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6/14/06 ~ CD vs CD-R vs CD-RW vs DVD vs DVD-R,
If you find yourself standing in the computer store, wondering
what the difference is between CD, CDR, CDRW, etc., wonder no
more. This article will help you decipher the acronyms.
CD vs CD-R vs CD-RW vs DVD vs DVD-R,
CD players will play CDs and most CD-Rs and CD-RWs. You
can not record onto CDs using a CD player.
CD-R is short for "CD-Recordable". Recordable
CDs are WORM (Write Once, Read Multiple) media that work just
like standard CDs. The advantage of CD-R over other types of
optical media is that you can use the discs with most standard
CD players. The disadvantage is that you can not reuse a disc.
All CD recorders can read CDs, just like a standard CD drive.
A related technology called CD-Rewritable (CD-RW)
allows you to erase discs and reuse them, but the CD-RW media
does not work in all players. CD-RW drives are able to write
both CD-R and CD-RW discs.
DVD players use a completely different disk
technology from CDs. DVDs at this time are used primarily for
movies and games. You can not write DVDs with your CD
DVD-R can copy information to DVD media.
There are many different DVD formats: DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW,
DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM. Make sure that your writer and reader
support compatible formats.
There is no known way to write to a specific
medium with a specific writer and be sure that it can be read
on all readers.
Quality and reliability
The quality of the recordable disc media makes
a big difference. One type of recordable CD disc may produce a
problem while another may not. Different brands may work in
one drive and not in a different one. Usually, purchasing a
brand name is recommended. But media quality varies, vendors
are constantly switching sources, a vendor may manufacture in
different locations, and basic materials may vary. Experiment
with different brands of recordable discs until you find one
that works reliably for you before you buy a lot.
If you are producing non-archival music CDs,
disseminating data for the short term, or simply making quick
copies to send to friends, an inexpensive spindle may be more
economical, even if you get a few bad discs per batch.
Be sure that your media and your recorder are
compatible. For example, if you buy 6x CD-RS, but your CD
burner records at up to 8x, you can not record at more than
6x. The speed rating of a disc, the top speed at which you can
reliably write data, is straightforward. Use discs that match
or exceed the top speed of your drive, such as 24x media for a
24x drive or 48x media for a 32x drive. You can always use
higher rated media for a slower-rated drive, but trying to use
slower-rated media in a higher rated drive could lead to
problems. One exception to this rule is that older CD-RW discs
that are rated at 1x or 2x cannot be written in drives which
carry the "High Speed" or "Ultra Speed" CD-RW logo. These
drives must have discs rated at 4x speed or higher, or carry
the "Multi-speed" logo.
The specifications for the length of an audio
CD is just over 74 minutes or 650 MB. There are also 80-minute
discs are also common. 80-minute discs push the basic CD
specifications to the limit. Some manufacturers sell 99-minute
discs. These discs have compromised the basic CD
specifications and may not be readable in other drives or
consumer CD players. The track pitch may have been reduced or
the track extends closer to the outside edge of the disc or
both. If the track pitch has been reduced, there could be
tracking or audible noise problems throughout the disc. If the
track extends closer to the outer edge, there could be
problems near the end of the discs. Some players may not read
these discs at all.
Designer colors such as red, blue, purple and
black are purely cosmetic, having no affect at all on the
quality or compatibility of a disc.
Audio Vs data
There are discs, specifically for audio. There
is no difference in quality or composition between "data"
blanks and "music" blanks, except for a flag that indicates
which one it is. If you have a CD-RW drive, use CD-R media
when creating music CDs. CD-R media is inexpensive and will
play in home, car, and portable CD players. Only use CD-RW
media to make CDs capable of having file rewritten and then
Adding an adhesive label to a disc can make it
look more "professional", but you have to be careful. The
adhesives on some labels can dissolve the discs protective
coating. Asymmetric labels can throw the disc out of balance,
causing read problems, and labels not designed for CDs might
bubble or peel off when subjected to long periods of heat.
If you want to write directly onto the surface of a disc, you
want to use a felt tip pen or pens that are approved for use
on unlabeled CD-R media. The ink in some kinds of pens may
damage the top coating of the disc. Never use a pencil, a
ball-point, or another hard-tipped pen to write onto a CD-R,
because the top layer of the disc will gouge easily on most
media. Never use a solvent-based "permanent" marker on a CD-R;
it can eat through the protective coating and destroy the
disc. If the prospect makes you nervous, just write in the
clear plastic area near the hub or only use discs with a
printable top surface.
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