Karbosguide.com - Module 4c2b

The CD-R/RW


The contents:

  • On EIDE interface
  • 40x20x10x and buffers

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  • On EIDE interface

    The best interface for CD-R and CD-RW drives is or used to be SCSI, but many vendors supply the cheaper and very reliable EIDE units. The leading company HP makes great IDE-based CD-RWs.

    Steady data streaming

    Burning a CD-ROM requires a very steady data streaming. Therefore the drives typically have a 2 MB cache onboard for buffer. If the buffer runs out of data during the writing process, the CD ends up unusable.

    This so-called buffer under run happens quite often, especially if you process other disk-intensive work on the PC while burning a CD-ROM in a EIDE-based drive.

    If you use an EIDE burner, the best is to connect it as a master unit on the secondary EIDE channel with the hard disk and CD-ROM drive on the other channel.

    Therefore I use this setup:

    It works fine, I can "burn" what I want at 12X speed. I also burn directly from CD-ROM til CD-R without copying to a harddisk. In the last case, it is best to leave the machine undisturbed during the process, even with modern "burn-proof" CD-recorders.

    If you need harddisk number two in a configuraton as above, you should not connect it as a slave on the vacant EIDE 2 slave channel. Instead I recommend the inexpensive FastTrack controller for expanding your EIDE system. Or better: Get yourself a 60 or 80 GB harddisk!


    Burn speed and buffers

    In 2000 the best drives selling were operating at speeds like 40x20x10x. This meens :

  • CD-ROM 40X
  • CD-R 20X
  • CD-RW 10X

    Here you see an drive called PleXWriter 12/10/32A:

    Burns at 12X

    It also includes a new technology called "BURN-Proof". It should enable the recorder to pause if the Buffer-Under-Run-situation occurs. When data start rolling again, the recorder continues writing where it left. I do not know if it works (it probably does), but I do know, that this is a very good drive. It holds 2 MB of cache.

    The HP 9310e is another top-drive. It is rated for the speeds 32x10x4x.

    The HP 9310e is also a very fine performer. It holds a buffer of 4 MB cache, which is quite a lot. I use this combi-drive myself. It works fine:

    Personally I do not understand why they do not use 16 or 32 MB for buffer - RAM being so cheep. it would effectively remove the buffer under run problem. The 4 MB of buffer in HP 9310e is good for a 2,3 seconds long delay at 10X speed burning.

    Personally I do not care if the recorder burns at 12x, 16X or 20x speed - it only takes few nminutes to burn a CD in any case.


    Synchronize data transfer

    One detail. In Windows 98/Me: Check your for Settings on both CD-ROM drives. You should enable Synchronize data transfer as here:

    Please do not enable DMA on your CD-ROM drives. It probably causes troubles.


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    Learn more

    Also see: Module 4d about MO drives.

    Please read Module 4e about tape streamers (they are not drives).

    Please read Module 5c about SCSI.

    Please read Module 6a about file systems.

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