PC Hardware

Advantages of CD-ROM Drives

If a hard disk drive holds more information than a floppy disk drive, accesses the information faster, and reads and writes information, then why do we need CD-ROM drives? The answer is simple: a compact disc can hold large amounts (650 MB) of removable data and can be mass-produced at a very low cost.

The CD has become the medium of choice for software distribution by manufacturers. DVD (digital video disc) technology is beginning to replace traditional CD-ROM technology on many new PCs, but DVD drives can read CD-ROM. It is expected that CD-ROM will be a standard distribution method for the foreseeable future.

An entire software package can be stored on one CD. For example, the early versions of the Microsoft Office Suite were supplied on 32 floppy disks. Today, the entire program suite and its manuals are stored on a single CD. It is also much faster to install a CD. The user simply starts it up, enters any required information, and comes back later; it's no longer necessary to feed disk after disk into the computer. When they were introduced, CDs held large databases such as encyclopedias. Today, they are used for every possible type of data, from national phone directories and software libraries to collections of clip art, music, and games. The following table lists the advantages of storing data on a CD.

Large storage capacity

Up to 650 MB of data fit on a single 5-inch disc. (Smaller than the original 5.25-inch floppy disk, a CD holds almost 2000 times as much information.)


The CD is a portable medium.

Data cannot be changed

A CD is read-only, which prevents accidental erasure of programs or files.


More durable than the standard 5.25-inch or 3.5-inch disks, CDs are not magnetic media and thus are not subject to the same dangers posed by proximity to electrical sources or magnets.

Special capabilities

CD-ROMs are audio-capable, allowing special compression of audio, image, and video data. They can be used to play standard audio CDs and have the capacity to store and record video data.