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Both the DVD drive and the CD drive are optical devices. That means they use lasers to read and write the data on a rotating plastic disk. The disks are different; the DVD disk can handle a finer beam of light at a higher frequency, and can store five to ten times the amount of data as the CD. The drives are both the same size, 5 1/4 in. wide by 1 3/4 in. high and can fit in a standard 5 1/4 in. drive bay. Nowadays combo devices are available, that is a drive that handles both CDs and DVDs for reading and writing (burning). They can read and write in all of the standard data formats. For the typical end-user, you will get a better bargain when you purchase this type of combo drive.

Both drives come with either the SATA or PATA connectors. Choose either one, but, SATA has a faster data transfer rate.

The X factor tells you how fast the DVD or CD drive can read or write data. It is a multiple of predetermined number, expressed as 20X (example) meaning twenty times the base number. This indicates the amount of data that can be read or written as bytes per second. Obviously the higher the X value the faster the throughput.

Armed with the information supplied here go to your favorite online computer supply house and look at the DVD and CD drives iconavailability. Select the one that will satisfy your needs and fits within your budget.

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For additional information on the DVD drive.

For additional information on the CD drive.

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