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Build Or Buy
Building Your Own Computer - Part 1
Building Your Own Computer - Part 2
Building Your Own Computer - Part 3
Building Your Own Computer - Part 4
Building Your Own Computer - Part 5
Building Your Own Computer - Part 6
Building Your Own Computer - Part 7
Computer Accessories Part 2
Hard Drives - Part 1
Hard Drives - Part 2
Motherboard - Part 1
Motherboard - Part 2
There are many ways to store computer data. Most of the data is kept on hard drives which are permanently installed in the computer case, but data can also be stored on removable media such as floppy disks, memory sticks, CDs and DVDs.
This removable media is ideal when you need to take data with you, for example when you need to bring work home. It is also useful for archiving old data.
Floppy disks used to be the most common type of removable media, but their usefulness is becoming more and more limited because of the small amount of data which can be stored as file sizes are becoming larger and larger. Even though floppy drives are still included on many modern computer systems, the removable data of choice these days is either the memory sticks, CDs or DVDs.
Types of Drives
CDs and DVDs are called optical media because a laser is used to read and write the data. Optical drives come in many forms. Some of the configurations are; CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW. There is also a format called DVD-RAM that is a rewritable format which has similarities to hard drives. At this time, there are not many DVD burners that support this format, as it is mostly used for digital camcorders.
What do all of these acronyms mean?
CD refers to Compact Disc, and DVD means Digital Versatile Disc. ROM means Read Only Memory (you cannot write data to a CD-ROM, you can only read data). CD-R means Compact Disc Recordable, which can be recorded only once; where the CD-RW (Compact Disc Rewritable) can be recorded and erased many times.
DVDs are also available in R and RW formats. The original DVD specification was DVD-R or DVD-RW. A more recent type of DVD is the "plus" format (DVD+R and DVD+RW). The two DVD formats are only partially compatible but many hybrid drives have been developed that can use both types. You will see these marked as DVD±RW.
Computer Accessories Part 2When buying an optical drive for your computer, your main consideration will be whether you'll need to be able to record your own CDs or DVDs. If you have no need for recording you can probably get by with a basic CD-ROM or DVD drive. However, if you wish to make your own disks for recording data, music, or movies, you need either a CD or DVD recorder.
The previous article looked at some computer "accessories" that, although often overlooked, are nonetheless essential .....
DVD recorders are backwards compatible so it is possible to record and play CDs on them as well as DVDs, but CD recorders cannot read from or write to DVDs.
Video CardsThe speed of CD and DVD drives is shown as a multiplication such as 12X or 50X. These numbers refer to the data transfer rate and use the original CD and DVD specs as reference points. DVD has a much faster transfer rate (1350 kb per second as compared with 150 kb per second for CDs) so a DVD player rated at 8X is actually equal to a CD player rated at 72X.
In order to interact with a computer (enter information and see the results), we need both an input device and .....
CD recorders are very common these days and prices are almost as low as CD-ROMs. Whereas a CD-ROM costs about $15, CD recorders start at about $20. This minimal extra cost gives you the convenience of an extra storage medium.
DVD players are a bit more expensive than CD recorders or CD-ROMs (starting at about $50 or so) and the DVD recorders are available at an extra $20 or $30 premium. DVD recorders may not be so useful to the average computer user, but people who make their own movies or have a lot of data to store may find them to be a necessary part of their computer setup.
Hard Drives - Part 1
When we talk about computer memory we usually think of RAM (Random Access Memory). Computer memory is not just .....