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Installing an Optical Drive

Optical Drive

Selecting Fast, Inexpensive CD/DVD/HD DVD/BluRay Optical Drives, What to Look For in a Optical Drive, and How to Install Them.

What Is An Optical Drive?

To the hi-tech newcomer, the term optical drive may not mean very much. Simply put, the optical drives read (and may write) CDs; DVDs, HD DVDs; and BluRays. Virtually every modern PC contains an optical drive (either internally or externally), used as a media player, for installing new software, or as large capacity storage medium for computers.

Information is stored on high-density disks in the form of tiny pits "read" by laser. The term refers to the general category of disk drives that read information optically, using a low-powered laser. Large 12inch Pioneer LaserDiscs drives (1982) were the first optical units available on PCs, with CD-ROM drives from Sony appearing in 1983. CD-ROM drives were the breakthrough product, that began as novelties for high-end users and then grew in popularity as they dropped in price and increased in performance. By The mid-1990's, the point arrived where they were mandatory equipment on any new PC system.

Optical drives are considered a part of the storage subsystem of your computer, be it a notebook, a desktop, or a server. They usually interface either through the standard IDE/ATA controller ports on the motherboard, a SCSI interface host adapter, or a dedicated adaptor card, but may also interface through a USB port or a Firewire port, or integrated into a network storage device. The optical drive in a system is an important factor in the PC's ability to install and run software, since most software is now distributed on optical disks (CDs, and now more than ever on DVDs, in the future perhaps Blu-ray). In the case of writeable optional drives (CD or DVD Burners), they also are often the only real backup devices in the PC (as hard disks continue to increase their capacity, optical media is somewhat keeping pace).

Types of Optical Drives

Today we have not just CD-ROM drives, but DVD drives, and Blu-ray drivers. We also have writeable and rewriteable CD-ROM drives, called CD-R and CD-RW respectively. These expand the capabilities of optical drives by letting you actually write to CD-ROM media.

Adding a fast optical drive will increase your PC’s flexibility an life span.

Optical drives usually have a physical connection to the sound card, or audio circuits on the motherboard. Optical drives also usually send data to the system through the motherboard. When you purchase an optical drive you want too match the interface to that of the system, usually IDE/ATA or SCSI.

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