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EXP CD Traveler 620
CD Traveler Goes Mobile
-- by Jim Forbes
With so many applications now on CD-ROM, it's difficult to imagine any serious mobile warrior not having access to a CD-ROM drive. If you're thinking of buying a portable computer that includes a CD-ROM drive, remember this: You won't use it constantly, so this peripheral's a bit of a luxury.
Enter the external portable CD-ROM drive. For about two years now, I've used a portable 2X CD-ROM from EXP; it's churned without problems, providing rock-solid reliability. The company's new CD Traveler 620 seems even more reliable and, of course, transfers and seeks data faster than my trusty 2X.
You can power the 6X CD Traveler 620 three different ways: use six AA batteries, plug in a portable AC power supply or draw current from your notebook via a card that plugs into one of your computer's PCMCIA slots. Measuring 1.4 by 5.4 by 7.4 inches, the unit weighs about 1 pound (making it easy to pack for trips) and resembles a battery-operated CD player. It has an on/off switch, volume control and two LED system status indicators.
Under test conditions, the 620's transfer rate approached 900KB per second, and its average seek time was approxi-mately 265 milliseconds when drawing power from my notebook. These are average numbers for a portable CD drive.
Under Windows 95, installation was simple. You plug the PCMCIA card into a slot, install the MSCDEX driver (if one isn't already loaded), and it works. I also installed the CD Traveler 620 on an older notebook running Windows 3.x and found the routine straightforward.
If you're into portable computing, you could find this drive to be a real lifesaver. Unfortunately it's not as fast as some other portable CD-ROM drives on the market, so it does not make our Recommended List.