I had to deal with my laptop’s bum DVD-burner ever since getting this computer a few years ago. While it worked no problem, the biggest pain was that it could only burn certain kinds of DVDs. To be specific, they had to be +R discs that were 8x or less. Yes, 16x discs would not work, even though I thought they could as long as you burned at 8x. But yeah, it was a pain. Since +R is an American disc standard, something I just found out last year, those kinds of discs are much harder to find here in Japan. It had been getting more and more difficult for me to find discs that I could actually use, and when I did they almost always came in packs of 10 or less (no spindles), and were more expensive than if I had been able to use a cheaper package of -R discs. And as many of you know, I like to burn a lot.

But that’s all history now, since I finally got around to buying a new DVD drive for my laptop. I bought it online through Newegg when I was back in St. Louis on Dec 29, but apparently New Years caused even more of a delay problem for Newegg and FedEx, since the 3-day shipping that I had chosen ended up not arriving until Jan 10. And of course I was already back in Japan by then. But, I had my parents send it to me, I received it over the weekend, and I installed it last night. Easy installation, but since I couldn’t replace the faceplate, the drive is now recessed in my computer case. Whatever though.

Philips SPD8005BM/17

The thing worked all right, but it was really slow. Burning took forever, and reading a disc was even worse. Trying to watch a video file ended up with really choppy playback of both video and audio. I figured out through online forums (Google is great for this) that I had the problem of the drive being set to slave rather than master, and that was causing the IDE settings to make the computer communicate with the drive really slowly. Or something like that. There was also the major problem of this drive model having zero support from Philips for some reason. But yeah, there are really smart people out there who have figured out most problems you will ever encounter with computers or technology. Someone posted step-by-step instructions on how to get the drive working properly. It was a bit complicated and I almost made a mistake, but I e-mailed one of the guys and they were really helpful. In summary, I had to change the firmware to another brand of burner, use some shady software to set it to master, then flash the firmware back to Philips. Now my drive is super fast, can burn any kind of disc, and is even quieter than my old one. Mission complete.