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Could notebook optical drives be on the way out?

Mat Bettinson
Could notebook optical drives be on the way out?

Major PC makers such as Dell, HP and Asus are said to be planning withdrawing optical drives from larger 15-inch and up notebooks, potentially marking the beginning of the end for optical drives in mobile PCs.

While rumours circulated that Apple may axe the default DVD drive from MacBook Pro notebooks, while retaining it as an optional add-on, Windows-based notebooks could also be planning such a move.

Taiwan based industry watcher the DigiTimes quoted supply chain sources tipping that HP, Dell and Asus were among those looking to ship larger 15-inch models without optical drives. Previously only the most portable of models has gone down that road.

Yet the same manufacturers may be looking to how Apple's mooted discless move is received before deciding one way or another. Acer had already commissioned a design but was "still fonder" of a design that keeps the optical drive.

It's interesting that the issue is coming up again given that the costs of incorporating an optical drive are now so minimal. Discless models could be just 1mm thinner and save just US$20. On that basis you'd have to say the only reason the move is being considered is because the manufacturers believe no one really uses optical discs any more.

While that $20 price difference doesn't sound much, it may also be part of a strategy to drive down the cost of Ivy Bridge-powered 15-inch ultrabooks to suitable levels. Sensibly priced 15-inch ultrabooks are believed to be a prerequisite before Intel has a chance at cracking the European market.

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Tags: digitimes, notebooks, optical disc

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