DVD Overview and Drive Speeds
DVD disks holding video are referred to as DVD-Video disks. DVD-Video disks should play on any DVD-ROM, either in a DVD PC drive or in a standalone DVD player.
Technically, DVDs work a lot like CDs. Data is recorded via pits. DVDs use a shorter length laser which allows the pits to be spaced closer together. This allows more data to be recorded on the disk.
As with CD-RW speeds, DVD drive speeds are measured with a multiplier. For example, 1x DVD transfers data at about 1.3 MB/Sec. A 4x drive could transfer data at four times that speed or about 5.2 MB/Sec. Compare this to the 0.15 MB/sec data transfer for a 1x CD-RW and youll see DVD drives are much faster. Almost ten times faster.
All DVD videos play at 1x speed. And, because DVDs are extremely fast relative to CDs, you probably wont need a very fast DVD burner. A 4x speed is more than enough horsepower.
DVD burners will also write to CDs and read from CDs, so you wont really need a CD-RW drive, if you have a DVD burner. However, its common to see both a CD-RW and a DVD-ROM drive on one PC. A PC with both a CD-RW and a DVD burner is also common.
If you dont feel a need to burn DVDs, but you wish to watch DVD movies on your PC, you could purchase a DVD-ROM (Read only DVD) drive for about $30. Then, use a CD-RW drive to back up your system and make audio CDs. CD-RW disks typically hold about 650 MB of data, while DVD disks can hold
4.7 GB. So, if you dont have huge files, you might not need a DVD for backing up your important files. The CD-RW will work fine.
For more information about DVDs, check out http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html
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