External optical drives and the ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U

I was slightly miffed but unsurprised when a co-worker (a Millenial) asked me what the white, flat box connected to my Toshiba NB520 running Debian 8 Jessie was. It was an ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U - a previous generation, affordable, basic DVDRW external optical drive designed for Macbooks and Windows ultraportables.  When I told her it was a drive and showed her how the button pops out the tray, she asked me if that was the only thing it can do.


I didn't bother to launch K3B or Brasero on my Linux desktop just to have the pleasure of  promoting ISO creation and old-school media ripping. The truth is, I can't blame anyone for mocking external optical drives. However, I still consider optical drives invaluable for Handbrake, backing up music CDs and my hard drive, creating Linux LiveDVDs/CDs and troubleshooting laptops and PCs. In fact, I recently created a "mixed tape" (or to be precise a music DVD) using iTunes from Windows 10. While I was at it, I created installation discs for Windows 10, openSUSE Edu Life and Fedora 22 Desktop.

The white, gaudy, shiny shell of the ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U is too distracting but I was tired of black accessories around my hardware. The primary drawback of the ASUS external optical drive I chose was that this model still required dual USB ports to work (one was used for power). Later ASUS models and Lite-ON optical drives, of course, require just one USB port.


External optical drives are cheap today but I dread the day when people forget how useful physical media can be. After all, I use the ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U regularly with my Zotac ZBOX NANO Mini PC, Linux netbook and (soon to purchase) Macbook Air.



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