Here is a System Profile screenshot with the old drive:
As you can see, the drive is not capable of reading or writing DVDs, but does support the reading and writing of CDs. This is the stock Superdrive that shipped with the Quicksilver (QS). Apple reported that this drive is capable of reading CDs at 32X while being able to write to CD-Rs at 24X, which is what I will be using for testing.
Here is a System Profile screenshot of the newly installed drive.
The new drive from MCE, which they had to custom build as it is now an older model, is capable of burnings CDs at 48X. So we should see a decent sized chunk of time cut out when burning files and ISOs to CD. Of course, this MCE drive also supports the burning of the different DVD media types including Dual Layer (DL) at up to 22X depending on the time of DVD media. Definitely a benefit over having no DVD reading or burning capabilities at all.
One last significant difference you may have noticed is the difference in the cache sizes between the two. The stock drive had an 8 MB cache whereas the replacement one only has a 512 KB cache. I'm not all too familiar with caches on CD/DVDs drives, but either way it shouldn't really hurt the CD burn tests I will be performing. I'm positive the cache comes more in to play with reading files and playback performance.
I plan on burning a copy of the latest version of NetBSD 6.5.1 to install on an old purple G3 iMac. In a previous post, I discussed the possibility of installing NetBSD (I might have even said FreeBSD) onto my PowerBook 1400CS only to read that it is not actually officially supported as it is one of the older Mac models with the NuBus architecture. Oh well. I still want to give NetBSD a shot, so that's why its going on the iMac.
The NetBSD ISO I downloaded from here, was 313920 KB (~307 MB if you were wondering) in size. Instead of burning it the boring old fashioned way in OS X using Disk Utility or the Burn application, I decided to burn the ISO to a CD from the CLI while booted into Jessie using the simple and easy to use command line tool
wodim. This Debian Wiki page has some perfect documentation on how to use wodim and what other CD burning applications are available, but man pages are an excellent resource as well. For a measurement of performance, I will record the time it takes to burn the ISO once using each drive and report the results, which again, should speak for themselves and be quite self-explanatory. For the media type, I am utilizing a 700 MB Memorex CD-R.
To burn an ISO using wodim, simply run the following:
wodim -dao [InsertFileNameHere].iso
Here are the results:
Stock CD Drive - 147.15s
Upgrade MCE Drive - 100.18s
So we have managed to shave off at least 32% of time when burning CDs. A welcomed improvement. Woohoo!
In other news, I have ordered both a 1.8 GHz Sonnet CPU and a dual 1.4 GHz Giga Designs CPU off of eBay. I wasn't expecting to win the 1.8 GHz, but received notification late Sunday morning that my bid was the highest. Again.. oh well. It will be nice to test out and compare with the Giga Designs CPU. Both are compatible with the QS although from what I've read the Sonnet CPU requires a specific firmware patch from Sonnet that is no longer available on their website. :(
Stay tuned for Part IV covering the CPU upgrade from a single 800 GHz CPU to a dual 1.4 GHz CPU. Things should start to become quite interesting from here on out.