Most computers are competent in managing CD/DVD, but if you're looking at upgrading your optical drive or if you have a laptop you may want to consider an external DVD drive. An optical drive is a computer disk drive that reads and writes data from optical disks through laser beaming technology. DVD Drives are designed to read/write information from/to DVDs. The drives use laser light and electromagnetic waves to transform information recorded on a disc into readable data (or vice versa when writing). Standard DVD drives can read and write compact discs, as well as DVD discs. Some drives will let you read and write to more than one layer (Dual and Triple layer disks). Discs can be used for storing all kinds of data including e.g. documents, movies, photos or music.
There are two main drive types on the market. Read-Only drives are able to read data while Read/Write (RW) drives are capable of both reading data from and writing data on to discs.
These drives are read only devices, and cannot write any discs. Most DVD-ROM drives are able to read CDs at 40X or 48X and DVDs at 16X with similar access times as well as Blu-ray discs.
These drives are able to read and write both DVDs and CDs. Most DVD writers can write dual layer DVD+R and DVD-R discs with can store about 8.5 gb rather than 4.7 gb capacity on single layer discs.
Nearly all internal DVD burners use the standard ATA/ATAPI interface. The use of SATA models are also useful, however using a SATA optical drive can introduce compatibility issues.
Internal vs External
Within most systems an internal ATA/ATAPI DVD writer is the recommended choice. However DVD burners are also available as external drives that easily connect to a PC using USB connections. Usually external drives are little more expensive than internal drives, however they do have their advantages. Firstly you are able to use an external drive on a number of systems. Secondly you can choose a drive to you needs, for example if you need a DVD writer or just a reader.
Difference between a DVD and CD?
Both a DVD and CD look the same. They're both the same size and typically have one side with a label and the other side is where the laser reads and writes. However the technology that makes up DVD's allow for more data to be held on the disk than a CD.