External CD Writer
June 29, 2015 2:06 PM   Subscribe

I would like to buy an external CD writer (burner) for my shitty ASUS laptop (currently running Win8, will run WinX once update becomes free because I hate Win8). A cursory search at newegg.com finds them to be much cheaper than I had expected, which actually worries me. Anything I need to look out for? Note: I'd prefer to buy this sooner than later as I have a couple of roadtrips coming up and I like to make mixtapes for such journeys.
posted by maryr to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Link to NewEgg results which may or may not work. $20 just sounds super low.
posted by maryr at 2:07 PM on June 29, 2015

I have this $30 Samsung DVD writer and it's perfectly fine.
posted by lukemeister at 2:11 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have the same one in blue, and it's lovely. Surprisingly good piece of kit.
posted by scruss at 2:13 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's possible they're that cheap because a drive that can only burn CDs is quite obsolete. Spend $10 more and get a DVD burner like lukemeister linked to for a tiny little bit more future-proofness. All DVD burners can burn CDs.
posted by zsazsa at 2:13 PM on June 29, 2015

CD/DVD drives have been commodified for awhile -- the price has been hovering around $20 (for internal drives) for several years now. Looks like a reasonable price to me.

I'd second the advice to look for DVD burners instead, though -- it's old enough tech that you might actually end up paying more (or getting a comparatively lower-quality item at same price point) if you insist on CD-only, because it's now a specialty instead of commodity product.
posted by neckro23 at 2:21 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have this Samsung external CD/DVD writer for my MacBook AIR, and it works like a freakin' charm.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 2:55 PM on June 29, 2015

I've got the same DVD/CD writer as lukemeister and scruss; I paid around €30 for it last year on Amazon, hardly ever use it but it works like a charm when I do. (Also, the same model was twice the price in brick-and-mortar stores near me.)
posted by macdara at 3:00 PM on June 29, 2015

Something to be aware of: it's common for external CD/DVD drives to use two USB connections, because they get power from the bus. Some models will accept a power adapter, which you'll probably have to buy separately if you want to use one. The default assumption is that a second USB port is more likely to be available than a second power source, but you'll want to make sure you have enough USB ports on your laptop. Also, nthing the idea that there's no worry, you can buy a perfectly decent external burner these days for short money.
posted by in278s at 5:21 PM on June 29, 2015

The one I have (and that lukemeister recommends) only needs one USB connection. It draws a moderate current, so if you were driving it from something tiny like a Raspberry Pi it might complain a bit. Any bigger computer or powered hub should have no problem.

(and yes, using this on a Raspberry Pi 2 + powered USB hub, I have a faster CD ripping rig than my lightly grunty desktop from 2008 used to manage.)
posted by scruss at 6:22 PM on June 29, 2015

Nothing really, CD and DVD writers are dead or dying because everybody is going USB flash drive, SSD, external HD, or even cloud storage. Nobody really wants to bother with optical media unless they are stuck with a CD player, and most have AUX input that you can connect a MP3 player to.
posted by kschang at 3:10 AM on June 30, 2015

Yup - physical media is dying (so low demand) and burner technology is a commodity these days. That adds up to low prices for now. I have two external DVD burners myself that I bought at similar prices - I haven't had any trouble with them.

I vote buy away - however, most of those burners are the equivalent of a laptop drive (when laptops had drives). They have tiny delicate parts, so you'll want to be careful if you plan to travel with them.
posted by owls at 2:40 PM on June 30, 2015

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