[ Go to May 1997 Table of Contents ]|
-- by Marc Spiwak
The dizzying spin-up of faster and faster CD-ROM drives continues to-er-accelerate. These days, if you often use a CD-ROM drive, you're wasting time if you're not running with a 12X model. In fact, 16X models are already beginning to appear on the market. TEAC's CD-512E is a 12X internal IDE CD-ROM drive priced under $150, and it offers speed and ease of installation that make it worth a look.
The drive installs in any standard 5.25-inch external bay. Installation is a matter of connecting the drive to the secondary IDE controller on the motherboard, with the drive's mode jumper set to "Master." (The mode jumper would be set to "Slave" if the drive were the second IDE device connected to the primary IDE controller.)
Plug a power-supply connector into the back of the drive and connect the audio output to the sound card, and you're done. It couldn't be easier.
Quarterdeck's CD Certify Pro put the drive through its paces, measuring an average access time of 174 milliseconds and a transfer rate of 1876KB per second, with a CPU load of 85 percent. While those numbers aren't spectacular for a 12X drive, the TEAC CD-512E is fast nonetheless.
In a test that copied a 30MB file from CD to hard disk, the transfer completed in 17.3 seconds. That's a transfer rate of 1734KBps-just a bit shy of the 12X spec.
For the sake of comparison, the Mitsumi 12X CD-ROM drive on our WinList of recommended products showed a slightly faster access time (154ms) and a lower CPU load (56 percent). In addition,the Mitsumi's data-transfer rate was a bit faster at 1859KBps. The 30MB file copied from CD to hard disk in 17 seconds flat on the Mitsumi drive.
Both drives offer similar levels of performance, but the Mitsumi's faster access time and lower CPU usage are enough for it to retain its place on the WinList. Moreover, the relatively high CPU utilization rate of the TEAC CD-512E makes it a poor choice for multitasking applications.