I had been anxious to buy a cdrw for some time so that I could archive important files from my hard drive and also to give extra storage space as my hard drive is only 6.4 GB, tiny in comparison to todays monster drives, and its only 2 years old! I finally picked this one up from Dixons who were selling it as an end of line product reduced to £89.99 with 10% off making total price £80.99. At this price I could not afford to miss out - sod the credit card I thought. Hewlett Packard are reliable and have good technical support so I knew I was getting a bargain. Instructions are superb and make installation easy - for most people. My problem was that my Pc is a Compaq Mini Tower and to actually fit the drive I had to remove the modem, graphics card, motherboard and hard drive!! The drive works very well and writes at 10 speed, rewrites at 4 speed and reads at 32 speed, all acceptable for my machine which has 500mhz processor and 128mb ram. The buffer is 4mb which is quite generous. The software is Adaptec Direct CD for moving data files to CD and Hewlett Packards own "MyCd" for copying Music which can be upgraded, its probably not the greatest, does not let you copy mp3 files to Wav format, (nero does) which is what is required to allow playback on Home cd's, but again this is not a problem as there are loads of free programs available on the net which are purely for converting mp3 to wav format. But it does the job and unlike other manufacturers has the ability to format a cd in less then 5 minutes which prepares it for burning. The unit took just 7 minutes to burn 650mb of files onto a 650mb CD which is impressive.I will also write the 700mb CD's which again is impressive, this is an "older model" and HP usually dont write to anything except 650mb as far as I was aware. It took about 9 minutes from start to finish to format and write 700mb of data to disc - excellent. All in all
an excellent model, solid build, good tech support although you shouldnt need it, and great price! Buy one while you can. UPDATE 30/11/01. This machine is proving extremely reliable and Although there are cheaper faster drives now available, I am very happy with the reliability and value that this unit has given.
Now when you want to buy something for that PC of yours do you not look for quality and ease of use? i thought so! The range of HP CD-RW's are great and VERY easy to install (they come with a little video type thing which tells you exactly what to do). The software is not great but it does the job (if i was you i would go out and get Nero). Hehehe i have also found that with the drive comes a program called Direct CD which runs continuously in the background though if you turn this of (using msconfig) you can make it so that you can't open the drive! so that you can stop people pinching the CD (though you can just run direct cd from start > run and it will open fine, though how many people would know this?).
When I bought this unit I expected good build quality and well manufactured components, I was also hoping that I would get a decent software bundle to augment my installed software and make audio recording a breeze. The build quality and components are there but the software is a farce, the music recording program (Acid) is the wrong type of software to use with the drive. Sonic Foundry the manufacturers of Acid suggeted contacting HP and having a reissued CD with the correct software on it, still waiting. Overall a great unit but the software is a joke.
Trying to write at 10x produced constant buffer underruns. I cannot get this to write at 10x, the best I can get is 8x. H.P. has many recommendations as does Adaptec for this problem but none work. Also, The Adaptec 3.5 software included does not allow mp3 to audio disk creation, requires you to convert to a Wav file.Loading drawer is cumbersome, the disk doesn't "fall into place" easily, you have to make sure it is centered before closing the drawer or you hear a crunch and have to reposition it.This cdrw is fast and easy to use but not the quality i expected for the price.