Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

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.

share|improve this answer
3  
As a long-time computer geek I say "yes:" x is pronounced speed. –  horatio Sep 25 '12 at 20:11
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
7  
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
6  
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
3  
Definitely times or ecks. Rarely, if ever, speed. –  StarNamer Sep 25 '12 at 22:11
6  
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
2  
@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
show 7 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.