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Internal DVD drives period correct?

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First post, by Baoran

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What year did internal IDE dvd drives become commonly available for PCs?
Basically I am wondering if I build a period correct pc what are the earliest PCs that would be likely to have a dvd drive instead of a cd drive.

Reply 2 of 29, by Baoran

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keenmaster486 wrote:

I only remember them becoming commonly available around 2005 or 2006-ish, maybe later.

Somehow I feel like they have been around much earlier. I definitely didn't switch to dvd drives immediately after they became available and still I have a dvd drive from 2002. Also I found an article online comparing cd drive and dvd drive speeds that was from 2001. I tried searching for earliest, dvd-rom drive comparisons too, but I couldn't find those.

Reply 3 of 29, by krcroft

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97, 98, I recall. Maybe earlier for 1x drives. I was in college, saved up and bought a 2x DVD ROM in 98.

It might have been 98 or 99 when DVD movie rentals took off, and I remember people would rip those to DivX AVIs small enough to fit on a 650MB or 700MB CDR, which were well established and affordable by then.

Reply 5 of 29, by yawetaG

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The PC I bought in 2001 had a DVD drive. Back then they weren't really cheap yet, but also not very expensive anymore. OTOH, last year I got a DVD writer from 2003 (beige faced!), which were rare and expensive in the early 00's...

Reply 6 of 29, by root42

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First DVD readers came out in 1996. I remember that people had them around 1998. Early adopters were probably having them 1-2 years before.

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Reply 7 of 29, by Deksor

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I have a creative DxR2. It was first released in 1997, but mine is from late 1998. It also came with few games on DVD apparently. I also have an early DVD game which came out in 1999 as retail

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Reply 8 of 29, by konc

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I'd say they became mainstream around 1998-99, but also this depends on where you were living. I had a PII back then and it was struggling to play a rented movie.

Reply 9 of 29, by spiroyster

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Yes I had a creative card with internal DVD drive and bundled with PowerDVD on a P2-300 iirc (and bladerunner, which was one of the first DVD releases) ~98. You needed one since the CPU's couldn't decode fast enough. By 99/00 I had a P3-800 and WinDVD and didn't need the decoder card any more. There were only a handful on DVD releases available until about 98/99 so not much point having one before that.

krcroft wrote:

It might have been 98 or 99 when DVD movie rentals took off, and I remember people would rip those to DivX AVIs small enough to fit on a 650MB or 700MB CDR, which were well established and affordable by then.

Depending on the length of the video you wanted to rip and encode, I think you would struggle to get most DVD's onto a single VCD?
Certainly most of my 'Rental rips' (MPEG-1) ended up on 2 VCD's. I do remember having some movies on my dreamcast on a single disc, but that was GD-ROM.

Reply 10 of 29, by Baoran

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Since the internal dvd drives have been around that early, there probably wasn't much difference between when cd drives and dvd drives came out for PCs. Oldest IDE optical drive that I have is 4X Acer CD-747E that was manufatctured in January 1996 and some of you talk about dvd drives that were around just couple years later.

Reply 11 of 29, by spiroyster

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Oldest internal IDE drive I have is '93. And I suspect there are earlier ones... CD-ROM itself (SCSI interfaces) go back much further than that. Amiga's, Acorns, SGI's all had CD-ROM drives available, external though in most cases. As been stated, they may have been on the market in 97/98, but they were very expensive, required the decoder card and there were only a handful of DVD's actually available (DVD video only, no software came on DVD) so weren't mainstream until a lot later.

Unless you explicitly upgraded the CD-ROM to a DVD-ROM drive, it probably wasn't until very late 99/00 that they were mainstream and started to get bundled with PC's. So quite a few years difference.

Reply 12 of 29, by gex85

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This source (in German) states that the first DVD drives became available in 1996 and the first DVD writers were introduced in 1999. Price tag for the writers was approximately 2500,- DM (ca. 1500€) back then.
The page doesn't name any sources for this information however. But in the year 2000, common mainstream PCs for home use were equipped with 12-speed DVD drives and 4-speed CD writers, so 1996 might be correct.

If you want to source an early DVD drive for a period correct build, your best bet is probably to browse eBay auctions and have a close look on the labels. All optical drives I own have their manufacturing year and month printed on a label. Then just use the oldest drive you can find and build a system around it 😎

Edit: One of the first DVD drives to hit the market was probably the Hitachi GD-1000, being announced in August 1996. By early 1997 it was widely available for about 350$. Its successor, the GD-2000, was announced just a few months later in mid 1997 and sold at 300$.

Edit 2: Toshiba has some information on its DVD history on their own website:

In January 1997, Toshiba began selling the SD-M1002, a DVD-ROM drive that fully conforms to the DVD-ROM format. This internal drive is connected to a PC via the ATAPI interface. The dual lens pick-up can read both CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs and delivers fast access times of 200 milliseconds and a random seek time of only 130 ms for DVD.

Other early (1996/1997) DVD drives to have a look at might be:
- Creative DVD2240E, an early 2-speed DVD drive, which is in fact a Panasonic drive, however I didn't find the Panasonic model number.
- Pioneer DVD-101
- Philips DRD-5200/30

Last edited by gex85 on 2018-10-03, 12:23. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 13 of 29, by Baoran

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spiroyster wrote:

Oldest internal IDE drive I have is '93. And I suspect there are earlier ones... CD-ROM itself (SCSI interfaces) go back much further than that. Amiga's, Acorns, SGI's all had CD-ROM drives available, external though in most cases. As been stated, they may have been on the market in 97/98, but they were very expensive, required the decoder card and there were only a handful of DVD's actually available (DVD video only, no software came on DVD) so weren't mainstream until a lot later.

Unless you explicitly upgraded the CD-ROM to a DVD-ROM drive, it probably wasn't until very late 99/00 that they were mainstream and started to get bundled with PC's. So quite a few years difference.

I just thought early 90s cd-rom drives were proprietary instead of IDE since pretty much all sound cards from that time had proprietary controllers for cd-rom drives. Also I think atapi standard was only relaesed 1994 or so.

Reply 14 of 29, by spiroyster

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Baoran wrote:
spiroyster wrote:

Oldest internal IDE drive I have is '93. And I suspect there are earlier ones... CD-ROM itself (SCSI interfaces) go back much further than that. Amiga's, Acorns, SGI's all had CD-ROM drives available, external though in most cases. As been stated, they may have been on the market in 97/98, but they were very expensive, required the decoder card and there were only a handful of DVD's actually available (DVD video only, no software came on DVD) so weren't mainstream until a lot later.

Unless you explicitly upgraded the CD-ROM to a DVD-ROM drive, it probably wasn't until very late 99/00 that they were mainstream and started to get bundled with PC's. So quite a few years difference.

I just thought early 90s cd-rom drives were proprietary instead of IDE since pretty much all sound cards from that time had proprietary controllers for cd-rom drives. Also I think atapi standard was only relaesed 1994 or so.

Most early 90's platforms used SCSI for CD-ROM drives. PC's being the exception using ATA (IDE).

The drive I mentioned is in a Dell 466i connected to a CT1810 (not a sound card, just a controller) via an IDE cable, although you may be right, not too sure if it is ATAPI without checking. Early 90's mobos tended to only have a single ATA channel, and thus only 1 IDE connector (taken by the HD) so sound cards being 'multimedia' solutions helped by supplying an additional controller and connectors. There is a large 'external' connector on it, which I am not familiar with, so that probably is propietry (but is for plugging something 'external' into it), but I don't know what for.

The Dell is stock, so I didn't have to setup the CD-ROM drive, so it may very well be one of those proprietry interfaces (although the cable is defo IDE).

Reply 15 of 29, by torindkflt

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I have a Gateway Essentials 400c from ~1999 or so, and it has a factory-included DVD-ROM drive. Considering the Gateway "Essentials" line was their bargain/budget brand, I'd imagine this is right at the very beginning of more widespread adoption of DVD drives in PCs, i.e. when they started to finally transition away from being solely niche high-end prosumer hardware.

Reply 16 of 29, by Jo22

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I could be wrong, but I think that this varied a bit from country to country.
In some places DVDs did catch on quickly, whereas in others it took a while.
I got my first DVD "thing" in ~2002 (if memory serves.)

Edit: Also keep in mind that early DVD drives were single-layer. They are useless now.

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Reply 17 of 29, by Intel486dx33

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My Sony Vaio Windows 98 laptop came with Pentium-3 and DVD drive.
AMD K6 processors launched in 1997.

So, Yes. DVD's are period correct for AMD K6 Processors and Pentium -3.

Reply 19 of 29, by PTherapist

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I got a new PC in December 1999, a Pentium III 650MHz which had a DVD drive in it. In fact that was 1 of the requirements I was looking for at the time, when purchasing a new PC.

I'd only started collecting DVDs a few months prior to that, so I literally only owned 2 DVDs when I got my first PC DVD Drive. I remember we had to take the PC back to the shop for a replacement twice, first time we had a dead floppy drive and 2nd time - a faulty DVD drive that would freeze constantly when playing movies.

A year later I purchased a 2nd DVD drive & a RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder card for my AMD K6-2 system. I also did the same for a neighbour who was running a Pentium 166MHz PC.

Within a couple of years after that, the prices dropped and DVD drives became commonplace in all PCs, with DVD Writers taking over from around 2003 onwards. I was certainly burning DVDs in late 2003.

Funny how times change and nowadays many people aren't bothering with optical drives at all on new builds. 🤣