Optical Drives: Obsolete? Almost Obsolete? Necessities?

By  |  Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler says he’s never once used the DVD burner on his MacBook Pro and is therefore excited about the possibility of a superlight, driveless MacBook Air. I keep going back and forth on whether optical drives are superfluous yet: They’re still occasionally handy for installing software, and I still use them to watch movies (or just rip them into a form I can watch on any device). I figure that three years from now, they’ll be quite unusual–but I could be wrong, since I would have guessed three years ago that they’d be almost extinct by late 2010…


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. IcyFog Says:

    Optical drives are on the way out. Not obsolete yet, but they will be – same as the dodo bird and floppy discs.

  2. Zair Says:

    I agree, they're definitely on their way out, but still useful at the moment.

  3. Reynaldo Rivera Says:

    Personally, I see Optical drives as Appliances.
    I don't need them on me at all times like a USB slot, but they are still immensely useful.

    An External BD-Drive is probably the best solution for now, you plug it in when you need it and put it away when you're done.

  4. Chris Donahue Says:

    Burners/Readers are still useful for installing the OS. Tough to do that through a flash drive or the Internet. I've installed Linux several times that way, but not Windows/Mac. Floppies are definitely gone due to capacity.

  5. Evan Says:

    I only need an optical drive on my tower. A notebook doesn't need one, and it takes up extra space and weight.

  6. Collins Says:

    I only use my optical drive to play DVD and Blu-Ray, but even then, very rarely; on my computer, I mostly get to watch most things online and do traditional media on a dedicated player hooked up to a huge screen. It's also no longer needed for installing software or operating systems anymore, since most applications I have nowadays are obtained from the WWW and operating systems (even Windows and OS X) can be installed from flash drives/memory cards.

    So yes, I agree that optical drives are near obsolete this time around, especially on notebooks.

  7. Dave Barnes Says:

    My prediction: the default medium for Mac OS 10.7 will be an SSD card.

  8. pond Says:

    I still use the DVD-burner for archival backup. Usually I will employ an external burner in order to save on wear and tear on the iBook or TabletPC’s internal drive; the external burner is faster as well, and burns dual-layer.

    I for one am looking forward to much-cheaper Bluray burners that handle that 128GB quad-layer.

    BD also beats any downloadable or US-streamed (at paltry US bandwidth) video.

    I was looking forward to fluorescent plastic cards that would hold a terabyte or so for long-term backup … still waiting on them…