DVD drives have largely replaced CD-Rom, CD-R and CD-RW drives in all but a few entry-level PCs and notebooks. Many systems still offer DVD-Rom drives as secondary drives – used for playback of discs only – while a growing number have a DVD writer or rewriter for burning your own DVDs as the main system drive.
DVD burners can be divided into internal and external drives. Internal drives
are cheaper than their external counterparts, but require a level of knowledge
you can install them yourself. You can opt for one of the external offerings which can be hooked up simply via USB2 or Firewire.
Most drives are multi-format, meaning they can write to all key media types,
so make sure yours supports DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. Newer double
and dual-layer drives can write to new discs which can store 8.5GB
versus the 4.7GB capacity of existing discs. This is useful for backing up your DVD movie collection or chunks of your hard drive on a single disc.
The dual-layer drives cost little more than single-layer drives, so are a good investment. The same cannot be said for the cost of dual-layer discs. A branded, duallayer 8.5GB disc will cost around £3.75. Rewriteable dual-layer discs will not arrive until the end of 2006.
Recommended DVD Drives:
A slimline dual-layer DVD writer that performs well and is perfect for small form factor PCs
LG 12X Super Multi DVD
Good-value external USB2/Firewire rewriter with all-format media support
Check prices >
A little noisy, but one of the best-value external USB2 dual-layer burners around
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