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Pronounced see-dee-rom. Short for Compact Disc-Read-Only Memory, a type of optical disk capable of storing large amounts of data -- up to 1GB, although the most common size is 650MB (megabytes). A single CD-ROM has the storage capacity of 700 floppy disks, enough memory to store about 300,000 textpages.

CD-ROMs are stamped by the vendor, and once stamped, they cannot be erased and filled with new data. To read a CD, you need a CD-ROM player. All CD-ROMs conform to a standard size and format, so you can load any type of CD-ROM into any CD-ROM player. In addition, CD-ROM players are capable of playing audio CDs, which share the same technology.

CD-ROMs are particularly well-suited to information that requires large storage capacity. This includes large software applications that support color, graphics, sound, and especially video.

Also see Understanding CD Burner Speeds in the Did You Know . . . ? section of Webopedia.

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