What does the X stands for in the speed of your CD or DVD drive ?
The optical drives make their initial appearance in music industry rather than computing industry. Even the term Compact Disc was coined because the new medium was compact if we compare it with long play vinyl disks used to play music at that time. A typical audio CD hold as much songs as of a full size LP record and still it was compact . So we called it compact disk.
These initial disk s used CD-DA ( compact disk digital audio ) format and normally called audio CD . It made approx 500 revolutions per minute and if we think in terms of data transfer speed in computer it is about 150 kBps.
WE are not expecting your audio CDs to run any faster because you are not expecting to hear a music in a fast forward more . So this become a de-facto standard for the Audio CDs .
When Video CD format was introduced ( CD-DV ) they rotated at double speed of audio CD’s and if we think in terms of data transfer , it is 300 kBps . So the Drives used to play Video CD’s are called 2X drives . They will run at 1X when we play audio CD on them.
When Digital Data disks where introduced ( CD-DD ) , they tried to increase the data throughput by increasing the rpm and thus the data transfer rate and comes standard like 4x , 8x and so to around 52X.
Please not that the 52X noted on your disk is the maximum value at which it can transfer the data . It will operate in 1X when you are playing audio CD and will be in 2X when you are watching your Video CD .