External DVD Drive

A computer without a DVD drive is severely limited in what it can do. A drive is often necessary to play games, listen to music, watch movies, and install software. While most desktop computers have a DVD drive, many smaller notebooks do not have one. An external DVD drive is only slightly more expensive than a internal one and it allows one drive to be shared between different computers. Setting up an external DVD drive is a simple task and some models do not even require a power adapter.

An external DVD drive is simply an internal drive mounted inside a protective case. The only noticeable difference, apart from the case, is the different ports on the back panel. An external drive may have two USB ports, one for data and one for power, or it may have a USB data port and a plug for a power adapter. The front panel is no different to that of an internal drive, with an eject button, activity light, volume wheel, and headphone jack.

There are several reasons to buy an external DVD drive. While thumbdrives and memory cards are growing in popularity, the DVD is still the most common format for storing and sharing media. Many thin notebooks and netbooks do not have a DVD drive, which makes it difficult to do all the usual things that a computer is expected to do. Another reason to buy an external drive is to keep it as a backup in case an internal drive fails.

An external DVD drive is only slightly larger than an internal drive. It is not as big as a DVD player because it uses a separate power supply and has very few control on the front panel. Case colors are usually limited to black or beige, although a few models also have an attractive chrome trim. Several models come with a plastic stand that allows the drive to be placed on its side. These drives need to have a tray with clips to hold the disc in place while it is open. While external drives are not very large, a stand can provide small amount of extra desk space.

It is essential to check that an external DVD drive supports the most common disc formats and speeds, including those for rewritable discs. Blu-ray is still a new format and is not widely supported but there are a few models that can read Blu-ray discs. External drives should have a manual eject button so that a disc can be removed without the need for power. Many drives come with a software bundle but there is a great deal of variety in the software included, as some have full versions while others only have limited versions.

Setting up an external DVD drive is as simple as installing any other USB device. It takes just a few seconds to plug in the cables and have the computer recognize the drive. The models that use a second USB port for power often have a spit connector so that the port can also be used by another USB device. This is important for small notebooks which only have a few ports. Another benefit of using an external drive is that the computer does not have to be shut down to attach or remove the drive.

For the most part, an external DVD drive is a great accessory to have for any desktop or notebook computer that does not have an internal DVD drive. They can be slower than an internal drive because of the USB bottleneck, but this is not usually noticeable unless a large file is being copied. The drive needs to support USB 2.0 to burn discs because the original version of USB is too slow. Also, vibration and noise are slightly worse for an external drive compared to an internal drive.

This External DVD Drive Review is Written/Updated on Apr 22nd, 2010 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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