So first things first, boring technical details:
Product Description Sony Optiarc AD-5260S - DVD±RW (±R DL) drive - Serial ATA
Device Type DVD±RW (±R DL) drive
Enclosure Type Internal
Enclosure Colour Black
Interface Serial ATA
Dimensions (WxDxH) 14.8 cm x 17 cm x 4.2 cm
Weight 0.64 kg
Optical Storage DVD±RW (±R DL) - 5.25" x 1/2H
Read Speed 48x (CD) / 16x (DVD)
Write Speed 48x (CD) / 24x (DVD±R) /12x (DVD±R DL)
CD / DVD Rewrite Speed 32x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW)
Buffer Underrun Protection Yes
OS Required Microsoft Windows Vista / XP / 7
Microsoft Certification Compatible with Windows 7
A lot of these details don't mean crap to me. All I care about is the fact that I have a DVD player to play games and DVDs on our family computer - as it came without a DVD drive. This particuliar drive works on our Windows 7 computer (as stated above) but also works on machines with Windows Vista, XP and even Windows 7.
We ordered our DVD drive from Amazon, for just under £15 including shipping. It arrived fairly quickly, in a huge box, with loads of padding to protect it in transit. The DVD drive was black to match our computer and is quite compact. The 'tray load mechanism' - the bit that loads the CD or DVD - supports horizontal or vertical use. Most computer users will have their drives horizontally. It also boasts a 'dust protected enclosure' which basically means that no dust will get into the operating parts of the drive and destroy it from working - or so you'd hope ;) - and an emergency eject which allows you to eject a disc from the drive even if the PC isn't switched on or decides to commit suicide, although for the life of me I can't find the emergency eject and will probably just open it with a screwdriver should worse come to worst ;).
Installing the drive was pretty straight forward...although I will confess I watched from the comfort of my sofa as my husband did the hard slog ;). He has since been playing DVDs and games on the machine and no problems have surfaced. We have no real reason to write anything onto discs as yet but from what I see on-line, this has been a no issue thing for users of this drive.
On Amazon this product is well received, with 6 5-star reviews, 1 4-star review and only one 1-star review and I'd say that''s probably a fair reflection on the product. It performs well, is quiet, small, easy to install and does what it says on the tin.