CD-R vs CD-ROM: Difference and Comparison

Initially, we didn’t have many devices that could be used to store large or small data, software applications, movies, audio, and much more.

But later, different companies designed and manufactured different devices to store music, games, etc.

Any music or audio was recorded and stored in cassettes, while games were stored in a chip that stored multiple of them, and people used to insert it and play with their gaming consoles.

But now, compact discs have come into existence, and they are a much feasible and affordable option for everyone.

Key Takeaways

  1. CD-R allows users to write data once, while CD-ROMs come with pre-recorded data that cannot be overwritten.
  2. CD-Rs have a shorter lifespan, degrading over time, while CD-ROMs have a longer shelf life and higher durability.
  3. CD-Rs are more expensive than CD-ROMs, as they offer the flexibility to create custom content.


CD-R stands for CD-Recordable, and it is a type of CD that can be used to record digital data onto it. A CD-R is a blank disc that can be written on at once. CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory, and it is a type of CD that contains data that can only be read and not written.


CD-R is the abbreviation used for the complete term Compact Disc – Recordable.

The device was designed by the collaborative efforts of the company Philips and Sony and was introduced around the 1990s.

The device is labelled as blank after manufacturing, and the approximate diameter, which has been standardized, is about 120 mm.

CD-ROM is the abbreviation for the term Compact Disc – Read-Only Memory. It was also designed and developed by the company Sony and Philips.

The company’s combined efforts led to a revolution in the process of storing data.

When manufactured, the device is itself stored with different information related to any – multimedia, software, games, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCD-RCD-ROM
Full FormCompact Disc – RecordableIt can only be read
After ManufacturingIt is blankIt comprises pre-stored data in it
Compatibility Small runsLarge runs
Data storageCan be written or burnedTo see pre-recorded games, videos, photos, audio, etc
UseFor recordingTo see pre-recorded games, videos, photos, audios, etc

What is CD-R?

CD-R is the short term or the abbreviation used for the word Compact Disc – Recordable.

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This revolutionary gadget was developed in collaboration with two companies – Philips and Sony for the first time in history.

The other name used for CD-R is CD or Compact Disc, which everyone more commonly knows.

The R in the name of the term stands for ‘Recordable,’ which simply means that the data to be stored in the compact disc can be added by burning it/ or writing it.

This is why they are categorized as WORM – ‘Write Once Read Many’ Also, the critical point is that the data stored in the compact disc cannot be deleted or erased once added.

While manufacturing these compact discs, they are dyed on their surfaces, and these dyes used are also differentiated into three types: Azo dye.

Cyanine dye and Phthalocyanine dye. Also, the standardized size of the compact disc is about 120 mm in diameter. And the price range of the disc is very cheap.

cd r

What is CD-ROM?

CD-ROM is the short term or the abbreviation used for the word ‘Compact Disc –Read-Only Memory.’

The product was developed with the collaborative efforts of Sony and Philips and was introduced in the late 1990s.

The other commonly used word for CD-ROM is a single-session disc. This is because the disc manufacturers add the data at one time.

The term associated with the word ‘ROM,’ which means Read Only Memory, is added with significance.

The significance behind the words is that such compact disc comes with pre-stored data in themselves.

The type of data stored can be any format. It may be any video, audio, games, software, etc. The disadvantage of CD-ROM is that the user can only read the stored data but cannot write or burn it.

The storage capacity of the CD-ROM is approximately 700 MB, but it can store up to 800 MB of data along with 100 MB as an error correction.

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The price of any CD-ROM is comparatively high than a CD-R or CD.

Also, the user must have a CD-ROM device to use a CD-ROM effectively.

cd rom

Main Differences Between CD-R and CD-ROM

  1. The complete form for the abbreviation used CD-R is Compact Disc – Recordable, while comparatively, on the other hand, the complete form for the abbreviation used CD-ROM is Compact Disc – Read-Only Memory. 
  2. After the manufacturing process, the compact disc is labelled as blank. In contrast, comparatively, on the other hand, after the manufacturing process, the compact disc comprises some data, including movies, videos, audio, software, and others. 
  3. The compatibility for the CD-R is normally for the short run, while comparatively, on the other hand, the compatibility for the CD-ROM is for a long run or use.
  4. In a CD-R or CD, data can be stored afterwards by burning or writing, while comparatively, on the other hand, in a CD-ROM, the user cannot add data from their side. They only have access to view the pre-stored data.
  5. As the name says, CD-R or CD can be used to record or store any data, while comparatively, on the other hand, a CD-ROM is used to view the pre-stored data.
  6. The price of CD-R or CD is very low or, say, affordable, while comparatively, on the other hand, the price of CD-ROM is high.
Difference Between CD R and CD ROM



Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “CD-R vs CD-ROM: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article gives a thorough comparison between CD-R and CD-ROM, highlighting the distinct differences and applications of these storage technologies

  2. It’s fascinating to view the significant differences between CD-R and CD-ROM, as highlighted in the article. The level of detail and examples provided adds a great value to understanding these technologies.

  3. I found your article to be very interesting and informative. It is well-written and provides a deep technical understanding of CD-R and CD-ROM.

  4. This article provided insightful details into the history and technology behind CD-R and CD-ROM. It’s worth noting the significant advancements that have occurred in data storage.


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