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The 5 Best Laptops with a CD/DVD Drive in 2023

Optical drives like CD and DVD players used to be a standard feature in laptops, allowing you to easily watch movies or install software from discs. But over the past decade, slimmer and lighter laptop designs have meant manufacturers phasing out bulky disc drives. So finding a good laptop in 2023 that still has an integrated optical drive is tricky.

In this guide, we’ll recommend the top 5 laptop choices across different categories if you still need that CD/DVD drive built-in. We’ll also offer tips on how to shop for these laptops and answer common questions about using optical disc drives today.

Why Choose a Laptop with a CD/DVD Drive in 2023?

Even in the age of streaming and cloud storage, having a DVD/CD drive integrated into your laptop can still be useful:

  • Watch DVD movies or play CD-ROM games without needing an external accessory
  • Rip audio CDs to digital formats
  • Burn files, music or movies to disc for backup or sharing
  • Install software, drivers or operating systems from disc rather than downloading

The benefits are clear for certain users. Avid movie watchers still attached to their classic DVD collection or gamers nostalgic for vintage CD-ROM titles will get good mileage from integrated optical drives. And if you want to create mixed CDs or photo slideshow DVDs to gift friends, that’s easiest with an internal drive.

External USB optical drives exist too of course. But built-in drives don’t need extra power cables or desk space. They also tend to be faster and more reliable long-term than portable external options.

The catch is that finding a quality laptop in 2023 that still uses this aging technology isn’t easy. Premium ultrabooks and 2-in-1 tablets have almost unanimously ditched optical drives for sleeker designs.

But there are still some great choices out there across budget and performance categories. Let’s jump into the top picks!

The 5 Best Laptops With a CD/DVD Drive

1. Dell Inspiron 15 – Best Overall

Our choice for the best overall laptop with an optical drive is the Dell Inspiron 15. Starting around $800, this 2022 model from Dell‘s affordable Inspiron family offers great bang for buck.

For your money you get a 15.6” 1080p touch display powered by 11th generation Intel Core i7 processors and 12GB DDR4 RAM. This keeps the Inspiron 15 speedy enough for office work, web browsing, video calls plus light gaming and photo/video editing.

Storage is a 512GB SSD so your files and programs will load nice and fast. The USB 3.2 ports offer quick data transfers too. And Dell packs useful extras like a fingerprint reader for easy Windows logins.

The integrated DVD+/-RW drive supports all major disc formats. So installing software, burning CDs or watching DVD films is no hassle. Just press the discreet eject button on the keyboard when ready.

With smaller bezels than older Inspiron models, this lightweight 4 pounder is pleasingly portable as well. It feels modern overall but retains that optical drive for versatility.

Key Specs:

  • 15.6-inch 1920×1080 Touch Display
  • Intel Core i7-11370H Processor
  • 12GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD Storage
  • DVD+/-RW Drive
  • 4 lbs Weight


  • Great value for money
  • Classy premium design with smaller bezels
  • Capable specs for everyday tasks
  • Integrated optical disc drive


  • Fans can get loud when gaming
  • No Thunderbolt ports

2. ASUS VivoBook 17 – Best Budget

The ASUS VivoBook 17 is a wallet-friendly choice for shoppers wanting a 17-inch screen with built-in optical drive without breaking the bank.

At under $600, you make some compromises of course. The 11th generation Intel i3 processor, 8GB RAM and 512GB hard drive speeds don’t match high-end models. But performance is still smooth enough for web use, office work and basic photo/video editing.

The 17.3-inch 1600×900 resolution screen is vibrant too, if not quite Full HD sharpness. And ASUS packs some premium touches like a fingerprint reader for easy Windows Hello logins.

The main appeal beyond the low cost is that integrated DVD drive for playing movies or running older games and programs directly from disc. No external accessory needed. It reads CD, DVD and DVD+/-R formats.

With a compact footprint and sub 5-pound weight, the VivoBook 17 is reasonably portable also. You can toss it in a bag for working on the go when required. Then enjoy that big screen at home for media viewing.

If your computing needs are basic and you want maximum display size alongside internal optical drive support without spending big, the ASUS VivoBook 17 hits the sweet spot.

Key Specs

  • 17.3-inch 1600×900 Display
  • Intel Core i3-1115G4 Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB HDD Storage
  • DVD Drive
  • 4.7 lbs Weight


  • Incredibly affordable price
  • Large 17-inch screen
  • Integrated DVD/CD drive
  • Slim, lightweight design


  • No SSD, only 512GB hard drive
  • Processor a bit underpowered for heavy loads
  • Display not Full HD (1080p)

3. HP 17 – Best 17-inch Display

The HP 17 laptop range has long been a popular pick for shoppers wanting maximum display real estate. The 2022 HP 17 model retains the same captivating extra-large 17.3-inch screen but upgrades internal components.

Inside you now get a fast Intel Core i5-1235U 10-core processor with 16GB DDR4 RAM and a speedy 256GB solid state drive. This keeps the Windows 11 operating system and your programs responsive even with multiple tabs and apps open.

The 17.3-inch screen is crisp and colorful as well, with Full HD 1920×1080 resolution. Movies and games really pop on the near bezel-less display. And HP upgraded the speakers for booming audio to match.

Connectivity is excellent too with USB Type-C, three USB Type-A ports, HDMI and Ethernet. The integrated DVD writer lets you burn files to disc or play/rip DVD/CDs without carrying extras around.

If you want a colossal screen for immersive viewing paired with strong all-round performance and built-in optical drive, the 2022 HP 17 delivers.

Key Specs

  • 17.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS Display
  • Intel Core i5-1235U Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • DVD Writer
  • 5.4 lbs Weight


  • Beautiful big 17.3” Full HD screen
  • Great performance for the price
  • Slimmer bezels enhance immersion
  • Lots of connectivity ports


  • Battery life just okay at 6 hours
  • No Thunderbolt support
  • Runs warm under load

4. Dell Inspiron 5680 – Best Gaming

Gamers wanting a gaming laptop with optical drive should check out the Dell Inspiron 5680. This distinctively styled pick packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU for smooth 60+ fps gaming.

The hexa-core 8th generation Intel Core i7-8700 processor and 16GB DDR4 RAM keeps things speedy as you hop between games, apps and browsing tabs too. Multitask and browse while waiting for matches to load without slowdown.

The anti-glare 15.6-inch display keeps visuals crisp as you battle enemies also. At Full HD resolution and boosted 300 nit maximum brightness, everything remains visible even in daylight.

You can easily run many modern games at high settings thanks to that GTX 1660 Ti GPU. And classics on CD-ROM like Age of Empires will play flawlessly from the integrated DVD drive. Just press that top-mounted eject button when ready.

With molded soft-touch finish and stylized vents, the Inspiron 5680 gaming laptop looks the part as well. And Dell preinstalled its ‘Alienware Command Center’ software to monitor temperatures and customize performance profiles.

Overall if you need a competent 1080p gaming machine with optical drive that keeps older disc-based titles alive without missing beats on modern games, the Inspiron 5680 delivers.

Key Specs

  • 15.6-inch 1920×1080 Anti-Glare LED Display
  • Intel Core i7-8700 Hexa-Core Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Dual Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GPU
  • DVD Drive
  • 5.8 lbs Weight


  • Great 1080p gaming performance
  • Premium aesthetics and design
  • 16GB RAM and SSD offer speed
  • Loads legacy CD-ROM games


  • Expensive
  • Battery life is subpar

5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Best Portable

If portability alongside integrated optical drive matters most, consider the affordable Lenovo IdeaPad 3. Weighing just 3.3lbs, you can easily chuck this in any bag or backpack when on the move.

The slim 0.7-inch thick body housing doesn’t feel budget-grade either with neat ripple textured lid and metallic colored chassis.

Inside you get capable AMD components. The Ryzen 5 5500U processing chip has 6 fast cores to handle everyday work and multimedia. There’s 8GB DDR4 RAM to support moderate multitasking also.

The 15.6-inch touchscreen display looks great too with Full HD 1920×1080 resolution and slim bezels surrounding. Watch DVD movies then fold the screen flat to sketch ideas with the bundled active pen.

Storage is a speedy 256GB SSD and the newest Wi-Fi 6 wireless keeps internet connections reliable. Battery life is solid at over 8 hours per charge as well.

If you want a highly portable 15-inch laptop with modern styling that retains integrated optical drive support in a thin frame, the IdeaPad 3 is a compelling choice.

Key Specs

  • 15.6-inch 1920×1080 Touch Display
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Chip
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB SSD Storage
  • DVD Drive
  • 3.3 lbs Weight


  • Light and portable
  • Great battery life
  • Capable AMD Ryzen performance
  • Built-in DVD/CD drive


  • Keyboard feels cramped
  • Integrated GPU limits gaming

How to Choose: Optical Drive Laptop Buying Tips

Keep these tips in mind when shopping for a laptop with integrated CD/DVD drive:

Mind the Processor Age – With optical drives fading from laptops over the past decade, most models you find feature older processors. Focus on specs like RAM and storage rather than CPU age. Upgrading RAM and storage is easier than swapping processors.

17-inch Laptops More Common – Since optical drives take up lots of internal space, more 17-inch screen laptops tend to retain them. The extra size allows fitting both a large display and disc drive. But some 15-inch models like our ‘Best Portable’ do exist too.

Check Disc Read/Write Support – Most DVD drives in laptops support DVD/CD read capacities for movie/music playback. But double check your chosen model supports write abilities too if you plan to burn discs. Look for terminology like “DVD+/-RW” (rewritable) in the specifications.

SSD or HDD? – Faster solid state drives (SSD) offer big performance advantages over traditional hard disk drives (HDD). But SSD capacities remain lower pound-for-pound versus HDD. If keeping costs down is vital or you need abundant 500GB+ storage, a HDD model can be better value depending on your specific needs.

Graphics Processing Matters – If you intend to play games on your optical drive laptop, pay attention to whether it uses integrated or dedicated graphics:

  • Integrated – Shares system resources for lighter gaming
  • Dedicated – Has its own discrete GPU chip like Nvidia GeForce for more intensive gaming.

Consider External Accessories – If you won’t use disc media daily, consider just buying an external USB DVD/CD drive accessory for occasional use rather than limiting internal laptop options. External drives plug into any USB port when needed.

Using Laptops With Optical Drives

If you’ve not used a laptop with integrated disc drive before, here are some handy usage tips:

  • Handle discs carefully, don’t force them into the slot
  • Keep the drive clean and dust-free using compressed air spray
  • Always use the eject button before removing discs, don’t force them out
  • Try to avoid moving/bumping the laptop when discs are spinning
  • Don’t stack objects on the laptop that could crush the drive lid
  • Back up disc content you care about as optical media degrades over time
  • Update drive firmware when prompted for maximum compatibility
  • Disable ‘auto-run’ features that start media automatically if unwanted
  • Seek manufacturer help for hardware faults rather than self-repair

Treat the optical drive with care and it should give you years of reliable media playback and burning functionality.

Common Laptop Optical Drive Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about integrated optical drives in laptops:

Are optical drive laptops upgradeable?

Yes, components like RAM and storage drives can be upgraded on most models to improve performance. But processors are rarely upgradeable.

Can you replace a broken laptop DVD drive?

If the existing optical drive completely fails, you can replace it on some laptops with handy toolkits. But component and labor costs sometimes make buying a refurbished replacement laptop more economical.

Do old operating systems support modern DVD drives?

Basic media playback is usually fine. But very old OS installations like Windows 98 may not have drivers to support burning discs properly on the newest DVD drives.

Is it better to get an external DVD drive?

If optical disc use is infrequent, a USB-powered external DVD drive can be better value. No need buying a whole new laptop for occasional functionality. External drives start from around $20.

Do You Still Need a Laptop DVD/CD Drive in 2023?

While onboard optical disc drives are undoubtedly fading in laptops, they still offer useful abilities for certain users. Nostalgic gamers, film buffs and audio archivists can all find great utility from integrated DVD and CD access.

Fortunately as we’ve explored, there are still some excellent laptop choices at varied budgets retaining this aging feature. From versatile mainstream picks to 17-inch media powerhouses and lightweight road warriors, your disc burning needs can be met in 2023.

Just realistically assess if minding the usual tradeoffs around older processors and sometimes lesser battery endurance is worthwhile to keep optical functionality built-in over portable external accessories. Only you can decide if the convenience merits any compromise.

But for the select laptop holdouts who still desire integrated optical drives, suitable options thankfully remain.