Combo drive was a term coined to refer to a device that can read or write from one or more optical media storage discs. Initially, the term referred to disk drives that could write and read to a CD and only read from a DVD. Such drives are usually labeled CD-RW/DVD. As the DVD grew in popularity, there was a need to read and write from them. While some people refer to disc drives with this capability as DVD burners, many still call them combo drives.
There are different brands of combo drives in the market for a specific application. Just like all other computer hardware that is brand-specific, a combodrive is not universal. The type of combo drive that you will buy depends on your system. For example, you need a specific design for latitude, ThinkPad, Slimline, etc. There are also SATA and IDE combo drives for different applications. You need to be keen when shopping for these drives and only buy an appropriate one.
Despite the high cost of such optical disc drives, it is a worthy investment for modern-day computers. You need what can read and write DVD discs because these are the currently widely used optical discs. The price also matters, and that depends on a particular combo drive you need for your system.
Apart from the DVD read and write capability, you also need to check the read and write speeds. We bet you don't want something that will take you the whole day to write data to your optical disc. Reading should even be a faster process for most modern drives. When shopping, ask the supplier the speed specifics so that you get everything right at once. You don't need to spend another time shopping just a few days after doing the same.
The DVD or CD data rate is usually represented by X-factors. This might confuse you if you are used to hard drive disks and solid-state drives that show ratings in the actual data quantity that can be read or written onto the disk. But there is nothing unusual about this representation.
A DVD labeled as 1X simply means that the write speed is 1.321MBps, which is defined as the average required to write an entire 60-minute video on a DVD of 4.7GB capacity. These usually vary, and the higher the x-factor, the faster you can write to the disc. We have seen combo drives with a write speed of up to 48X, and the value is expected to get higher.