Pros: Decent speed for writing and reading
Cons: Cost almost as much as a DVD writer these days
About three years ago, I had a computer come to me for service that was in dire straights. It was brought to me by a client who wanted to get it fixed it so it could burn CDs properly. The problem was that each time she tried to burn a disc, she would get the infamous buffer underrun error and the computer would crash. When I examined the computer, it turned out that it was an old Compaq 486SX running at 33MHz and could only hold 8MB (eight 1-megabyte modules) of 30-pin SIMM memory total, of which she only had 4. Finding any 30-pin SIMMS now-a-days is like hunting for a snallygaster.
I told her that no matter how much troubleshooting or upgrading I did to the computer, it would never be capable of writing a CD. She was upset because she had just spent $100 to have a CD burner installed at another computer shop who kept telling her it worked fine.
I told her I could install it into a new computer that I could build for her if she liked so it wouldnt be a total loss and after explaining why she would want to get a new computer to avoid this problem in the future, she decided to go buy one from the store that had one already installed and told me I could keep the old 486, burner and all for my trouble. And that is how I acquired the CyberDrive CW058D CD-RW drive.
In these days of cheap DVD writers, I probably would never consider buying a CD-RW drive now, but this little drive has been a really decent burner. It has good speed and has been working in my web/media/file server for somewhere around three years now with no problems and not a single coaster (bad disc). I do not use it very often, but when I do it is ready and able to burn on demand.
CyberDrive CW058D CD-RW Drive
It is a standard CD-RW drive capable of reading any CD format and burning CD-R and CD-RW discs. It is an internal IDE drive that fits into a standard 5.25 drive bay. It does not burn or read any format of DVD, DVD-/+R or DVD-/+RW, dual layer or otherwise. It is simply an older CD burner that happens to do its job well.
* Interface: IDE
* Type: Internal
* Supported media read: CD-R, CD-RW, CDROM, Audio CD
* Supported media write: CD-R, CD-RW
* Read speed: 48X (7200kbps)
* Write speed: 32X (4800kbps)
* Re-write speed: 12X (1800kbps)
* Width: 5.87 in.
* Depth: 8.16 in.
* Height: 1.69 in.
* Weight: 2.21 lb.
* Exact Link buffer underrun protection
* Processor: Pentium 133 or faster
* Memory: 32MB Fast page or EDO or better
* 1 free 5.25 external drive bay
* 1 free space on an IDE controller
* CD writing software (does not come with the drive)
* Operating system: IBM OS/2, Linux, Microsoft DOS, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows 3.x, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows XP, MacOS 7 or later
The drive comes with no cables or software, just a CD-RW drive in a box with its included jumpers. If you dont have any CD writing software, you will need to purchase it separately. The drive doesnt require much by todays standards in order to operate correctly but it definitely wouldnt work in a 486SX based computer.
Installation is easy and takes about 5 minutes for me. Of course I had to remove it from the old 486 computer first (which took about 5 minutes itself). It may take up to 20 minutes for anyone with limited experience. You open the case, screw the drive into the drive bay and attach the power and IDE cable piece of cake.
If you are installing it on the same cable as another drive, you need to make sure that either both drives have the jumpers set to cable select or one is set to master and the other set to slave. If it is on its own cable, the jumper must be set to master or cable select. It will not function if set to slave on a cable by itself. Some drives will, but this one does not. Not much else to it really.
I use the drive in my server, which is used for hosting my web site, files for my home network and media for my home network. I only burn a CD from the drive maybe three or four times a year; but when I need to use it, it is always ready and has never failed. So far I may have burned between 12-15 CDs from this drive and no coasters so far in about three years.
Sometimes I just feel like taking a new mixed audio CD along for a road trip. I just pull up media player and compose a quick playlist and burn it in about 10 minutes. Its nice to be able to just burn a CD straight from the server rather than copy the files across the network first, then burn one. My network is probably fast enough to burn on my main PC across the network from the server, but why do that when I can just pop in a CD and burn it right from the server. It burns a full 700MB audio CD in about 6 minutes and I am out the door with a new mix CD for my Jeep.
If your computer is powerful enough to use a DVD burner, I would recommend getting one of those instead. However, if you have an older computer and would like a good drive for burning CDs, this is a decent drive for the job. It is relatively fast at burning and re-writing CDs and plenty of speed for reading CDs even for games that read from the disc while playing. Just make sure your computer is at least a Pentium class computer (or Mac equivalent) with no less than 32MB of memory so you dont have any trouble writing CDs.
Thanks for reading,