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Quick facts about DVD drive

Currently, DVD drive is a must part in a computer system. Applications, software, movies and other information are delivered through optical disks – CD and DVD.

If you are looking for information on DVD drives and related facts, read here.

What are CD/DVD drives?

CD/DVD drives are used to read data and applications from CDs (compact disk) and DVDs (digital versatile disk). It is a device which uses laser technology to read and write data on/from optical disks.

cd drive

Typical CD drive

Data is written on optical disk by burning pits on the disk with laser. Later on, data can be read by reflecting low-power laser onto the surface of the disk. The photo detector then translates the bouncing lights back into sound or data.

As the name implies, CD-ROM (compact disk read only memory) drives are only for reading data from disk, they can’t write back.

Currently, this type of drive is phasing out since it is replaced by the more advanced and additional capabilities of DVD drives. All desktop computers come with at least CD-ROM drives, though this is changing now.

Presently, DVD rewritable becomes a standard on most new desktop and laptop computers. So, make sure this when you buy a new PC. Using this drive you can read/write both CD and DVD disks. DVD drives can read all types of CDs but CD drives are not capable of reading DVDs.

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Use of CDs and DVDs

Varieties of information can be recorded using optical disks. Whether you are a computer user to backup data or application developer to record software or in entertainment industry (movies), CD/DVDs are simple mediums to distribute any kind of information easily.

These optical disks are preferable because of the following reasons:

  • Inexpensive
  • Stores a large amount of data
  • Easy for handling
  • Longevity
cd and dvd

Difference between CDs and DVDs

Both types are made with the same material and size, but differ in their storage capacity and durability.

CDs can store up to 700MB size of data. The standard DVDs store 4.7GB, more than 6 normal CDs of data. In addition, DVD disks are more durable than the compact disks.

Today, the application development and entertainment industry are using DVD to sell their production.

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Types of CDs and DVDs formats

So far, two kinds of CDs are available other than CD-ROM: CD-R and CD-RW CD-R (CD-recordable) - can be written on it only once.

CD-RW (CD-rewritable) - can be written repeatedly (means erase and re-write), usually used for back up.

Two kinds of DVDs are available other than DVD-ROM: DVD-R and DVD-RW DVD-R and DVD+R - can be written on it only once.

DVD-RW, DVD+RW - can be written repeatedly (means erase and re-write), usually used for back up.

Based on size, there are four types of DVD

Single-sided one layer data DVD (4.7GB data)

Double-sided two layers of data DVD (9.5GB) records on both sides of a disk.

Single-Sided two layers of data DVD (8.5GB) records on one side but have two recordable layers by superimposing one on the top of the other.

Double-sided four layers of data DVD (17GB) records on both sides. Each side contains two recordable layers of data.

Types of CD and DVD drives

CD-ROM drives only reads from CDs.

DVD-ROM drives are meant to read both CD and DVD. It also burns files to CDs but not DVDs.

DVD-RW writers accomplish all tasks of reading from and writing back to both type of disks.

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These are the two types of high-definition disk formats. HD-DVD is developed by Toshiba and the other disk format, Blu-ray is developed by the electronics giant, Sony.

Recently, there was a competition between the two formats. Because of size and durability Blu-ray outranks HD-DVD and chosen by entertainment industries.

For example, Single-layer HD DVD disc stores 14.7GB data whereas Blu-ray single layer disc stores up to 25GB data.


Having a DVD writer will be the best choice since you can carry out any of the other tasks (reading and burning). However, it is a wise decision to have separate DVD drive and burner on your computer, specially you often watch movies on your pc. You will increase the burner service.

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