Optical drives are another type of storage devices that use optical disks to store data like CDs, DVDs, and BDs (Blu-Ray discs) and were introduced as an improvement to the older portable media floppy disk. They are also called disc drive, ODD, and DVD drive.
Do You Need an Optical Disk Drive?
The most popular disk drive makers are LG, Memorex, and NEC. These companies are not only limited to making optical drives but they have been making some of your computer parts as well.
Optical Disc Drives
Basically, an optical drive is a computer hardware piece having size and thickness like a cover book. The front side houses a small Open/Close button that ejects and retracts the drive bay door. There is where compact disks are inserted and removed.
The sides of the optical drives are pre-drilled, threaded holes allowing them to mount easily in the 5.25-inch computer case. The optical drive is mounted to the end and it has the connection faces located towards the computer while the drive bay face is located outside of the computer.
The rear side of the drive has a port for a cable which is used to connect it with a motherboard. The cable type depends on the drive type but it mostly comes with the drive. Similarly, there’s a connection for power to power it up from the power supply.
Majority of the drives comes with jumper settings at the back allowing the motherboard to recognize them easily. They differ from drive to drive so you can get more details from the manufacturer.
Optical Disc Drive Media Formats
There is the large number of disc formats which optical drives can play and record like CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, BD-R, BD-R DL & TL, BD-RE, BD-RE DL & TL, and BDXL.
The “R” refers to recordable while the “RW” refers to rewritable. For instance, DVD-R discs can be written for one time, One written the data cannot be changed after, only read. DVD-RW is the rewritable format that allows you to write and erase to write new information and contents anytime.
Recordable discs are best if someone borrowed the CD and don’t accidentally delete the files. A rewritable disc will be ideal to store a backup of different files and you can easily make room for new files and backups by removing some.
Discs with CD prefix can store a maximum of 700 MB of data, but DVDs are capable to hold about 4.7 GB of data. Blu-ray discs hold 25 GB per layer, dual layer DB discs are capable to hold 50GB, while the BDXL are capable of triple and quadruple layers to store around 100GB to 128GB. We suggest you take a look at the drive’s manual before purchasing the drive to avoid any kind of incompatibility issues.
Using a computer without Optical Drives
In 2018 the connect of optical disc drives has obsolete and computers do not come with built-in disc drives. But if you have discs you want to read or write to, there are some solutions for you as well.
First, if you can access a computer that has the optical disc drive then it will be good. You can simply insert the disc and copy all your content into a flash drive and simply copy all the files from flash drive to your computer where you need files. You can also use DVD ripping software if you want to take a backup of your DVD to your computer. To be honest, this setup is not good for the long-term, and you might not get access to a computer having a disc drive in it.
If the files inside the disc are available online as well, like printer drives, you better download the software from the manufacturers website. The digital software is easy to purchase from the distributors like MS Office or Adobe Photoshop using ODD.
Steam is the best option to download PC video game because all other methods will allow you to install the software without looking for a disc drive.
In 2018 it’s not recommended to use discs are backup but you can store a copy in them. Instead, you should back up your files online or use offline tools to save your files from one computer to another using external hard drives. But it’s your choice if you still want to use optical disc drives as they can be the easy route to using and installing the external disc.