Short for Compact Disc-Read Only Memory, CD-ROM drives or optical drives are CD players inside computers that can have speeds in the range from 1x and beyond, and have the capability of playing audio CDs and computer data CDs. Below is a picture of the front and back of a standard CD-ROM drive.
Below are the different interfaces that allow a CD-ROM and other disc drives to connect to the computer.
- IDE/ATA - One of the most commonly used interfaces for disc drives.
- Panasonic - Older proprietary interface.
- Parallel - Interface used with old external CD-ROM drives.
- PCMCIA (PC Card) - Interface sometimes used to connect external disc drives to laptop computers.
- SATA - Replacing IDE as the new standard to connect disc drives.
- SCSI - Another common interface used with disk and disc drives.
- USB - Interface most commonly used to connect external disc drives.
CD-ROM transfer speeds
Below is the standard transfer rates and access times for CD-ROM drives. The below figures are averages you can expect to find on each speed of CD-ROM drive.
|Drive speed||Transfer rate (BPS)||Access time (ms)|
|Ten speed (10x)||1,536,000||100|
|Twelve speed (12x)||1,843,200||100|
|Sixteen speed (16x)||2,457,600||90|
|Eighteen speed (18x)||2,764,800||90|
|Twenty four speed (24x)||3,686,400||90|
|Thirty two speed (32x)||4,915,200||85|
|One hundred speed (100x)||15,360,000||80|
|CAV drives (12x - 24x)||1,843,200 - 3,686,400||150-90|
- Further information about the trailing x on a CD-ROM can be found on our x definition.
- What does max mean on 24x max CD-ROM drive?
- Listing of CD-ROM and other disc drive manufacturers.
- Computer CD-ROM and disc drive help and support.