DVD Burner for an Amateur



I would like to install a DVD Burner in an HP desktop that currently has a CD Burner and an expansion slot.

Daughter got a video camera for Christmas and would like to be able to burn her videos. Otherwise, just want to be able to backup/burn movies.

I have done nothing even remotely like this before, but I would like to try. My husband works with railroad electronics and he seems to think we can do this.

So, questions:

  1. Do they come with installation instruction?

  2. Do they come with the software needed to run them and is it basically stick in the disk and follow instructions or something far scarier?

  3. I am reading the posts about what kind to buy, but would be grateful for advice. Speed isn’t that important to me but I do want a nice clear picture. I don’t want to spend alot. I was hoping to order from shop4tech.com (free shipping + $10 off google check out) but not required.

  4. Am I just plain crazy to think we can do this? Putting in a complete new electrical service, all new wiring inside and out - no big deal, THIS, I’m not so sure about!

Thank You!!


I haven’t bought a dvd burner yet nor do i have one in my comp. I’m sure that it is the same as a cd burner. When i bought my cd burner it came with instructions in the box and everything to install it (screws,cables etc…) Also my burner came with all the software needed to run it. I think your getting yourself worked up for nothing. Between you and your husband you should be able to put a unit in your comp and have it up and running within 30 minutes or so. It’s really straight forward and easy. As for which one to buy i can’t help you there, keep looking around and you’ll find the right one. Also one more thing before you buy a burner make sure your comp can handle what your going to put in it. By this i mean make sure you have enough ram,hard drive space,etc. Other than that i’m sure you’ll do just fine … take a deep breathe and say “i can do this!”


Personally, of drives widely available I would recommend the Pioneer 111 series. Good consistent results when using quality blanks such as Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden branded.

Installing it is relatively easy. Just 2 cables (power and IDE, IDE needs to be 80 wire for the Pioneer drives) and making sure the jumper on the back of the drive and placement on the cable match. A few screws and putting the side panel back on and start the computer up. Install the DVD burning software of your choice (Nero software comes with most drives) and learn how to use it with our help if needed.

Any more questions feel free to ask.


They will come with instructions if you buy a boxed drive. You can sometimes obtain an OEM drive that will come without the retail box and accessories for a $10-15 discount, but I wouldn’t recommend that if this is your first time.

There is no mandatory software needed to run the drive. The controlling firmware is built into the drive and any version of windows will automatically use the appropriate low level drivers. Some drives will come with basic burning software, but if your main interest is burning DVD compatible video, you might be using 3rd party software anyway.

“Clear picture” is determined by the encoding software you use- the drive will either burn a legible copy (the majority of the time) or the data stream will break up and look like an over the air HDTV signal in bad weather.

Two hang-ups I can think of:

  1. You will have to educate yourself a bit about jumper settings for IDE drives. Your new drive will likely be sharing an IDE cable with your old CD drive and you will have to make sure both are configured correctly. The jumpers are just small plastic coverings that can be manipulated with tweezers to cover the correct pins. Not a big deal, but something often overlooked.

  2. When you decide on a drive model, you should choose quality media to get the best results. Different drives “prefer” different blank discs and more expensive is not necessarily better in this case. Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim discs are often considered good bets with almost any drive, while the “Great Quality” brand discs you see at Fry’s are almost universally bad. If you do a little digging, the prices are often right there with bargain brands.

Good luck.:bigsmile:


Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions. I am checking back a few times a day to read any new posts, so any more advice is still MORE than welcome.


Just do it, [B]gt6mk31[/B] :slight_smile: If it were my PC, I’d pull out the CD drive and replace it with the DVD. You’ll need an 80-wire ribbon cable to replace the old 40-wire that’s connected to the CD. When you get a Retail drive (not an OEM / Bulk / Bare drive) like the Asus DRW-1608P3S at shop4tech, you’ll get the ribbon cable, 4 screws, software and installation instructions inside the box. Good luck!


Why should I pull out the CD drive rather than leave it and put the DVD in the extra slot?


There are only 2 reasons I can think of:

You don’t have an open drive bay on your computer which I’m guessing you do.

Your stock power supply being borderline overloaded. Removing the CD burner would cancel out the additional strain of adding the DVD burner. An overloaded power supply can cause many problems such as system instability/random restarts and hardware failure. HP is known for not using the greatest PSU’s and the rated wattage of it is probably not accurate.


So how would I know if my power supply was adequate? Since you only use one drive at a time why would it matter if there were 2 in there? I’m not doubting, I’m sure there is a valid reason, I just am sooooo computer illiterate.

Is the Asus DRW-1608P3S referenced above a good choice for my needs? It seems to do anything I want and is reasonably priced. Would you all recommend this one or is there a better choice in this general price range - I obviously don’t need something for a professional. Just want my kid to be able to burn her videos and backup movies.


Hi, I’d do away with the existing drive because the new one will read/burn CD’s as well as DVD’s (and because I like things clean and simple :bigsmile: ).

Other than [B]jhtalisman[/B]'s valid point about the power supply, I was also thinking about possible incompatibilities when putting two drives on the same cable and about the poor ventilation/cooling with two drives stacked on top of each other. DVD-burners don’t like heat.

The Asus was about the only retail box I saw when browsing that site, and that would definitely be an advantage for you. The drive itself is a rebadge of the Pioneer DVR-111 (as recommended by [B]jhtalisman[/B] as well), which is considered one of the best units currently available.