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Author Topic: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?  (Read 1228 times)

holt

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accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« on: March 31, 2019, 11:52 AM »
I was given a nice fast laptop with Windows 10 64 bit, 8GB ram, and SSD drive. It's a dream, but no DVD burner. I've already tied up three usb outlets for a thumb drive and one 750GB external old-type 'rotary' storage drive and mouse, so I also need an external usb multi-port unit. I could do with some suggestions, please? Tnx.
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mouser

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2019, 11:54 AM »
i think your first step is getting a powered usb hub.. or look into a dock for your laptop if you mostly use it at home.
the portable dvd burners i've seen seem to require power from 2 usb ports, so you need more open and powered usb ports.

Shades

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2019, 09:28 PM »
Who still uses DVDs?  Let it be known, I have a collection of over 2000 DVDs (burners and originals) and I can't be bothered to use them. Pen Drives are so much more convenient, available in much bigger storage capacities, faster, usually more reliable (in case of burned DVDs) and by now cheaper.

For old style magnetic media, like tapes I can still see uses. Still very hard to beat with regards for price/performance per GByte of stored information. But DVDs? Its just not worth it. I can buy here in the capital 1TByte portable hard disks from Seagate for 30 USD. With DVD's you must make lists of what is stored where, you need to verify if burned DVDs still work after a year or so, you must store DVDs Preferably in a location without lights and a constant temperature else they fade/rot away.

While portable hard disks are not a good long term storage plan either, they sure do last longer than burned DVDs. Original DVDs use much better material for their storage layer, which is then protected by one or two optically invisible layers. That makes them much more robust than burn DVDs, which use a much worse material (so the laser inside the burner doesn't have to be too strong). Protection layers are usually not included, because legally the strength of a laser for public use is very limited. So the material in the storage layer does rot away pretty easily, making the data unreadable.

Nowadays I only have one DVD reader available to copy the drivers from any device I purchase onto a portable hard disk (I always keep those as an archive, just so I know there are drivers to fall back to). And that is literally the only reason.

Ok, on topic: Mouser is correct, you will be needing a USB hub device that comes with its own power supply. Although the laser in a burner is weak, it does draw quite some power when writing to a DVD. You also have to take into account that it is very important that the engine spinning the DVD that is being burned runs at the same RPMs during the writing. You really should not depend on the power of the USB ports on your laptop to provide the power to spin the DVD and the laser. Any hiccup there and you can throw away the DVD. No, even burning DVDs with the slowest setting can fail easily when you only depend on the power supply from your laptop.

USB hubs with separate power supply should have enough consistent power for burning DVDs. Is there a DVD reader in the laptop you have? If so, use that reader to check if the burned DVD was done correctly. You will be surprised (in a bad way) how much burn DVDs can only be read properly in the DVD unit that did the burning.

Buying a USB bracket and separate DVD burner device to create your own portable DVD burner, that can be a not so great experience. Lots of burner devices do not burn so well when connected through USB. Firmware from USB brackets and DVD burner units are know to create conflicts. That way of creating your own portable DVD burner can be a total crap shoot.

Really, so much headache for so little storage capacity per DVD, why even bother when there are so many better alternatives available for similar prices (per stored GByte) or cheaper... 

holt

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2019, 12:04 PM »
Who still uses DVDs?  Let it be known, I have a collection of over 2000 DVDs (burners and originals) and I can't be bothered to use them. Pen Drives are so much more convenient, available in much bigger storage capacities, faster, usually more reliable (in case of burned DVDs) and by now cheaper.

For old style magnetic media, like tapes I can still see uses. Still very hard to beat with regards for price/performance per GByte of stored information. But DVDs? Its just not worth it. I can buy here in the capital 1TByte portable hard disks from Seagate for 30 USD. With DVD's you must make lists of what is stored where, you need to verify if burned DVDs still work after a year or so, you must store DVDs Preferably in a location without lights and a constant temperature else they fade/rot away.

While portable hard disks are not a good long term storage plan either, they sure do last longer than burned DVDs. Original DVDs use much better material for their storage layer, which is then protected by one or two optically invisible layers. That makes them much more robust than burn DVDs, which use a much worse material (so the laser inside the burner doesn't have to be too strong). Protection layers are usually not included, because legally the strength of a laser for public use is very limited. So the material in the storage layer does rot away pretty easily, making the data unreadable.

Nowadays I only have one DVD reader available to copy the drivers from any device I purchase onto a portable hard disk (I always keep those as an archive, just so I know there are drivers to fall back to). And that is literally the only reason.

Ok, on topic: Mouser is correct, you will be needing a USB hub device that comes with its own power supply. Although the laser in a burner is weak, it does draw quite some power when writing to a DVD. You also have to take into account that it is very important that the engine spinning the DVD that is being burned runs at the same RPMs during the writing. You really should not depend on the power of the USB ports on your laptop to provide the power to spin the DVD and the laser. Any hiccup there and you can throw away the DVD. No, even burning DVDs with the slowest setting can fail easily when you only depend on the power supply from your laptop.

USB hubs with separate power supply should have enough consistent power for burning DVDs. Is there a DVD reader in the laptop you have? If so, use that reader to check if the burned DVD was done correctly. You will be surprised (in a bad way) how much burn DVDs can only be read properly in the DVD unit that did the burning.

Buying a USB bracket and separate DVD burner device to create your own portable DVD burner, that can be a not so great experience. Lots of burner devices do not burn so well when connected through USB. Firmware from USB brackets and DVD burner units are know to create conflicts. That way of creating your own portable DVD burner can be a total crap shoot.

Really, so much headache for so little storage capacity per DVD, why even bother when there are so many better alternatives available for similar prices (per stored GByte) or cheaper...
I'm learning, and thank you both. Pen drive = thumb drive? I do need a way to access data on old DVDs; such as my official Windows Word Office software disk, so I can install it on the laptop.
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo' (2012))

Shades

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 06:37 AM »
Whatever I have on DVD, like video, I ripped those and ended up up with <name.of.video>.iso files that contain everything on the DVD. Windows 10 can mount those easy, but it won't play them. 3rd party media players (freeware) such as VideoLAN (aka VLC), PotPlayer and MPC all do a much better job than any version of Windows media player did. These media players know how to work with *.iso files, so no problem there.

Installation disks can also be stored as *.iso files. Windows 10 can mount these and installing the software in those files with ease. With a set of portable hard disks (none of them permanently connected, only when needed and stored securely) I have a pretty reliable backup system (for home use). Well, it hasn't failed me in 9 years and I cannot say the same about some of the DVDs I burned. As I have sunk quite some money into that collection, I find it wasteful to throw them out. But I haven't read any DVD of that collection for years.

I only keep a reader around, because hardware suppliers provide installation DVDs or CDs with original drivers. Once that "tradition" stops and manufacturers provide a thumb drive/pen drive with their hardware, I'll drop that one too. Think I have some 30 DVD burners "rusting" away in the storage depot. Maybe I should sacrifice those and find a way to get the laser out of them just to play with as an hardware hobby project or something. There should also be a similar amount of 3.5" floppy drives as well.

holt

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2019, 02:55 PM »
pen drive
This is in my price range;
PNY turbo 128gb 3.0 usb
and for twice the price there is a 256gb model,
or here's a micro center 256gb 3.0 usb for $28,
but I still need to find a good external dvd unit.
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo' (2012))
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 03:00 PM by holt »

holt

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 03:30 PM »
Could an old slow Pentium type pc be used as a makeshift usb docking station? Or an old dead RAID mobo in a box pc? IOW, what if one ran a usb cable from a new laptop to a usb slot in the mobo of either of the above which was not powered up? Then the extra usb slots could be plugged into?
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo' (2012))
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 04:21 PM by holt »

Shades

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Re: accessory DVD & usb port for laptop?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2019, 03:44 PM »
If you need more USB ports for your laptop, buy a (preferably powered) USB hub device. Easier and reliable.

If you need more USB ports for your desktop, it is more than likely there are 1 or 2 USB headers on the main board that are not used yet. You can buy extra USB slots in a bracket to mount at the back of your desktop. If you connect these onto your motherboard, make sure to turn off your computer first. These headers more often than not support USB v2.0 or lower.

Anything else, don't bother.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 03:56 PM by Shades »