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Opinion Lets finally answer it: Slot, tray or top-loading disc drives in game consoles?

Which do you prefer?

  • Slot

    Votes: 165 60.9%
  • Tray

    Votes: 20 7.4%
  • Top

    Votes: 86 31.7%

  • Total voters
    271

Kadve

Member
Jun 5, 2019
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Which type is your favorite? Is it:

Slot:


Tray:


Or top?



Personally i prefer top loading designs as they are easy to use, satisfying to open/close and due to how you always can get a disc out of there even without power (still having nightmares from trying to get one out of a broken PS3).

Also, just for the heck of it i researched what was the most common: Out of 21 major releases (counting things like PS2 phat and slim as separate due having different mechanisms, also not counting 3DO and CDI due to varying so much between manufactures and YMMV whether they really were game consoles. I also didn't include obscure Japanese stuff like Bandai Playdia, FM Towns Marty or PC FX) since the release of PC engine CD, 10 (~48%) were top loaders, 7 (~33%) were Slot loaders and only 4 (~19%) were tray loaders.

Top = Sega/Mega CD model 2 (also CDX and Wondermega/X'Eye), Saturn, Dreamcast, Gamecube, NEC TG16/PC engine CD (all models), Atari Jaguar CD, Amiga CD32, PS1, PS2 slim and PS3 Super Slim

Tray = Sega/Mega CD model 1, PS2 Phat, Original Xbox and Xbox 360 (all models with disc drive)

Slot = Nintendo Wii (also mini), Wii U, PS3 Phat (and slim), PS4 (also Pro), PS5, Xbox One (also X) and Series X.

3DO and CDI = varied between Tray and Top (Not counted into the above)

Honorable mention = PSP, as I'm not sure what to call that loading mechanism (side loading?)
 
Last edited:

TheGrat1

Member
Jun 2, 2020
637
1,188
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Slot limits dust and gives the disc a soft cleaning every time it goes in. The way the tray is implemented is very important. It needs to be nearly seamless like PS2/Original Xbox or it ruins the aesthetic. Top requires the most work and the only benefit is reliability. Looks cheap.

Slot>>>Tray>>>>>>>>>>>>Top

Edit: I would consider the PSP a cassette loading tray.
 
Last edited:

Bernd Lauert

Member
Apr 15, 2018
5,314
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705
Slot is better than top because it doesn't matter if the console sits in a tight shelf. Slot is also better than tray because the trays always seemed flimsy and easy to break. Slot is the most elegant.
 

jigglet

Member
May 18, 2020
3,018
5,550
630
Slot for the sleekness.

Top loading because there is less contact between the bottom of the disc and any other surface so my games will stay in pristine condition.

Tray - never. It's more prone to failure, it touches too much of the disc. Yuck.
 
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Oct 5, 2013
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Top loaders probably, just more reliable... or at least easier to find a workaround to keep it running I should say. Overall optical media was kind of shit and I don't really miss it.
 

6502

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Jan 25, 2021
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Electrical slots WILL get faulty in time. Top is better, but most importantly it must be just a mechanical spring, with no electric parts involved. That's usability and reliability.
This. Function should always trump form.
 
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Boss Mog

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Dec 12, 2013
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Tray is out from the get go since not only does it have the same downside as Slot, namely the fact that there's moving parts which means wear and possible breakdown, but it has it double since you need to open and close the tray each time you want to insert or remove a disc.

Slot is the most convenient, requires the least effort and looks modern, the only downside is that it uses moving parts and any disc stuck in there will be harder to get out than the tray which usually has a manual eject button.

Top is the safest but it requires the most effort and makes the console feel like a child's toy rather than a hi-tech device.

Ultimate I choose Slot because I haven't had one break down on me yet.
 

Speedwagon

Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Yabuki turned off voice chat in Mario Kart races. True artists of their time.
Nov 14, 2012
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PS3 Phat's slot loader was best. Also Wii U and Xbox One OG. You chose an objectively bad example OP.
 
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Diddy X

Member
Jan 7, 2018
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Tray feels more classic, slot is more convenient ofcourse, ontop looks kinda ugly.
 

The Shepard

Member
Jan 7, 2018
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I like a nice slot, the way it slides in can't be beaten. Feels so good! Xbox one X has the best feeling one.
 
Last edited:

ZywyPL

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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None, give me digital-only console instead. PS5 already shows how much better a console can look when you take out the optical drive, which is now one of the biggest components after HDD were removed. But if it has to be there, slot is the way to go.
 

HoodWinked

Member
Jun 30, 2010
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Slot has alot of downsides like discs getting stuck or damaged but somehow for something with a ton of moving parts its exceptionally reliable.

Tray is just trash it somehow combines the worst aspects of both.

Top loading is like the equivalent to manual car window that you used to crank wind sure it's reliable but I'm fine with the miniscule chance of failure for convenience
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Member
Dec 8, 2019
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Top also allowed for boot discs to be used easily (only way I could play import games on my unmodded PS1s).

Top is my favorite, but there’s been cases of top loading with horrible designs (looking at you, PS2 Slim and PS3 Super Slim).

Tray is the worst. I rebooted my PS2 after a long hiatus and the tray doesn’t slide all the way out by itself anymore.

Slot is elegant, but at great risk of touching the disc’s surface, especially with younger/noncaring users.
 

RoadHazard

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Dec 9, 2008
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Slot is nicest for sure, feels the most high end.

Unfortunately Sony has never been able to make their slot loaders as smooth as Nintendo did with the Wii. Damn that thing was smooth, inserting discs was a pleasure.
 
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SScorpio

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Apr 24, 2012
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PS3 Super Slim felt like a cheap POS. Definitely a step down from the PS3 Slim
It did feel like that, but once you use it you'll discover it has the best version of the PS3's hardware inside in terms of playing PS3 games. The OG Phat's PS2 hardware is great, but those systems are unreliable.

Throw an inexpensive SSD in a Super Slim and you'll have the best PS3 experience. I have all three versions (Phat, Slim, Super Slim), and the Super Slim is the one that's not currently boxed up sitting in storage.
 

Speedwagon

Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Yabuki turned off voice chat in Mario Kart races. True artists of their time.
Nov 14, 2012
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Top is awful. Many GameCube discs were scratched to shit by kids placing them in.

Tray is more likely to break than slot.
 
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Mar 16, 2021
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I like slot or top loader.

Slot seems more aesthetically pleasing/modern

Top loader feels the most practical and classic, since many older systems used it.

A tray is just asking for trouble. Too many things could go wrong. I had an og 360 that kept on ticking up until the tray plastic wore out, causing the disc drive’s magnet to keep catching and the tray to be stuck closed. I had to pry it open with a butter knife for a while before I finally said fuck it and got a 360 slim.

The other options do have their drawback though. When I was a stupid kid I touched the lens on my PS1 because it was so easy to access via the top loader, and it screwed it up a bit.

A friend of mine had to replace his Xbox One because his 4 year old kept putting quarters in the disc slot, so that kinda sucked.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
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top loading. The less mechanical movement the longer the life. Slot and tray will break down mechanically quicker than a top loading mech where you just manually pop the disc in
 

Dragon_Rocks

Member
Jul 12, 2013
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Slot is best. Tray and Top both come with additional mechanical parts and mechanism which can break due to human error.
 
Mar 5, 2020
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Prefer top myself, but there are some good examples of others. The Wii/Wii U slot loader is so smooth for example.

Used to not mind the tray with PS2 (still works fine to this day on mine), but my launch Premium 360 stopped ejecting disks after a couple of years unless horizontal (even then only around half the time) so now I'm skeptical of most things using that method
 
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Mar 28, 2021
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1. tray
2. slot
3. top

if you care more protecting your disc/drive from debris/damage then slot is better but tray is fucking awesome and does a decent job of protecting your discs/drive.

I hope the PS6 brings back the disc caddy ("MO" discs in Resident Evil games).
bold of you to assume PS6 will even support physical media. the writing is on the wall. xbox and playstation have now both released consoles without a disc drive and digital game sales are only going up and up. internet is improving too (even in the US). with consoles now having moved to SSD it doesn't make any sense at all to put a disc in and install the game from that. that's a huge bottleneck. imo, if physical media is to exist any longer it will ditch discs and go back to cartridges because they are much faster. think of cartridges with mini SSDs in them.
 
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