Product Type: LG Electronics computers
Newest Review: ... my desire to have the ability to make CDs of all my favourite tracks overcame in the end and I went along to PC World to make the purchase... more
Cheap, cheerful and choppy.
LG CDRW 8x4x32
Member Name: theanarchistkid
LG CDRW 8x4x32
Date: 18/05/01, updated on 18/05/01 (1073 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, Decent specifications, Ease of use.
Disadvantages: Not burn-proofing technology., Npt the quickest.
Having recently finished building my new PC, I decided that it was still lacking a certain something. I had no way of backing up my data apart from using the floppy drive, which is totally archaic anyway. The only realistic and suitable solution in my situation was to buy a CD Writer. I had been hoping to find a second-hand one of Ebay.co.uk so had waited a few weeks to see if I could find one at a decent price. It was soon apparent though that people on Ebay are often willing to spend more than is strictly required on most items, so I decided to look elsewhere. Eventually, I received an advert in the post from Makro, a large Wholesaler of products (not just computer stuff) who had this CD Writer on special offer for the next 2 weeks. The price listed was £59.99 + V.A.T. and this worked out to be about £20 cheaper than most other places I had looked. Just to emphasise how good an offer this was; all of these CD Writers had sold out within 24 hours.
The CD Writer itself came in a nice fully boxed kit complete with the drive, IDE cable, CD Audio cable, mounting screws, manuals and all of the relevant software. This is particularly nice to see because most CD Writers within this price range are normally just bare drives without any software or proper documentation. The specifications of the drive are very impressive for the price; 8x write, 4x re-write and a maximum 32 speed read. These are all maximum figures and your computer may not be able to keep up, which I will discuss later in this opinion. The drive itself is attractive although the colour didn't quite match my case, or my other CD drive. This isn't a major issue and obviously it doesn't have any effect on how the drive performs. On the front f
ascia, there is a headphone socket, volume control, read LED, write LED, Play/Skip track button and an eject button. One feature that LG drives have that a lot of other manufacturers don't include is a little manual eject mechanism in the case of power or drive failure. All you have to do is put a pointy object into a little hole on the front of the fascia and the drive tray will pop out slightly, allowing you to retrieve your CD.
Installation of the drive couldn't have been much easier. Due to the fact that I have a Full Tower case, which is massive, I had some minor problems with cabling but this was quickly sorted out. The supplied cable is of normal length, but the problem was that I wanted to put the CD Writer in the top drive bay of my case, but the cable wasn't long enough. A slightly longer replacement cable was needed, although this did set me back about £10 from a specialist. The drive just slotted into the empty drive bay and all I had to do was screw it in. Then I just connected the power, IDE and CD audio cables to the back of the drive and it was all up and running. One thing to not before installing the drive is to make sure that you have the jumpers configured correctly. With CD Writers it is advisable to have the device set up as the master drive on the secondary IDE channel because this helps to ensure a constant supply of uninterrupted data to the drive. This is all clearly explained in the manual though, so it is all very easy.
Once installed it's just a case of installing the CD writing software from within Windows. The software supplied with this drive is Adaptec East CD Creator and Direct CD, both of which are very good, although not quite as good as Nero in my opinion. It's a pleasant surprise to note that a full manual is supplied with the software rather than just an online version. This makes it easy to reference in you do run into any problems. On my PC there were no problems however and I had my firs
t CD being written within 10 minutes. The ease of use was very good with this drive. Even though I am quite experienced at upgrading and building PCs, I think that a beginner could have added this drive to their machine with consumate ease and a bit of common sense. The software is all incredibly easy to use too, so I would certainly recommend this package to someone who is fairly new to PCs.
My only criticism with this CD writer is that it doesn't support the latest 'Burn-proof' technology. This technology basically eliminates the curse of CD writers; buffer underruns. A buffer underrun is when the CD Writer isn't supplied with enough data quickly enough and the data buffer on the drive itself empties. Because of the technology used to write CDs, this always used to mean that in this situation, the CD would have to stop recording and would become corrupted. This would lead to a totally useless CD that didn't have all the data on that you needed. In recent months however, new technology has arrived which is supposed to prevent buffer underruns from occurring. Sadly though, this drive doesn't have this technology incorporated into it. On my PC (Duron 850) I have experienced one buffer underrun CD whilst having this drive which is much lower than I've experienced with other drives. This is is part thanks to the generous 2mb buffer that the drive has. To write a CD at 8x you will need to leave the PC unused whilst the writing process is going on, or else the chance of buffer underruns is increased. This means that you should close down all programs other than the CD writing software and disable screensavers and power saving features. This may seem to be a pain, but in the long run it's much better than having a collection of toasted CDs.
At this price range, it is difficult to imagine a manufacturer managing to cram any more specifications into the machine so I can't really criticise it too much for not having Burn-
proof technology. The uses for a drive like this are plentiful. You can back up any data that you have, burn your own music CDs (using uncopyrighted material, of course) and make copies of any uncopyrighted CDs that you already have. Of course, there's nothing to stop you from copying copyrighted CDs, but don't be surprised when the men in suits start knocking on your door.
In conclusion, I would heartily recommend this CD writer to anyone with an interest in writing their own CDs. It doesn't matter whether you're a PC novice or an expert, this drive has enough features to keep you interested, whilst maintaining excellent simplicity. For £59 I got a bargain, but I think that from most online retailers it's selling for about £80, which is still a good £20 cheaper than most of its competitors. If you do buy this CD writer, I can't see you being a disgruntled customer.
*Just as a little extra note, I have had no difficulty with this drive on any types of recordable media yet, even cheapo stuff from computer fairs, which only makes it a more attractive proposition.