The Difference Between DVD-R & CD-R

By Dan Stone

CD-R and DVD-R are optical disc storage formats. Choosing the best one to use is a case-by-case decision. DVD-R discs have much more storage space, but CD-R discs work with more devices. CD-Rs are an older medium, but they still get the job done, although USB flash drives have replaced the role of CD-R and DVD-R discs in many cases.

DVD-R Is for Bigger Jobs

DVD-R drives pack data bits tightly on DVD-R discs. As a result, DVD-R discs hold much more data than CD-R discs. Single-layer DVD-R discs store 4.7GB -- six times as much data as a 700MB CD-R. In addition to supporting DVD movie playback, fewer DVD-R discs are needed when you archive and move data, making the format a good choice for backing up large file collections like your MP3 library, digital photographs and home videos.

CD-R Works in More Places

CD-R is the compatibility king of the writable optical storage family. DVD drives can read CD-R discs, but CD drives can't read DVD-Rs. CD-Rs shine in the music playback department, working across the board in cars and home stereos that are incompatible with DVDs. CD-R discs also work well for data storage if you're moving less than 700MB of data.