Help choosing DVD drive for my build

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  1. SATA cables come with motherboards

    Any dvd will do
  2. Do remember my PC just now is around 5 years old
  3. I'll address the cable issue AND the DVD choice:

    Before SATA was PATA which used ribbon cables. SATA uses the, usually yellow, SATA cables. You also need a SATA power cable, although if you don't have a SATA one directly you can get a MOLEX->SATA adapter.

    Many new motherboards support BOTH the PATA and SATA interfaces although PATA devices are pretty much gone.

    DVD Device:
    If your older DVD drive still works AND your motherboard supports PATA you can use it, although for the price of a new DVD drive I recommend you get a new one. It will be SATA. Let me explain why.

    DVD and disc compatibility:
    Disc compatibility is done via firmware updates. Most companies support updates for roughly one year after the drive is manufactured. Firmware only adds information about new DVD's and CD's on the market to prevent burn failures and burning at full speed.

    Theoretically Windows could get this information directly but it's not done this way to sell new DVD burners.

    So save yourself a hassle and buy a $30 DVD burner. Which one? Go to NCIX (even if you don't buy there) look at the top drives they have (ignore BluRay) and get one with a lot of positive reviews. LG is a good choice but there are others. Might as well get Lightscribe since it adds little to the price now and discs are cheap.

    Make sure to read reviews and avoid ones with a lot of bad burns. Verbatim is often good, but for dual-layer which gets expensive I got lucky with Memorex on sale for 40% of the Verbatim price.

    If you don't have Nero, a good, free, option is Burnaware. CDBurnerxp was good but I heard bad things about adware. You should investigate this yourself.

    - get a new DVD SATA drive (see NCIX even if you buy elsewhere)
    - SATA drive needs SATA power and SATA data cables
    - PATA may be compatible but prone to burn errors, but FINE if not burning discs
    - Burnaware may be best free software? (I use full Nero. Have tested Burnaware and CDBurnerXP)
    - Always read reviews of discs you intend to purchase. Some are highly prone to burn errors (which worsens with older drives because without a firmware update it might not burn quite properly.)
    - *Always update the FIRMWARE on a new DVD burner until updates are no longer suppported.

    (and be angry that they sell new burners rather than simply providing an automated update through Windows which would be easy for the disc manufacturers.)
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