I want to get an external DVD burner for my new Windows laptop. Suggestions?
December 24, 2007 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I want to get an external DVD burner for my new Windows laptop. Suggestions?

[posted for grouse] I have a ThinkPad X61 with no internal optical drive so this will be my primary CD/DVD reader as well.

Should I try to get a FireWire drive or does it not matter? Any particular brands or models I should seek or avoid? It would be really nice if there were one that would play DVDs from any region or could be programmed to do the same.

Any U.S. vendors I could order from and get in the next week? Or should I just go out to Fry's and get something there? I'm in Austin, TX, for the rest of 2007.

Also, I'd like to install Windows XP from the drive (Vista is awful); will I have any problem booting from an external CD drive?
posted by yoga to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Thanks, yoga, you're awesome.
posted by grouse at 6:59 PM on December 24, 2007

Response by poster: You're welcome! :)
posted by yoga at 7:02 PM on December 24, 2007

I've used a Samsung Writemaster S184M USB DVD Recorder with a X61 and had no problems. Burning is a little slow, but it will boot off of a drive like that. For region free, you'll have to check the Region Free firmware sites, but you should be able to find one.
posted by fengshui at 7:51 PM on December 24, 2007

I have an Asus DVD-ROM/CD-RW external firewire/USB drive from which I recently installed XP onto an Asus eeeeePC. I highly recommend the brand, though these days you probably don't need firewire.
posted by krisjohn at 7:53 PM on December 24, 2007

Newegg is where you'll want to go if you buy online. Their shipping is fast and I get taxed in CA so I'm assuming you won't if you're in TX. The LG burner they have on the linked page seems pretty good - I've seen the same one in Fry's too. And yes, I've booted my X31 from an external USB device, so I doubt you'd have a problem with an X61 (flash git!).
posted by forallmankind at 8:43 PM on December 24, 2007

Firewire versus USB2 probably doesn't matter much. Firewire has a funky mode where it can back off the bandwidth for reasons it will never inform you of or permit you to debug, but it's unlikely to affect your use of a CD burner because you're never going to get close to saturating the link even if it's degraded. (USB has no such backoff.)

Generally you're going to find that USB drives are more common, more various, and cheaper. USB is probably a safer bet, but if you don't want to go that way Firewire should be fine.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:27 PM on December 24, 2007

I agree that Newegg is a good choice for your purchase.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:27 PM on December 24, 2007

This is what they had in my local Fry's:
  • Pioneer DVR-X122 ($100)
  • Memorex MRX-530L ($100)
  • HP dvd1040e ($110)
  • LG GSA-E50L ($120)
And some Sonys but I refuse to do business with Sony because of their various anti-consumer practices.
posted by grouse at 5:22 AM on December 25, 2007

Get a drive you can make region free
posted by A189Nut at 4:57 PM on December 25, 2007

Thanks A189Nut, that was part of the question.
posted by grouse at 5:04 PM on December 25, 2007

I ended up getting the Pioneer, which had a $30 rebate. It works well enough, but it is a bit heavy. I definitely won't be taking it with me when I travel.

If I had to do it over again, I'd probably look into a lighter drive—I think the LG was supposed to be slim.
posted by grouse at 4:41 AM on January 4, 2008

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