What is an Optical Disc Drive?
Optical drives retrieve and/or store data on optical discs like CDs, DVDs, and BDs (Blu-ray discs) which hold much more information than classic portable media options like the floppy disk.
The Optical Disc Drive is Also Known As
optical drive, ODD (abbreviation), CD drive, DVD drive, BD drive, disc drive
Important Optical Disc Drive Facts
Most optical drives can play and/or record onto a large number of different disc formats.
Popular optical drive formats include CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, BD-R, BD-R DL & TL, BD-RE, BD-RE DL & TL, and BDXL.
Reference your optical drive's manual before purchasing media for your drive to avoid incompatibility issues.
Popular Optical Disc Drive Manufacturers
Optical Disc Drive Description
An optical drive is a piece of computer hardware about the size of a thick soft cover book. The front of the drive has a small Open/Close button that ejects and retracts the drive bay door. This is how media like CDs, DVDs, and BDs are inserted into and removed from the drive.
The sides of the optical drive have pre-drilled, threaded holes for easy mounting in the 5.25 inch drive bay in the computer case. The optical drive is mounted so the end with the connections faces inside the computer and the end with the drive bay faces outside.
The back end of the optical drive contains a port for a cable that connects to the motherboard. The type of cable used will depend on the type of drive but is almost always included with an optical drive purchase. Also here is a connection for power from the power supply.
Most optical drives also have jumper settings on the back end that define how the motherboard is to recognize the drive when more than one is present. These settings vary from drive to drive so check with your optical drive manufacturer for details.
External optical drives usually connect via USB.