Puchasing a CD writer

July 1, 1993

Puchasing a CD writer

By Richard Heller

Purchasing a CD writer

With Christmas just around the corner, one of the newest “must have” items is a CD writer. What was selling for $500 five years ago, can now be purchased for about $100. With a CD writer, you will be able to create your own music compilation and picture CDs. Let’s take a look at what you need to know before you buy.

There are three major types of blank CD-ROMS being sold. There is the CDR, which, once the data has been written to the disk, it cannot be erased or changed. This is the most common type of disk and sells for as low as 20 cents each. The next type of disk is a CDRW, which has the ability to be erased and reused up to 1000 times. This disk sells for a couple of dollars each. The last type of disk is an Audio CD. These disks are designed for use in a special recorder connected to your hi-fi system and cannot be used in a CD writer for the computer. The CDR disk can be used in most home, portable and auto CD players, while the CDRW disk requires a player that specifically states that it is supported.

When you purchase a CD writer, it is sold according to the speed that it will write the data to the disk. The numbers on the box will read 4-4-24, 8-4-32, 12-4-32, or something similar. The first number is the speed that it writes the CDR disk, the second is the speed for writing the CDRW, while the final number is the speed that it reads a CD-ROM.

A CD-ROM will hold 650MB of data or 74 minutes of audio. If you had a writer that was a 1X speed, it would take 74 minutes to write the full 650MB to the disk. A 2X writer would take 37 minutes, a 4X would take 18 minutes, while a 12X recorder would do it in only 6 minutes. The faster the drive is, the more expensive it will be, up to $300 for a 12X or faster drive.

There are also a number of options to connect the drive to your computer. The easiest way is to either replace the CD-ROM drive in your computer with a writer or install the drive in a spare drive bay. The second way is to connect an external drive through the printer port. This can be a problem because Windows gets confused if you try to connect more than one device to the printer port at a time. One of the newest methods to connect an external drive through the USB port found on Pentium and newer computers. This method allows the writer to be connected at the same time as your printer and scanner.

A CD writer will make it much easier to give photos and music to your friends. Just hand them a CD that you made and let them print the pictures for which they want copies.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or email technorh@mindspring.com.

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