Yamaha drive does a fast, reliable burn on big files

Yamaha drive does a fast, reliable burn on big files

It recorded an 80-minute, 700M audio CD in about 11 minutes with help from its SCSI-3 interface

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

Yamaha Corp. didn't give its latest internal CD-rewritable and recordable drive a snappy name. How memorable is CRW8424SZ? But Yamaha did build it with great speed and reliability.

You can parse the name CRW8424SZ because it records at 8X, rewrites at 4X and reads at 24X, making it one fast backup peripheral. I found it not only speedy at recording large amounts of data'650M to 700M'but also dependable.

I recorded and rerecorded up to 1.32G of audio files and high-resolution graphics on eight blank CDs'four 650M disks and four 700M disks. In every case, the Yamaha drive never missed a byte.

It recorded an 80-minute, 700M audio CD in a bit more than 11 minutes. Other burners I've tried took about 25 minutes for the same file.

Data files in, say, Microsoft Word tend to be smaller than audio files and record faster. I backed up my entire hard drive on three 650M disks in half an hour.

With many other CD-R/RW drives, I've noticed some information gaps on a CD after three or four consecutive burns. Some drives I've tested have failed to pick up some audio information even on the first burn.

Complex installation

Box Score

Yamaha CRW8424SZ

Internal SCSI-3 CD

recordable and rewritable drive

Yamaha Corp.; Buena Park, Calif.; tel. 714-527-5782


Price: $300

+ Fast and dependable

+ Moderately easy to install and use

' Requires SCSI-2 or -3 host adapter

Real-life requirements:

Windows 9x on 200-MHz or faster Pentium processor with SCSI adapter; or Mac OS 7.5 or later version with SCSI adapter card or SCSI-3 controller port; 100M of free storage for either environment

The CRW8424SZ gets its speed from its Ultra SCSI-3 interface. SCSI-3 is among the fastest interfaces around, but it does make this peripheral difficult for users to understand and install.

The host adapter, which connects to the motherboard and plugs in other SCSI peripherals, does not come with the drive. You must buy it separately or, if you already have a host adapter, you must check to see whether it's at least the SCSI-2 variety.

A SCSI-2 host adapter, because it's older, will work more slowly. A SCSI-1 peripheral does not interface with SCSI-3 but could with SCSI-2.

Yamaha recommends using its own blank CDs to optimize speed. I didn't notice any media differences, even though the Yamaha disks with their deep-blue undersides looked cooler than their competitors.

The CD-R/RW drive, about the size of a standard internal CD-ROM drive, measures 5.8 by 1.6 by 8 inches and weighs 2.1 pounds. It consumes only about 11 watts of electricity when reading or writing at data transfer rates of up to 3.6 megabytes/sec. One reason for the fast transfer is that a 4M buffer saves data during a recording in case of any corruption.

The bundled software from Adaptec Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., has some nice features. Each time you place a blank CD in the burner, the software automatically recognizes it and launches a window with a choice of burning programs.

Adaptec's Easy CD Copier and Easy CD Creator software come included, as does DirectCD, which converts the CD-R/RW into a hard drive on which you can drag, drop, delete and rename files using Windows Explorer.

Yamaha even packages Adobe Systems Inc.'s PageMill, PhotoDeluxe Business Edition, a photo editor, a poster maker and clip art. These programs don't have much to do with high-speed burning, but it never hurts to have extra software.

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