The CD-ROM drive is a device that reads information or music (technically, digital music is also information) off of a compact disk (CD). CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc Read Only Memory.
The CD is spun at high speed inside the drive while a laser is directed at the surface to read the data or music. The CD-ROM is referenced as a 12X or 12 speed (or any number). This simply means that it spins the CD that many times faster than the original industry specification. So, a 48X CD-ROM spins the CD up to 48 times faster than the original specification. Faster is better.
CD-ROM drives, like hard disk drives, also measure their performance with seek time, access time and transfer rates. Which respectively reflects the amount of time it takes to find a file, to begin transferring it and how much data it can transfer per second.
For greatest operating efficiency, the CD-ROM drive should be connected to the second IDE controller. Although it can be connected to the first IDE controller behind the hard disk, only one device can communicate with the controller at a time, thus causing a bottleneck.
Mini CD's and business card CD's are not recommended for use in a CD-ROM because of the risk of damage. Although mini CD's are convenient, they occasionally become unstable and destroy the CD-ROM.