I have two laptops:

  • MacBook 2,1
  • MacBook Pro 5,3

As the optical drive of the MBP has issues, I would like to use the optical drive from the MB. The MB optical drive has an ATA interface, while the MBP drive uses SATA. Googling I find that these interfaces are not interchangeable. However, both use the ATAPI protocol, so this made me doubt my earlier conclusion.

This is the information of the MB optical drive: MacBook optical drive info

This is the information of the MBP optical drive: MacBook Pro optical drive info

Will I be able to swap-out the UJ-868 (MBP) drive with the GSA-S10N (MB) drive?


They are not interchangeable.

ATA is also referred to as PATA (Parallel ATtachment or IDE). SATA is is Serial ATA or Serial Attachment. ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface) is just the drive communication protocol used to "talk" to the drives.

Using the "larger" drives as a visual reference since the micro connectors' size in a laptop can be deceiving, we can see the huge difference between a PATA connector and the SATA connector.

enter image description here enter image description here

Even though they use the same protocol, the two are completely different. A protocol is how devices communicate (what runs over the cable).

Let's use a more common interface, electricity, as an analogy. Even though the exact same thing (electric current) runs through these devices, they are no way "compatible." The first picture is a US 220V appliance outlet and the second is a common PC electrical plug. If you were to get one connected to the other, it most definitely wouldn't work (ever again).

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Probably worth a mention that ATAPI is just a protocol, and is supported by a number of different physical bus types, including ATA. – Cody Gray Jan 22 '17 at 16:46
  • The PC would likely work fine on a 220V appliance outlet, as PC power supplies tend to be built to work worldwide (usually 110-250V). – Zeb McCorkle Jan 22 '17 at 21:19
  • If this were a desktop, you could get an adapter, but there's no way you can fit a PATA-to-SATA adapter into a laptop. – Mark Jan 22 '17 at 22:16

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