The Bottom Line
We don't really think of optical drives as a must-have item when building or buying a PC. Instead, we opt for a sleek chassis, 5.25" bays removed and just go for an external drive should we need one.
Now there are a number of ways to do external Blu-ray drives, if you already have a drive you can opt to just purchase an enclosure like the Vantec or OWC options, but for those of us going in needing the full kit, the market isn't exploding to make these solutions. That said, we do have one in-house, the Buffalo BRXL-16U3.
The BRXL-16U3 is an ideal drive for consumers wanting both playback and burning capabilities all the way up to BDXL 128GB discs. This solution supports writing CDR at 48x and CDRW at 24x, DVD minus and plus R offer s 16x write speed while DL discs reach 8x. With Blu-ray, we get 16x write on SL media and 12x on DL. For BD-RXL triple and quad layer disc, you are looking at 6x write speed. This solution takes advantage of USB 3.0 connectivity with the Type-C connection with an external power source.
Compatibility includes Windows XP through 10. MSRP comes in at $149.99 with a two-year warranty along with being TAA compliant.
Into the packaging, we have the Buffalo colorway, red on white taking over the box, an image of the drive to the right with features listed to the left.
The back offers more detail on the drive capabilities including disc capacity, CyberLink media suite, and support formats.
The right side of the box offers a specifications list including supported operating systems, power consumption and connectivity.
On the left side spine, we have the full list of supported read/write speeds for the drive based on media used.
Apart from the CyberLink software suite, the scope of delivery includes the power adapter, USB 3.0 cable, and drive.
The front of the enclosure is the actual drive tray, based on what drive is used internally; this will change. What you see above is from a BH16NS58 LG solution, but it does appear from my research this Buffalo has used many different drives including the Pioneer BDR-209 and BH16NS48 from LG.
The back of the enclosure includes both power and USB 3.0 inputs along with a cable trap and Kensington lock slot.
Part of the results in this chart will depend largely on the drive you get in your Buffalo enclosure. For me, as mentioned above, I received an NS58 drive which can be easily firmware downgraded to support UHD reading.
For comparison, I do have my Mercury from OWC in the charts, a drive I reviewed a few years back.
Looking at the results, we have the OWC in red and Buffalo in blue. The Buffalo does appear slightly quicker in most ripping scenarios. I used "Ready Player One" for both DVD and BluRay and "Sicario" for the UHD film in testing.
The Buffalo has proved to be a solid solution for me as I rip my collection of DVD and Blu-ray movies to network storage. Depending on the drive that comes internally, the LG models will be UHD Friendly solutions and depending on firmware may work out of the box or with a firmware downgrade will work. The Pioneer model, on the other hand, will work only if they have revision 1 firmware, they cannot be downgraded.
Build quality of the enclosure is quite nice and much lighter than other solutions. The power adapter is more compact as well. The included Cyberlink software only adds to the overall package as its really everything you would need to watch, author, edit and archive data.
In closing and in doing my research for this article, the Buffalo doesn't seem to fluctuate much in price across retailers. As it is currently $149.99 following its MSRP it does offer a solid software suite, TAA compliance for all you government agencies looking for BDXL drives and a leading two-year warranty, though it does cost $20 more than the OWC solution.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
The BRXL-16U3 is a great drive for all your watching, ripping and burning needs while offering top notch specs and TAA compiance.
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