- 02-01-2013, 04:48 PM #1
My PC is an XP desktop. I'd like to dabble with WP8 development, so that rules it out. That apart, it needs replacing for all sorts of other reasons. I'm in the market for a Win8 Pro 64-bit ultrabook (ideally) or lightweight laptop. Mobility seems to be where everything's going now. Some good folk here have already suggest some very fine options, but they're the best part of £1,000 and I'm reluctant to spend that much at the moment.
I've noticed cheaper alternatives, but they don't have optical drives. That struck me as a bit of an omission. However, friends told me that this is becoming the norm, as we're downloading and streaming stuff via WiFi now. Fair enough, but what if you've got a large DVD collection and you still want to watch it on your new device? Plug in a player to your new device? That sort of defeats mobility to me. Rip the DVD to your new device? How good would that be, if you could successfully?
I know that the iPad and Surface don't have them, and people manage. So, what's the feeling on the forums? Are optical drives necessary or unnecessary now? I'd appreciate your views.
- 02-01-2013, 05:57 PM #4
You can buy an external optical drive which comes in handy for other devices not having optical drive built in.
However if you travel a lot you properly want to have an inbuilt optical drive if so you might as well invest in a blu-ray drive
Hope that helps
- 02-01-2013, 06:23 PM #5
No to optical in a laptop. It takes up a lot of room...
I rip movies on my desktop, and watch them on my phones, or on the tv via hdmi. If my tv (and phones) were newer and dlna equipped, id use that and leaved them on charge.
I haven't burned a dvd in a long time. When experimenting with a new os, I just install from the mounted image to a usb harddrive, and if its acceptable for an os, keep it a while. If not, wipe the drive and image my entire boot os to it. Then image that to a second hdd. Backups !
Anyway, there are a ton of ripping programs, I like handbrake (mac os) and its ability to reencode however I like.
- 02-01-2013, 06:39 PM #6
I tried Handbrake (Windows). Seemed very functional but I gave up on it when I asked it to rip a 1 hour 20 minute film and it said 3 hours 5 minutes remaining. Maybe that was just me and my dog of a PC.
I'm sensing an opinion forming here but please keep your views coming in. Thanks.
- 02-01-2013, 08:35 PM #7
Even though I have an iPad for normal daily use, I still carry an ancient HP convertible that I plug in an external DVD-RW drive. It's USB-powered so no power cables to lug around. The best part is the size, it's only about marginally bigger than a CD case and about 1/2" thick. I bought it at CompUSA for about $40 and it doesn't require drivers. I need this because contractors are dinosaurs like me and still prefer to issue blueprints on CDs and I need to view them on jobsites.
- 02-02-2013, 12:17 AM #8
One other piece of advice I have is that you should go to a Best Buy/Office Max/Staples/etc. and literally pick up some of the display laptops with optical drives to feel how heavy they are (in addition to obviously checking the specifications on those laptops). Doing this will give you a good idea of what laptops would fit your needs cost-wise, spec-wise, size-wise, and weight-wise. What I described is exactly what I did when I was shopping for a new, cheap laptop as a backup, second computer in fall 2011. Even though I didn't want an optical drive, I ultimately found a computer that was a good fit for what I wanted that happened to include an optical drive. That computer had a 14" screen, weighed 4.5 pounds (about 2 kg), and cost $380 (and received very positive reviews as a budget laptop).
Last edited by CHIP72; 02-02-2013 at 10:54 AM.
- 02-02-2013, 01:16 AM #9
Better to have and not need than need and not have. I wanted touch screen as well as optical drive. Searched high and low and ended up custom ordering Sony Vaio. Upgrade to win8 Pro and you get a clean install too. Definite plus. Ended up with E Series 14" which was only one with touch and optical drive options. Everything smaller was touch, but no optical. Only reason I say this is because touch screen is only way to really appreciate win8. It is worth every penny. You can fly around win 8. Check it out. Sony isn't the cheapest, but you might be surprised what you can get for your money.
- 02-02-2013, 11:19 AM #12
I would never buy a laptop with an optical drive. I just never need or use it, and I find the entire technology unreliable and outdated. It was great 10 years ago, but nowadays when everything is in the cloud or on USB sticks anyway, I don't want to see any disc anymore.
But I do, of course, understand if people see this differently.
- 02-02-2013, 04:27 PM #13
Thanks for your responses. The debate seems to be going to and fro, as perhaps you'd expect. As my issue is watching DVDs I need to give DVDFab trial a go I think, and see what that does. If it rips my stuff okay I might ditch optical. That said, some good cases have been made for optical. You could say I was undecided, but now I'm not so sure!
conanheath, I've searched high and low too, but after hours and hours I've not found what I want. Glad it's not just me. Maybe it's too early to buy (Surface Pro). I've noticed loads of Win8 laptops without touchscreens. Manufacturers slapping Win8 on old stock to shift it. Great for them, but pretty pointless for the customer. I don't see the point in buying Win8 non-touchscreen, and that seems to limit choice greatly at the moment. I'll checkout the Sony Vaio E series you mentioned, though. That sounds interesting. Thanks.
- 02-03-2013, 11:12 AM #14
Sorry but, it depends on your needs. Size and price is a factor on laptops, so if you get a optical drive, you get extra size and less choice (the better laptops dont come with optical drives any more). If you need one day to day, then get one but, if your only thinking about getting one for installing something everyonce in a while or a movie here and there, dont bother.
As others said, get a nice slim laptop and pick up a external CD drive so you have it when you want to install something, Unless you really do need it every day.
- 02-03-2013, 04:21 PM #15
Oh this is taking up so much of my time! Tried DVDFab trial. Ripped a DVD in 1 hour 12 minutes. Had hoped for faster. Worse to come. Produced a 1.2GB .avi file that WMP won't play properly (audio but no video) and crashes RealPlayer.
Looked at the Sony E series. Very attractive option indeed. But the UK (where I am) site keeps leading me back to a 17" model, which is too big for me. I want to pursue this a bit further so I'll phone them up during the week. I work 7 days a week so I don't have much free time and this is taking up most of it. How difficult can it be to find a laptop that you want?
- 02-04-2013, 07:08 AM #16
There is a slew of awesome laptops to choose from. Since they are expensive, id buy a used macbook off craigslist for $250-300 and be done. If you wanted to run macs latest, linux, bsd, or even ugh windows, its trivial.
- 02-04-2013, 05:24 PM #17
Some good news, though a bit removed from optical drives. Googled "WMP11 won't play AVI files" tonight. Lots of returns about not having the correct codec. Nothing about what codec though. More Googling and I stumble upon GSpot. A program that examines your media file and tells you what codec you need to play them. I install GSpot. Tells me I haven't got the correct codec (XVID). Gspot can't get it for me so I have to Google XVID to find it. I do and I download it. Astonishingly, it works! I can watch my ripped DVD on WMP. Wow! Who needs an optical drive when ripping DVDs and watching them is this easy. It would probably have been faster and less fraught to have assembled some actors and props and recreated the movie in my back yard!!!!!!
- 02-05-2013, 07:18 AM #18
I don't connect the DVD drive to my main computer until I need it, usually just sits in a draw. When I need it, I just connect it up with my powered esata cable.
When I was into DVD ripping, I used AnyDVD for decrypting, Shark007 for codecs, Handbrake for DVD, ripbot264 for blu-ray, and mediainfo to determine codec information. Fun times.
- 02-05-2013, 04:51 PM #19
Seems I don't know what I'm doing! Another mate who's into media and ripping big time has put me right. I wasn't using DVDFab properly. I was inadvertently ripping and doing a file type conversion (VOB to AVI) at the same time. That's why the rip took over an hour. I tried it again with no conversion and it took five minutes. He also suggested trying VLC, a media player that plays just about everything. I've done this and it's brilliant. So, maybe DVD ripping is quick and easy after all (once you know what you're doing - doh!). This opens up more options for me, as the only reason I would want an optical drive on a laptop would be to allow me to watch movies. As BHFH, maybe just have a standalone USB optical drive for when you want to rip, then keep it in a drawer the rest of the time. I feel I don't have such a dilema now.
02-05-2013, 05:06 PM #20
- 223 Posts
I expect Ill have a bluray drive in my main desktop for a long time to come (and why not). I network that to my laptop if I need it, otherwise, my primary mode of storage is a flash drive. not even pushing it, the 32gb drive dwarfs any DVD. and 64gigs are available for not too much more money.
with that said, there is really only 1 remaining holdout from the completely media-less world, and that is movies. games are usually available for download, and none require the media disk as DRM anymore. I rip all my movies into AVI now, its just so much more convenient. I haven't yet started buying them digitally... because well... I prefer to OWN the license, not rent it. Yeah, ripping a DVD, even with legitimate ownership, is still sorta illegal... Its also more or less unenforceable, and I have no problems sleeping at night.
xilisoft makes the best ripping software I have found, but its like 50 bucks to buy. it does take about 1:1 to rip a movie on my I7 920 desktop, but being able to then use it on my phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, TV via PS3/360. I keep a few movies loaded on my thumbdrive for a rainy day as well, can pop it into a friends dvd player with USB port. digital is great to have, regardless of if you COULD play it from DVD. I mean really... I can hold 100 movies on a hard drive, 10 movies on a 32gb flash drive, how many DVDs are you stuffing in your old school 1990's CD case?
- 02-05-2013, 06:14 PM #21
I accept that ripping may not be within the spirit of the law, but surely if I've gone out and purchased a disc I am allowed to watch it however I want? I've still paid the publisher their money. Like you, I would always want a physical copy. I too prefer to own my media and not rent it.
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