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Old 04-17-01, 09:09 PM
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I'm finally sliding into the new millenium and decided I need to purchase a CD-RW. Can I hear some pros/cons on external vs. internal? I've done alittle online research on different brands/models. Any consumers out there care to put your 2 cents worth in??? My computer is a Compaq5340...which reminds me, is HD space and computer speed a big consideration? How easy are they on avg to install (internal ones)? Anything else I need to know? Thanks to all.
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Old 04-17-01, 09:54 PM
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You need at least a pentium 166 preferably with mmx to use a burner (cd writer). Installing an internal cdrw is the same procedure as installing any cd rom. Computer motherboards all have a primary and secondary IDE controller, each controller can have a master and a slave device. Your C drive MUST be the master on the primary IDE controller, all other devices can be sloted in any of the 3 remaining positions. There will be a jumper on the cd rom that sets the device as a master or a slave. You cannot have 2 masters or 2 slaves on the same IDE controller.
There is also an audio cable that goes between the cd rom and the sound card, if this is a 2nd cd rom, then don't worry about the cable from cd rom to sound card as you should already have one between the existing cd rom and sound card. Also connect a spare power cord to the cd rom, if none is available , install a Y adapter to an existing power cable.

Get an IDE cd rw as this will be the easiliest to install.

Once the cd rw is installed and confirmed that windows sees it, then install the burn software that should have come with the unit.

Any further explanation please ask, be sure to read all install material that comes with the cdrw.

Remember these notes...

You cannot use a cd rw blank cd when making audio cd's. Audio cd's must be burned onto regular blank recording cd.
re-writable blanks can be used for data not audio cd's that are meant to play on a regular cd player.

You also need 650 to 700 megs of harddrive if you wish to make an image file onto the harddrive to burn later.
You should never allow your free hard drive space to drop bellow 350 to 400 megs as windows performance can start to lag at that point.

[Edited by dkerr on 04-18-01 at 01:00]
Old 04-18-01, 10:37 AM
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pros/cons on external vs. internal?

External - Con - more expensive. Depending on interface (usb/parallel/firewire) is usually slower. Takes up desk space.
Pro - Portable from machine to machine and if replacing machine, you can keep it. Easier to install.

different brands/models

Phillips is pretty much the leader, but expensive. Plextor has the best bang for the buck.

Installation of an IDE drive is a breeze. Insert in box, hook up cables , boot, wizard installs driver, go.

Stay away from SCSI. They aren't worth the trouble. I never did get a Sony Spressa working in my Dell, but it worked first time in an off-brand. It used to be that they were faster, more reliable, etc. but not any more.

What's in your machine now? One hard drive or 2, one CD-ROM? If 1 hard drive and 1 cd-rom, check the ribbon cables on both (flat 40-wire grey). See if they have an unused connector halfway down the cable. Check the sound card. See if it has a slot for a 2nd audio cable (If it doesn't, you won't hear a CD playing in it, but you will from your CD-R). Audio cords used to come with CD players, but usually not now.

Set the CD-RW to "slave".
You have 2 choices as to where to hook it up.

1. Hook your CD-RW to the unused connector on the ribbon cable that goes to the hard drive. This allows you to copy CD-R to CD-RW with pretty good speed and reliability (research "buffer overruns"). If your hard drive is AT33
it may slow it down.

2. Hook your CD-RW to the unused connector on the ribbon cable that goes to the CD-R. This enables max copy speed from the hard drive to the CD-RW (eg. for MP3s). If you want to copy CD-R to CD-RW you will select the option in the copy software (eg. CD Creator) that comes with the CD-RW to make a copy image and then copy. This is more reliable anyway than direct disk to disk, but it takes longer.

I recommend #2.

If you have 2 hard drives, and a CD-R check how they are hooked up.

You have 2 IDE controllers on the motherboard: a primary and secondary. Your ribbon cables (usually) have 2 connectors as discussed above, master and slave.

Let's say your main drive is "C" and your second drive is "D".

Hook up your "C" drive as the primary/master
Hook up the CD-R as the primary/slave
Hook up your "D" drive as the secondary/master
Hook up the CD-RW as the secondary/slave

Old 04-18-01, 10:54 AM
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On my system I have 2 hard drives, master & slave on the primary , the 2 cd roms (one is a burner) as a master & slave on the secondary. The only thing that is a must be is teh c drive as master on the primary.

I have heard of people telling me that some burners don't work well as slaves and some don't work well as masters. I have also had a problem with one motherboard a while back that teh syetm would crash from the start when I had a 3.1 geg hard drive as a master and a 2.1 as a slave, burner on teh secondary. When I made the 2.1 as the master and the 3.1 as a slave hard rive , the burner worked and performed well on the secondary controller. When the motherboard was upgraded/replaced, it worked ok when the 3.1 geg drive was a master and the 2.1 slave.

Also there are certain cd roms that perform certain functions better when trying to make a backup copy of copyprotected cd software that with special software can duplicate the protection schemes of the orginal cd. Those units tend to be sometimes much more expensive than others.

Make sure the any cd rom or cdr is capable of audio extraction, most are that were made in the modern era.

If the sound card only allows one audio connection from the cd rom, I would connect to the cd reader , and not the burner, but should work either way.
Old 04-19-01, 07:21 AM
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Thanks Guys!

Valuable info! I had already read, as alluded to in one response, that Phillips and Plextor were highly regarded.

The installation instructions were appreciated too. My Compaq is just about as basic as they come. 3.2 gig 400 mhz No permanent addons on made yet. Both a C and a D Drive. I do have 2 USB connections, CD rom with empty space below to put one! (OKOKOKOK I'm a lady who's about as basic as they come too...but can handle tools and do about anything I set my mind to with Instructions before me!!)

I will knock on your door again if I need to!
Old 04-20-01, 07:41 AM
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My 2 cents now. CD-RW "can" play CD audio in some CD players, but not all. I can attest for this personally.

External burners don't have the tranfers rates that internals do. This is due to cabeling. Firewire is the fastest cable. USB is also fast. Parallel is very slow.

Burn proof is recommended over anything. I have produced too many coasters. But I have also made some awesome audio CDs.

Ripping speed (audio extrcation) helps if you want to put CD audio on as MP3, WAV, or WMA. The software you use is just as important as the hardware.

I don't recommend using Direct-CD it is cumbersome and slow. Adaptec needs to work on that.
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