The CD Burner

 for storing your data and music to CDs


The CD burner, also known as the CD writer, has become the most popular way to store music files

and other computer data to hard media (CDs).



Sales of this kind of hardware increased dramatically during "the Napster days", when people really discovered the possibility of downloading music from the net.



CD writer technology has come a long way in terms of speed, storage volume and quality and it's constantly improving.


Click here if you would like a closer look at the cd burner technology and how cd writers work, explained in detail.


What you need to know about a CD burner before you buy one


Following are a few pieces of advice to consider when buying a cd burner


The CD burner's compatibility with the correct CD media (CD-R and CD-RW)


CD-aRrrrgh!! Yeah, the meaning of all these abbreviations can sometimes be a pain in the you-know-what.


But here they are easily explained once and for all:


  • CD-R = CD Recordable. To this type of CD you can store data only once. If the cd burning somehow fails or if the cd has been recorded to before, you can't rewrite to it.

  • CD-RW = CD ReWriteable. This type of CD lets you rewrite and erase the data written to it.

Most or all new cd burners are compatible with both types of CD media, but it's useful to know a bit about them anyhow.


Some people claim that there is no use for the CD-RW type of CD anymore since the price of CD-R discs is down to almost nothing (like around $25 for a 100-pack) and the burn proof technology of new CD burners prevents almost any case of CD writing to fail.


The two most common storage sizes for CD-R and RW are:


650 MegaBytes of data / 74 minutes of music




700 MegaBytes of data / 80 minutes of music.




A glossary to some of the terms you meet when buying blank CD media:

  • Jewel Case - The CDs come in cases like music CDs from the music stores come in.

  • Slim line Jewel Case - Like Jewel Case only thinner.

  • Sleeves - The CDs are protected by thin cardboard or paper sleeves.

  • Spindle - The CDs come stacked on a spindle without any sleeves or cases. This is usually the cheapest way to buy blank CDs.


An Internal or External CD writer?


That's a question of personal preference and price.


The internal CD writer is the most common and the cheapest of the types. It's located inside the computer case and the CD is fed through a slot or drawer in the front.


External CD writers tend to be a bit more expensive, but if you're going to use it with different computers and portability is important to you, this is the way to go.


The external CD writer is connected to the computer like most other external equipment is these days, through USB or Firewire connectors.


The X-Factor, The CD Burning Speed


As you may have seen in the CD writer ads, a few numbers followed by an X (i.e. 52X/24X/52X)


These numbers, also known as the X-factor, determine the speed of the cd writer doing different tasks. They are usually displayed in the following order:


READ-speed / REWRITE-speed / WRITE-speed


The X stands for how many times the regular playing speed of a CD the cd burner can read, write or rewrite.


So a cd writer with 52X writing speed can burn a full 74 minute CD in


74 / 52 = 1,4 minutes


in theory......


This is not entirely accurate. Cd writers vary how fast they burn after how far into the burning process of the entire CD they have gotten.


The manufacturers of CD writers display the fastest speed the CD writer will read/write, that's usually at the end of a full CD.


Determining how fast the CD writer will actually write also depends on the starting and stopping of the burning process and some on the cd writer software too.


Use the calculation above for reference. Although it's not entirely accurate it's not far off either.



Burn Proof Technology


Older CD writers had the problem that if the CD burning process somehow stopped due to small scratches or dust on the CD, or other errors it could not continue and would render the CD-R useless.


Newer technology has made it possible for the CD writer to slow down when encountering errors and even come to a complete stop and then continue, dramatically reducing the number of CD-Rs one has to throw away.



CD Burner Software


A cd burner cannot work without the proper software and there are a lot of software to choose from.


The one piece of software I can truly recommend which I have been using myself for years is the Nero Burning ROM cd burning software.


It can handle your every need, from preparing and converting audio files to copying and burning CDs, VCDs and DVDs.


Some of the cd burners in the online store linked to from this page come bundled with the Nero software.


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