choosing an external DVD burner


J

Jo-Anne

Now that I have my new netbook, running WinXP SP3, I need to buy an external
DVD burner. I've read complaints from people who say the burner they bought
will work only with netbooks or, sometimes, laptops. I'd like to get a
burner that would work with my netbook, my other laptop, and my desktop
computer (just in case the internal drive conks out on either of the other
two).

I might also want to play DVDs with this drive. I think my netbook came with
Windows Media Player, and I'm hoping that's the only software I'll need.

What should I look for, and what should I avoid? (If there's a particularly
good website with this kind of information, I'd be grateful for a link.)

Thank you!

Jo-Anne
 
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B

Bill in Co.

Jo-Anne said:
Now that I have my new netbook, running WinXP SP3, I need to buy an
external
DVD burner. I've read complaints from people who say the burner they
bought
will work only with netbooks or, sometimes, laptops. I'd like to get a
burner that would work with my netbook, my other laptop, and my desktop
computer (just in case the internal drive conks out on either of the other
two).

I might also want to play DVDs with this drive. I think my netbook came
with
Windows Media Player, and I'm hoping that's the only software I'll need.

You may need some DVD decoder software/codecs to allow WMP to be able to
play DVDs, which you can read about in WMP's help file (open up WMP and
select it).

Either that, or you can find various other software packages that will
already play DVDs, say like PowerDVD (designed for DVDs), or "Media Player
Classic" (basically a WMP replacement that has DVD capability built in), but
I use all three, on occasions).
What should I look for, and what should I avoid? (If there's a
particularly
good website with this kind of information, I'd be grateful for a link.)

Thank you!

I don't know about the DVD drives for your situation, but I'm sure someone
here might. You can also always check out some of the drives and reviews
on www.amazon.com, of course.
 
J

Jo-Anne

Bill in Co. said:
You may need some DVD decoder software/codecs to allow WMP to be able to
play DVDs, which you can read about in WMP's help file (open up WMP and
select it).

Either that, or you can find various other software packages that will
already play DVDs, say like PowerDVD (designed for DVDs), or "Media Player
Classic" (basically a WMP replacement that has DVD capability built in),
but I use all three, on occasions).


I don't know about the DVD drives for your situation, but I'm sure someone
here might. You can also always check out some of the drives and reviews
on www.amazon.com, of course.
Thank you, Bill! I will definitely look at the WMP help file and check out
other software packages. I did look at Amazon, but it's hard to find
anything consistent there. I looked at a Samsung burner that got lots of
rave reviews and a few bad ones--and discovered that you need two USB ports
on the same side of the computer to be able to use that drive. There were
also complaints about the software. I'm hoping I can get some links to more
consistent criteria for checking out these drives.

Jo-Anne
 
P

Paul

Jo-Anne said:
Now that I have my new netbook, running WinXP SP3, I need to buy an external
DVD burner. I've read complaints from people who say the burner they bought
will work only with netbooks or, sometimes, laptops. I'd like to get a
burner that would work with my netbook, my other laptop, and my desktop
computer (just in case the internal drive conks out on either of the other
two).

I might also want to play DVDs with this drive. I think my netbook came with
Windows Media Player, and I'm hoping that's the only software I'll need.

What should I look for, and what should I avoid? (If there's a particularly
good website with this kind of information, I'd be grateful for a link.)

Thank you!

Jo-Anne

The drive behavior should be uniform as it is moved from one
computer to another. As long as the driver stack is the same
on the computers, or the driver stack has the same features,
the features of the drive should be available on either
computer.

An example of an immature driver situation, was the first copy
of Nero I bought. It wouldn't burn any media on a USB based writer.
It could only work with drives mounted inside the computer. Things
have changed considerably for the better since then, and that is
no longer a problem.

Drives have a large number of "tick box" features and you can see
these listed in the specifications for the drive. This is a
start at understanding what a drive will or won't to. Capabilities
might be media based - CD, DVD, BD, HD-DVD. Or read/write (burner)
versus read only. And some of the standards are associated with the
drive functioning as a hard drive (i.e. random access when writing instead
of always writing in one long spiral), with standards such as
Mount Ranier or DVD-RAM.

http://www.hardwarezone.com/img/data/articles/2007/2382/NeroInfoTool.jpg

You should be able to go to Wikipedia, and find articles on what
these various tick boxes mean. Other web sites may have more thorough
technical info, as some of these articles are a bit thin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier_(packet_writing)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvd-ram

To me, one of the defining factors, is the design of the
insertion mechanism for the media. I like a method that
is robust to wear and tear, doesn't damage the media, and
is easy to access. I select tray based load/unload of
media, and while having never tested them, would not
touch a slot load. I've tried a "springy hub" based
slim tray on a laptop, and found that to be less than
satisfactory. This choice has an impact on the size of
the drive, and the market dictates that customers always
buy the smallest optical drive, even if it means
sacrificing other characteristics. It means, if I want
an item as described, I have to build one for myself,
as the commercial offering (slim only) won't make me happy.

Paul
 
J

Jo-Anne

Paul said:
The drive behavior should be uniform as it is moved from one
computer to another. As long as the driver stack is the same
on the computers, or the driver stack has the same features,
the features of the drive should be available on either
computer.

An example of an immature driver situation, was the first copy
of Nero I bought. It wouldn't burn any media on a USB based writer.
It could only work with drives mounted inside the computer. Things
have changed considerably for the better since then, and that is
no longer a problem.

Drives have a large number of "tick box" features and you can see
these listed in the specifications for the drive. This is a
start at understanding what a drive will or won't to. Capabilities
might be media based - CD, DVD, BD, HD-DVD. Or read/write (burner)
versus read only. And some of the standards are associated with the
drive functioning as a hard drive (i.e. random access when writing instead
of always writing in one long spiral), with standards such as
Mount Ranier or DVD-RAM.

http://www.hardwarezone.com/img/data/articles/2007/2382/NeroInfoTool.jpg

You should be able to go to Wikipedia, and find articles on what
these various tick boxes mean. Other web sites may have more thorough
technical info, as some of these articles are a bit thin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier_(packet_writing)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvd-ram

To me, one of the defining factors, is the design of the
insertion mechanism for the media. I like a method that
is robust to wear and tear, doesn't damage the media, and
is easy to access. I select tray based load/unload of
media, and while having never tested them, would not
touch a slot load. I've tried a "springy hub" based
slim tray on a laptop, and found that to be less than
satisfactory. This choice has an impact on the size of
the drive, and the market dictates that customers always
buy the smallest optical drive, even if it means
sacrificing other characteristics. It means, if I want
an item as described, I have to build one for myself,
as the commercial offering (slim only) won't make me happy.

Paul

Thank you, Paul! This is just the kind of information I need. For me, the
size of the external DVD drive isn't all that important. My plan is to use
it for installing some programs and perhaps for watching DVDs at home--but
when I travel, I'll leave it at home. The idea of buying the netbook was
that it would make for easy portability, so the fewer things I have to take
with, the better. I'll definitely look for a tray, although it might be hard
to find a good one. The internal burner that came with my Dell laptop seems
pretty flimsy to me, although it works.

Jo-Anne
 
A

airsmoothed

Thank you, Paul! This is just the kind of information I need. For me, the
size of the external DVD drive isn't all that important. My plan is to use
it for installing some programs and perhaps for watching DVDs at home--but
when I travel, I'll leave it at home. The idea of buying the netbook was
that it would make for easy portability, so the fewer things I have to take
with, the better. I'll definitely look for a tray, although it might be hard
to find a good one. The internal burner that came with my Dell laptop seems
pretty flimsy to me, although it works.

Jo-Anne- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -

I suspect a fair few burner issues are down to lack of adequate power
supply to the burner, some manufacturers try to get round this by
going down the two USB port option, but this still assumes that the
USB ports on the PC are capable of sourcing 1A each, which is not
always the case IMX. Although it's messier to use I'd look for a
burner with external power supply. FWIW I've been using one of thes
efor about 3 years light usage with no hassle:-

http://tinyurl.com/yfnyyyo
 
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J

Jo-Anne

Thank you, Paul! This is just the kind of information I need. For me, the
size of the external DVD drive isn't all that important. My plan is to use
it for installing some programs and perhaps for watching DVDs at home--but
when I travel, I'll leave it at home. The idea of buying the netbook was
that it would make for easy portability, so the fewer things I have to
take
with, the better. I'll definitely look for a tray, although it might be
hard
to find a good one. The internal burner that came with my Dell laptop
seems
pretty flimsy to me, although it works.

Jo-Anne- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -

<<I suspect a fair few burner issues are down to lack of adequate power
supply to the burner, some manufacturers try to get round this by
going down the two USB port option, but this still assumes that the
USB ports on the PC are capable of sourcing 1A each, which is not
always the case IMX. Although it's messier to use I'd look for a
burner with external power supply. FWIW I've been using one of thes
efor about 3 years light usage with no hassle:-

http://tinyurl.com/yfnyyyo >>

Thank you! It hadn't even occurred to me that there must be burners that
plug into a regular electrical outlet. I'll see what I can find.

Jo-Anne
 
S

Schloicka

Jo-Anne said:
<<I suspect a fair few burner issues are down to lack of adequate power
supply to the burner, some manufacturers try to get round this by
going down the two USB port option, but this still assumes that the
USB ports on the PC are capable of sourcing 1A each, which is not
always the case IMX. Although it's messier to use I'd look for a
burner with external power supply. FWIW I've been using one of thes
efor about 3 years light usage with no hassle:-

http://tinyurl.com/yfnyyyo >>

Thank you! It hadn't even occurred to me that there must be burners that
plug into a regular electrical outlet. I'll see what I can find.

Jo-Anne


.
There are a lot of external burners that plug into the electrical outlet. That to me is better than using the usb port for power.
 
P

Paul

That burner has good reviews. The exterior casing is a bit ugly for an
external drive, but it's what is inside that counts. I hate bold logos
on stuff. The version with white casing with black racing stripe is
just as ugly. That burner has its own power adapter, so there shouldn't
be a problem with power. It is a desktop drive anyway, and the peak power
would be 25W, which would be too much for USB bus powering in any case.

Paul
 
J

Jo-Anne

Thank you again! I looked at this burner at Newegg, and I'm confused. If
this is a burner that plugs into an electrical outlet, how do you know that?
I couldn't see anything in the specs about a power supply...

Jo-Anne
 
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B

Bob I

Jo-Anne said:
Thank you, Bob! Now I see it. But shouldn't that be something they'd mention
in the specs?

Jo-Anne

I don't write their "tech spec sheets", but you would think so. <grin>
 
D

Daave

Jo-Anne said:
Thank you, Bob! Now I see it. But shouldn't that be something they'd
mention in the specs?

Although I have seen external hard drive enclosures that don't need AC
juice (then again, I'm pretty sure they still all have that option), I
would imagine that there is no such thing as an external DVD burner that
wouldn't require an AC connection.
 
J

Jo-Anne

Daave said:
Although I have seen external hard drive enclosures that don't need AC
juice (then again, I'm pretty sure they still all have that option), I
would imagine that there is no such thing as an external DVD burner that
wouldn't require an AC connection.
Hi, Daave,
I've been told that many (most?) of the external DVD burners get their power
from two USB ports rather than from an AC connection. Some people have said
that theirs work OK with only one USB port.
Jo-Anne
 
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D

Daave

Jo-Anne said:
Hi, Daave,
I've been told that many (most?) of the external DVD burners get
their power from two USB ports rather than from an AC connection.
Some people have said that theirs work OK with only one USB port.

I find that surprising!
 
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P

Paul

Daave said:
I find that surprising!

I think the slim drives run on 5V. The claim here is that it is bus
powered.

http://www.samsung.com/sg/consumer/...e/SE-S084B/RSBN/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail

The picture on Newegg for that drive, shows it has a "Y" cable for
USB. And that allows 5V at up to 1A to flow. One USB connector is
just for the power pins, the second is a full connector with data
pins. Being miserly on power, means a longer spinup.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/27-151-186-S04?$S640W$

*******
The desktop versions run on 5V and 12V, and draw more current from each.

They're a different design. The desktop version definitely needs a
power brick. I've measured mine and it draws 12V @ 1A when running
with media in the tray. The label on my desktop drive says it draws 1.5A max.

And things like desktop Blu-ray drives draw even more current. Although
those numbers seem to be dropping on the latest ones. They're getting
closer to the other CD/DVD drives. I think I've seen one earlier than
this, that draws 2.5A max.

http://www.bettercomputers.com.au/sony-bwu100a-dl-blu-ray-dvd-burner~p-517.html

Power Consumption 5V @ 1.1A, 12V @ 2.2A max

HTH,
Paul
 

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