Macbook external Blu-ray burner



Hello to all here, I am a brand new member (signed up just today), that has been lurking for some time (Since the age of CDfreaks!). Lately I have been making a desperate attempt to try and glean as much information as possible surrounding Blu-ray tech and predominantly a burner.

Now I must state that I am a macbook owner and I am looking for an external drive. Hopefully that first pre-requisite should narrow down the options some what.

I am very passionate about the importance of data retention and backups for the purposes of long term archiving. With that in mind I may possibly buy into the M-Disc philosophy in the near future, despite the media’s painfully expensive cost! So once again an M-Disc BD-R ready drive is another requirement of mine.

Unfortunately although I have tried to understand the various disc scan graphs from various blank media, using various drives, I am still somewhat in the dark with it all. I must say that it is very hard for a newbie to approach these graphs without a little summary of exactly what it going on in them and what the results are showing.

As far as blank media goes, i’d be quite confident with the aforementioned M-Disc’s, unless anyone here disagrees? For a cheaper alternative however it is upon good information that one can not go far wrong with Panasonic branded BD-Rs (that information is based mostly around the much discussed ‘French study’. Thank-you for sharing that).

Now to the burner. If anyone has any further suggestions then please feel free to chime in. I have however managed to whittle my options down to a select three:

  1. Pioneer XD05 TB £82
  2. LG BP40NB30 £63
  3. Samsung SE 506cb £54

From what I have managed to learn from this forum, the Pioneer is perhaps my best option, although I still haven’t been able to 100% confirm that it is M-Disc BD-R compatible? The various comments from scans reveal people have very, very good things to say about this drive. So I am leaning heavily towards this drive.

LG in general seems to be very highly regarded too and in some cases as good as Pioneer, if not a close second place. Although for the specific drive I am looking at, I can not find anything on this forum with regards to an opinion or any scan results. It does however offer M-Disc support. At £20 difference to the Pioneer, this drive could also be a hot contender, providing the burn quality can be very closely matched to that of the Pioneer. To conclude I just don’t know much about this particular drive. HELP!

Then there is Samsung. At first I thought I was onto a winner, if only for a very tidy price tag (but you get what you pay for). With that in mind and considering some of the reviews, tests and comments on this forum, the Samsung does not seem to be as good as I first hoped. Although I believe this was largely down to the firmware burn strategy, has this been improved?
Yes, it has M-Disc support
Yes, it is single USB powered
What concerns me is that reviews tend to suggest the Samsung is prone to hardware failure after only a short term of ownership, not to mention the poor quality of burn etc.

Whilst I have your attention, it is also on my understanding that burn scanning can not be achieved via a Mac? That said however, I have read elsewhere on this forum that the Samsung drive is capable of this task but can not report jitter? What is the requirement for a drive to be able to scan in the first place? Surely most drives should be capable of this, no? Forgive my ignorance, I am still learning.

So there you have it! I would really appreciate some advice on which burner. Please…


Fdzy - Welcome to the forums!

Quality scanning is only available on those drives for which the manufacturer included that capability in the drive’s firmware. Unfortunately, very few currently produced drives provide this support.

Of the three drives you listed, the Pioneer would be my choice. It produces very good burns on most media and seems to be a well built drive. It should support M-DISC BD-R media, since almost all Blu-ray writers support them. If you want M-DISC [B]DVD+R[/B] support, then you’ll need to choose a different brand/model. The Pioneer does not support quality scans, however, and it does reaquire two USB ports (only one needs to be USB 3.0). The lack of quality scanning support should not be a huge deal if you’re using high quality discs, like M-DISCs, Panasonic media, or SmartBlu discs made in UAE. All are high quality media. Also, I’m not aware of Mac-specific quality scanning software, but I’m not a Mac user, so other members would have to verify.

The Samsung is the only one of the three models that supports disc quality scanning (albeit without jitter). However, it does have problems burning at some speeds and (as you noted) there are longevity questions about Samsung external Blu-ray drives. I would only recommend that drive if you absolutely need scanning capability.

The LG models are decent drives, but in general the burn quality of the Pioneer drives are superior.

One other external drive that has impressed me is the Panasonic UJ265. I’ve been surprised by how well it burns most Blu-ray media, although the jitter from the drive is a little higher than other similar drives. That hasn’t had any negative impacts as far as I can tell, however. My main reservation about this drive is longevity.


There is no specific OS X-compatible scanning software I am aware of, beyond QPXTool (which I personally have not used):

I back jadburner’s experiences regarding the hardware I’d recommend, though I am surprised to hear that a Panasonic/Matshita drive could work out (nothing wrong with them; they’re simply not enthusiast drives).


Thank you both ever so much! I really do appreciate the advice.

Jadburner, I after studying your post regarding the testing of the XD05, I had the best feeling about it. Especially considering the proceeding comments others were making. The Pioneer seems like a really sound choice.

What’s more is that I considered my ‘restrictions’ from using OSX and the likelihood of not being able to perform any form of scanning, unless I was to run bootcamp. With that in mind, I came to the conclusion that I should opt for the best external drive avaliable, in conjunction with decent blank media and I shouldn’t go far wrong. It is very reassuring to have this shared sentiment.

This forum is such a vital resource for enthusiasts, I find it extremely insightful, so thankyou!

I have another question regarding this purchase, but rather than go off topic within this thread, I shall make a new post. I would appreciate any further input that you may have.


I recently bought the pioneer model and have had nothing but great experiences.