A high reliability and low noise 680 nm optical head is described. This head enables a high data integrity, 14.8 GByte/disk product (KODAK optical disk system 2000). The laser intensity noise is measured to be -133 to -137 dB/Hz at the data frequencies. This allows phase margin for the system to exceed 50%. The laser with drive electronics is shown to have a pulse lifetime of greater than 40,000 hours at exaggerated drive conditions.