Feeds

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... optical disc drives

Laser sharp storage

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Buyer's Guide Optical drive is the collective term for CD, DVD and Blu-ray readers, recorders and rewriters, the mainstay of swap-in-swap-out storage in notebook and desktop computers.

At its simplest, an optical disc can load applications or play music or films, and at its most complex, in the form of a dual-layer, Blu-ray BD-RE disc, it can play high-definition (HD) movies and record up to 50GB of data.

You may be wanting to upgrade an optical drive, or move from CD to DVD or DVD to Blu-ray, or you may want to add an extra drive to a machine with a spare bay. Whatever it is, there is a variety of drives to choose from.

Watch Video

Optical drive types

You will find it increasingly difficult to buy a CD-only drive, as effectively all DVD drives play all varieties of CD in addition to handling a range of DVD types. Blu-ray drives can similarly read, and usually write, both DVDs and CDs.

Samsung SH-BO83L Internal BD-ROM/DVD Writer

Upgrade your desktop's internal optical drive for greater capacity storage and HD playback

There is only one type of recordable and one type of rewriteable CD, but there are two complementary standards of DVDs: DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW. These DVD-plus and DVD-minus formats are distinct, but most modern drives can read and write both of them.

The rewriteable Blu-ray drive uses the abbreviation BD-RE, rather than BD-RW, as the drive has to be fully Erased before rewriting.

DVD drives are available as standard 3.5in internal and half-height, laptop-style devices. Both of these can also be had as external drives in separate enclosures, linked via USB, Firewire or eSATA cables.The Samsung Ultra-Slim AA-ES3P95B charges easily using one USB cable and has a hidden power cord. If you are after an external drive, make sure you get the appropriate type for the connection you have available.

Optical Disc Formats

Optical Disc Formats

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Specialist drives

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.