What Is optical Disc Drive (Definition & Function & Types)

Larissa updated on Jan 11, 2024 | Home > Knowledge Center

When it comes to Optical Disk Drive, most young people may not be familiar with this term because it has gradually disappeared from laptops in recent years. But don't worry, this post will guide you to know what an optical disk drive is, how it works, and common optical disk drive types. Now, let's start!

[Definition] What Is an Optical Disk Drive

An Optical Disk drive, also called disk drive, ODD, CD drive, DVD drive, and BD drive, is a part of computer hardware that is used for CDs/DVDs/BDs reading and writing. It looks like a square box with a drawer. You can press the open/close button to reject and retracts the drive bay door. 

Optical disk drives can be found in regular PCs and laptops, although they have become less common in recent years.

The optical disk drive has many uses. It can be used to install systems, software, and game. Or, it works as a storage media to save videos, audio, documents, photos, etc. 

optical disc drive

(screenshot from Wikipedia)

[Function] How Does Optical Disk Drive Work

The optical drive works by using a laser diode to read data stored on the optical disc in the form of tiny pits and bumps. The disc spins at different speeds according to its type, which is measured in RPM (rotations per minute). The optical drive also uses a laser diode to write data onto optical discs by burning tiny little holes on the surface of the optical disc. 

Most optical disk drives can be used to record or read CD/DVD/BD drive formats. Some common ones include CD-R(readable), CD-RW(readable and writable), DVD-R, DVD-RW, BD-R, BD-RW, etc. 

optical disk drive

[Types] Common Types of Optical Disk Drive

According to the connection method, the optical disk drive can be divided into internal and external ODDs. 

The internal optical disk drive refers to the part that is built into the host computer. Some laptops are also equipped with a disk drive that is usually located below the keyboard. The internal disk drive is installed into the computer and can't be removed from it. 

internal optical disk drive

The external optical disk drive, as its name shows, is not integrated with the host computer or laptop. You need to connect it to a computer with a USB or other type of cable. Most laptops nowadays are designed to be thin and light, so the optical disk drive is gradually canceled on them. If you need to use it, you can purchase it and connect it to a laptop via USB, Type-C, Fireware, or Thunderbolt cable. 

external optical disk drive

Sum Up

To sum up, the optical disk drive is a computer component that is used for CDs/DVDs/BDs reading and writing. It uses a laser diode to read and write data stored on optical discs. Optical disk drives can be divided into internal and external, according to the connection method. 

We hope the post can help you understand the optical disk drive better. 

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Larissa

Larissa has rich experience in writing technical articles and is now a professional editor at EaseUS. She is good at writing articles about data recovery, disk cloning, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Her detailed and ultimate guides help users find effective solutions to their problems. She is fond of traveling, reading, and riding in her spare time.

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