Ready to buy an external DVD
drive? Like any consumer electronics, there are a number of categories
that you should consider before making a purchase. Decide which
of the following are important to you (if any) before making your
purchase, and you will end up with a drive that suits your needs.
The pricing of these drives is very competitive, and often to
get the features you want, the price difference will be minimal.
Media Early drives would only support one type of DVD format.
If you get an older drive, your DVD +R disk will not work in your
DVD -R drive. Most new drives support multiple formats and some
even support Blu-ray and HD DVD.
Write Speeds External DVD drives come in a variety of write
speeds. Unless you plan on doing tons of burning of DVDs, or you
just have no patience, write speed is not critical.
Buffer Memory Larger buffer size is better. Some external
DVD drives offer up to 16MB buffer size, which is far more than
you need. Once again, it comes down to a speed issue.
Physical Size If you plan on carrying a burner with your
laptop, you probably want one that is small. The dimensions for
these drives are usually given in inches.
Interface A DVD burner that uses FireWire or high speed
USB is better than on that just uses standard USB. The USB interface
also provides the power for the unit in most cases. Some laptops
will have insufficient power to run the DVD drive, so if you have
a laptop, and you think this might be an issue, you may want to
buy one that comes with an AC adapter as well.
Supported Operating Systems Make sure your machine will
support the drive.
System requirements Unless you have a really old computer
or you are buying a really new high end drive, this is usually
not an issue, but it is always good to check.
Other Considerations There are other technologies such
as LightScribe that give the burner the ability to make a label
right on your DVD. You will need a LightScribe-enabled burner
and LightScribe DVD's as well as LightScribe software.
Overview Make a checklist of what is important to you in
a DVD drive, and find a site with detailed reviews of DVD drives
and make sure the model you are looking at buying has the features
that you want.