Remember when: Like floppy drives before them, optical disc drives (ODD) were once a mainstay of computer builds. Whether you were installing new software or games, ripping music to your hard drive, taking in a DVD or burning a custom mix CD, the ODD was the gateway to it all.
Virtually all media is now accessible digitally over the Internet, lessening our reliance on physical discs to the point that most new computer cases no longer accommodate 5.25-inch external drives.
Discs aren't gone entirely, however, and Pioneer's latest offering caters to the last remaining holdouts.
The new Pioneer BDR-213JBK is a versatile optical drive that's compatible with a range of Blu-ray, DVD and CD formats and appears to have a nice brushed finish (at least on the tray). Highlights include up to 16x write speeds on BD-R single-layer discs, 14x on dual-layer BD-R discs and 6x on M-DISC (BD) three-layer discs.
Read speeds, meanwhile, top out at 48x for regular CDs and up to 12x for single-layer Blu-ray discs. Pioneer probably could have pushed read speeds even higher, but there's no reason to risk it.
Also see: What happens if a CD spins too fast?
The Pioneer BDR-213JBK is already on sale in Japan according to Tom's Hardware for the US equivalent of around $150. It's probably not going to appeal to most, but Blu-ray aficionados, data archivists, HTPC builders, or retro gamers might want to have a look.
Image credit: Mati Mango