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How to choose an Optical Drive?

A Brief Guide

odThe Optical Drive is, primarily, a device for your computer to receive external media and data. Users would do well to invest in the appropriate Optical Drive for their PC. What are some of the considerations to be made when choosing an Optical Drive? To begin with, what would you be using your Optical Drive for? To listen to CD albums? To watch DVD films? To backup data?  Below are the functions for the different types of Optical Drives. 

Functions for different type of Optical Drive

Optical Drives
CD ROM Able to read CDs
CD Writer Able to read and write CDs
DVD ROM Able to read CDs and DVDs
Combo Drive Able to read CDs, DVDs and write CDs
DVD Writer Able to peroform all functions mentioned above.

GooGoo Explains

With the prevalence of DVDs and CDs now, most users should be familiar enough with optical drives without us having to explain more. We can only try to point you to some of the latest features in DVD burners.
Lightscribe is one feature that has got us going potty over recently. Lightscribe enables you to put to emblazon labels onto your DVDs. No more magic markers! Just use the provided software to burn graphics onto your freshly copied disc.
Some high end models have a ‘silent operation mode’ if noise is a concern for you.

Picking an Optical Drive

Remember always to make sure the Optical Drive you purchase comes with its relevant software. DVD players will need softwares such as Roxxio or Nero to perform their writing functions.
So, before you go for that ‘bargain’ DVD drive, make sure that the package includes the relevant writing software or you might end up having to trouble your geek friend to help out with some ‘software problem’.
CD Drive speeds are measured in multiples of 150 KB/s audio CD rate. This speed is referred to as 1X. In other words, a 48X CD Drive transfers data at 48 times 150 KB/s, or 7,200 KB/s. DVD Drives use a different calculation. A 1X DVD drive transfers data at about 1.321 MB/s, or about nine times faster than a 1X CD drive.  

Region Code

When you have just bought a new DVD writer, it is most likely to be region protected. Usually, the region code can only be changed 5 times.  When the counter gets to 0, your drive will be permanently locked to the last region it was set to.

There are a total of 6 region code in this world.

Region Region Code
America and Canada
Europe, Japan, Middle East and South Africa
South East Asia
Australia and South America
Africa, Russia and the rest of Asia

There are ways to get around this problem. Some models have resetting tools made by 3rd parties to reset the change limit back to 5 and some also have firmware patches to remove the region lock. Using either of these will invalidate your Drive’s warranty and if you do it wrongly, the Drive will become useless. If you are prepared to take that risk, the firmware can usually be easily found on a search engine. To avoid all these problems, you should get a region-free DVD drive or writer.

GooGoo Recommends

The price difference between a DVD Writer and a CD ROM is about $50. Unless you are on a very tight budget, go for a DVD writer as it can read almost all types of disc media available in the market.  Even if you won’t ever be watching a DVD film on your PC, you can still use the large storage space of a DVD to backup your data.
We usually recommend our customers to include 2 drives when they are configuring a system (a DVD-RW matched with a DVD ROM). That way, you can use one drive to do all your burning jobs quickly by transferring data from one disk to another in the two drives.
Pick a disk drive that is reliable, in that it must burn an error-free disk every time. Imagine the frustrations you’d be subjected to if you own a drive that burns a faulty disk every other time!
We also think that it is worth paying more for quality brand name DVDs and CDs for burning. Quality manufacturers like Memorex and Verbatim use higher-quality dyes that provide higher reflectivity and last longer.
One last footnote: Always make sure the Optical Drive(s) that you are getting match the colour of your Casing!   


The above guide is provided as a free service to our customers and visitors. All information is written as objectively and accurately as possible. GooGoo Custom Computers are not responsible for any undesirable computer assembly outcomes resulted from reading our hardware guide.

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