Cheapest Laptops with CD/DVD Drives

Cheapest Laptops with CD DVD Drives
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Time and tide wait for no man; the same is true for Technology and Innovation.

The world is looking at a tech boom where innovations happen every day, with technology as old as just six months now called last generation. In the early days of computing, kilobytes meant a lot of data, and floppy disks were the new world order.

However, with time they became obsolete and were replaced by CD/DVDs, which could hold much more data. CD/DVDs reigned for a good amount of time before USB, and removable hard drives came with their death warrant.

However, some of us just like being old school as the simplicity of formatting a computer or laptop from a bootable CD/DVD cannot be matched by the complexities involved in downloading a bootable OS, preparing a bootable USB flash drive using Rufus, configuring the bios to detect the flash storage and then praying the flash drive gets detected. All this just to format a PC. Plus, there are ample avenues still where CD/DVDs find their relevance.

Many of us still tend to think that every system naturally comes with an optical drive. Yes, even in today’s world, optical drives are a must-have for many, for a good deal of reasons (such as nostalgia/convenience/security/etc).

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the cheapest laptops with a CD/DVD drive.

Cheapest Laptops with CD/DVD Drive – Best Picks at a Glance

Image Product Details Check Price
Acer Aspire 3 on Amazon
Acer Aspire 3 Screen Size: 17.3 Inch
Processor: Intel 10
Storage: 1 TB HDD
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
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HP 17-BY3613DX on Amazon
HP 17-BY3613DX Screen Size: 17.3 Inch
Processor: Intel 10
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
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HP 17-BY4063CL on Amazon
HP 17-BY4063CL Screen Size: 17.3 Inch
Processor: Intel 11
Storage: 1 TB HDD
Graphics: Iris Xe
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Lenovo Ideapad A-12 on Amazon
Lenovo Ideapad A-12 Screen Size: 15.6 Inch
Processor: AMD Radeon A12-9720P
Storage: 1 TB HDD
Graphics: Radeon R7
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HP 17 CA on Amazon
HP 17 CA Screen Size: 17.3 Inch
Processor: 3
Storage: 256GB SSD
Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8
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Lenovo Ideapad 330 on Amazon
Lenovo Ideapad 330 Screen Size: 15.6 Inch Touchscreen
Processor: Intel 8
Storage: 1TB HDD
Graphics: Intel UHD 620
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HP 17t on Amazon
HP 17t Screen Size: 17.3 Inch
Processor: Intel 11
Storage: 256GB SSD
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
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Why Would You Still Need an Optical Drive?

With the advent of cloud technology, data storage and transfer technology have progressed leaps and bounds, with huge chunks of data now being easily accessed or transferred without the need for physical storage devices. However, there are a few areas where an optical drive could come in handy.

Physical Storage Media is a One Time Investment

You may simply find it more convenient to collect data (usually multimedia), and keep it stored on CD or DVDs. Rather than streaming, if you own an optical drive, you can just download it once, write it on a DVD and store it for a free revisit anytime you want.

These physical storage tools last more than 20 years with proper storage techniques and are a one-time investment.

A spindle of 100, 4.7GB DVDs would cost you around a few dollars, and you would get close to 500GB of space to store your movies and songs. Some of the most popular cloud storage providers would charge you about 24 USD every year for the same amount of cloud space. Add to it an internet plan you need to maintain monthly to stream the media off your cloud storage. For a lesser price, the same amount of storage on CD/DVDs can be yours for more than 20 years.

We’re aware that there are other means of physical storage devices, such as flash drives, hard drives, or NASs (Network Attached Storages), but we’re making the case for CDs and DVDs in this article.

Additionally, cloud storage rates can be revised anytime. A popular cloud storage service just went from being free to chargeable beyond a certain capacity since June.

CD/DVDs are Immune to Internet Monitoring

Nowadays, privacy on the internet is a big concern, and there are pop-ups on every other website asking us to sign up for a VPN to keep ourselves anonymous. While staying online is the need of the hour today as a lot of services are available online and users depend on the internet more to get through their daily lives; there is also a risk of your online activity being monitored by enterprises with both positive and less positive intentions.

CD/DVDs are offline media and do not need the internet to work in most cases. Be it watching a movie or running a software off a DVD; you can disconnect yourself from the internet and run it. If it’s confidential data, you can be sure that you would not be snooped. For that to work, however, you would need an optical drive on your laptop.

Tamper Proof and Free from Credentials

All you need to access your data in physical storage discs is an optical drive. In the case of cloud storage, you must remember a set of credentials and keep monitoring the data inside or pray no one hacks into your account while you are sleeping. From time to time, you also need to change the password to ensure the safety of your account.

At times if sudden news of a data leak doesn’t leave you scrambling to change the password immediately, a forceful change requested by the cloud storage provider might surely make you utter the f-word.

CD/DVD drives are free of this hassle; they operate on the simple operation of a button press.

Safety made simple.

Ease of Use

Operating optical drives is extremely simple and hence suitable for people from any age group. We have already discussed their cost-effectiveness earlier. If we look at it from another angle, we will see that not all movies or web series are available on every cloud streaming platform. You would need multiple subscriptions that would add to the costs.

Moreover, there is a validity period in some platforms that gives you limited time to view the content with the subscription after which you need to pay again.

Compact disks have an extremely a simple operating mechanism and are compatible with any optical drive across different laptops and PCs.

With CD/DVDs, content can be easily shared as they have universal compatibility with any other machine with an optical drive. Copies of the content can be easily made and shared, which allows for multiple sessions and multiple viewing, which again costs more than regular subscriptions.

Play Old Multimedia

There’s a high chance you’re someone who still has older media stored on a CD or DVD, and since you’re already storing them safely, it’s very convenient to keep them as they are.

Installing an OS

Computing has evolved a lot, but the basic procedure to install an OS has not changed much over the years. Of course, alternatives like installing from flash drives or Windows to Go were brought forward and accepted by many users worldwide. However, many users still prefer to install the OS from a standard bootable disc and a CD/DVD drive. Flash drives are great tools, but if you have to constantly keep it loaded with an OS, you are actually restricting its usage to just one purpose.

It is cheaper to block a DVD that costs a few cents for this and use it through an optical drive to install or repair your OS whenever needed.

Going Retro Feels Good Sometimes

Many of us enjoy collecting memorabilia. The great thing about old CDs/DVDs is that they may contain some of our old memories, and even they themselves (physically holding/looking at them) remind us of old times.

Cheapest Laptops with CD/DVD Drives: Detailed Overview

Having understood the importance of optical drives, let us look at some laptops which are still available with a CD/DVD drive. Most of these laptops cost less than $1000 (also depending on their configuration), and some even have the latest specifications.

1. Acer Aspire 3 2021 – Cheapest Laptop with CD/DVD Drive

The Acer Aspire 3 might be the cheapest of the lot but compromises little in terms of specifications. The laptop comes in a sleek tapering build and black color that looks more costly than it actually is. The big 17.3-inch display is good for watching movies, but the maximum supported resolution is limited to 1600 x 900. Despite the low resolution, the display has adequate clarity and good color saturation. The bezels, however, are extremely thick all around the display, with a webcam sitting on top and the Acer logo on the bottom bezels.

The keyboard response is understandably average considering its budget pricing, and there is no backlit.

The touchpad response is ordinary with no fingerprint lock, and its placement is a tad on the left. Acer has provided all the basic connectivity options with the Aspire 3. Thunderbolt is missing, but there are dual USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.2 port. There is an HDMI port, a LAN port, and a headphone/lineout jack.

Intel UHD graphics is not at all suitable for even occasional casual gaming.

The laptop has a mid-range 10th Gen i5 1035G1 quad-core processor inside that has eight threads that churn out decent multitasking performance. The processor has a peak turbo frequency of 3.6GHz and a configurable TDP that lets it run at as low as 13 watts and a 700Mhz clock. If you are looking for an entry-level laptop that can handle occasional heavy work, the Acer Aspire 3 with 8GB of DDR4 RAM is the best for you.

Wi-Fi connectivity conforms to 802.11 ac standards, and on the right, we have a DVD RW. There is plenty of storage provided with a 1 TB HDD, and there is room for a further upgrade as well. A nifty addition is the inclusion of the original Windows 10 Home Edition instead of DOS and Ghost Manta accessories bundle that includes an HDMI cable, USB Extender cable, and a mouse pad.

Key Features

  • Big Display for a Budget Laptop
  • Strong Build
  • Cooling Vents in a Thin Chassis Build

Our Take

The Acer Aspire 3 uses a good processor and RAM combo to get the job done, but the processor though a quad-core one isn’t meant for full-on office productivity. Its display resolution too is inadequate for it to be branded as an excellent entertainment device. The keyboard is spacious, but typing is far from thrilling as the keys come back with a stiff response.

However, the battery performance is very good and can be improved further as the processor comes with a configurable TDP.

The Acer Aspire 3 somehow succeeds as an entry-level laptop and there are better options at this price range, but they do not come with a DVD RW optical drive.

2. HP 17-BY3613DX – Cheapest Laptop with an SSD

If you are looking for a performer in the budget category, the HP 17 BY3613DX is a laptop that has similar specs to that of Acer Aspire 3, but it’s optimized nicely for better performance. The laptop has a textured lid that feels premium when touched. It is fairly heavy at 5.4 pounds, but the textured lid provides good friction and feels solid in the hands when held. However, the screen under the lid is the same HD+ 17.3inch LED display that manages to do well in movies and some online games.

HP has used a hard plastic build that does give the laptop a strong build without any creaks but overall feels underwhelming in terms of looks. The barrel charging slot, headphone combo slot, and two USB 3.1 slots are on the left, along with an RJ-45 jack and HDMI port. On the right, there is a single USB 2.0 port and a DVD RW optical drive. There is an HD webcam on top and stereo speakers with digital microphones for video calls.

HP uses the same 10th Gen Quad-Core 1035G1 processor with a base clock of 1GHz and can go up to 3.6GHz on turbo boost. The process works well in tandem with the 8GB DDR4 RAM to provide snappy multitasking performance. Both single-threaded and multithreaded tasks run smoothly. Keyboard response is much better with chiclet-type keys that offer a nice ‘clicky’ response. The touchpad response too is adequate, but the fingerprint sensor is again missing.

HP has fitted the laptop with a 256GB SSD that though inadequate in terms of capacity, is much faster than Aspire 3’s 1TB HDD. There are additional slots under the back cover in case you wish to upgrade to a larger capacity HDD or SSD. Wi-Fi conforms to 802.11 AC standards.

Key Features

  • Highly Optimized Performance
  • Keyboard is Highly Responsive
  • Sturdy Build

Our Take

The HP-BY3613DX is an excellent performer in the budget category with a better-optimized performance than Aspire 3. However, battery backup is nothing spectacular, and HP overly relies on the configurable TDP of the 10th Gen Intel processor to hide its battery woes.

The SSD is a nice improvement in terms of lightning-fast boot times, but in a few months, you might have to look for an HDD which would add to the cost of the device.

The display disappoints, and at about $100 more than the Aspire, HP could have done better with a higher resolution display.

3. HP 17-BY4063CL – For High Class Performance

For the price it is available at the HP 17-BY4063CL is a steal deal. The laptop comes in a soothing white color and has various configurations to choose from. The laptop has a smooth matt finish that looks extremely trendy and suitable for office use. Under the lid, we see the same 17.3inch 1600 x 900 LCD but with more brightness and better color accuracy thanks to Intel Iris Xe graphics. The display has an anti-glare coating that certainly helps with eye strain but does not improve much on the quality of the display due to a low resolution.

The laptop is powered by the latest Intel 11th Gen blazing-fast processor and comes with 12GB of DDR4 RAM. The i5- 1135G7 is Intel’s latest generation quad-core processor with eight threads and 8MB of cache memory. The processor comes with a configurable TDP with a 2.4GHz high base clock and 900MHz low base clock at just 12-watt TDP. The maximum turbo frequency supported is 4.30 GHz. Intel Iris Xe graphics allows casual gameplay, but none of the latest AAA titles can yield more than 30fps.

The HP 17-BY4063CL has 802.11 ac Wi-Fi standards with 1×1 MIMO protocol and Bluetooth 4.2. There are two USB 3.1 ports and a single USB 2,0 port. A single HDMI port conforms to version 1.4b and a 3.5mm headphone combo jack. Also finding their places are an RJ-45 jack and a DVD RW drive.

Key Features

  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Latest Generation Intel Processor
  • True Vision HD Webcam

Our Take

The HP 17-BY4063CL is an excellent value for money laptop with a backlit chiclet-type keyboard and a fully supported number pad.

The battery performance is adequate with users reporting up to 6 hours on a full charge and continuous usage. A big issue is the sluggish performance of the HDD, as its RPM is limited to 5400. A work-around for that is the availability of a PCIe slot where an SSD can be connected to improve the device’s performance drastically. That would, however, add to the pricing of the device.

4. Lenovo Ideapad A12 – Performs Well with Outdated Specs

The Lenovo Ideapad A12 is the oldest entrant on our list. It has a thin chassis build that feels flimsy. However, the keyboard is very smooth and comes with a punchy response when the keys are pressed. Typing is a pleasure on the keyboard, even though the keys are not backlit. Under the lid there is an HD-ready 1388 x 768 display that is best suited for office use.

In terms of performance, the Ideapad A12 uses an APU that has integrated Radeon 7 graphics that is capable of handling older games.

The processor has four cores but is not hyperthreading enabled. Yet the laptop with its 8GB of DDR4 memory is up to the task and does quite well in day-to-day office operations. Multiple chrome tabs and office applications from MS Office run smoothly on the laptop. The peak frequency of the Ideapad A12’s processor is 2.7 GHz with a low TDP of 13 watts.

The laptop comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.1. On the right, we just have a DVD-R, and on the right, there is a USB Type C port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a memory card reader. Also finding its place is a gigabit LAN port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. As for storage, the laptop is fitted with a sluggish 1TB HDD that operates at 5400 RPM on an IDE interface which is almost outdated as per current standards.

Key Features

  • Excellent Keyboard Response
  • Consistent and Stable Performance
  • Impressive Graphics Performance

Our Take

The Lenovo Ideapad A12 is a stable performer as long as its weak HDD doesn’t slow it down.

Its APU has excellent integrated graphics that can run quite a few yesteryear titles at decent quality. 8GB DDR4 Ram allows excellent multitasking, but the battery back from its two cells is extremely low, and the laptop needs to be kept plugged in at all times. This highly rated laptop is still an excellent option for running a side business at an attractive price.

5. HP 17 CA – Best for Budget Gaming

HP has used AMD’s Ryzen 5 mid-range processor to improve on both single and multi-core performance yet keeping a check on costs. The all-black laptop comes with a textured finish that oozes quality. The build is strong and has vents for heat transmission under the chassis. Under the lid is a 17.3inch SVA BrightView WLED display with a native HD+ 1600 x 900 resolution. Colors are vibrant with 60 percent NTSC color coverage and 220 nits of brightness.

You would not like the thick bezels all around the display with an HD webcam with an integrated microphone at the top bezel.

The 3rd Generation Ryzen 5 3500U is a quad-core processor designed for ultra-books and returns spectacular performance on a low TDP. It is multi-threading enabled, with all 8 of its cores blazing past heavy office tasks with ease. The integrated Vega 8 graphics is good at handling games at medium quality, returning playable FPS in many recent titles. The base clock speed of the processor is set at 2.1GHz and a boost clock of 3.7GHz.

The laptop comes with 12GB of DDR4 RAM operating at 2400Hz speed and does well to accommodate multiple chrome tabs and heavy office duty with ease.

The HP 17 CA comes with 256GB of SSD storage that loads the OS instantly but falls short in terms of capacity.

There is an expansion slot for future upgrades, though. On the right, we have a DVD RW, USB 2,0 Type port, and memory card reader slot. We have the charging port on the right top corner, an HDMI port, dual USB 3.1 Type-A port, RJ-45 Lan port, and a single 3.5mm headphone combo jack.

As for wireless connectivity, the laptop comes with a Realtek 8821CE adapter that supports most of the latest protocols and Bluetooth 4.2.

Key Features

  • Blistering Multitasking Performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • Premium Build

Our Take

The HP 17 CA underutilizes the AMD processor. Although it is well optimized and returns exceptional performance in day-to-day operations, the processor is FreeSync compatible but the display is simply not powerful enough, leaving users unable to take advantage of variable frame rates during gameplay. The battery backup is very good, thanks to the low TDP of the Ryzen 3500U.

The HP 17 CA is an extremely good laptop for business productivity as it is not afraid to take on even the heaviest of productivity applications.

6. Lenovo Ideapad 330 – Classy Performance from a Proven Champion

Lenovo Ideapad 330 was sold in millions worldwide due to its exquisite performance on a budget. The laptop comes in a compact 15.6inch build and yet sports a full numeric keypad. On top of that, the display under the lid supports touch input. The HD ready screen is gorgeous, with accurate and rich colors that make anything displayed on the screen lively and vibrant. The contrast ratio is high and allows for a broader color spectrum. However, the overly thick bezels are a huge turn-off, but that is expected in a laptop first seen in 2019.

The Ideapad 330 comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor with four cores with hyperthreading enabled. The peak clock speed of the processor is 3.4GHz, while the base clock speed is around 1.5GHz. Multithreaded performance is smooth as butter when coupled with the 8GB DDR4 RAM that operates at 2400MHz. The laptop is good at handling regular office productivity, but Intel UHD 620 is extremely weak at gaming, with even online games stuttering and lagging. Lenovo supplies a 1TB HDD with the Ideapad 330 that offers decent read and write speeds and is fast enough for day-to-day operations.

There are no M.2 slots; hence expanding the storage with an NVMe SSD is not an option.

The laptop comes with a variety of ports that make it a good choice even today. On the right, we just have a DVD RW and a Kensington lock. On the right, there is a USB 3.0 Type C port, dual USB 3.0 Type-A port, a single HDMI port, one media card reader, 1 RJ-45 port, and a headphone combo port. Wireless connectivity is handled by Intel Wireless adapter and Bluetooth 4.1. The laptop comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home Premium.

Key Features

  • HD Ready Display Compatible with Touchscreen
  • Great Build Quality
  • Superb Keyboard Response

Our Take

The Ideapad 330 has few chinks in its armor. Its battery life is unexpectedly very low and returns a backup of just around 3 hours on a full charge. There is virtually no scope of upgrades as there aren’t enough expansion slots.

The laptop tends to heat up slightly on prolonged use as the vents are located below the chassis.

However, the Intel 8th gen processor does live up to the hype and performs exquisitely. The laptop never feels sluggish, and typing on the keyboard is fun.

7. HP 17t – Best for Power Computing

The best is always saved for the last, and the Hp 17t does not disappoint. It looks classy with a silver-colored sleek body and chromed HP logo on the lid. Under the lid, we find an HD+ anti-glare display supporting a native resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. The display has an anti-glare coating with a peak brightness of 220 nits. Unfortunately, none of our picks today features a good display, mainly due to the low price point of the laptops.

The bezels at the sides of the display are just right, and on top, we find a 720p HD camera with integrated microphones.

The HP 17t is powered by Intel’s latest 11th Generation Core i5 – 1135G7 has four cores, all multithreading enabled. The processor has a turbo frequency of 4.2 GHz and an 8MB L3 cache memory.

The available RAM is 8GB DDR4 which, when coupled with the processor, allows the laptop to run many demanding office and business productivity applications with ease. Multiple tabs of chrome or working with huge data sheets in MS Excel is a cakewalk for the HP 17t.

Even in gaming, the 17t does not disappoint as Intel Iris Xe graphics operating at 1.3GHz is powerful enough to handle many older but demanding games and go above 30fps in some recent titles. HP uses a chiclet style, feather touch keyboard where inputs are registered with the lightest of touch.

A glaring miss from HP with the 17t includes a 256GB SSD for the cheapest variant. While it does make day to day operations lightning fast, it is not adequate for storage purposes.

Key Features

  • Best in Class Performance
  • Feather Touch Keyboard
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics Processor Can Handle Games

Our Take

The HP 17t is the best of the lot and by no means a slouch. Its fast processor and SSD make day-to-day working on the laptop extremely fast and snappy.

The low resolution of the 17-inch display is a definite turn-off, but the lively overall performance does make up for the drawbacks to a large extent.

The processor comes with a configurable TDP, and the already impressive battery back can be further improved by 10-15 percent by configuring the processor to run on low power at the time when the laptop is sitting idle.

Cheapest Laptops with CD/DVD Drives – Frequently Asked Questions

CD/DVD drives are so old school. Why should I use them?

Although physical storage media is slowly becoming obsolete due to the advent of cloud-based storage, physical storage still remains a cost-effective method of storing and can bring down the overall cost of storing data or media. Hence if you would like a cheaper option, you can go for CDs and DVDs and get an optical drive to read the stored data off them when needed.

Why does my DVD writer say 14X?

CD/DVD writers are components in laptops or personal computers that let you write (burn) the data you want into a CD or DVD. By default, data can be written at a speed of 150 kbps on a CD, while a DVD has a default speed of 1.32 Mbps. The 14X or 16X you see on your DVD-R or DVD-RW is its capacity to go 14 times or 16 times faster than the default speed of writing a DVD.

The faster you write, the quicker it takes to burn your data on a DVD. Too much speed however can corrupt the data being burned, and hence it is advised to stay around 10X while writing a DVD to prevent data corruption even if 14X or 16X could do the same significantly faster.

Can I get a better battery backup if I remove the optical drive?

Optical drives are not known to constantly use power, and hence the improvement in the battery back up after removing an optical drive would be marginal and hardly noticeable.

What are my options if my laptop CD/DVD drive stops working?

In case of a damaged or malfunctioning optical drive, you can go for USB-based external optical drives that would function similarly to an internal optical drive. These USB devices do not cost much, and most of them are universally compatible with most laptops and operating systems.

What do I do If I don’t need an optical drive later while using the laptop?

There are ample aftermarket hard drive caddies available that fit into the optical drive bay. You can use it to add a second hard drive to your laptop. For those laptops that do not have SSDs, the optical drive bay is a good option for adding an SSD drive to your laptop.

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