"I have just installed my brand-new 16x Goldstar Model CRD-8160B CD-ROM drive. I am disappointed in my own test results and I suspect the industry is taking advantage of millions of people. The 'x' rating should reflect the advertised transfer rates. Transfer rates need to base on a average or sustained rates instead of the maximal a product will ever get under lab conditions and controlled (selected) arraignments. Falling short of this, the sustained transfer rate should be required to be located near the maximal on spec sheets, packaging, and magazine articles. On my tests, taking 543Mb of data and transferring it to hard drive from CD took 13 minutes. Doing my maths that was 69kb/sec - sad for a CD drive that is rated at "16X", or 2400kb/sec."
It's certainly true that these 'x' ratings are becoming close to useless as a means of comparing real world data transfer rates.
If you have a comment on this or any other facet of the PC industry, mail me with your opinions.