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Old 04-15-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
business_kid
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Optical Drive Question.


Is there any dvd drive with longevity?

The boxes in this "normal" house have had 100% failures on dvd writers and readers in recent years. I'm an electronics guy and know why this happens - minute changes in the careful balance on the reading head, not helped by the facts that:
/Begin Technobabble
1. low grade adjustable resistors are often used
2. The range of adjustment is far too great, making it impossible to retain a stable preset value.
3. Optical diodes lose forward voltage drop over time. If they start at, e.g. 1.2V after some months or years the forward voltage will be down to 1.0V. This changes the current, hence the brightness.
/End Technbabble

TIA
 
Old 04-15-2011, 01:18 PM   #2
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I guess I would like to mention that the eventual failure rate of all drives is 100% given enough time. Most of them are rated at like 10,000 hours or something like that anyway.

Aside from that, I have had a plextor drive that I write at least a cd/dvd a day on, if not more, for what must be 2 years by now. If needed, I could grab the model number from it later, if you are interested in researching it.
 
Old 04-16-2011, 02:43 AM   #3
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2-3 years is about it. I even offered technical support to a line of dvd players and cd readers. 2 years in, the failures were nearly zero. 3 years in, they started dying. Then the guarantee ran out :-D.

The irritating thing is, I know the hardware can be designed to be more stable. But it isn't. There are all sorts of options unless the laser diodes actually change hugely.
 
Old 04-16-2011, 03:20 AM   #4
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I've had a lot of CD/DVD drives over the years, and almost all of them still work 100%. Even the Sony CD-RW CRX175 I bought in...er...2002/2003 and a Lite-On CD-RW thats about the same age.

Most of my drives are Pioneer, or pioneer rebranded. The Asus (forget the model number, rebranded pioneer) DVD-RW I bought in 2004-2005 is still running strong. Though it does have issues with retracting the tray. All the Pioneers are 100%, I havent had a Pioneer DVD-RW fail yet. I've seen a few Sony DVD-RWs, and own one myself, they seem to last as well.

The times when I have seen DVDs fail they have tended to be Samsung or LG. I dont buy them myself, but I've built computes for other people with them.

How hard do you use them?

I've got to say that I dont give my DVD drives that much use. The one thats got by far the most use, my old asus is still OK though.

The guy I know who burns a _lot_ of DVDs says that the best drives he's used were Plextor, but I wouldnt bother with Plextor these days. They used to be very, very good, but these days Plextor dont make drives, they only rebrand other drives, Lite-On and Samsung most often IIRC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
2-3 years is about it. I even offered technical support to a line of dvd players and cd readers. 2 years in, the failures were nearly zero. 3 years in, they started dying. Then the guarantee ran out :-D.
I've seen the same thing happen, not with CD/DVD drives though. But its worse, IMO, when it happens with motherboards.
 
Old 04-17-2011, 06:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Most of my drives are Pioneer, or pioneer rebranded. The Asus (forget the model number, rebranded pioneer) DVD-RW I bought in 2004-2005 is still running strong.
How hard do you use them?
I've seen the same thing happen, not with CD/DVD drives though. But its worse, IMO, when it happens with motherboards.
I don't use cdrom drive that much, and don't often burn, although I use the laptop's one more.
But it's a piece of kit you want there
/Aside
Windows XP is currently trying to install cd drivers from the cdrom and failing for lack of a driver :-/.

Motherboards are a separate issue. Once rs-232 & non usb keyboards have gone, motherboards will last longer. Then the enemy is heat cycling. It is always more spectacular & demanding of attention when a m/b smokes up - I would agree there.
 
Old 04-17-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I don't use cdrom drive that much, and don't often burn, although I use the laptop's one more.
But it's a piece of kit you want there
/Aside
Windows XP is currently trying to install cd drivers from the cdrom and failing for lack of a driver :-/.
I've just had a check-over my DVD-RW hardware, everything silly looks OK.

If you care about it, I can easily find out the model numbers for the DVD-RWs I've been using that have given me no problems for years. I was thinking I should put them up on the HCL anyway.

*edit- the newest of my DVD-RWs is an Asus DRW-2014L1tT (SATA, rebranded Pioneer). 2 years 11 months old (bought on 17-05-2008).

LOL, sometimes XP is just silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Motherboards are a separate issue. Once rs-232 & non usb keyboards have gone, motherboards will last longer. Then the enemy is heat cycling. It is always more spectacular & demanding of attention when a m/b smokes up - I would agree there.
I'd like to know your reasoning behind non-RS232 and non-USB keyboard systems would last longer (I'm aussuming that you mean boards that have no RS232 or PS/2 ports). I dont think I've heard that before, maybe I'm forgetting soemthing?

I've only every had one motherboard actually smoke up, most of them seem to die with a whimper, not a bang. I've had more interesting hardware deaths from HDDs than from motherboards.

Last edited by cascade9; 04-17-2011 at 09:28 AM.
 
Old 04-17-2011, 09:33 PM   #7
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I have a Pioneer external USB DVD/CD R/W drive that is easily six years old and runs like a champ; it is disconnected and powered off only when I take my laptop somewhere. I have burned hundreds of CDs and DVDs with it--enough to fill six or seven three-inch binders and a six-inch spindle. In fact, I burned a dozen disks on it last week (Scientific Linux and Debian 6.0 install disks).

I have another computer, a desktop, with a internal Philips DVD/CD R/W drive that is easily older (I bought the computer used; the drive was likely an add-on by the original owner, as it is the second optical drive in the machine) that also works like a champ.

I have a second external that works fine, but it doesn't have more than several hundred hours of use.

Come to think of it, I've not had an optical drive fail (these will probably turn into "famous last words" and all of them will roll over and play dead tomorrow). I recently had an IDE HDD die after about six years constant use, but never an optical drive.
 
Old 04-18-2011, 03:05 AM   #8
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I have a Teac CD-W 4X (no CD-RW) from 2000 that stil works and ocassionally (since 2005 rarely) is used to burn a live cd. That was when Teac were manufacturing for themselfes and not rebranding other stuff like today

I have a Gigabyte CD-RW that still works from like 2005

And i have found tons of "dead" DVD+-R/RWs from rpair centers, which when tested about 1/4 of them are still OK (1/2 partially OK)
 
Old 04-18-2011, 04:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
I'd like to know your reasoning behind non-RS232 and non-USB keyboard systems would last longer (I'm aussuming that you mean boards that have no RS232 or PS/2 ports). I dont think I've heard that before, maybe I'm forgetting soemthing?
Hardware & experience. Both ps/2 & rs-232 are prone to damage by hotplugging, and rs-232 in particular also has an earthing thing. Plug a laplink cable in, for instance, and you bring the laptop to the same voltage as the pc. Not always a good idea. I've had sparks from that experience. Needless to say, it didn't go well, evoking the quote:
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. . . . " :-/.

In the days I ran a hardware repair shop, WHY was the only comfort you could bring to pained owners who had lost pieces of kit. Why always seemed to involve a keyboard, rs-232 port or external adaptor on these ports. Major failures customers could take on the chin. It was the unnecessary crappy failures that drove them crazy.
 
Old 04-18-2011, 08:31 AM   #10
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Hardware & experience. Both ps/2 & rs-232 are prone to damage by hotplugging, and rs-232 in particular also has an earthing thing. Plug a laplink cable in, for instance, and you bring the laptop to the same voltage as the pc. Not always a good idea. I've had sparks from that experience. Needless to say, it didn't go well, evoking the quote:
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. . . . " :-/.

In the days I ran a hardware repair shop, WHY was the only comfort you could bring to pained owners who had lost pieces of kit. Why always seemed to involve a keyboard, rs-232 port or external adaptor on these ports. Major failures customers could take on the chin. It was the unnecessary crappy failures that drove them crazy.
I'm not sure I understand.

Also, I thought that you can't actually physically damage anything by hotplugging PS/2, but that it's just that the driver may get confused when it was unplugged while sending data.
 
Old 04-18-2011, 09:08 AM   #11
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We use Plextor drives at work (P/N PX-230A) and are constantly seeing them fail. In our case, these are older models that have been sitting in a warehouse for a number of years before they are shipped to us as replacements. One possibility is that physical deterioration of the components over time BEFORE installation is making the perceived life of the drive shorter. I may be a special case, but I routinely get "new" motherboard batteries from our parts supply system that have been sitting around so long that they won't hold a charge. Of course, we're still using RISC processors and have all of our IDE drives plugged into a SCSI adapter...not to mention a mixed (narrow/wide) SCSI devices on the same chain...could be a number of things killing our drives I guess.


I'll admit it's a long shot, but I still like to look at what year a particular model started production before buying hardware for personal use.
 
Old 04-18-2011, 09:17 AM   #12
catkin
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Thanks business_kid for listing the electronic reasons for the short life of DVD drives

I believe the answer to your question (Is there any dvd drive with longevity?) is "no".

Paraphrasing part of my post quoted below, DVD drives are now a commodity item and the market is driven by price; quality is no longer significant in the marketplace. A cynical view might be that the manufacturers can make more profit by producing drives which fail after the guarantee period so they can sell another . Welcome to free market capitalist economics! Buyers are reaping the reward of putting price ahead of quality in purchase decisions.

Reproduced from a post I made in August 2009:
Quote:
Originally Posted by catkin View Post
I use DVDs for backups (tapes don't like the tropical climate) so write almost two DVDs a day. I did a lot of research trying to identify which drive would be the best -- looking for quality and reliability rather than features. A good source of info was cdfreaks.com. After agonising over what would be the best choice, a Sony Optiarc AD-7220A-0D was chosen but was trouble from the beginning. Frustratingly the problems were intermittent so I had to stick with it until they became frequent enough to change it under warranty, nine months later.

I now believe DVD drives are a "commodity" item and the market is driven by price; quality is no longer significant in the marketplace. Gone are the days of a range of qualities at a range of prices.

This is why even the biggest manufacturers have banded together to compete -- only the highest volume manufacturing, concentrating on reducing costs by economies of scale, will survive in this aggressive price battle.

Quality is further reduced by manufacture in China where quality control is hard to achieve; manufacturers may find it more cost-effective to accept a higher level of warranty claims than to try to enforce quality control.

Needing a DVD drive for backups, pending warranty replacement, I asked my supplier which ex-stock model they recommended. They said there was little to choose between the models. I bought an ASUS DRW-20B1ST (with no agonising over choice!).

As it has turned out, the ASUS has been better than the carefully selected Sony. Not good but better! Around 5% of the times a DVD is loaded the ASUS makes horrible noises and does not load but, when it does load, it works well. The warranty replacement Sony, OTOH, got very iffy about writing DVDs three months after fitting.

Oh for the good old days of paying twice the price and having a drive that just worked!
 
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:43 PM   #13
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I can't recommend $ony drives, they go bad quick. They still work, but act strangely after a while. I had two of them, one kept ejecting disks at one point, and it wouldn't read them either. The other one, on a laptop, failed to burn 50% of DVDs, even $ony ones. I had to buy an external Samsung to be able to reliably burn DVDs. I now buy Samsung drives. They're about 2-3 years old, and have no problems. I also had an ASUS one, which is still working, but haven't used it in many years. It has lasted again 2-3 years of regular use for backups and has not broken.

I also can't recommend $ony drive, because the company is evil and must be boycotted.

I doubt any drive will make it past 4-5 years without problems or breaking. That's just how they are. Also be careful when dealing with out-of-region DVDs, some firmwares lock the read rate to 1x, which causes the drive to spin up and down and up and down causing strange and potentially damaging noises.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 04-18-2011 at 12:45 PM.
 
Old 04-19-2011, 08:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
I'm not sure I understand.

Also, I thought that you can't actually physically damage anything by hotplugging PS/2, but that it's just that the driver may get confused when it was unplugged while sending data.
That's the theory. Practise is different. I had(have) an Analogue Signature Analyser for V/I Testing, looking up the legs of chips and you can pick out generically blown pins and be quite definite about it. Also, dud adaptors can blow things big time.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 10:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Hardware & experience. Both ps/2 & rs-232 are prone to damage by hotplugging, and rs-232 in particular also has an earthing thing. Plug a laplink cable in, for instance, and you bring the laptop to the same voltage as the pc. Not always a good idea. I've had sparks from that experience. Needless to say, it didn't go well, evoking the quote:
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. . . . " :-/.

In the days I ran a hardware repair shop, WHY was the only comfort you could bring to pained owners who had lost pieces of kit. Why always seemed to involve a keyboard, rs-232 port or external adaptor on these ports. Major failures customers could take on the chin. It was the unnecessary crappy failures that drove them crazy.
Hmm, interesting.

The only person I know who made a habit of hotplugging PS/2 meece and keybaords still hasnt had any motherboards die on him . Though I do have the board I've seen him hotplug PS/2 with on many occasions does have dead PS/2 ports, then again, its an ancient asus CUSL2 varaint so in some ways its surprising that its not totally dead...

Personally, I think that what will help hardwaere last longer is that (hopefully) the 'bad caps' problems appears to have been fixed. The number of boards I've got for nothing with bad caps is scary..I have a feeling that gigabytes 'dual BIOS' system is pretty good as well, I've had a fair number of boards with corrupted BIOses, and so far I'm yet to see a gigabyte board have that problem. Even when I thought that gigabyte was a so-so brand I was impressed with the dual BIOS idea.

'Unnecessary crappy failures' drive my crazy as well. I'm still unimpressed with some the stupid failures I've seen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
I can't recommend $ony drives, they go bad quick. They still work, but act strangely after a while. I had two of them, one kept ejecting disks at one point, and it wouldn't read them either. The other one, on a laptop, failed to burn 50% of DVDs, even $ony ones. I had to buy an external Samsung to be able to reliably burn DVDs. I now buy Samsung drives. They're about 2-3 years old, and have no problems. I also had an ASUS one, which is still working, but haven't used it in many years. It has lasted again 2-3 years of regular use for backups and has not broken.

I also can't recommend $ony drive, because the company is evil and must be boycotted.

I doubt any drive will make it past 4-5 years without problems or breaking. That's just how they are. Also be careful when dealing with out-of-region DVDs, some firmwares lock the read rate to 1x, which causes the drive to spin up and down and up and down causing strange and potentially damaging noises.
I cant recommend Sony driveseither, Sony is not a nice company. The CR175 I onyl bought because I got a really good deal on it (I paid about $35 when $100 was the goign rate for a CD-RW) and the Sony DVD-RW I got from a system I was given.

The Sony DRD-RW I have is a DRU-830A, I think I lucked out there. I know somebody who used to always buy Sony, and he had problems with a lot of Sony DVD-RWs from about the same time period as my DRU-830A (manufactuered october 2006, and was sold in a system late 2006/early 2007)

BTW, in semi-reply to catkins post, the DRU-830A is a 'made in Indonesia' drive. I would have guessed that made in China would be similar quaity, made even better. Maybe I was wrong, or more likely I've just been lucky.

I totally disagree on "I doubt any drive will make it past 4-5 years without problems or breaking". Maybe you've just had bad luck with drives, maybe I've just been lucky, but with the CD/DVD hardware I've bought I'm yet to have a single failure. Err, well, OK, 1, but that was because a library ID sticker came of the CD in the drive (A Pioneer slot-load DVD). In my experience, CD/DVD drives last really well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Come to think of it, I've not had an optical drive fail (these will probably turn into "famous last words" and all of them will roll over and play dead tomorrow). I recently had an IDE HDD die after about six years constant use, but never an optical drive.
You should be fine, for the moment anyway. You're almost expecting drive death, so it wont happen. They will wait until you get the combination of 'I relly need this to work' and some time when its hard to get a new drive to die.
 
  


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