If you've got a steaming heap of data you need to keep safe, you may find the Buffalo BR-PX68U2 helpful -- it'll burn all your precious things to Blu-ray discs
Blu-ray, like DVD before it, is marvellously well suited to storing all your data, but you'll need a new Blu-ray burner -- allow us to introduce the Buffalo BR-PX68U2, a CD, DVD and Blu-ray burner that can turn your PC into a HD media centre.
The PX68 is a portable drive, so your you can move it around for easier backups of your laptop, or take it with you to watch Blu-ray movies when you're out and about. You get a power supply with the drive, in case your USB port can't provide enough power, and there's also a Y connector to draw current from two USB sockets at the same time too, should power not be available. Just remember, this sort of shenanigans is going to drain your battery really quickly.
The Buffalo will not only burn discs,of course, but also allow you to play Blu-ray movies on your PC. Sadly, Blu-ray is hamstrung by a series of annoying copy-protection technologies that make it much harder to watch an HD movie on your PC than it ever was to enjoy a DVD. These brilliant anti-piracy measures have completely eradicated all illegal movie sharing though, so it was well worth it (*rolls eyes*).
To watch a Blu-ray movie on your PC you'll need a graphics card that supports HDCP and a monitor that can cope with the copy-protected signals. You'll also need some playback software too, which happily comes in the box, courtesy of Cyberlink. If you're a Mac owner, playing back copy-protected movies isn't an option, but with the right burning software you'll be able to backup your data.
It's not the quickest burner we've ever used -- the maximum DVD write speed is 8x, which is about half the speed of the fastest available. That said, the Buffalo doesn't fail and we had no problems using it. Blu-ray writable discs are still idiotically expensive though, so you might want to consider that before you buy.
The Buffalo BR-PX68U2 costs £200 from the likes of Amazon. If this proves anything, it's that Blu-ray burners are some way off being affordable for most people, especially when you factor in the cost of discs. But if you have a tonne of data to backup, one of these could really save your rear, and that may well make it worth the investment.