Chances are, you love the recordable CD drives in your office. But if you have a lot of data to juggle, it's time to add a recordable DVD drive to the lineup-or, even better, a new PC with one already installed.
A DVD disc holds almost 15 times the data of a CD-a capacity more in tune with today's fat graphical applications and jumbo fixed-disk drives. Plus, all DVD recordable drives will read your CD-ROMs, and some will burn CDs, too.
True, DVD-drive makers are still squabbling over which recording standards you should use, but early adoption could save you money in disc-based PC backup, data archiving, and distribution of self-produced training films, manuals and portable desktop presentations.
"When you're dealing with large files, it justifies taking a chance on DVD," says Karl Gretton of CivicLife.com, a Web software design firm. His company uses DVD discs to back up, archive and distribute most kinds of computer files and projects generated in its Toronto and Redwood City, California, offices.
If you've bought one of those hugely popular CD-RW drives, chances are it's capable of playing read-only DVD discs as well. Mary Craig, a principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest, reports those combo players are replacing the CD-only recorders and building an audience for DVD output. CD-RW will be king for quite a while, she says, but shipments of recordable DVD drives will more than double next year to 2.13 million and hit 14.5 million in 2005. At $600 to $800, almost any business can afford its own DVD recordable drive.
Three rewritable DVD formats are competing for your dollar: DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW. All write 4.7GB on one side or 9.4GB on both sides of a single disc, and all of them can master the "general use" write-once DVD-R format that can be read by any DVD player.