Tuesday, December 12

Are Optical Drives on Their Way Out?

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DVDs & Blu-Ray disks are by far the most popular media option when it comes to TV sets.  They are cheap, easy to use and are suited for the job.  There are other options out there, such as online movie rental services, however spinning disks are burying all their rivals and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Now, if we take a look at the portable computing industry, you can see things are quite different.  Ultra cheap hard drives with super-high capacities, combined with high speed internet are giving the digital versatile disks a hard time.  Until now, music and gaming were keeping the laptop optical drive alive, but as the internet accommodates them more effectively there is no real need for them.

Apple has already rid the MacBook Air of the optical drive, and the 13 inch MacBook Pro will lose it shortly too.  For the last 15 years optical drives have been standard in laptops, however when netbooks came about a few years ago, the optical drive had to be scrapped to provide maximum portability.  Then came the realization: If regular sized laptops had no optical drives, there is so much more potential for extra battery life and power.

When you strip an optical drive down to the raw drive (taking away all casing etc) it doesn’t seem that big, but when you put it inside a 13” (or smaller) laptop you’ll find it takes up a surprisingly large amount of space.  Even more so than a standard 2.5 inch hard disk!

Many great things could be accomplished in laptops with the extra space after an optical drive in removed.  It is the very near future, so expect to see laptops without optical drives increasingly from now on!

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