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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

Isleofsancroy

Banned
May 15, 2014
467
200
565
also not counting 3DO and CDI due to varying so much between manufactures and YMMV whether they really were game consoles. I

What do you think the 3DO was, a sandwich? 3DO has 4 models 3 of them are trays iirc and only 1 top loader. Problem solved. Also yes it's a game console all you do on it is play games, the CDI on the other hand is not. The two aren't even close to being comparable.

You are also missing the side loaders. But I guess those aren't very common so it's ok to omit that.

Top loader is best for overall reliability, but slot is best for convenience.

I would say slot is the most inconvenient when an error happens because if there's a disc inside you are going to have problems getting it out, if you can get it out at all.

Top Loader would be the best scenario in this case because you can just open the lid and take the disc out, if the lid is broken you can use a pencil or paperclip to click the mechanism manually that opens it, or worst case easily force the lid open.

For tray it's a bit more challenging but some still have mechanisms you can reach to open the tray manually if broken, and you can still find ways to force open the tray.

Slot you're basically out of luck.
 
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Kadve

Member
Jun 5, 2019
543
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What do you think the 3DO was, a sandwich? 3DO has 4 models 3 of them are trays iirc and only 1 top loader. Problem solved. Also yes it's a game console all you do on it is play games, the CDI on the other hand is not. The two aren't even close to being comparable.

You are also missing the side loaders. But I guess those aren't very common so it's ok to omit that.
I admit i dropped the ball with the 3DO (remembered there being more than just four and that 3DO marketed it more like an entertainment center than a console and didn't feel like researching). But what's a side loader? The only disc based console i can think about that isn't a tray, top or slot is the after mentioned PSP and i think the poster below was right in referring it to as an "cassette tray loader".
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Member
Dec 8, 2019
2,142
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I don't understand how one person can be so wrong about any topic. PS2 Slim is best designed console ever (rivaled only by OneX).
Having had an OG PS2, I was flabbergasted when I saw a Slim in real life. I’d never seen plastics so cheap and ugly on a console, ever.
 

Vognerful

Member
May 21, 2020
527
626
375
Slot and tray are exactly the same from a mechanical POV; you need a mechanism to pull/push the disc and another mechanism to place the disc into the disk reader and remove it.

With top, you don't need both mechanisms which makes it the best reliable solution.
 

Trimesh

Member
Jun 8, 2019
999
1,264
415
Slot is best. Tray and Top both come with additional mechanical parts and mechanism which can break due to human error.

Although they do a good job of hiding it from the user, a slot loading drive has the greatest mechanical complexity of them all. They need exactly the same clamping cone system as a tray drive, and the mechanism that moves the disc is analogous to the one that drives the tray, but they also need systems to center the disk and more complex sensors because they have to handle determine the position of the media - and media has much wider dimensional tolerances than the tray in a tray drive.

The fact they are now highly reliable is only because so much time and effort has been put into making them so - maybe I'm biased because I can remember the early slot-loading drives and just how unreliable they were.
 

Magic Carpet

Member
Apr 2, 2020
636
558
305
1. Slots for me.
2. Top loading is cheap and rather sad and pathetic but less issues.
3. Trays are retractable cup holders that sometimes eat your disc while closing.
But to be honest it's 2021 optical media is dead as disco. Download It Dudes!
 

R6Rider

Member
Jan 22, 2020
2,769
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450
USA
Top is most satisfying, while slot is most streamlined. Tray is just awful, especially sideways.
 

Dragon_Rocks

Member
Jul 12, 2013
684
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700
Although they do a good job of hiding it from the user, a slot loading drive has the greatest mechanical complexity of them all. They need exactly the same clamping cone system as a tray drive, and the mechanism that moves the disc is analogous to the one that drives the tray, but they also need systems to center the disk and more complex sensors because they have to handle determine the position of the media - and media has much wider dimensional tolerances than the tray in a tray drive.

The fact they are now highly reliable is only because so much time and effort has been put into making them so - maybe I'm biased because I can remember the early slot-loading drives and just how unreliable they were.

That's why I said prone to human error. My niece leaned on the PS2 disc tray when it was open and broke it. At least internal mechanism breaking on their own will be covered by warranty if it happens within warranty period. Not so much for physical damage done by users.
 

TDiddyLive

Member
Feb 22, 2018
271
410
355
Slot. The only one I’ve never had issues with.

I’ve had trays that would stop moving all the way that a gentle nudge or tug got them going.

And how are so many people saying top loading was most reliable? Absolutely everybody I know that had a PS1 had to either turn the system on it’s side or (most) had to turn the entire system upside down for it to read discs after about a year.
 
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Kadve

Member
Jun 5, 2019
543
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And how are so many people saying top loading was most reliable? Absolutely everybody I know that had a PS1 had to either turn the system on it’s side or (most) had to turn the entire system upside down for it to read discs after about a year.
That had nothing to do with the disc loading mechanism. Rather it was the laser assembly that had a tendency to warp (due to poor construction and excess heat) and make the laser off-center, the "upside down" trick making use of gravity to re-center it
 
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fart town usa

Member
May 31, 2009
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Top loading.

Seems to have the least issues.

Tray is the absolute worst, it's the reason I don't really touch my XBOX or 360. OG XBOX needs a thunk up top for it to pop out, not too drastic.

The 360 on the other hand, I gotta damn near hit the thing with a hammer. It's embarrassing how hard it needs to be hit, gets the dogs barking upstairs and whatnot. The 360 is easily the biggest piece of shit console ever released. New consoles SKUs addressed it but the og 360 is pure trash in terms of design.
 

DaGwaphics

Member
Dec 29, 2019
4,022
5,390
540
Slot is best. Tray and Top both come with additional mechanical parts and mechanism which can break due to human error.

Wouldn't the top loaders have the least amount of moving parts outside the basic disk mechanism? The tray and the slot both have the additonal movement associated with moving the tray/disk.
 

Dragon_Rocks

Member
Jul 12, 2013
684
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700
Wouldn't the top loaders have the least amount of moving parts outside the basic disk mechanism? The tray and the slot both have the additonal movement associated with moving the tray/disk.

My issue is not with the amount of mechanisms involved but how exposed they are and whether they can be accidentally physically damaged.
 

Isleofsancroy

Banned
May 15, 2014
467
200
565
I admit i dropped the ball with the 3DO (remembered there being more than just four and that 3DO marketed it more like an entertainment center than a console and didn't feel like researching). But what's a side loader? The only disc based console i can think about that isn't a tray, top or slot is the after mentioned PSP and i think the poster below was right in referring it to as an "cassette tray loader".
Side-loaders you push the cart or CD, usually horizontally, into the console or computer from the side. Not many used that method because it's kind of dumb haha.
 

Impotaku

Member
Jul 26, 2014
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Totally dependent on the media, for pre bluray stuff top loader everytime as i have gotten sick of stuff getting scratched. I still remember the panasonic Q fucking up gamecube disks thanks to it having one of those stupid indentations in a full sized tray so when you opened up the tray the disk would jump out of the recessed part & slide about. For any disk that actually has a bulletproof scratch resistant coating like ps3&4 games then slot loading is fine.
 

Kadve

Member
Jun 5, 2019
543
581
425
Totally dependent on the media, for pre bluray stuff top loader everytime as i have gotten sick of stuff getting scratched. I still remember the panasonic Q fucking up gamecube disks thanks to it having one of those stupid indentations in a full sized tray so when you opened up the tray the disk would jump out of the recessed part & slide about. For any disk that actually has a bulletproof scratch resistant coating like ps3&4 games then slot loading is fine.
Completely forgot about the Panasonic Q. Throws of my calculations a bit.
 

Duchess

Member
Oct 2, 2020
792
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405
Gosh, could you imagine if Sony had released just the PS5 DE, but allowed for external Blu-Ray drives to be plugged into it, for those who wanted the disc support?

PS5 would then retail at £350. That would crush the market, for sure.

Sounds nice, but it would probably result in a nightmare for consumers and Sony themselves, with people trying to get obscure drive to play nice.
 
Last edited:

Patashnic

Member
Jul 28, 2013
225
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Sweden
Top with slide, PS3 style


It felt super-cheap though. Very plastic.
 
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Impotaku

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Jul 26, 2014
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The gamecube loading mechanism is especially good for keeping disks pristine as you push that little button in to eject your game from the spindle, zero damage risk to the disks.
 

KungFucius

Member
Jul 16, 2008
2,146
1,058
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voted top because it has less mechanical parts to fail. If data shows those without an exposed lense fail less, then the one with smallest failure rate. In other words I don't care as long as it is robust.
 

Dane

Member
Jul 16, 2019
1,434
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Slot doesn't scratch games or rarely does, i've got a noticeable number of xbox 360 games that have scratches of all kinds, PS3 games hardly have even smaller ones. Top Loaders can be a good option if the previous owners aren't kids or swap trickers.
 
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RoboFu

Member
Oct 10, 2017
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I am surprised the slot got so many votes. Is that just because the new consoles both have slots?
 

Green_Eyes

Member
Jun 10, 2019
157
189
285
Tray is the least reliable, there's a chance of you accidentally breaking it when it's out. There's also a chance the tray bugs out when coming out or going in.

Top would be my preference if it wasn't for my PTSD with my little brothers shoving their finger on the disc reading laser and ruining my Gamecube.

Slot has has never failed me.
 
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TransTrender

Gold Member
Dec 17, 2006
3,216
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I want to say Slot since it's 'cleaner with less moving parts' but there are still issues with fine particles getting stuck in there as well as being harder to work with stuck disks. Maybe repairs are easier since it's a modular thing, but I dunno.

Top is OK, I guess, except for top locking issues, dust, and the ability to open it up and get an eye full of high energy light.

Thinking about it some more, maybe I like Tray the most?
This is hard.

Slot and tray have never failed me on my console. Can't say that about Top, and I would hate to deal with a slot issue on a laptop.
 
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Jeeves

Member
Dec 7, 2008
1,104
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Top seems the most reliable by far. I hate the idea of a mechanical or electrical issue resulting in a disc being held hostage by the console. So I say top for the peace of mind.
 

Aenima

Member
Nov 5, 2004
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Slot as is more asthetical pleasing, but Top is the most reliable one as both slot and tray need mechanical parts to push and pull the disk and those can break. Also very easy to clean the lens on the top ones. Usually something that is needed on very old consoles.
 
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Jul 12, 2020
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I prefer top loading just because I’ve had no problems with it whereas I have had issues with tray and slot
But it would be very funny if the PS5 had a top load with a little plastic clasp
 

Gamerguy84

Member
Mar 25, 2019
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I'll take top for functionality.

Slot is just one more thing that can go wrong. My friend is an appliance repair guy and I asked him which brand kitchen appliance, washer and dryer dto buy and he said buy something basic because the things he fixes most are the extras.

Automatic slot load is more premium though.
 
Last edited:
Oct 26, 2018
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Slot.

I've never had an issue with recent Xbox systems with slot loading (ya, I still have some BC discs I play on Series X). It sucks it in and plays. I don't think I have ever needed to eject and redo it because the system cant read the disc. And never had a disc get stuck.

PS1, PS2, 360. Top or tray loading systems where I'd get disc reading issues. Then you got to eject it and redo it again (probably because I didn't set it in perfectly).

Worst one is tray loading in a vertical position (360). Got to perfectly get it in the groove or the disc falls.

Tray loading on a PC/laptop sucks too because I think it's electronically powered, whereas old consoles with top load have manual mechanism open door buttons. I've had discs stuck in my laptop. Press it to eject it, the light comes on flashing but the tray doesnt eject. They I got to fuck around with it until it finally pops open.
 
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IFireflyl

Member
Aug 22, 2020
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Cartridges are the only real format. Screw your disc-based mumbo-jumbo.

 
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eastcoastkody

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Nov 5, 2016
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top.

u can't put the game in wrong. And the dirtiest consoles i've ever opened up and cleaned, were all slots