Optic drive: obsolete dinosaur destined to extinction? or legacy relic for ever?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by xoggyux, Mar 16, 2009.


Get rid of internal optic drives?

Poll closed Apr 15, 2009.
  1. Yes get rid of them, I use mine but I would not mind to use an external instead.

    40 vote(s)
  2. Yes get rid of them, I do not use mine.

    27 vote(s)
  3. Don't get rid of them, I use mine very frequently.

    56 vote(s)
  4. Don't get rid of them, I do not use them but I like my laptop to have many built-in features.

    28 vote(s)
  1. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    A few months ago I had an epiphany (which I later dropped as I found people did not like my idea, however recently I have seen people suggesting the same thing in other post so I am retaking the idea this time taking a poll to see what is going on): What if apple get rid of their optic drives of all their laptop line?
    Certainly this would bring the weight down not to mention it would allow them to put many other useful things into their laptops (e.g. card readers, second HDD [many people are already doing this as an aftermarket alternative], etc) and is not that the current optic drives are very useful (so far i can only think on 4 reasons for them one is DVD movies which anyway you are likely to watch only when in home and you'd have an external optic drive alternative at home, the second is to install programs you buy on stores, this is not a very good reason since most programs as soon as you install them will want you to update them over the internet sometimes the update is actually bigger than the program installation itself so you could have just downloaded the final installation as well instead of buying the CD not to mention that again you are not likely to install a program away from home and again at home you could have an external alternative, the third is to back up however optic media is very sensitive and the slightest scratch will make your backup history and time machine with the increasingly cheaper HDDs of today's market make it a much better alternative (not only faster but you can also delete old backups which you cant when using DVDs or CDs) and the last is for music? (but really who is left that still buys music on cds? and yet again if you'd like that you can always make mp3 rips to hear "on the run" and anyway "on the run" you would not be likely to stick a cd of music on the drive to listen....

    In general "on the run" the drive (I assume) is not very useful, it drains the battery very quickly if used and the movement laptop makes it very difficult to read (or write) an CD/DVD, not to mention is incredibly noicy and unreliable (at least mine).

    Therefore I thought they should be taken away from the inside of the laptop and offered as an external (USB or FW) version, either optional extra or included in the price. In this way if you dont use it, you dont have to buy it (unless it comes already included in price) or if you need it you have the option of buying a real optic drive (a large 5.25" external version with DC adapter included, which yes are ugly and bulky but get the job done, not as the slim slot loader internal from MBP that makes a hell of a noise and then spit the CD out because "it did not liked it") or you can have an slim one to avoid the extra DC adapter and extra volume or you could even have a Blue Ray Drive (which in my opinion they suck big time again, just as regular DVDs but its the trend for movies so we will have to stick with it for a while until big companies decide to adopt the flash memory media)

    So. anyway, vote!
  2. DAAAAAAAVE macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    I use mine almost daily. If i want a cd of a schoolmate i get them to bring it to school, i rip it in class then give it back. I don't want to have to buy a whole new product (external drive) just to do a core function of my computing needs
  3. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    That is kind of the same justification people would say when manufaturers stopped including floppy disks (in fact if i can remember well apple just stopped putting flopy on their products from one day to another way before other manufacturers did the same, and many people complained at first, but if something like that would not happen we would still have them, same with parallel port, com port, ps2 port, etc) beside what you do (exchange of files) is done way better with USB thumb drives which are faster, silent, smaller, will conserve your battery, are more reliable, and unless one of the computers is 15 years old or use windows 95 :D will work just fine (you might say but the cheaper USB drive of decent capacity ~$20 thats way more than DVDs, but remember you can use that drive thousands or millions of times, while DVDs is one time only, and if rewritable they usually die before the 50 round, over time it will become more expensive)
  4. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    Actually I take that back, i bought a great Sandisk Countour (super fast memory) for $9.99+ $2.99 on ebay and is 4GB, can copy whole movies in 1 min or less (while burning the CD/DVD would take ~10mins)
  5. scottkifnw macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2008
    Trophy Club, TX
    OK, but

    I have a MBA first gen, and I have the external drive. I use the drive infrequently, mainly for software installation, and occasionally to load music cd's from my collection.

    I am old fashioned, but I like to have a physical copy of my software, and music (don't like to mess with iTunes downoads, as I have lost some and it is a hassle).

    So, if some standard could be agreed upon for storing software and music that is better than cd's I am for it. Otherwise, it is a bit of a hassle having an external drive.

    my 2 cents.
  6. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    I also like to have physical copies of my stuff since I am always worried about losing my data since I frequently "experiment" with my machine and end up doing something well.... undesirable. But the thing is the built-in optic drive apple can fit into a MB/MBP is simply cr@p. Have you ever tried to listen music off it? can you hear anything but the noise the drive makes while trying to read?
  7. DAAAAAAAVE macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    So your problem isn't optical drives but the quality of the ones in mac laptops? That is completely understandable because, frankly, they suck. Just because they aren't great doesnt mean the should be removed. They should instead be improved.
  8. Hot Snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Jan 2, 2009
    Behind you...!
    Getting rid of the optical drive is fine.

    As long as you have a better alternative. Otherwise its pointless.

    Everybody agrees that one day the drives will be removed, the question is; what will take their place?
  9. Scippy macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    I think that it would make sense to get rid of them eventually, but I don't think that we will see it for another few years.
  10. bugout macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    is everything!
    I used the optical drive in my early 08 MBP once.. I took it out and put a 500gb optibay in there instead.. haven't needed it since and don't anticipate needing it in the future.
  11. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    I wish Apple would give us an option to take it out and put an HDD inside. I'm pretty sure the 17" could even fit 2 more in there or a bigger battery. Reason why I wouldn't do this myself is that the side of it has the slot for the CD/DVD. They'd have to make a version without it. Imagine; 1.5 TB of porn on the go! :D
  12. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    The thing is that there is little room for improvement in the MB/MBP optic drive since they are limited by the space as well as thickness, I'm even Amazed they could fit a CD/DVD reader/writer device in that confined space at all!

    Though I particularly like the option of having 2 HDDs, I have to admit that a battery enlargement is probably the feature most people can take advantage off (since is a portable device) however I still think that some of that room should be deflected to include a memory card reader (which are so small they would take 5% or less of the optic drive volume.) But even if they do not put anything extra, and just expand the other components (give them more room) and improve a bit the cooling system, the laptop (and its user) can take advantage of it (I have read that GPUs in MBPs are underclocked as much as 20% if that is the case then clearly just improving the cooling system and taking off the underclock would be a good enough improvement)
    Any way there is room to many other modifications and Apple's does amazing things with little space available (thats precisely why I think we should be getting rid of DVDs)

    Thats what worries me, by the time people decide that DVD are obsolete we will be asking for Blue Ray optic drives and the cycle will start all over. My problem is not with DVD or CD in specific but with optic technology. The thing is that it is too unreliable (just a bit of dust and a extremely small scratch and your data could be lost, and thats particularly true for high density media as DVD-DL and Blue Ray and BR-DL etc) not to mention that the disk is rotating at a very high velocity (generating an awful amount of heat and noise) and I am afraid that when we are ready to get rid of Blue Ray then Red Ray comes along or green ray or whatever they want to call it, which it is analogous to getting rid of 5.25" "floppy" disks and start using 3.5" floppy disk, and then get rid of those to start using zip/jazz disks. The next standard should be flash memory (works cool, fast and is more reliable) is a bit expensive today but by 2years time you could get more GB/$ with flash memory than you could get on optic disks.

    Also if there were some kind of technology with optic "disk" but that do not move, I'd be happy also, the thing is that a moving disk inside a laptop (which is meant to take it around) does not sound good, its noise is also a major issue. I have read about some kind of technologies that offer something similar but forecast are not so good (by 2030~2050 with a few TBs of storage.)
  13. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    While I agree its an aging media format, i dont think NOW is the time to eliminate it. Maybe in 5 years time when everyones $5 flash drives make the storage on a disk laughable, but for right here an now there is no better alternative.
  14. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    Obviously is not for NOW :cool: even if apple would decide just today to stop including optic drives on their models, it would take them months to design a new version and it would take them a couple of years to start selling them.
    Though chances are that you will never get flash drives for $5 (due it cost considerable more to produce even a 16mb flash drive over a CD/DVD) it won't be long until we can find better ratio of GB/$ from flash drives (such as 512GB for ~$50 or ~$30 obviously thats not today, but in 1 or 2 years definitively. Besides, remember on the long run DVDs ends up being more expensive since you cannot erase them therefore you cannot update your data (as otherwise you would with a flash drive) and each time you burn a CD/DVD you lose it once the data inside becomes obsolete (e.g. a backup or just transferring from 1 computer to the next)
  15. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    I use the optical drive in my iBook pretty often. I watch a lot of DVD's, because my internet can't handle downloading a movie from iTunes, and I always like to go and buy CD's at a record store, it's more fun then just buying the stuff from iTunes. Plus I like the little booklet you get with it. :)

    Maybe in a few years, the disk drive will be obsolete. Not now though, (most) any decent laptop has one, likewise for desktops. They're still there because people obviously still use them.
  16. JtheLemur macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2002
    Optical drives are for old fogeys. Thumbs down. =)
  17. Mark2000 macrumors regular


    Oct 18, 2007
    Doesnt anyone backup to DVD? I have time machine. but i still achieve my photos/vids/work on discs. Until those cheap SD write once cards come out i probably always will.
  18. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    I would not even think on that.... I would lose my data after 6 months....for now HDD are the best option of reliability, GB/$ and convenience.
  19. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    In the US, the broadband internet infrastructure is way, way, way, way too far away from the point where downloading things rather than getting them on media is a functional reality.
  20. Mark2000 macrumors regular


    Oct 18, 2007
    That's ridiculous. I've only lost one cd archive in my life. store them well and they do last. HD are mechanical and will fail for certain. I wouldn't bet my data on that. Plus there is something to say about the size of a disk. All eggs in one basket. If i loose a disc I only loose 4 gigs of stuff. Loose a drive and loose 500 or more.
  21. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    LoL, your thread just reminded me, I've yet to try mine... I haven't ever used it since I got my MBP. I should make sure it actually works.

    All my software/music/movies/tv shows is downloaded. I've got an average 8mbit connection, but most importantly it's not capped. And at least 2TB of networked storage in my home, and numerous external hard drives where I keep disk images. On my windows netbook, I've got deamon tools installed to mount ISOs, and it's been working great...

    So yes, optical media has been dead for me for a while.

    I truly think Blu-Ray is the last generation of optical storage.
  22. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Blue-Ray may or may not extend the life of optical drives but honestly I would rather have USB thumb drives replace it in the future.
  23. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    Then you must be the only one with that much luck in the world. CD/DVDs are mechanical as well for that matter (well at least the reader) and the CD/DVD media is made of plastic which means even light will deteriorate it. Lose it? OMG! anyway if you worried about that at least you can put an HDD inside a safety box in a bank and hold 500GB~2TB easily while if you would want to do the same with DVD/CDs then lets just say you'd need a few boxes :D. Besides the whole point of this thread is not to get rid of CD/DVDs once and for all, but to displace them as a external (optional?) solution only we still can buy floppy disk readers if we wanted to (they are still sold) so even if we would get rid of CD/DVDs tomorrow we could still buy the drives for... lets say? next 20 or so years?????.
  24. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I still get CDs. :rolleyes:

    Not to mention the library has plenty of them.
  25. xoggyux thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    Blue-Ray is another bully-introduced tech of sony (and partners) I do not think they truly thought it through, I mean people buy $1000+ HDTV, $200+ Blue Ray DVD, $300+ sound system and many accessories + $15-$30 for each movie and then they have to hear the noise of the drive trying to read the media??? No wonder surround sound system are so loud... so you cannot hear the drive over your movie!

    I got one of those DVD player with USB input, and I use a 4GB countour sandisk flash drive to see movies (not full HD but 720p, thats good enough, though if the programs I see would be available at 1080p i would just get another USB drive and could watch it with no problem) and it is the best in the world, no noise, i can fast forward and rewind super fast (I could just move the cursor to whenever I want, but the DVD player does not support that function, maybe futures will) its just a fantastic combination.

    Ok here is the thing:
    So far I have only read about three possible "reasonable" justificantions in favor of CD/DVD.
    1.- Music media
    2.- Backup
    3.- Program distribution

    Now apple is in a favorable position over many other manufacturers to change the direction of the game:
    1.- Sandisk is already pushing a new music distribution format, which they call slotmusic which is basically music inside a microSD card. Now obviously the chances of they introducing the format successfully and making it an standard capable of displacing CDs as the standard music media format is very slight, however if apple (since iPod & itunes apple have become a powerful entity in the music business) where to take part in that effort, then the format would become a viable alternative to CDs (as well as better.)

    2.- I wont even comment too much this point. 10 years ago when HDD topped at 80GB or so, DVD where a effective way of backing up your data, now not even would take you literally hundreds of DVDs to back up an entire system but HDDs (internal and external) are very cheap and convenient. Furthermore it could be argued that they are even cheaper as a backup alternative (keep in mind you not only need to buy the clean DVD but you also need to buy the wallet to protect them and then it is always hard to fill the whole space therefore after burning them you will be consistently wasting some storage capacity (let it be 100MB or a couple of GB) not to mention once you burn a DVD you cannot actualize the data, and if you do get newer version of programs or files you have to burn a brand new DVD and the old one will become useless. All sums up to shrink the price gap between DVD's GBs and HDD's GBs.

    3.- Program makers from apple are very few, and they usually sell their products rather expensive, I do not think they would find any trouble starting to sell their products in some kind of "cheap" low capacity (non-erasable) memory flash.

    You might say well what makes you think that developers/music producers will start using the more expensive memory to distribute their products just because apple decided to take this path? Well there are always reasons for the change, for instance I am pretty sure that with flash memories music producers would have a bit more control over pirating (as well as program developers, I am not sure though but I think it will be better done in a flash memory than a CD/DVD, oviously skillfull crackers would always be able to workaround it but anyway it will be better controlled) the second possible reason is the fact that flash memories are more reliable, faster and silent.

    Anyway.... Maybe we are not ready just yet :rolleyes:

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