I was walking around the show floor today and caught a glimpse of Antec's Solo II chassis with a slightly different optical drive bay.

It turns out that there's a new optical drive standard being worked on in the industry. The standard is for slot loading drives with a half-height profile. The drives are still 5.25" wide, but they just aren't as tall as the older drives.

Cases that have a fold down optical faceplate won't work with these new drives, forcing case makers to adopt. This Solo II is an example of what a slot loading solution may look like.
Expect to see these new slot load drives to hit the market by the end of this year, along with cases to match.
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  • tecknurd - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Aopen had them and they fail all the time. Also Apple still has problems with their slot loading drives. Slot loading drives does and always scratches discs and does not matter how clean the disc is. The rollers just scratches the discs. Then there is higher chances of having problems with dust and dirt.

    Tray loading may not look cool or may not provide the bling but they work better. I always opt for tray loading after messing around with slot loading. If I buy an Apple iMac or Apple notebook, I would take out the optical drive and place in something else like a SSD or a Cupp PunkThis.

    I can already find slim-line optical drives, but there is a problem using them. They require a slim-line cable adapter. It will be nice the industry moves to slim-line tray loading optical drives that uses standard size SATA connector.
  • Daemas - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    useless for me unless I can fit 2 slot load drivers into one 5.25" bay
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    I've got 4 PCs, and a single DVD drive: an external Lite-on little number, that requires no power outside of what the single USB plug supplies, and is top-loading, for reliability and retro effect. I've used it exactly once on each PC: for the initial OS install, because I'm too lazy to do the "install from USB key" ringmarole. Even for HTPCs, I'd much rather hide the HTPC and see only the drive.

    So, for starters, I find the thing in itself useless, whatever its format.

    Now, whoever had the genius idea to invent a third variation of the semi-obsolete 5"1/4 format should be taken out back and shot. Or rather, tortured, neutered, hanged, drawn and quartered. With lots of oil and feathers.
  • darkswordsman17 - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    This was actually a pleasant surprise to me. Nothing profound, no, but this would be good for HTPCs and SFF systems, and it should also be good for OEMs.

    I agree that its not as good as if it had been a real half-height change, but that might not be feasible without making the move to slim/low-profile, which then they'd just make those instead, and personally I've never been much of a fan of them, they're always compromised (price, speed, and/or quality).

    Its too bad that media companies wouldn't be interested in something more modern. It'd be nice to have a format that is more compact and doesn't require mechanical spinning, but retains the capacity and price effectiveness of optical formats relative to say flash memory.
  • Grandpa - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Ok, so you say that these types of drives ruin disks. Then don't buy the drives that ruin the disks. Maybe it's not the form factor. Maybe it's the drives.
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    It is the slot-loading feature that can damage discs. There are rollers that grab the disc in the same region where data is stored. Unlike tray-loaders, where the disc is only contacted at the hub where there is no data stored.
  • jrs77 - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Who uses internal drives anyways these days? I can't be bothered to buy an optical drive for all four machines I'm using, so I'm going with an external optical drive that I can use with all of them machines.

    A single drive to drive them all!
  • jabber - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    I wouldnt like to have to only use laptop style slim drives. Once they get too thin then they just dont handle vibration too well which doesnt really help.

    I often have to coat the underside of a laptop optical drive with duct tape to damp down the vibration. Sometimes size and weight is a good thing especially when it comes to things spinning at high speed.
  • MadAd - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    do you have a large book on the shelf?

    a house brick perhaps?

    yes? bingo, you have a startup business right there, steadydriveTM
  • peldor - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    But only because I'd like to get rid of my PATA cabling and could use a little clearance for airflow around the HD in my SFF case.

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