What You Should Know When Selecting an External DVD ROM Drive

Even with optical drives becoming less relevant, it could be that you still enjoy watching and/or burning music and movie files on CDs or DVDs. You may also just want to load software applications to your PC using a physical disc. Whatever the case, there are still a variety of external and internal optical drives that you can get. Depending on whether they support reading only or reading and writing, the drives come as read-only memory (ROMs) or as burners (R, RW, RE or RAM). When purchasing an external DVD ROM drive, here's what you need to know:

What is an external DVD ROM drive?

An optical drive can either be a Blu-ray, CD or DVD drive. The two latter drives allow for reading and writing of files and are of various types including the DVD-ROM. Unlike CD-R, DVD-R, CD-RW or DVD-RW drives, DVD ROMs only support reading of data. They are better than their CD ROM counterpart in that they read both DVD and compact discs. You can use them to play your music and movies or view photos stored on a CD or DVD. However, you cannot transfer any data from your PC to a writeable disc with this kind of drive. Being an external drive means you can carry it wherever and can also use it with different computers.

What is the difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0 in external DVD drives?

USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 are the connectors between the DVD Drive and PC laptop. They differ in the following ways:

  • USB 2.0 - This connector is capable of transferring data at a speed of up to 480 megabits per second. The interface can be identified by a black or white insert.
  • USB 3.0 - Although this connector is theoretically ten times much faster than USB 2.0, there is no major performance difference when it comes to external DVD drives i.e. hard drives and flash drives. USB 3.0 connectors can be identified by a blue colored insert and sometimes a SuperSpeed (SS) label.

What should I consider when buying an external read-only memory DVD Drive for my laptop?

  • Size and weight - In case you want something you can carry conveniently, an ultra-slim and portable external drives should do. However, most of the smaller drives compromise on speed and so you may opt for a bigger one if speed is more important to you.
  • Compatibility with OS - DVD drives are not necessarily compatible with all operating systems, particularly those operating on Windows 10 and Mac. It is crucial to first determine the type of drives your laptop's operating system works with.
  • Power supply - The drive can either be powered by your laptop or by an external power supply. Choosing one over the other will depend on what you find convenient.