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Solved What to look for in an external optical drive for a Dell lap

Microsoft / HOME
November 23, 2020 at 01:12:37
Specs: Windows 10, 4096 D MMb
I need to add an optical DVD/RW drive to my laptop via a USB connection. What are the characteristics or features I should look for? And what is the difference between an Optical Drive and an ordinary" drive? Thanks.

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✔ Best Answer
November 23, 2020 at 14:19:42
CD/DVD drives are purely optical devices, although obviously a few moving/mechanical parts included.

(Other drives) HDD are purely mechanical, and their recording platters (surfaces) are encased within the physical drive chassis; and not accessible or removable under normal circumstances etc.

So you go for DVD burner which also (by design these days) records/plays CD as well.

message edited by trvlr



#1
November 23, 2020 at 02:34:11
If your machine has USB3 ports (you didn't state the model), then look for a USB3 drive for better access times.

"what is the difference between an Optical Drive and an ordinary" drive?"

Not exactly sure what you mean by that; just make sure you're getting a DVD/RW and not a CD or DVD reader.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#2
November 23, 2020 at 04:49:38
Thanks T. Yes it has a couple of USB 3 ports. Will this DVD/RW drive play standard CD's?
Any brand suggestions and capacity, for example 4tb or more. I mainly use it for backing up my folders on a monthly basis.

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#3
November 23, 2020 at 07:38:09
"don't" buy the cheapest; and do read reviews about the various makes/models - on the big river (and shrinking forest) company website and others too.

I've found Samsun, LG and Liteon OK in the past; although some models seem less Mac friendly than others at times.

As far as I know "all" dvd burners will record and play CD as well (certainly any I've had - still have - will do so) ; but obviously a DVD player is just that and may/may not play CD too?


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Related Solutions

#4
November 23, 2020 at 07:44:13
Should I look into buying a "Blue Ray" product and what is its advantage, if any?

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#5
November 23, 2020 at 09:38:53
Blue ray is a premium item if wishing for a decent unit? There are cheapies about but I suspect you'd get what you pay for? Pioneer certainly charge for an apparently/allegedly high(er) quality product?

Blue ray media is also more pennies than standard DVD formats?

The only benefit I can see is likely a greater storage capancity; and of course higher playback resolutions - if your display can handle it too? But s it really worth the extra pennies and so on?

You might browse the big river (and shrinking forest) company and other vendor sites too to see what reviewers there say?

Others here will hopefully chip in with assorted views; and then you can draw your own conclusions?

message edited by trvlr


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#6
November 23, 2020 at 10:03:40
Thanks t. Don't really need an expensive one but I have had bad experiences with inferior products.

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#7
November 23, 2020 at 10:23:48
Oddly a lot technics kit is rebadged and sold under relatively cheap labels... But you only discover it's technics when you get it and check what the device manager tells you what it's found.

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#8
November 23, 2020 at 10:31:23
Trvlr is correct about not going for the cheapest. Stick to better known brands. Blue-ray is a premium, and consider it only if you need 22.5GB of data at a time (blue-ray media comes at premium price as well)

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#9
November 23, 2020 at 11:21:37
I'm still not certain I understand the difference between an optical drive and a dvd or cd drive, or is it the same thing.

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#10
November 23, 2020 at 13:31:09
Optical drive is the original way of describing cd/dvd drives. They use a laser light source and a lens to focus that laser light onto the disk - hence the optical description. Other drives used a mechanically controlled head to write data (magnetically) to the media surface; as in floppy drives and mechanical (traditional) hard drives.

SSD drives have no moving parts, and in essence work similarly to RAM; but obviously have larger capacities.


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#11
November 23, 2020 at 13:45:19
So looking for an external DVD/RW drive for my laptop, should I go for the optical or the mechanical drive version?

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#12
November 23, 2020 at 14:19:42
✔ Best Answer
CD/DVD drives are purely optical devices, although obviously a few moving/mechanical parts included.

(Other drives) HDD are purely mechanical, and their recording platters (surfaces) are encased within the physical drive chassis; and not accessible or removable under normal circumstances etc.

So you go for DVD burner which also (by design these days) records/plays CD as well.

message edited by trvlr


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#13
November 23, 2020 at 16:02:15
Yep. There is no such thing as a "mechanical" CD/DVD drive (barring the spindle motor that all of them have). Perhaps you're thinking of hard drives...which come in a standard (mechanical platters) and solid-state (SSD) format...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#14
November 24, 2020 at 04:49:33
You should have bought a laptop with a built-in optical drive.

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#15
November 24, 2020 at 07:47:23
Built-in drive laptops are beginning to disappear, as laptops become thinner snd also lacking ethernet ports

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#16
November 24, 2020 at 08:47:12
Re #15

They tell us that CDs and DVDs are outdated but I think the main reason is marketing and cost.

But I'm one of those misfits who like DVD/CD. I do admit that my three wind-up gramophones don't get much use these days (although I'm still fit enough to wind the handles).

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#17
November 24, 2020 at 10:28:39
"But I'm one of those misfits who like DVD/CD."

Ditto. Still (to me) the most reliable backup system available...as long as you treat the media properly once the data is backed up.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#18
November 24, 2020 at 11:14:11
Apple land likes to (at least tries to) dictate the market trends. With success of their iPad others came up with touch screen laptops which allow the display to be rotated to a tablet position. Then M$ land wanted to catch up with Apple’s iPad lead and the growing use of - erm “smart fones” - which in effect are iPad style devices. They pushed the idea of windoze variant on a tablet style laptop even further and decided that cd/dvd drives were a nuisance, as is an Ethernet port; so tell everyone that Wi-Fi is much better... and dump the cd/dvd unit, and the Ethernet port and you can make a laptop even thinner and much more like an iPad, but with a couple of extra USB ports....

The laptop manufacturers like the idea as it reduces costs, and means they can sell cd/dvd units as an extra.

I dislike Wi-Fi, prefer Ethernet. Like many I find optical media fine and very nice to have; and will, as long as possible, continue to use it. I wonder how long it will be before it’s rediscovered, and built in cd/dvd drives being promo’d again as the “must have” device...


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#19
November 24, 2020 at 14:21:22
Thanks guys. I enjoyed your different views on the issue.

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