I'm wondering if I should get a DVD or CD drive. Would a Xx (where X is any number) DVD be equivalent to an Xx CD? What about the noise? The CD drives I've had have always made a whiring noise when reading data CDs but not with music CDs. I don't really plan on buying DVD movies to watch on my computer, but it can be safe in case something is only released on DVD.
I have a 4.8X DVD drive which is equal to about a 24X CD drive, so you can go from there.
I you truely never ever plan on buying any DVDs then a CD will be fine. The only things I can think of that ever came out on DVD that was not a movies was the game Riven and Encarta encyclopedia.
But if there is even the smallest chance you will ever use a DVD then get the DVD drive so you don't have to spend more money later.
Just to be safe you could get one of those new drives that is a CD, DVD, and CDRW all in one. It is more expensive, like $250 but it covers all your bases.
I have a 12x Toshiba DVD that is also 40x CD. I haven't noticed that it makes any significant noise when playing data or music CD's or DVD movies.
Before I got a dedicated DVD player, I used my computer to watch DVD movies. I had a 24 foot S-Video cable from the TV-out of the video card and a 24 foot audio cable from the sound card. Even with the long cable (including connectors) the output on my TV was far better than anything I could get out of my VCR. I haven't noticed a big improvement in output on my TV with the dedicated player--probably limited by my 6 year old TV.
And you never have to rewind DVDs.