What Is an 8X Double-Layer SuperDrive?

By Benny Taylor

An Apple SuperDrive is included with various Apple computers.
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Apple´s SuperDrive devices can play CDs and DVDs and write data, music and media to blank optical disks. Apple includes internal 8x, double-layer SuperDrives with some Apple computers and laptops, and you can also buy an external version of the SuperDrive for use with computers that don't include an internal drive.


The 8x, double-layer SuperDrive is capable of reading from and writing to a range of optical disks. The "8x" in the description refers to the maximum read and write speeds that the drive offers, and "double layer" refers to the drive´s capability to write to double-layer DVDs. These discs allow data to be stored on two separate layers, which doubles the possible writing capacity on each disc.


The Apple SuperDrive is compatible with all CDs and can write to CD-R and CD-RW media. The SuperDrive is compatible with DVD media that complies with DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW standards.

The SuperDrive is not compatible with the alternative DVD-RAM media standard and cannot write to these disks.

The SuperDrive does not have the capability to read from or write to Blu-ray discs.


An 8x, double-layer SuperDrive is included with a wide range of Apple desktops and laptops. These include, as of July 2011, Apple´s iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro product lines.

Apple Mac users who wish to use a SuperDrive with a Mac that doesn't include an integrated device, such as the MacBook Air, can purchase an external SuperDrive, which connects using a USB cable.


Various third-party alternatives to Apple-branded SuperDrives exist, and you can connect these to your computer using USB or FireWire cables. Some of these drives may offer extra capabilities, such as compatibility with DVD-RAM and Blu-ray. If you plan to connect a third-party optical drive to an Apple computer, you should check with the manufacturer that the device is compatible with your specific system.