Most laptops and desktops no longer come with an optical drive, but some still might need a way to access CD or DVD content. Our old external optical drive recently failed after six years of use, so we headed to Amazon to purchase a new one. That is when we ran across the Rioddas External CD/DVD Drive that is sold under part number BT638 for $22.99 shipped. There just happened to be a 20% off promotional code available that brought the price down to $18.39 with free shipping. The drive is shown as first available on June 4th, 2018 and has over 10,600 reviews where it has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating.
We figured why not and picked one up on Amazon Prime. It showed up today!
Meet the Rioddas External DVD/CD Drive also known as the pop-up mobile external? The simple brown retail packaging was shrink wrapped and the text was fun. “The data cable adopt the design of embedding into product, the impedance of pure copper mesh technology is low, Shield is strong, data transmission is more stable.”
The back of the box covers more general features and has Shenzhen Linjie Technology Co from China listed as the manufacturer and a company called BellaCocool GmbH Company is also on the box. A quick Google search for Shenzhen Linjie Technology Co., Ltd. brings you to this landing page for a company that specializes in optical drives and accessories.
Inside of the box you get the optical drive, some basic instructions and a scratch off card for a prize.
Everything looks to be brand new as the plastic enclosure and the front of the drive is brand new. We were curious what was inside, so we removed two screws that are hidden under the rubber foot pads.
Once the two screws are removed the cover simply slides off. Inside we discovered a Hewlett-Packard Company Model TS-L633 optical drive from May 2009! The drive was clearly used and was likely pulled from another system. The last thing we expected to find inside the Rioddas BT638 External CD/DVD Drive was a used drive from over a decade ago. This is a new item listing on Amazon and no where does it say that refurbished or used parts are being used. On the bright side, the drive is so old that pretty much any build of Windows will pick it up without needing a driver.
One screw holds the optical drive to the plastic enclosure and it slides right out. The SATA to USB adapter features an Initio Corporation INIC-1618L. This bridge chip supports USB 2.0 and it looks like they just plugged a USB 3.0 cable into that circuit board and call it a USB 3.0 device. The end of the USB 3.0 cable on the inside had cuts and holes on it that showed the internal cabling.
At the end of the day the Rioddas BT638 worked just fine, but internally our unit used a drive that was over 11 years. Who knows how long something like this will really last. We weren’t expecting to find a such an old drive in our unit and thought that this was something that we should share that with our readers. Opening up a ‘brand new’ product and finding an 11+ year old optical drive and a cable with holes in the shielding is not what we expected to find.
Most of the external USB optical drives on Amazon appear to feature the same enclosure design with different top plates and USB cables. Rioddas, ROOFULL, Cocopa, Eivotor and Gotega are just a few of the manufacturers that are selling these drives. It is highly likely that many of these low-priced designs are sticking in used or refurbished drives after testing them to ensure they work.
On the Shenzhen Linjie Technology Co., Ltd. website they show the ‘factory’ that makes the Rioddas optical drives and that appears to be exactly what they are doing. Some of these companies are putting just a 6-month replacement service warranty on their enclosures.
So, if you want a low-cost external CD/DVD drive that features USB connectivity and go with one of these models just be sure that you know the drive inside is likely not new.
You can purchase portable USB drives built with new components for just a little more.
The choice is ultimately up to you!