Our Picks

ATAPI DVD-ROM drives have largely replaced ATAPI CD-ROM drives, which are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Current DVD-ROM drives substitute well for a CD-ROM drive. They’re a bit more expensive than CD-ROM drives, but you can buy a good DVD-ROM drive for under $60. For a general-purpose system, we now recommend DVD-ROM rather than CD-ROM. Here are the DVD drives we recommend:

ATAPI DVD-ROM drive

Hitachi, Panasonic, Pioneer, or Toshiba. All of these manufacturers produce first-rate DVD-ROM drives, although they vary in features, speed, and price. If all you need a DVD-ROM drive to do is read DVD-ROM and CD discs, nearly any model from a Japanese maker will suffice. If you need a drive that can read other formats, such as DVD-RAM or DVD-RW, or a drive that supports high-speed DMA modes, the details become more important. See our web site, listed below, for current detailed recommendations.

SCSI DVD-ROM drive

Toshiba SD-M1401 . DVD-ROM is primarily a consumer-oriented technology, so relatively few SCSI drives are available. Of those, the 12X SD-M1401 is the best we know of. SCSI is usually a step ahead of ATAPI in performance, but the SD-M1401 SCSI drive is slower than its ATAPI cousin. Although we’re SCSI advocates, when it comes to DVD-ROM, we use ATAPI. Unless you’re building an all-SCSI system, we recommend you do the same. (http://www.toshiba.com/taecdpd/products/features/SDM1401-Over.shtml)

Combination DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive

Plextor 20/10/40-12A PlexCombo. ...

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