How can I tell which CD / DVD burners will be compatible with my computer?

I have a Dell Dimension 2400 computer. I had to replace the first cd-rom when it stopped working so I added a DVD reader / CD writer and that was great for awhile. I occasionally use the CD writer, but mostly use it to just read disks, games or music CDs usually. When the new one broke (the door doesn’t open without a pin anymore) I had trouble getting one that was compatible, pretty much got on Amazon to find one that someone reviewed and said it fit in their Dimension 2400 computer. I had gotten one before then that was not compatible and had to return it. The one I got after that based on the Amazon review for my Dell stopped reading any discs so I am back to forcing the old one open. That gets old when I am copying a whole audiobook for my MP3 player.

What I need to know is how I can tell what fits in my computer without someone saying it in a review. What specifically do I look for in the specs? I think it was the connection that was different with the one that was not compatible, I just could not install it.


Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

From what I can find online, it looks like any regular DVD drive should fit into the casing of your Dell - the question, as you’ve suggested yourself, is what interface (SATA or PATA) your current optical drive uses.

I would think it’s PATA (aka IDE), but just to be sure, can you please post the make and model number of the drive currently installed (you can find this in Device Manager).

Thanks. :slight_smile:


I have a Lite-On Combo SOHC-5236V (the one that I need to force open)

and a Pioneer DVR-113NP (the one that stopped working)

I posted on the Pioneer site about that one, but I am sorry to say I wasn’t sure how to continue with the response I got (to reboot with a CD and DVD). It just doesn’t recognize any disk anymore.


these drives are Pata (formerly known as IDE).

My personal favourites would be Optiarc AD-720xA series or Pioneer 116/117. Both are very good general use drives.
Please note, you need a 80conductor IDE cable for these modern drives.

I posted on the Pioneer site about that one, but I am sorry to say I wasn’t sure how to continue with the response I got (to reboot with a CD and DVD). It just doesn’t recognize any disk anymore.[/QUOTE]
You need: A disc you can boot your computer from. I prefer Linux Live CDs for that job, a Windows install disc should work also (if you are careful and watch the screen).
Next step: Insert the disc into the drive you want to check and shutdown. Power up and enter Bios setup. Make sure to change the boot order in order to allow the system to boot from CD/DVD at first.


Yup, PATA (or IDE) as Michael said. I too would choose an Optiarc 720xA series drive. :iagree:

Not sure if your Dell is the same, but on my own Dells, you can change the Boot Sequence on a once-only basis by hitting F2 at the logo screen. That way, on next boot, the system just boots from your HDD to Windows as normal. :slight_smile:

OK, thanks for all the info. I do have another question. I got the Optiarc DVD RW AD-7200A and installed it today. Above, one of the posts says I need to get an 80 Conductor IDE Cable to install it and I haven’t gotten any new cable, although everything plugged in OK. I can go look for one, but I wanted to ask first if the trouble I am having will be fixed by that cable.

When I put in a CD-ROM it shows what is on there but gives errors if I try to run anything. One error I got was “Request could not be performed becasue of an I/O device error” and I wanted to make sure that is because of the cable. If there is another problem causing it, I would like to know what that might be.


It’s hard to imagine that you have an 40 wire/40 pin IDE cable in this dell rig.
It should be an 80 wire/40 pin cable.

Here’s a link that describes the difference…along with photos:
(Just scroll down for the photos).

Having said this, the 80 wire cable can still be bad or just be poorly connected.
They’re dirt cheap…just a few bucks here in the US.
Replace it regardless.
When you swap it out…be certain all the connections are nice and snug.

You’ve gotten great advice and you now have a great burner.
Have fun and let us know how you get on.

Hello Melissa :slight_smile:

If it’s happening on every CD-ROM (both pressed and burned), then changing the cable is definitely worth doing :iagree:

EDIT: Too slow! :bigsmile: - I’d agree with the bad or poorly connected thing though definitely :iagree:

Thanks all, for your help!

A new cable did the trick, from the pictures on that other site I could tell I had a 40 conductor cable. I got an 80 conductor cable and it works!

Nice job Melissa :clap: