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Let's talk about optical disc drives!

ThatM1key

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This is a thread talking about cool, awesome or even quirky optical disk drives, internal & external!

The Blu Ray/HD-DVD Combo drive:
8490689_ra.jpg

I always wanted one of these when I was a kid. It can Blu-ray and HD DVD discs just like those combo HT players but you cannot write to either format only DVD DLs. I never seen one that can write to both formats. Hey at least you got light scribe support on some most of theses.


Slot loading disc drive but for desktops:
27-131-352-01.jpg

For a short while there was actual 5.25 slot loading disc drives made for desktops, most IDE. Slot loading drives & players felt like the future but they disappeared, probably it was harder to get the disc out. Lots of laptops came with these slim slot loading drives and companies did make internal adapters for desktops, the problem is that the adapters costed more than a brand new tray-loading 5.25 DVD writer drive, features matter more than gimmicks at point. Although there is cheap USB 2.0 external slim enclosures for cheap, better than wasting a 5.25 bay & precious SATA port.


Blu-ray IDE Disc Drives:
27-131-034-08.jpg

The though of Blu-ray disk drives using IDE is weird now but back then it made sense, as many computers still used IDE in the mid 2000s. Technically speaking IDE was still enough for Blu-ray 16x speeds. Why the change to SATA?, mainly because of the "times" and the smaller cables.


M-Discs Disc Drives:
asus-24d5mt-original-imaeyxdxfzexfz2g.jpeg

M-Disc DVDs many years was a major thing due to them actually lasting longer (Because of the organic "Rock hard layer") than regular DVDs. Later Blu-ray came along and killed M-Disc DVDs, why? because standard Blu-ray's had this "rock hard" layer. Although there is M-Disc Blu-ray's, there is no evidence & studies looking into if M-Discs versions of Blu-rays last longer than standard ones. Since standard blu-rays make this "rock hard" layer they can be classified as M-Discs.


"Ultra-HD" BD Disc Drives:

BDR-211UBK_front_LG.jpg

You maybe wondering what's doing this on here, its like putting standard DVD writer on here!, Well its the history!. Early Ultra-HD/BDXL drives can read & rip 4K movies but newer ones cannot due to firmware. When you put a 4K movie in, the new drive will act like no disc is there. You can downgrade your firmware but its a bit of a long heavy process (Can brick) or you can pay somebody double for a drive that actually read 4K movies. In terms of data, any Ultra-HD/BDXL can read tri & quad layers discs fine. Even if you have a 4K drive that reads movies, you couldn't play them due to newer Intel CPU's losing Intel SGX but you can avoid that problem by ripping the movie using software like MakeMKV. Of course 4K movies so they had quickly think of new version of blu-ray, BDXL discs and new non-consumer discs. The non-consumer discs were BD-66, which is what most 4K movies come on. There was the triple layer 100GB discs and quad layer 128GB discs. You maybe asking:
  • Shouldn't the 100GB "triple layer" disc be quad layer?
  • Shouldn't the 128GB "quad layer" disc be fifth-layer and also how did the "quad layer" gain an extra 3 GBs?
  • Shouldn't the real triple layer be 75GB?
  • So if the 3rd layer of the "triple layer" is 50GB above 50GB DL Discs, Logic says there should single layer 50GB discs and dual layer 100GB discs, why do those?
  • Why does BD-66 have only 16GB above 50GB DL discs, shouldn't it be like called the Dual-n-half Layer.
So many questions, nobody has an answer too.


CD Changer Disc Drives:
PA310090.jpg

In terms of 5.25 bays, there was 4 to 6 disc changers drivers in the 90s. There was use case because there was multi-CD sets like encyclopedia and videogames, people didn't want to keep fiddling with there expensive CD-ROMs. Although this was neat idea, people preferred to have a 2nd optical drive for dual-ripping, dual burning & real-time disc copying.


48x+ CD Disc Drives:
Image10.jpg

If your still into media, you'll probably heard of these drives. These drives can read CD-ROM's at 48x+ speeds but some had trouble with CD-Rs & Audio CDs. I always wondered if these drives can write 52x CD-Rs.

Caddy CD-ROM Disc Drives:
R0142cCrBnhx3JvrxAG93S3Nlqkc0T_SVCZa3jX939w.jpg

Caddy's existed in the mid 1980s to early 1990s, nobody knew why they existed. They main theory is that people wanted to protect there multi-hundred CD-ROMs. These faded due to cost and compatibility. People soon realized a couple of fingerprints and scratches doesn't heard a CD, I wish that was true with DVDs! Blu-rays were initially going to have caddies too but the idea fell quickly, probably because Blu-rays are already tough.


Double Density CD Disc Drives:
front.jpg

Even if you heard of HD-DVD, you still probably didn't know these existed. Double Density CDs was Sony's idea, they made the pits 2x smaller, which resulted in 1.3GB (150 minutes) and 2.3GB for dual layer (minutes unknown) versions. Why didn't this format take off? There was 3 main reasons.
  1. DVDs were quickly becoming the norm in the PC space, which made DDCD already obsolete. In terms of data, if people wanted to jump into a new format, that new format better offer a big difference, DDCD did not offer that. (DVDs 4.7GB vs DDCDs 1.3GB).
  2. Although DDCD offered 150 minutes (For single layers), some drives and media can make 99 minute to 120 minute CD-Rs with overburing, those extra 30 to 50 minutes to didn't persuade people to move over. Even if you dealt with 80 minute CD-Rs, it was still cheaper than DDCDs.
  3. Combability was major issue. Although DDCD drives can CDs, CDs drive cannot read DDCD discs.


To round off this first post, Top loading Disc Drives:
Mitsumi-LU005S-HIghScreen286-1024x768.jpg

Top loaders these days are common in cheap versions of consoles, CD Walkman's, external disc drives and other devices. This drive (Mitsumi CRMC-LU005S) is a top-loading and technically also a tray loading disc drive. The supposed speed of this CD-ROM disc drive was 1x!


I hope to see what other magical disc drives are out there.

Update to List 2-28-22:
I thought of a few more odd drives:

Light scribe drives:
lightscribe-31.jpg


A picture of the disc's makes more sense then looking at a drive. If you had the light scribe media and drive, you can use the drive's laser to burn images well. There was many disc makers and drive makers that supported this and just like a memory, it felt like it never happened. Lightscribe drives are dirt cheap but the discs are starting to rise in price. Many people liked this tech, no need for printer & you didn't need to worry if the disc jammed some drives like *cough* label maker discs *cough*.


Read only drives:
samsung_sh_b123_2.jpg


Every optical format starts out as read only and then to write too. Although it was neat having a PC that can read discs but if you wanted to write to your format, well you needed to get another drive. It is cool having 2 drives in a PC or you were one of those people that replaced your old drive, I hope you did that to have a free sata/ide slot;). These days its dreadful to give a SATA slot for a optical drive, when you could've used it for a high speed SSD. I would like to meet that guy that decided you couldn't split SATA bandwidth and use 2 slow devices on 1 port!

Update to list 3-2-21:

Analog/digital out drives:
s-l400.jpg

(Some things in this section, I might get wrong) Back in the 1990s, if you wanted good sound or have sound, you got an internal soundcard but the problem was that CPU's weren't powerful to play games and play WAVs at the same time, so that's where these drives came in. These drives came with DACs which meant it, the CPU can focus its aim on more important tasks while the drive can deliver CD quality excellence to your soundcard. Generally you would hookup your drive to the soundcard via Analog out, back or front jacks on the drive. Early drives couldn't rip CDs, so people recorded CDs via analog this way too. If you wanted just wanted to use your drive as a CD player and use headphones, you could, some drives even included CD player buttons.


DVD- or DVD+, Not Both Drives:
dvr-a-04j.jpg

The stupidest optical format war known to man, the war between DVD- and DVD+. This war should've been more forgotten than HD-DVD vs Blu-ray but it's not, why? because we are still reminded of what's left of it when you type in "Blank dvds" on Amazon. All drives these days can read & write to both formats but there was a time when there was DVD- only & DVD+ only drives, what a nightmare. To sum up quickly than any google search, on which is better, it was technically DVD+ (If video recording DVD-). Initially DVD- discs were cheaper than DVD+ discs but eventually they both cost the same and there was drives appearing that could read both. Although there was plenty of devices that can read both formats, DVD-R was a better choice due to those devices "being more stable and playing nice" with that format.

Update 3-6-2022

HD DVD Optical Drives:
toshiba20.jpg

You maybe wondering, did you already feature this? Kind of, but that was combo drives. Internal HD DVD Only optical drives for desktops, are extremely rare because many computer nerds noticed blu-ray had more gigs (HD DVD 15GB vs Blu-rays 25GB) and didn't buy into it. Although a small good chunk of laptops had HD DVD internal drives. If were talking about external drives, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive comes in my mind, Who doesn't like watching HD DVD movies on a drive hooked up to a early non-HDMI Xbox 360, luckily you can use the drive on a PC but read only though. I would recommend ripping your HD DVD movies while you can. Now please enjoy this image of a blank double layer HD DVD:

Verbatim_95531_30GB_HD_DVD_R_Recordable_507668.jpg


DVD Dual Layer/Double Layer Drives:
51UxnzxSviL._AC_SY355_.jpg

DVD DL's also suffered from the +/- war, but lets forget it existed. The future was bright and it was DVDs. Somebody says "Hey lets create a dual version single-sided of DVD but actually not double the storage". Instead of getting 9.4GB (Because math), the consumer got 8.5GB and on top of that, it was even more unstable. DVD-RAM had 9.4GB but it was a double-sided disc, there was also 9.4GB DVDs but it was also double sided single layers. Speaking of the horrible creation of double sided discs, There was 17GB DVDs, which were double-sided dual-layer discs, what a mouth full! Thankfully the future format war did kill DVDs, we actual got true dual layers but had a hard time killing double-sided discs. For a while we had...double sided HD-DVD/Blu-ray Discs, the horror.
 
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JaccoW

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I would have loved to see some more pictures of slimline laptop drives. A couple of years ago I was building my small form factor desktop and wanted to use a slot loading slimline Blu-Ray drive but there were literally none to be found. Only very expensive DVD drives.

T5qjYyd.jpeg

Ncase M1 with ODD

Blu-Ray playback on a PC is nearly impossible with modern hardware. Some of the drives that can only work with Intel processors and the right type of display. So I will probably have to find a good second-hand Blu-Ray player if I want to watch my movies.

Even though these two external drives look pretty good:

BDR-XS07TS01-full-1000x620.jpg

Pioneer BDR-XS07TS

BDR-XD07TB01-full-1000x620.jpg

Pioneer BDR-XD07TB
 
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ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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Some of the drives that can only work with Intel processors and the right type of display. So I will probably have to find a good second-hand Blu-Ray player if I want to watch my movies.
I'm gonna shoot in the dark, but I think your talking about intel sgx? You can avoid by ripping the movie.
 

JaccoW

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ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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somebodyelse

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I may still have a caddy loading CD drive from an old Sun, rescued from the skip when work had finished with it. I think we had an NEC drive that used them too.

No mention of Plextor's usually excellent audio ripping capabilities, back when testing sites regularly tested such things with a suite of test CDs?
 
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ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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I may still have a caddy loading CD drive from an old Sun, rescued from the skip when work had finished with it. I think we had an NEC drive that used them too.

No mention of Plextor's usually excellent audio ripping capabilities, back when testing sites regularly tested such things with a suite of test CDs?
I think I heard of Plextor making good CD rippers long ago. These days any drive can rip a CD well.
 

JSmith

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Since standard blu-rays make this "rock hard" layer they can be classified as M-Discs.
I don't think this is the case, however they can be read by most standard BD drives;
Nice to see a pic of that old caddy style cd-rom drive, haven't for some time. :)


JSmith
 
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ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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I don't think this is the case, however they can be read by most standard BD drives;
Nice to see a pic of that old caddy style cd-rom drive, haven't for some time. :)


JSmith
On this https://www.mdisc.com/faq.html The "M Disc People" don't explain why "M Disc BD-Rs" are better than standard BD-Rs (Even inorganic ones), they only fall back on there M Disc DVD testing data, they don't have M Disc BD-R tests, which is suspicious when they claim the M Discs BD-Rs are better than normal BD-Rs still. So technically "standard" inorganic BD-Rs can be called M-Discs.
 
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TurtlePaul

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I owned the slot load DVD drive with my a
Athlon 1Ghz machine.

Disapponted not to see lightscribe on the list.
 

somebodyelse

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I think I heard of Plextor making good CD rippers long ago. These days any drive can rip a CD well.
That's a nice thought, but I'd love to see the evidence in the form of test results. Before the sites doing the testing gave up it was clear that audio extraction was an afterthought for most manufacturers, and getting worse not better. They would all be fine with a good CD, but as the test conditions got less than perfect the differences started to emerge. I don't remember which test CDs they used for this, but they were usually sold to manufacturers and service engineers, and had specific errors at varying levels. In the time when the record companies were trying various deviations from Red Book to try to prevent ripping this took on another dimension, with only a few drives being able to read them. This was the same era when Sony secretly stuck a rootkit and spyware in the autoinstalled software on some of their CDs in the name of copyright protection. Analysis revealed not only the rootkit but also that they'd used open source code from several projects in the software without following the license - true industrial scale copyright violation.

From a practical standpoint when I was ripping my CDs I found some that were hard to rip fully unless I dug out the old Plextor or an even older TEAC.
 

somebodyelse

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From top to bottom:
The caddy and the 1991 Sony CDU-8012 it went into.
The 1995 TEAC CD-56E that turned out to be really good at reading discs that most other drives couldn't.
The 1999 Plextor PX-40TSi mounted in the Sun case that the Sony above was originally in.
The Sony and Plextor are SCSI drives while the TEAC is IDE.
cd_drives.jpg

Digging them out reminded me about the magneto-optical discs and some DVD-RAM types that came in something very similar to the caddy, as well as the MO discs available in a similar form factor as well as a smaller one with 3.5" drives. Apparently that's now been superceded by Ultra Density Optical (UDO.) I suppose MiniDisc deserves a mention on an audio site. Apparently it had a data version too, which I wasn't previously aware of.
iu

The NEC had an odd door/eject that rolled on its axis to reveal the slot for the caddy. Rolling it down triggered the eject, and IIRC it would latch open for you to insert the new one, or roll it up to unlatch and close if you were leaving it empty. If you'd paid hundreds or thousands for the data on the CDs then the extra protection and marginal cost of the caddy probably seemed worthwhile, but compared to audio CDs it seemed odd.
iu
 

Roland68

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This is a thread talking about cool, awesome or even quirky optical disk drives, internal & external!

The Blu Ray/HD-DVD Combo drive:
View attachment 188777
I always wanted one of these when I was a kid. It can Blu-ray and HD DVD discs just like those combo HT players but you cannot write to either format only DVD DLs. I never seen one that can write to both formats. Hey at least you got light scribe support on some most of theses.
Very funny, when I was a kid my computer had a cassette player.
As a teenager, 5 1/4" disks were a revelation, and then the Atari ST with 3.5" floppy disk drive.
In my training there were also 10" floppy disks and removable disk drives as big as washing machines.
 

sarumbear

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This is a thread talking about cool, awesome or even quirky optical disk drives, internal & external!
I assume in the sense of nostalgia not for use?
Every format starts out as read only and then to write too.
Beg to differ. Memory cards were always read/write, so was tape.
Although it was neat having a PC that can read discs but if you wanted to write to your format, well you needed to get another drive. It is cool having 2 drives in a PC or you were one of those people that replaced your old drive, I hope you did that to have a free sata/ide slot;).
IDE interface! Now that is proper vintage, like 30 years old...
 
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ThatM1key

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sarumbear

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ThatM1key

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Why would you prefer to use them? I like to know, if I may.
I use Blu-rays still to backup my data. In terms of nostalgia, I remember when everybody used CDs and DVDs for software and it was normal using DVDs to install games (in my generation). A time when Digital cameras, flip phones & digital photo frames were also the norm. The last time I installed a game was from DVDs was Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2016, 7 DVDs :facepalm:, they should've put it on some Blu-ray discs back then. Eventually I did back up GTA 5 to 4 25GB BD-Rs, grew in size due to updates.
 
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