So are you asking about DVD-ROM drives, or software players? I assume the former, since you mentioned it should be 'black' (I think the SW players all produce black screens equally well ). One option is to get a Toshiba player, and buy the separate black bezel for it. Not perfect, but better than spray paint (IMHO).
Just replaced my Toshiba 1402 (now in my other PC) with this Lite-On LTD163 for $54. It's 16X DVD but runs at lower speed when playing so it makes no noise (except at startup). It also has no pausing or stalling problems and has a 512KB buffer.
The only wierd thing I noticed is after a long 10 min "pause" it will spin down, which causes an audio hiccup while it syncs back up after hitting "play" again. I never noticed this with the Toshiba.
Painting it black worked out quite well. If you want region free go here and look up your model.
Here are my experiences with the second generation Asus 612 DVD-ROM. This is the 12X v. and as supplied is an RPC 2 drive. However to change this to RPC 1, you just need to remove a
jumper at the back. It's that simple!
A second feature is that the drive mechanism is suspended so this reduces vibration from and to the drive. It is definitely quiet. Asus do not use OEM products as far as I know.
One other interesting feature is an emergency disc ejector through a slot should the drawer mechanism fails.
All this translate into a reliable and good performer.
I think Asus just released an even faster 18X machine recently but I do not know whether this could be made into RPC 1. Forgot the model no. I feel there is not much advantage in getting the fastest drive for plain DVD playback. In my setup the pq is MOST STABLE when the drive is optimised for single speed playback and supplemental cache is at minimum. There is least shudder and jerkiness in this configuration.
The Aopen sounds like a good choice. I have a Toshiba 1502 which works very well for me. I only hear it when it starts up the movie. and I have a quiet htpc. my stb sony 650 dvd player makes more noise. If you are not going to use a CDRW in your system as well, than I would suggest going with a DVD drive that can playback quietly, but can also grab data and audio off of cds at a decent rate. This Toshiba fits that bill.
Well it looks like i'm going to need a 16x DVD. I want to be able to copy the DVD's to my hard drive, so i can do all kinds of fun stuff with em. And i think i'd appreciate the extra speed. So i need a drive that's 16x, but that can slow down to 1x (or whatever is the minimum) while it's playing DVD's. It'd also help if it was easy to make it region-free but i don't think i really care about that.
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