DVD Writers have pretty much replaced the CD Writer. This is because DVD improvements mean you can burn a DVD in under 15 minutes and still allow for CD’s to be copied or read as well.
DVD Writers are now the norm in new PC’s. Newer drives have a capacity which exceeds the 4.7GB limit of single sided media to allow 8.5GB to be burnt onto both layers of the disk. These are referred to as Dual-Layer.
Copying data to a CD takes just a couple of minutes and can then be used in almost all players instantly. It is worth pointing out that although you can burn a CD at 52x speed. It may not work in some older cd drives. If this is the case then select a slower burning speed in your CD/DVD writing software, e.g. Nero. I would recommend 12x speed or less.
All DVD/CD Writers have a built in buffer, which allows you to do other tasks such as reading emails or writing a document, whilst writing to the disk. A buffer is similar to the anti-shock feature commonly found in walkmans and in-car cd players.
CD Writers can use either CD-R or CD-RW media in the same way as DVD Writers can use DVD-R and DVD-RW. The R disks can only be written (or burnt) once. The RW version usually allows for upto 1000 burns to be made by re-using the same disk.
Speeds are usually marked as 52 x 16 x 48 which means it has a 52x speed write, 16 x speeds re-write, and a 48x read function. The read function is exactly the same as normal CD/DVD Rom drives, the write speed is used when writing to CDs or DVD and the re-write is used only with re-writeable CD or DVD media. 16x DVD Writers are fast becoming the new standard, but there are newer formats available.
Bluray and HD-DVD are the newest formats.
Bluray can store upto 25GB on a single layer disk and 50GB on a dual-layer disk. Bluray comes with the Sony PS3
HD DVD can store upto 15Gb per layer so 30GB on dual-layer and has specifications for a triple layer which can hold 51GB. HD DVD comes with the Microsoft XBox 360.
There is a format war going on, so as a result you must have the correct player to play the required format, however you can get dual format players if you know where to look.
An IDE connection is still the most popular connection method for a PC. Other connecting options include external USB 2.0 or FireWire, however the SATA connector which is now more common on Hard Drives is also available.