When DVD-ROM drives started hitting the market around 1997, many hailed them as the indubitable successor to the CD-ROM drive. A similar transition occurred when CD-ROM drives first appeared. Remember when programs used to come in CD-ROM and floppy versions? After a certain point you had to mail in a certificate to get the floppy version, then eventually, floppy versions of most popular software titles were no longer made.
Three years later, the DVD-ROM is far from replacing the CD-ROM. While we see the occasional new title in DVD-ROM format, for the most part the technology has been used to re-issue older titles in an "enhanced format." Titles such as Riven and Baldur's Gate, originally filling up four or more CD-ROMs, fit on fewer (or even single) DVD-ROM discs. Full-motion video (FMV) sequences are often lengthened, or visual quality is improved. But the CD-ROM obsolescence movement has yet to arrive.
Nevertheless DVD-ROM speeds continue to improve even though DVD-Video movies play at only 1X speed. Faster DVD transfer rates can benefit during movie playback when scanning and searching, but the thrust of faster DVD-ROM speeds is for pushing computer data faster. With such an underwhelming selection of computer DVD titles thus far, most folks will buy a DVD-ROM drive to watch movies on their PC, not to play computer games or transfer computer data.
Presently 6X DVD-ROM drives remain relevant, even though 12X-16X drives are already arriving on the scene. Enter Pioneer's DVD-303S and Toshiba's SD-M1212.