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      20.06.2002 19:11
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      • slow

      I own a Que! USB CDRW. Its main component is the Teac CD-W54E, which would normally be a good bit of kit, so they say, had it not been used in conjunction with USB. Incase you don't know much about USB , it stands for Universal Serial Bus, it was created by Apple and I am sad to say it is very slow. I was going to buy a Predator drive but the salesman on the phone said the QUE! drive was better, and he didn't have any Predator drives in stock anyway. My CDRW will only burn at 2 times normal CD speed and not the measly 4 times it says on the case. Sometimes it used to crash, saying "buffer under run", or some other useless remark similar to what my ZX Spectrum used to say- syntax error.... That was until I managed to get hold of Toast 5 which implements a new kind of software where by the CD drive is now prepared to wait (to some extent) for the flow of data. Still I can only get double speed, which ain't exactly great when you have strict deadlines to work to. A friend of mine said it was because I had recently put a USB card into my old computer, and it didn't come with it installed and so my computer just wasn't fast enough. I proved him wrong by testing the drive on a top spec G4 worth over £2000. Buffer under run..... Another disadvantage to this drive is that it doesn't play audio directly into my computer. If you want play a CD, you have to plug in a lead from the drive into the computers microphone socket. The only advantage of this device is cosmetic, it looks nice- but that is something particular to the QUE drive. It doesn't loo0k anything like the little picture at the top of this page, it actually looks like a squashed imac. Shame it isn't as useful. I suppose it does the job though. Also it does manage to read disks that my other drive can't, probably because of the newer technology. so why does this particular piece of equipment claim it can write
      up to quad speed? Because the component, the actual drive can, its just that USB is blatantly too slow to keep up to speed. My recommendation to you is buy firewire or SCSI peripherals. Or save £200 for when DVD RW or cheaper.

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      17.04.2001 20:00
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      Sometimes it's great not being the leader. The Teac CD-W54E is far from being the hottest thing in CD rewriters. But what it concedes in speed and features it makes up in other ways. Lets consider what it offers. OK, it's a 4*4*32 rewriter, so it can read CDs at a nominal (very nominal, as with just about every CD drive on the market) 32 times the base speed of 150 KB/s. It can write CDRs and CDRWs at 4 times 150 KB/s. It plugs into a regular ATAPI channel and supports DMA access under Windows 98 and Windows 2000. And what's missing: No BURN-proof technology. So if your PC can't keep its record buffer filled with data then that's it - you've got a coaster. This can happen for all kinds of reasons to do with MS operating systems' inability to manage real-time tasks. It's pretty slow, too - 16x drives are out there for when speed really matters. And there's no S/PDIF digital audio output, only analogue. So, why should you buy one? It's like this. This drive is so far behind the leading edge that it is both cheap - I paid £70 + VAT for mine - and reliable. I would argue that a relatively modern (up to 2 years old) PC will have no trouble keeping up with a 4x writer, making BURN-proof technology irrelevant. It comes with Nero 5 CD authoring software which in many people's opinion is one of the best packages available but also works with other CD authoring and copying apps such as CloneCD. In other words, it's your bog-standard, mature technology product with wide compatibility, a good software bundle and a great price. You really only have to look elsewhere or spend more if you want more speed, need SCSI or prefer alternative CD authoring software.

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