Optical drive

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Rise and fall of ISO 9660

1989 - 1990: ISO 9660 Optical drives first reach the consumer market

  • High End System: 33MHz 386 or any 486 computer / 4MB RAM / 80MB HD
  • 1x cd-rom drive with a proprietary controller at a ~$500 price point
  • Each vendor had their own interface (Mitsubishi / Mitsumi / Sony / Panasonic / Philips )
  • Most CD-Rom drives used caddies to load disks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxt5A0KJ9nw

1991 - 1992: Microsoft sets MPC1 standards

  • High End System: 50Mhz 486DX CPU w/ Local Bus / 8MB RAM / 200MB HD
  • 2x CD Rom Drives (Twice as Fast!!)
  • IDE & SCSI CDROM interfaces begin to replace proprietary interfaces
  • Most new soundcards contain an IDE or SCSI interface for attaching an Optical drive
  • Affordable tray based drives ("The Cup holder") become more common

1993 - 1994: MPC Level 2 Standard

  • High End System: 486 >= 100Mhz / Socket 4 & 5 Pentium / 16MB RAM / 500MB HD
  • 3x & 4x IDE & SCSI CDROM drives arrive at ~$500 price point.
  • Expensive 1x & 2x CD-R burners were available at prices near $1000, still takes over 30 minutes to burn a 650MB disk

1995 - 1996: MPC Level 3 Standard

  • High End System: Socket 7 / Socket 8 / 32MB RAM / 2 GB HD
  • 6x to 12x IDE CD ROM appear, still using CLV (Constant Linear Velocity)
  • Fastest drives enter at the $400 price point, low end drives available for $100
  • IDE drives with higher speeds tend to arrive sooner and the prices fall faster
  • "El Torito" extension to ISO 9660 provides for bootable CD-Roms
  • "Joliet" extension to ISO 9660 allow long unicode filenames
  • 4x CD-R drives become affordable and can burn a full disk in less than 20 minutes, but buffer underruns are a common occurrence if you try to multitask with an IDE burner
  • CD-RW drive appear priced at > $500
  • Slot Loading CR-Roms appear

1997 - 1999: CAV Drives and DVD-ROMs

  • High End System: Slot 1 / Super Socket 7 / 64MB RAM / 20GB HD
  • Optical drives are a standard feature on new PC builds, no longer a specialty item.
  • CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) CDROM drives appear with 16x speeds and quickly ramp up to 72x. They were often quite loud. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNY4DFhf6xM
  • ATA Packet Interface (ATAPI) becomes official, adding removable media features to the ATA protocol
  • 1x & 2x DVD-ROM appear
  • CD-ROM prices drop to $50 for a low end drive, $120 for 2x CD-R and $250 for an 8x CD-R burner
  • DVD-ROM (Up to 10x ) appear, quickly dropping in price to less than $400
  • DVD-RW (Versions < 1.2) appear near the end of this period

2000 - 2004: Writeable DVDs mature

  • Computers: Socket 370, 423, 478, 462, 754 w/ 1-2GB RAM & 120GB HD
  • DVD-ROM drives replace CD-ROMS as the most common optical drive on a new computer
  • DVD-ROM speeds pass 10x
  • DVD-RW Version 1.2 appears as the standard matures
  • DVD+R / DVD+RW appear
  • DVD drives become commodity items with prices well below $100
  • Optical drives replace floppy drives as the primary boot media for installing operating systems

2005 - 2009: Commodity Optical Drives

  • Computers: Early 64bit chips w/ 2-4GB RAM & 500GB HD
  • Early Sata optical drives appear that use Pata chipsets with a Sata bridge on the controller, not ideal performance
  • True Sata Super Multi DVD drives with 20x speeds soon replace PATA drives and bridged controllers
  • Most DVD writers support all common +/- formats
  • BD-ROM drives exist and are affordable, but never become common
  • M-Disc media for archives that last for more than a few years
  • Super Multi DVD drives sell for less than $40, DVD-RW less than $60
  • CD-Music sales plummet (https://www.statista.com/chart/12950/cd-sales-in-the-us/ )

2010 - 2016: The Decline

2017 --> : Obsolescence

  • Computers: Tablets and thin light laptops with NVME SSD & Cloud storage
  • Ain't no space in a tiny computer for the optical drive
  • Vendors drop optical drives to reduce price on Low and Midrange desktops
  • High end desktops still have optical drives for compatibility purposes, but optical drives become a niche product

This is a list of all CD/DVD drives in the wiki

DeviceBus typeBus versionBus speedCD readCD readCD-RCD-RCD-RWDVDTransportDiscsLine outSPDIF
Matsushita CW-7503SCSISCSI-210 MHz20 x3 MB/s
20 x
8 x1.2 MB/s
8 x
0 x0 xTray1None