Computer Hardware:
     • Tools, Static & Cleaning
     • Form Factor
     • PC Case & Fans
     • Motherboard
     • Processor (CPU)
     • Power Supply Unit
     • RAM
     • Hard Drive
     • Solid State Drive
     • Optical Drive
     • Floppy Disk Drive
     • Graphics Card
     • Sound Card
     • Network Card
     • Computer Monitor
     • Keyboard & Mouse
     • Laptop / Netbook
     • Building a Computer
     • Overclocking

Operating System & Backup:
     • Operating System
     • Drivers
     • Windows Tools
     • User Accounts
     • Backup
     • Windows 10

Internet & Network:
     • Internet
     • Wi-fi or Cable
     • Improve Broadband Speed
     • Network Computers

Computer Peripherals:
     • Printer
     • Scanner
     • External Hard Drive
     • USB Flash Drive

Computer Security:
     • Anti-virus
     • Anti-Spyware
     • Phishing
     • Firewall

Common PC Problems:
     • Slow Computer
     • Hardware Failure
     • Software Failure
     • Printing Problems

     • Windows Shortcuts
     • Glossary of Terms
     • HTML Colour Picker
     • Number Base Converter

Optical Disk Drive

An Optical Disk Drive uses a laser to read or write to a removable optical disk. Software including operating systems, and games can be bought on an optical disk ready to be installed on a computer. Films and music can also be played from a disk and backups can be archived to optical disks.

Optical Disk Drive (ODD)
Optical Drive.

The photograph shows an optical Disk Drive with the tray open which contains a DVD-R disk.

This is a standard internal 5.25 inch SATA DVD Drive which can read and write to CDs, and DVD disks.

In a desktop computer the Optical Drive comes in a standard 5.25 inch form factor.
The Optical Disk Drive is connected to the motherboard via an interface cable. There are three main types of Optical Disk Drive interface including the older IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) also called PATA (Parallel ATA), the new SATA (Serial ATA), and SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) which is mainly used in industry.

IDE & SATA Optical Disk Drive connectors.

The two main types of Optical Disk Drive on a Home Computer include the older IDE Optical Disk Drive, and the new SATA Optical Disk Drive which are pictured above. They both come in a 5.25 inch form factor and look similar except for the power and data connectors.

Do i need an IDE or SATA Optical Drive?

First you need to look at your computer's motherboard or look in your motherboard manual and determine if it contains the older IDE connectors or the newer SATA connectors. The motherboard may even contain both types of connector.

Motherboard SATA & IDE connectors.
If the motherboard has IDE connectors then you will need an IDE (PATA) Optical Drive. There are usually two IDE connectors on the motherboard and each connector can control up to two drives allowing a total of four drives to be connected in total. A newer computer will most likely have SATA connectors which allow one drive per SATA connector.

Types of Optical Drive.

Older type Optical Drives included the CD-ROM Drive which were only able to read compact disks (CDs). There were also CD-R Drives which could also burn data to a CD-R compact disk and CD-RW Drives that which could burn data to a CD-R compact disk and a CD-RW compact disk which can be written to and erased many times. Later came the DVD-ROM Drive that could read the higher capacity DVD disks.

Today a standard DVD Optical Drive can read and write to compact disks, as well as DVD disks. Some drives will let you read and write to more than one layer (Dual-layer & Triple-layer Disks). You can also buy a Blu-ray Optical Drive which uses much higher capacity disks than standard DVDs and can hold high definition films.

When purchasing an optical drive you will notice that the specification will mention which optical disks are supported as well as the speed at which it can read and write to a disk.

Optical Disk formats.

There are a great deal of different disk formats available including:

CD-ROM (Read-only compact disk), CD-R (Recordable compact disk), CD-RW (ReWritable compact disk).

DVD (Read-only DVD), DVD-RAM, DVD-R or DVD+R (Recordable DVD), DVD-RW or DVD+RW (ReWritable DVD)

DVD-R DL or DVD+R DL (Recordable, Dual-layer), BD-R (Blu-ray, Recordable), BD-R DL (Blu-ray, Recordable, Dual-layer)

BD-RE (Blu-ray, ReWritable), BD-RE DL & TL (Blu-ray, ReWritable, Dual-layer & Triple-layer).

Recordable means that the disk can be written to only once but read many times, and ReWritable means that you can write, erase, rewrite, and read to the disk many times.

There are DVD disks available in +R and -R (or +RW and -RW) formats and both should work equally well in a computer DVD optical drive although -R (-RW) is considered to be more widely compatible with other devices.

More information about Optical Disks including their capacity etc can be found here.


Popular software for burning data, music, or videos to an optical disk include Nero and Roxio Creator.

MENU (Optical Disk Drive):
1. Optical Disk Drive 2. Upgrading Optical Drive 3. Optical Disks