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Upgrading the DVD Drive in my Dell Laptop


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#1 xphoenix87

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 02:16 PM

Hi guys,

The DVD drive in my laptop is busted and I'm looking to replace it, but I've never replaced a laptop DVD drive before, so I wanted to find out if there's anything I need to know before I proceed. I've got a Dell Precision M6400 with a HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GS20N slot load DVD drive.

I just need to know what to look for when buying a replacement drive. Are there different sizes I need to check for? Different connection types?

Or, even simpler, I'm looking at this drive which seems to be a fantastic deal, so you could just let me know if that one would work :thumbsup:.

Anyway, I'd love any input you guys can give me, and if you need any more information, I'd be glad to give it. Thanks a bunch.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:39 PM

What brand and model is your laptop? Some low-end laptops have optical drives that are difficult to replace. There are two kinds of drives you can get, internal and external. The internal drives require an internal connection with the laptop, but the external drive can easily plug into a USB port and used on any PC. Blu-Ray drives in laptops are little odd. The screen on a laptop is too small to make high-definition movies really stand out, and most laptop Blu-Ray discs drives are not writeable. The drive you chose is such a drive, it can read Blu-Ray and most other optical media, but it will not write to the high capacity discs. Also, if are going to watch Blu-Ray movies, you cannot use Media Center without first purchasing a codec or other piece of software to play Blu-Ray's since Windows will not do it out-of-the-box.

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#3 xphoenix87

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:04 PM

It's a Dell Precision M6400.

I'm looking for an internal drive to replace the one that's broken in my machine. I'd rather not lug another piece of equipment around just to read discs.

Honestly, the blu-ray isn't my main concern, but it seems to me (and I admit I haven't done extensive searching) that a CD RW/DVD +-RW drive with the ability to read blu-ray for $64 is a pretty darn good deal. It certainly can't hurt to have the blu-ray capacity thrown in there.

#4 garmanma

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:01 PM

Service manual~ http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst...en/sm/index.htm
Optical drive~ http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst...l.htm#wp1184755
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#5 xphoenix87

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 10:14 PM

I actually don't have a problem with removing the drive, I've already done that. My problem is figuring out which drive to buy. I don't want to order a drive and then not have it fit or for it to not connect right or something like that. Are all optical drives for laptops the same size and use the same connections, or is there something specific I need to be looking for? That's what I need to know.

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 02:54 PM

I just looked up parts for the M6400 at Dell's website. The optical drive they have listed there has a SATA connection and is $50. Laptop drives are a little more expensive than traditional desktop drives. Frankly, unless you watch Blu-Ray's there's no reason to have a player since software isn't being distributed on the discs and in order to watch movies, you need to purchase another $50 piece of software. If the drive wrote to Blu-Ray, that would be entirely different as those drives are more expensive and the discs make excellent backups.

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#7 xphoenix87

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:54 PM

The $50 drive Dell has for the M6400 is just a DVD-ROM drive, it doesn't write to DVD and that is important to me. It's $120 for their DVD+/-RW drive, which is significantly more expensive than the other drive I'm looking at.

#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 11:43 PM

Just noticed that the drive was DVD-ROM and not rewriteable. However, after doing some more research online I discovered that sometimes power connectors can be different between different manufacturers and models making a swap difficult. From the postings I've read, most agree that going with an optical drive that is designed specifically for your laptop model would be best. If there are none available, an external drive would be the way to go. If you don't want to risk going the internal optical drive route, the LITE-ON USB 2.0 External Slim 8X DVD Burner USB-Powered Model eSAU208-11 would be a good choice for a similar price.

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