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Looking to purchase a new DVD Writer for the first time, I notice there are USB powered devices available which do not require an external adapter/power-supply. This may be sufficient for stuff that do not require oodles of power.

I'm concerned that the amount of power required to regularly burn a disc might cause the USB port itself to overheat at the least, and burn out at worst.

Hence the question ( forgive me if it is naive ) - Can frequently drawing large amounts of power through a USB device affect the reliability of the port?

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3 Answers

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If the port and the device are both conforming to the USB specification normal (light/occasional) use should not be an issue.

That said, if you're exceeding the power limits in the USB specification, drawing full specified current at 100% duty cycle for extended periods of time, or burning lots of DVDs every day that may cause problems: pulling lots of power causes the supply chip to heat up, and eventually it will fail. Cheaper motherboards/USB controllers will probably fail sooner.

If you expect to use the drive a lot I'd invest in one with an external power source, or at least one that can draw power from multiple ports (preferably on separate controllers/power supply chips).

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I've had exactly this happen. Leaving a particular USB hub permanently plugged in to one of my motherboard USB ports did kill the port after a couple years.

Never had it happen on a server, though.

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Yes.

That being said, I've had a DVD burner running off the USB port on my desktop for a few years and haven't had any issues. I average 1 or 2 dvds a day. I'm probably going to be upgrading the system before the USB port gives out. I think it really comes down to the quality of the system, if you're running it on generic home user systems then you'll probably see a much higher failure rate.

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