Why do my DVD drives crap out so quickly?
May 29, 2008 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Between the 4 desktops that my immediate family owns, we've probably been through 6 or 7 DVD burners in the last few years. Does everyone else have this kind of failure rate? Any recommendations on reasonably priced, quality drives, so that I don't have to keep replacing them?

These drives aren't in heavy use - watching DVDs occasionally, burning a CD or DVD once a week or so. That's why it's so annoying when they go out after a year or so of use.

I've been replacing them with whatever's on sale at the big box electronics store, but I'm beginning to wonder if the high failure rate is because I'm buying cheap brands, or whether I'm just unlucky.

Any other data points out there? Any recommendations for a decent CD-RW/DVD-RW drive at a decent price?
posted by chrisamiller to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a BenQ DW (?) 1650 that I've had for over a year. It's never given me a seconds trouble.
posted by Rabulah at 2:50 PM on May 29, 2008


No? I bought Sony/NEC ones, and I burn lots of -er- backups. Four years in on this one. The last one went out of commission because I dropped it while putting it into an enclosure.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:07 PM on May 29, 2008


Pioneer is good. Plextor is also good. Both are not as cheap as the rest.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:10 PM on May 29, 2008


I burn 30-50 DVDs per week and have had great luck with both Sony and Plextor.
posted by buggzzee23 at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2008


I've burned 10-20 DVDs per week for many years (most of them genuine backups, thanks, but also DVD movies for the road) and have never lost an optical drive. Heck, they've outlived computers.

Two are stock Apple SuperDrives (Sony, Matshita) the third is an add-on Pioneer that I got mail-order somewhere. OWCC, probably.
posted by rokusan at 3:53 PM on May 29, 2008


I like Plextor and Pioneer, although LG has treated me well too. Do you smoke around the PCs or is the environment dusty? That's the biggest killer of optical drives I've noticed.
posted by pocams at 4:10 PM on May 29, 2008


The Pioneer 111d was pretty much the burner to get. It even won the Newegg "1x Winner of Customer Choice Award - CD / DVD Burners".

It looks like the Pioneer 115d (newegg.com) is the new model to get, it's also won the same Newegg award.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:10 PM on May 29, 2008


Another vote for Plextor
posted by jmnugent at 6:07 PM on May 29, 2008


Lite-On and BenQ are gonna be your best bets. Plextor used to be awesome, they've slipped. Pioneers are decent. LG's are good too, but you'll pay a premium price normally.

My Lite-On has lasted me 5 years now with no issues. My friend, who does the "burn every movie I get from netflix" thing has burned 3-5 dvd's per week for 5 years on his sony external. That's a lot of burnination.

Also, don't buy components at big box stores unless there's a huge MiR. Use newegg or zipzoomfly. Great burners (Even fast dual layers) shouldn't cost you more than $35 shipped.
posted by TomMelee at 6:49 PM on May 29, 2008


Ah crap I forgot to say that optical drives are particularly susceptible to dust and jostling, not to mention heat. You might want to check into those things.
posted by TomMelee at 6:50 PM on May 29, 2008


It might be the computer. My Dell desktop fried its internal DVD drive and then three external drives in succession until I stopped using it to burn CDs and DVDs. Since then, it has been able to use an external drive to read CDs without problem.
posted by megatherium at 6:59 PM on May 29, 2008


Every internal dvd-burner I've had has died eventually, consistently at around the 350 burn mark. Neither of the external drives have died yet, and they are nearing 800 and 450 burns respectively. I suspect heat.
posted by nomisxid at 10:38 PM on May 29, 2008


Do you smoke around the PCs or is the environment dusty?

Not a problem.

It might be the computer.

Doubtful, as this has happened in 4 different computers.

Thanks for the help.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:38 PM on May 29, 2008


Same thing here, my burner has been put through the wringer, and it is fine - BenQ 1620A, I think.

You should try cleaning the lens on one of the bad drives. Use a little alcohol on a Qtip. Be very, very gentle, because those lenses scratch easily.
posted by Chuckles at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2008


Dust in the drive. Know that tune?
It's very likely an accumulation of dust on the lens.
Search 'CD Laser-Lens Cleaner'. They do work and are pretty cheap.
posted by artdrectr at 2:01 AM on May 30, 2008


Nthing Plextor and Lite-On.

As a rule of thumb with PC hardware, the best manufacturers are people that the general public has never heard of (there are exceptions, of course).
posted by box at 6:12 AM on May 30, 2008


You could try changing the cables. A new IDE cable might help a lot, and it's
not all that expensive.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 6:16 AM on May 30, 2008


A new IDE cable might help a lot, and it's not all that expensive.

Been there, tried that. Swapped out everything and tried the drives in multiple computers.

Also, don't buy components at big box stores unless there's a huge MiR


Yeah, I always got them on sale, at prices comparable to newegg, without the wait.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:29 AM on May 30, 2008


I'll try cleaning the lens on one of them, but in general, I don't think it's the problem. On one of the two recently deceased drives, discs won't even spin up.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2008


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