CD Writers

Despite living in a world where hard disks are insanely cheap, and removable media incredibly small, the humble CD doesn't show any signs of being superseded the way it has replaced the floppy disk. Although the CD was originally a read-only medium, the development of rewritable disks has meant that the floppy disk is no longer necessary, besides the fact that its humble 1.4MB is not enough for anything but the simplest of documents anymore. Additionally, the competition in removable media has thinned, with things like ZIP, JAZ and Super Floppy disks no longer being cost-effective or as widely used as CD-ROM drives.

On the other hand, however, it is worth remembering that you can pick up an 80GB hard disk for under $300- that's equivalent to about 120 CDs. That works out to less than half a cent per megabyte, but blank CDs will still only cost you half of that and rewritables will work out about the same. Add to that the fact that a standard IDE hard disk can read and write at least 60MB per second, compared to only 5MB per second for CDs. Still, the fact remains that CDs are durable, portable, convenient, small and cheap.

Whether you are looking for a cost-effective backup solution, or you just want to share files with your friends, a CD writer is pretty much an essential ingredient of any PC these days. Whatever your reasons, there are a few key considerations to bear in mind when looking at purchasing a burner:

Advantages

  • CD media are very cheap
  • Recording speeds of 40x let you burn CDs in under three minutes
  • Portability
  • Compatibility with almost all computers and audio devices
  • Long shelf life (theoretically up to 100 years)
  • Buffer underrun protection means you can use your PC while you burn
  • CDs are more durable than magnetic media such as hard disks

Disadvantages

  • May require you to stop using your PC while you burn CDs
  • Rewritable disks are slower and more expensive than write-once CDs
  • Slow capacity compared to DVD writers, which are becoming more affordable

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