DVD-ROM Drives

Going Out for a Drive – The Five Top DVD-ROM Decisions to Consider

A DVD ROM is a new type of read-only compact disks that can hold 4.7 gigabytes of information, which is enough for a full-length movie. A DVD ROM can be used to store large amounts of data including photos, videos and movies while maintaining a high quality picture and sound. A DVD-ROM drive is also a good purchase for users that wish to play games on the computer. When choosing a new DVD ROM drive, there are a several important points to consider before making a purchase.

Interface: When purchasing a new DVD-ROM drive, consider the interface that the drive will use and what your computer is compatible with. These can include IDE, SCSI, USB’s, Parallel ports and a pc card. An IDE or EIDE is the most common interface with IBM computers. They are compatible with all IBM motherboards and will allow up to four devices to be connected. Make sure before you purchase, that your computer will support another device. Apple users will use the SCSI and some IBM computers use these methods as well. The SCSI interface allows for up to seven devices to be connected. Some computers will require a USB interface. These allow the user too quickly and easily install the device and up to 127 devices can be installed. If you wish to use a USB port, check your computer to ensure it is equipped with one. If not, you will need to have an interface card installed in the computer. Parallel ports can also be used and are available on virtually every computer. Also, a pc card or PCMCIA can be used for older computers that may not have a USB or SCSI ports.

Speed: When looking at DVD ROM drives, think about what you will use the drive for and what kind of speed is necessary. A DVD-ROM is the new standard of the CD-ROM. It is able to read seven times as much data as a traditional DVD disk. Currently DVD drives write at 8X although some older models may only support 4X. A DVD drive can not only read, but it can also play DVD movies with the proper software.

Decoding: When looking at DVD drives for the purpose of watching movies on the computer, think about decoding the movie. Hardware decoding requires a card called an MPEG. Many new computers come with this technology, however if you want to install a DVD drive on an older computer, it may not be included. This card allows for the movie to be decoded using the hardware installed in the computer and not the actual software or CPU system. This allows other functions to be performing on the computer at the same time while watching the movie. An MPEG card will allow you to use the external video to the computer making it work like a DVD player.

Software decoding will require a special software program to decode the movie. This is usually less expensive than the hardware devices, but it will require the entire computer to function. It might also offer poor video quality than the hardware version.

Price: If you are adding a DVD-ROM drive to an existing computer, you can expect to pay between $100 to $300 depending on the features and brands. A drive can be purchased and installed into the computer or it can be a stand-alone DVD drive. A drive that is installed into the computer will cost more than a stand-alone version. The drives speed, interface and included hardware and software will all affect the price of the drive.

Other Considerations: When looking at DVD-ROM drives you might want to consider other aspects of your purchase such as warranty and technical support. Look into how long the warranty is for and what it covers. Many computer stores sell extended warranties that you might want to consider purchasing as well. Think about technical support, too. Consider whether or not support is available either online or by phone. Good technical support is offered both ways 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Also, make sure you buy from a reputable dealer or electronic store that offers a return option of the drives ends up not working with your system.

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