Dumb question: new optical drive

The DVD drive in my desktop has finally died completely. Just looking to replace it, but back when I bought it, DVD writers weren’t even that common (and it didn’t write DVDs, just read DVDs, burned CDs). Just wanted to make sure I won’t go wrong just buying whatever’s at the top of the list for around $25 at NewEgg. There’s nothing fancy or tricky I should watch out for, right? And as far as I know, I don’t need a Blu-Ray drive, but if you think there’s a compelling argument for it, I’ll listen.

I think the only real differentiating factor these days is whether they can do Lightscribe or not (etching a label on top of the disc), and maybe whether they can be flashed to remove region restrictions, if that’s a concern.

Usefulness of a Blu-Ray drive will directly relate to how much you intend to watch Blu-Ray using that machine. I have one on my main because it’s hooked up to my television in the living room and this provides me a second option to the PS3. Additionally, if you technically wanted to violate United States law and put your own personal private Blu-Rays that you own on your network, you’d need a drive that could read them to rip them. If neither of those are points of concern, I can’t think of any reason why you would need that in a drive.

I do a lot of CD ripping, so I tend to get models that have worked for me in the past without problems (and get two different manufacturers for each machine, because for reasons I still don’t quite understand some drives will read stuff that other drives don’t), but I don’t think I’ve seen a regular DVD drive for more than about $30 in over a year, so I don’t think you’ll have a problem going with whatever if there isn’t a pile of bad reviews.

Another feature you might see is dual-layer burning. I have never once in my life ever once ever burned ever a dual layer disc because the media is expensive as hell. I would feel comfortable leaving it off for myself. Lightscribe is, in my opinion, worthless in the extreme (I hate the way they look - I prefer a Sharpee) and you shouldn’t worry about whether it’s available or not. Also, Lightscribe media are more expensive than regular blanks.

If you get a BD-R burner, you can back up 50GB of data at a time for about $2 a disc.

That looks more like $11/disc.

Well, hot damn, it is. I thought that was 50 pack and was going ‘Dang, they sure have fallen in price since the last time I looked at BD-R prices.’

I’m guessing a current drive will have a SATA connection, which may cause you issues depending on the available ports you have on your motherboard. An optical drive old enough that a DVD burner wasn’t common was probably using an IDE / ribbon-style cable.

My DVD burner just died a couple months ago, and I still haven’t had a reason to replace it. With cheap 16 & 32GB flash drives and digital distribution of software I hadn’t even used it in over a year.

You can get a spindle of 25GB single-layer BD-ROMs for around a buck a blank. The 50GB dual-layer discs are much, much more expensive.

DVD/RW drives still seem to be getting improvements, though the price has certainly tapered off to about $30.

I think NEC was always the market leader in fast drives that gave the fewest read/write errors.

I’m not sure how much of a difference SATA makes over IDE either. They both work fine, and I think my drive has both ports.

Thanks for the info, NewEgg here I come.

Looks like Lite-On has taken a lead in ratings. That second choice at $30 should be just fine for you. It’s SATA-only.