted if it were any other PC OEM. Keep paying that Apple tax. Steve loves you. Well your money anyway!