Asus this week announced the SDRW-08U5S-U external DVD writer. This sleek DVD writer is targeted at ultrabooks and Asus (of course) has its own Zenbook in mind, since it's styled to match its design. The sleek Zen design will come in three colors: Lively Mellow Metallic, Bright Berry and Dusty Rose. All three come with the brushed aluminum "concentric-circle hairline texture" and measure just 13 mm thick.
Beyond the pretty styling the units also carry a flexible built-in stand (not visible in the image). Regardless, its purpose is so that users can easily switch between a horizontal or vertical placement.
Lastly, the drive supports Asus' Disc Encryption II, which allows users to encrypt the data with customizable passwords and encode filenames. This should be good for keeping away prying eyes and hiding personal data.
So far there is no word on pricing or availability.
24x CD, 8xDVD ?xbluray USB 2.0 (with 2 USB2 port plugs) ROM drives exist so then with USB3 they have twice the power to work with if they still have a cable that plugs into 2 ports.
But I have seen no laptop form factor optical drives that are more than 24x so it's not a power problem but vibration and disk stress problem.
So with this super duper slim drive, they might have to keep the RPMs even lower because they can't dampen the vibration as well as they can with the thicker drives.
Not much room for any way to balance the thing in such a small drive.
I would still bet saving power is a good thing for a mobile device :)