A CD recorder drive.

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CD Recorders

A CD recorder, CD writer or CD burner is a compact disc drive that can be used to produce discs readable in other CD-ROM drives and audio CD players. A DVD recorder produces DVD discs playable in stand-alone video players or DVD-ROM drives. more...

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They are generally used for small-scale archival or data exchange, being slower and more materially expensive than the moulding process used to mass-manufacture pressed discs.

A recorder encodes (or burns) data onto a recordable CD-R, DVD-R or DVD+R disc (called a blank) by selectively heating parts of an organic dye layer in the disc with a laser in its write head. This changes the reflectivity of the dye, thereby creating marks that can be read as with the "pits" and "lands" on pressed discs. The process is permanent and the media can be written to only once.

For rewriteable CD-RW, DVD-RW and DVD+RW media, the laser is used to melt a crystalline metal alloy in the recording layer of the disc. Depending on the amount of power applied, the substance may be allowed to melt back into crystalline form or left in an amorphous form, enabling marks of varying reflectivity to be created. Most rewriteable media is rated by manufacturers at up to 1000 write/erase cycles.

The competing DVD+R and DVD-R disc formats use very similar dye-based media, but differ mainly in the way timing hints for the write head are laid out on the disc surface. This is also the case with DVD+RW and DVD-RW.

Most internal CD recorders for personal computers, server systems and workstations are designed to fit in a standard 5.25" drive bay and connect to their host via an ATA, SATA or SCSI bus. External CD recorders usually have USB, FireWire or SCSI interfaces. Some portable versions for laptop use power themselves off batteries or off their interface bus.

SCSI recorders are less common and tend to be more expensive because of the cost of their interface chipsets and more complex SCSI connectors.


  • Note 1: Some types of CD-R media with less-reflective dyes may cause problems. Phthalocyanine-based discs are said to work best.
  • Note 2: May not work in non MultiRead-compliant drives.
  • Note 3: May not work in some early-model DVD-ROM drives.
  • Note 4: A large-scale compatibility test conducted by cdrinfo.com in July 2003 found DVD-R discs playable by 96.74%, DVD+R by 87.32%, DVD-RW by 87.68% and DVD+RW by 86.96% of consumer DVD players and DVD-ROM drives.


Early-model recorders were CLV (constant linear velocity) drives. The recording speed on such drives was rated in multiples of 150 KiB/s; a 4X drive, for instance, would write steadily at around 600 KiB/s. The transfer rate was kept constant by having the spindle motor in the drive run about 2.5 times as fast when recording at the inner rim of the disc as on the outer rim.

Read more at Wikipedia.org

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