External DVD Drive: USB vs. FW

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Pak^Man, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. Pak^Man macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Columbus, OH

    I'm in the market for an External DVD burner or Superdrive for my MBP. In this regard, I'm looking at the familiar USB vs FW800 problem.

    (I installed MCE Optibay in my superdrive slot, and would like a purpose built external optical drive, rather than the superdrive-in-enclosure approach)

    For external Hard Drvies, I favor FW800 to the extent possible, due to its higher sustained transfer speeds. Is this still a valid consideration for Superdrives? Or is the speed of the drive the limiting factor there?

    The fact is that USB gives me a lot more options in terms of sizes and price. But if performance is an issue, I'd rather go for FW800.

    I'm not that knowledgable in this regard, so I could use some guidance (both read/write speeds for DVDs/DL-DVDs)

    Any help will be appreciated!!
  2. Bill Gates, Nov 11, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010

    Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    The speed of the drive is the bottleneck, not the interface. With a fast computer buffer underrun isn't really an issue anymore so there should be no real difference between a USB burner vs. a FireWire one. The only thing to consider is whether or not the drive will get enough power from one USB port. If not, you may have to use a 2-1 adapter to draw power from two ports or an external power brick to draw power from a wall outlet. This isn't an issue with portable FireWire drives as FireWire can supply significantly more current. Any 5.25" desktop drive will most likely still need an external power source.
  3. anthonyd macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2003
    Melbourne, Australia
    I got a bluray burner original for a Dell Mini 10 that I briefly owned, and also use it a bit for my MBP (albeit not for watching bluray movies....thanks Apple). Worth the investment as it can be used on different platforms - meaning I say go USB.
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I'm surprised to hear there are 3.5" DVD burners. :)
  5. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Sorry, Typo! I meant 5.25". :)
  6. miata macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2010
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    If if doesn't cost much more it is always nice to have the flexibility of drive with both USB and Firewire.

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