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optical disk
Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2004 

A storage medium from which data is read and to which it is written by lasers. Optical disks can store much more data -- up to 6 gigabytes (6 billion bytes) -- than most portable magnetic media, such as floppies. There are three basic types of optical disks:
  • CD-ROM : Like audio CDs, CD-ROMs come with data already encoded onto them. The data is permanent and can be read any number of times, but CD-ROMs cannot be modified.
  • WORM : Stands for write-once, read -many. With a WORM disk drive, you can write data onto a WORM disk, but only once. After that, the WORM disk behaves just like a CD-ROM.
  • erasable: Optical disks that can be erased and loaded with new data, just like magnetic disks. These are often referred to as EO (erasable optical) disks.
  • These three technologies are not compatible with one another; each requires a different type of disk drive and disk. Even within one category, there are many competing formats, although CD-ROMs are relatively standardized.

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    DISK/TREND market research site 
    Provides market research on rigid, flexible and optical disk drives, disk drive arrays, disk autochangers and flash memory cards. Also provided are research summaries and over 200 links to manufacturing, educational and government organizations concerned with data storage.

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    related categories

    CD-ROMs

    Lasers

    Peripheral Devices

    related terms

    areal density

    CD-I (Compact Disc-Interactive)

    CD-ROM

    compact disc

    disk

    erasable optical disk

    ETOM

    mass storage

    MO

    multitasking

    phase change disk

    ROM

    worm


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