Difference Between Double Layer & Single Layer DVD Drives


Over the years, optical drives have evolved to be compatible with a wide variety of formats, such as DVD-R and DVD+R. While most drives now incorporate all of the major formats, there are still some differences, such as dual-layer and single-layer drives.

DVD Layer Basics

  • Information on a DVD is stored on it by using a laser to etch microscopic pits on a layer. It is digital, which means that a pit translates to a "1," and a smooth surface translates to a "0."

Layer Sizes

  • A standard DVD can store up to 4.7 gigabytes of information (compared to a floppy disk, which can contain 1.44 megabytes). A gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes.

Dual Layers

  • A DVD with multiple layers can contain twice as much space as a single layer drive--up to 8.5 gigabytes.


  • Not all single-layer drives can read a dual-layer disc, but a dual-layer drive can read almost all single-layer discs.


  • A dual-layer drive contains more complex internal components, so it will be more expensive than a comparable single-layer drive. Blank dual-layer discs are also more expensive than single-layer discs.

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