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I would like to know how to pronounce 48x Cd-Rw. The problem is how to pronounce the "x" in the context of computing.

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In my experience, a "48x CD-RW drive" is read out either as a "forty eight speed rewritable drive" or as a "forty eight ex rewritable drive". The former is the preferred option (random video from Lite-On). The latter is more colloquial.

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As a long-time computer geek I say "yes:" x is pronounced speed. – horatio Sep 25 '12 at 20:11

The symbol x is pronounced times there and in a number of other contexts as well. You can remember this by thinking of arithmetic: 2 x 3 = 6 is pronounced two times three equals six. The CD packaging is telling you it is 48 times as fast as some long-ago "normal" speed. Specifically:

CD-ROM drives are rated with a speed factor relative to music CDs (1× or 1-speed which gives a data transfer rate of 150 KiB/s). 12× drives were common beginning in early 1997. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD_Rom

Notice how the wikipedia article carefully uses an x symbol that floats a little higher than the letter you can type on your keyboard. In a book I wrote recently with a lot of need to write about "a 20 times speedup" and the like, we got our copy editors to substitute that "times" symbol for the letter x. But on a product label you would probably not notice the difference.

If you did say forty-eight ecks people would probably understand you though.

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I and everyone I know would say "48 eks" when referring to a technology product for which x meant some multiple of a performance stat. – Robusto Sep 25 '12 at 20:16
Speaking in my geekly capacity, I have never heard it pronounced anything other than "eks". (48x CD-ROM, 2x compression, etc.) – Hellion Sep 25 '12 at 21:44
Definitely times or ecks. Rarely, if ever, speed. – StarNamer Sep 25 '12 at 22:11
Agree with @Hellion. Definitely always "eks". If someone says "forty-eight times" I would know what they meant but assume they are non-technical. – nohat Sep 26 '12 at 1:26
@Hellion I'm a geek too, and I've heard it called speed and times in equal measure and hardly ever ecks. shrugs I'd probably opt for speed, although in your example: 48 speed CD-ROM, 2 times compression. – LordScree Sep 26 '12 at 7:57

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