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Choosing Step 6

Optical Drive

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Introduction

Choosing an optical drive is relatively simple. Currently there are 2 types of disk that are worth consideration; DVD and Blue-Ray. There are drives available for each format which can either read only (ROM), or read and write disks (RW). A DVD can hold up to 8.5GB on a dual layer disk, while a Blue-Ray disk can hold up to 50GB of data also on a Dual layer disk.

DVD has been around for so long that it would be unusual not to want some form of DVD drive on your PC. Given the very cheap price of DVD writers, it seems like the most suitable choice for most users. Some may also wish to have a DVD-ROM for secondary reading and direct copying of disks.

Blue-Ray on the other hand is relatively new and for most users will not hold much value. Two situations when a blue-ray drive would be appropriate are firstly for a Media Centre PC where playing high definition Blue-Ray disks would be desirable and secondly where backup or distribution of very large files is important. Remember that if you wish to play Blue-Ray movies then you will need a graphics card and display that are 'HDCP' compliant. HDCP is the mechanism that Blue-Ray uses to ensure copy-righted disks are not copied.

Other factors to consider are the speed at which you wish the drive to read and/or write data at and the type of connection it uses.


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