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CD/DVD burners are also known as optical drives. Simply put, these drives will open or play CDs and DVDs as well as copy them. The CD ROM drive essentially replaced the floppy drive on personal computers while CD/DVD combo drives became more popular in the 1990s.
Computers today come standard with at least a CD burner, while DVD has become more prevalent for storing larger amounts of data as well as watching movies. The Blu-ray format, recently emerging victorious in the format war with rival HD DVD, is also becoming adopted by many computer manufacturers now.
These drives can be internal or external. If upgrading your internal CD or DVD burner, it is important to make sure the interface matches that of your motherboard. Because they interface directly with your sound card and motherboard, the compatible types should be listed in the burner's product information.
If adding an external drive to your laptop or desktop, there are a few different options. They can be integrated into a storage device for your network, like a media server, or connected through USB or Firewire ports.