The Best Computer Storage For You

The Best Computer Storage Options —— (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, Flash, External Hard disk drives)

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: The Best Computer Storage For You |

If you are wondering  what your current computer’s optical drive will support (CD, DVD and/or Blu-ray) or the computer you have been eyeing at the store….you need to look no further then the front of the computer.

Usually you will see logos over the optical disk drive that specify what the drive(s) can support.

Whether you want to understand what you have or are thinking of buying new storage solutions  you need to understand what the possibilities are.

CD-ROM (single sided) As most people know, when you buy pre-recorded music CDs or software – they are CD-ROMs.  They can not be erased or written to. A single sided CD can hold about 650MB-900MB (700MB are the most common).

Compact disc Recordable (CD-R) The CD-R capable drive with corresponding disc allows users to create (or burn) their own CD-ROMs. A user can write (record) to the CD only once. The CD-R  is rated by its transfer speed, so the higher the number the faster the write transfer to the disc- up to 52X.  A faster speed is preferable, so you don’t have to sit around forever waiting for your data to record onto the disc. A single sided CD can hold about 650MB-900MB (700MB are the most common).

Compact disc ReWritable (CD-RW) Just like the CD-R, the CD-RW capable  drive with corresponding disc allows users to create (or burn) their own CD-ROMs. The difference is that CD-RW discs can be erased and rewritten to multiple times. CD-RW discs are rated according to their write, rewrite and read times, so they would be rated like this: 52X-32X-52X which means it writes at 52X, rewrites at 32X and reads at 52X. A single sided CD can hold about 650MB-900MB (700MB are the most common).

DVD-ROM (single sided) When you rent or purchase a movie it is usually on a DVD-ROM.  It can not be written to or erased after purchase. A single sided, single layered DVD can hold about 4.7GB .

DVD-R/DVD+R This DVD can be labeled either DVD+R or DVD-R, most newer hard drives accept either kind and there is very little difference. These DVDs are purchased blank. They can be written to once and then treated like a DVD-ROM. A single sided, single layered DVD-R or DVD+R can hold about 4.7GB. A double sided (DS), single layered DVD-R can hold about 9.4 GB. A single sided, double layered (DL) DVD-R can hold about 8.54 GB. A double sided, double layered (DS, DL) DVD-R can hold about 17.1 GB.  Make sure your optical drive can accept the type of DVDs you want to use.

DVD-RW/DVD+RW This DVD can be labeled either DVD+RW or DVD-RW, most newer hard drives accept either kind and there is very little difference. These DVDs are purchased blank. They can be written to and erased multiple times; sessions usually must be closed for subsequent access to stored data. A single sided, single layered DVD-RW or DVD+RW can hold about 4.7GB.

DVD-RAM The disc is purchased blank. It can be written to and erased just like a hard drive disc; no session to close before subsequent access to stored data.

Blu-ray disc These discs are the same size as CDs and DVDs, but a single sided, single layered blu-ray disc has a huge capacity of 25GB.  It givers users a modern, high-definition picture. Some optical disc drives can play and burn writable blu-ray discs at fast transfer speeds. These disc drives are also compatible with DVDs and CDs.

Other storage media includes:

Hard disk drive This  is probably your C:/ drive and is used for permanent, long-term storage. Most computers can allow for 2 internal hard drives and some even more.

External hard disk drives More common for home users then adding an extra internal hard disk drive is purchasing an external (removable) hard disk drive that can hold a lot more information than other forms of storage. It is a good idea to have one of these in order to schedule regular back up sessions of your computer’s hard drive files. With an external hard drive and this free back up tool: SyncBack Freeware V3.2.20.0 you can schedule regular back ups of your hard drive. Remember that it is not if your hard drive will fail, it is when (you don’t want to lose all of those music files do you?).  Some external hard disk drives don’t require a power connection- the USB or FireWire attachment gives it all the power it needs, but the more powerful ones have a separate power attachment to plug into the wall. The next generation of External hard disks will use eSata instead of USB or FireWire connections.

Flash Memory can come in different forms: Secure Digital (SD) cards, memory cards, and USB thumb drives. All of these different versions of flash memory come in a small size, but can store a large amount of data.  SD cards are usually used in digital video recorders, digital cameras, and mobile phones. Thumb drives can be attached to key chains or held around your neck for easy mobility. The next generation of hard drives (called solid-state drives or SSD) will use the technology found in flash memory. USB thumb drives are compact and easy to use. They connect with your USB port and show up in Windows as a seperate drive letter. This allows for drag-and-drop copying and most of the other Explorer functions performed on standard drives. Note: If, for some reason, your thumb drive fails to acquire a new drive letter by itself you can assign one to it in the Disk Management utility. Please note that, like external hard drives,  USB thumb drives are warm-swappable. This means that they must be turned off inside Windows before being unplugged. You can do this by clicking on the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the right bottom corner of your screen.


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