Re: Suggestions & ?'s about optical drives
An optical drive is a disc drive. It's just another way for saying "piece of crap thing that uses discs".
You don't need a BD burner, as optical media is not the best way of backing up any data as I'm quite sure you don't have the perfect climate controlled environment to do so. Not to mention as you already said, it's expensive for large discs.
A Blu Ray is not a DVD, so please don't say "Blu Ray DVD". A BD drive will read both Blu Ray and DVD discs. Your PC will play movies from either standard as long as you have the necessary software. Blu Ray playback requires paid for software like PowerDVD.
I would personally get an external DVD burner and call it a day. They are usually pretty cheap. Don't worry about brands or speeds as they all do the same thing slowly.
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