_Been looking for a new PC Brain for Aunt Jennie and Adrianne. With the shipment of the AMD 64-bit in a few weeks, it's probably not at good idea to buy a new processor and we'll see the new Prescott chip from Intel at the end of the year. So upgrading should happen post the AMD hammer launch when prices should drop again_
Here however is the thinking on the optical drives for the new computer. I have the Sony DRU-510A is about $230 OEM, so pretty expensive compared with a$40 CD-RW now available. Moreover, it is a rebadged Ricoh, so I thought I'd try to find a really low cost drive. here are some results from a really great review site "CDRLabs":http://cdrlabs.com.
* CDRLabs.com - Sony DRU-510A Reviews. Good review of the 510A. Large software bundle of shovelware and it performs OK writing media. But, the DRU-510A didn't perform quite as well when reading DVD's. While it had no problems reading single layer, data DVD-ROM's at 12x, it was much slower when reading other types of DVD's. The drive's read speed dropped to only 4x when reading DVD-R/RW or DVD R/RW media and a measly 2x when reading DVD videos. For whatever reason, the DRU-510A also had some very high seek times when reading recordable DVD media. Hopefully this is something Sony can improve upon in a future firmware update. This was using firmware 1.0c.
* "Samsung SM-348B":http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=164&page=Conclusion. This is a combination CD-RW and DVD-ROM drive. It reads DVDs at 16x, so great for backing up your DVDs. And rips CDs easily at 46x. Interestingly, its successor the SM-352B is supposed to be faster at 52x read times, but is much slower at DVD-ROMs. Probably should wiat to see is the SM-352B firmware fixes this problem.
* "Lite-On LTR-52327":http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=194&page=Conclusion. We have an older Lite-On and it is great. This must the state of the art of CD-RW players with 52x read speeds and 32x rewriting. All for \$40 and Karr Wong has done some cool "utilities":http://karr.myweb.hinet.net/ for it.