Would You Ditch Your MacBook’s Optical Drive For A Speed+Battery Boost?

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My esteemed colleague John Brownlee wrote earlier today about the excellent article at Ars Technica which explains in detail why the new 13″ MacBook Pro doesn’t have a speedy i5 or i7 chip, while its bigger brothers and sisters do.

What interests me more, though, is the discussion that follows the Ars article.

Since the article makes plain that there simply isn’t space inside the 13″ case to fit any additional graphics chips – not without reducing the size of the battery at any rate – the only feasible option was to stick with a Core 2 Duo chip, albeit one that’s slightly faster than its predecessors.

But in the comments, Gamblor says “why not get rid of the optical drive?”.

Hmm. Why not indeed? That frees up space for a dedicated graphics chip, and possibly for a larger battery too.

The Air has shown that not all notebooks need an optical drive, but has the time come to ditch them from non-Air machines too?

I’m looking at my white MacBook and thinking: when did I last use the optical drive in this thing? The answer is, quite recently, when I installed Aperture. But that was its first use in months and months. Would I be happy to ditch it in favor of speed and battery life in a future machine? You bet I would.

How about you, though? Is an optical drive still an essential part of your computing, or could you live without it?