Extreme Newbie Question (But I really need it answered, please)

I own a Dell Dimension 4300 desktop. 1.4 Ghz Pentium 4. Only has a CD-ROM, only a CD-ROM and no other kind of optical drive. I want to add one of those all purpose DVD & CD burners, however I know almost nothing about them. What I need to know is if one of those drives will actually PLAY the DVD or if I will have to buy 2 more drives, one to burn and one to read.

I’ve searched around the web at different retailers, but none of them explicitly say whether or not they’ll actually play what they burn, write, re-write. This might be a real dumb newbie question, but I honestly have no idea where to even look to get this information, so I figured this was my best shot.

Welcome, Rich. A DVD burner will combine all functions, it will read/write CDs AND DVDs. We all have to start somewhere, you picked a good place. Lots here for you to read :slight_smile:


Welcome to the Forums-

You basically only need one drive-

A new DVD burner will read-write and rewrite depending on the media you put in it-

Suggest that you look for a NEC 3520 - Pioneer 109 or Benq 1620 which are all in the $55 to $70 range and should suit your needs well-


You state you have a cd-rom only. I would slide the cd-rom out and put your dvd burner in the same bay in your case. Watch how you take the cd-rom out and reverse the procedure putting in your new dvd burner. Piece of cake.

I’d avoid the BenQ 1620 due to recent quality control issue. NEC and Pioneer are good drives. You should be able to find the NEC at New Egg or equivalent for about $55.

Hey thanks everyone, you were all extremely helpful, and very fast too. I’ve already ordered the NEC from New Egg (thanks furballi) and hopefully everything will be up and burning in a couple of days. Once again, thanks a lot.


Yur gonna love the new NEC-

I have two NEC 3500’s and am very satisfied with them-
Just remember to use good media blanks in it like Ritek, Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim or Maxell-

Good online vendors are: www.rima.com or www.newegg.com or www.supermediastore.com

Happy Burnin’


Re: pulling the CD Rom and putting in the RW drive:
If your CD rom is on the same cable as the hard disk, this is not a good idea. Get another 80 conductor 40 pin cable and put the writer in as MASTER on the SECONDARY IDE controller. NEC 3500’s do not like to be set up as the SLAVE drive from what I understand.

My NEC 3500 (UDMA mode 2) is connected as a slave to an ancient Mitsumi CD writer running in DMA mode 1. Both are connected via 80 conductors cable. No problemo.

Yo JD-

Sorry to disagree with you Bra - but I have been running DVD-ROM’s as “Master” and DVD burners as “Slave” on the Secondary IDE channel for years without any problems and they will even burn +R media sometimes-

However - one should NEVER set the burner as “Slave” to the primary hard drive on the First IDE channel-


Whats all this about slave and master drives? Looking at my computer there is room for another drive below my current cd-rom drive… it seems some are saying I should just get rid of the current drive and put the new one in… but won’t I need the old one to copy games? What I mean is, put the original copy of a game or cd that you want to copy in the cd-rom drive, then put blank media in the cd/dvd burner drive? I probably sound like an idiot now… lol.


Yes - you can add a drive to your current one if you have a full slot in your computers housing-

It appears that in your case you would want to make the CD burner as the “Master” at the end of the cable and the new DVD burner as “Slave” in the middle of the cable - making absolutely sure that you have set the jumpers on the rear of the drives accordingly-

Happy Burnin’


Yep, one drive will do the trick :slight_smile: