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View Full Version : Should I get both a CD-ROM and CD-RW?



Samantha
09-01-2000, 07:53 PM
I hope this is the right forum for this topic.

I'm configuring a new PC (perfect timely for the new forums!) for home use. I've definitely decided to get a CDRW drive and also decided that I don't want a DVD drive right now. I'm wondering if I should also get a regular CD-ROM. What reasons are there for having both?

Note that I barely use my CD-ROM drive. In fact, the one in the PC I use now has been broken for a couple years now and I haven't missed it. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif About the only thing for which I've used the CD-ROM drive is to install software very occasionally. I decided on the CDRW, however, after considering backup options and ways to best transport large files from home to office.

I can get a basic CD-ROM drive pretty cheaply , but if I don't really need it, I could use the money toward upgrading other components.

Thoughts?

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Charles Kozierok
09-03-2000, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by Samantha:
I hope this is the right forum for this topic.

Absolutely! http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif

I'm configuring a new PC (perfect timely for the new forums!) for home use. I've definitely decided to get a CDRW drive and also decided that I don't want a DVD drive right now. I'm wondering if I should also get a regular CD-ROM. What reasons are there for having both?

First, check out this page for starters: http://www.PCGuide.com/buy/des/comp_Optical.htm
Now, there are several reasons why you might want a CD-RW in addition to a CD-ROM:
[list=1]
Backups: Most people have no way at all to back up anything in their PC. I think the capacity of CD-RW is a bit small for doing backups, but it's much better than floppies!
Audio work: If you want to make your own audio CDs, you need a CD writer. I use mine for this purpose, making custom CDs (of my own legally-purchased music of course!)
Distribution: If you are in a business where you need to share data, or you have digicam and want to send pictures to people, or similar applications.
[/list=a]


Note that I barely use my CD-ROM drive. In fact, the one in the PC I use now has been broken for a couple years now and I haven't missed it. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif About the only thing for which I've used the CD-ROM drive is to install software very occasionally. I decided on the CDRW, however, after considering backup options and ways to best transport large files from home to office.

Well, there you go then. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif


I can get a basic CD-ROM drive pretty cheaply , but if I don't really need it, I could use the money toward upgrading other components.

If you aren't going to do audio or a lot of copying of CDs, you don't need both. If you want the CD-RW, just get that and skip the CD-ROM entirely! As for the CD-ROM, the el-cheapo CD-ROMs around on the market are often junk: noisy and unreliable.
Hope that helps a bit! http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif


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Charles M. Kozierok ( ixlubb@PCGuide.com )
Webslave, The PC Guide (http://www.PCGuide.com)
Comprehensive PC Reference, Troubleshooting, Optimization and Buyer's Guides...

Samantha
09-03-2000, 04:02 PM
Thanks so much, Charles. I hadn't thought about making custom audio CDs. I assume you mean that I could copy selected tracks from my CDs to another CD to get my personal "Greatest Hits" collections. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif That's an intriguing plus for having both drives.


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Son of Zeus
09-03-2000, 07:01 PM
Samantha,

hope that if you are using your home PC for work purposes that u remember to claim it as a tax deduction when tax time comes around. Don't know about the States, but certainly in Australia work done at home on your personal PC entitles you to claim it as a legitimate tax deduction. They have more than enough of my hard earned as far as I am concerned, so I have no shame in requesting the return of some of it.:-)

Cheers.......Son of Zeus.

Samantha
09-05-2000, 12:44 AM
SOZ,

Changes in the tax code a few years ago have made making such deductions much more difficult, since I use the PC for personal use as well. I think I would have to keep a diary of hours worked on the PC, then I'd be able to deduct that portion.

Anyway, I happily pay my taxes every year. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif

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S~~

uncle_bent
09-06-2000, 11:10 AM
If you haven't already made a purchase let me offer an opinion. I have a machine with both a CD-ROM and CD-RW drive. It is possible to copy one CD directly to another, and it is nice when it works, but my experience has been that I often get buffer underruns when copying CD-to-CD. This ruins the CD for further use and the resulting useless disk is called a "coaster" by those who like to burn CDs. I have a habit of gliding each coaster at a trash can accross my den. Instead, I usually take the copy-to-disk option (makes a copy on the hard drive that is then used to burn the CD). This is almost always successful vs. %60/%40 copying CD-to-CD. This way you can use the same drive for reading and writing. You will have to swap the original for a blank CD in the middle of the copy procedure, however. The additional time to copy to disk is not that great (an extra 10 minutes or less) and multiple copies is a snap this way.

Maybe it's my machine configuration, maybe it's me, but I hate coasters with a particular passion. I think you would do just fine with a single CD-RW drive. Remember also that you can pop in an extra drive at any time if you find this advice is faulty. By the way, I find CD-RW a little slow for reading and writing, but my drive is one of the older ones.

ReddDogg
09-06-2000, 06:41 PM
I copy cd to cd all the time. I have an acer 8x/4x/32x internal in an Athlon 600 system with 128 ram and 20.5 gig hd, running windows 98Se. Am using Adaptec Easy CD Creater and Adaptec Direct CD for cd-cd copy. It burns 95 percent of the time successfully, and if I am burning something from orininal disk (ie games) I use the test first option which has never lied to me about whether the process would work. I also have a 4x/2x/6x external Sony Spressa, which i have had longer, and it is a usb connection, and i use it with PII 300 laptop that has 128 ram and running windows Me, has 6.5 gig hard drive. I use adaptec products on this computer too, the sony hotburn, nero, and cdwin3a programs all gave coasters on a regular basis. I make copies of everything, from audio cd's, downloaded movies, program discs, games. Even OS cd's, linux, mandrake, windows Me beta, and other things I doubt I should disclose. At anyrate, Adaptec only program taht has worked consistantly, and the test feature like I said, has never lied. One thing that all my sucessful burns have in common, I did not have anything else running on computer when I did the burn that might use up system resources.

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Joe Redd
MCP

zomster
12-05-2000, 03:16 AM
The 8x4x32 burners are running at nice prices now and burn a full CD in 10 min since you dont use your CD rom that often you dont need another rom just use your burner most are at 32x read now which is all you really need. And if you were thinking of copying CD to CD down the line its best to cache it to the HD first any way so still wont lose out on having the 2nd drive there.

sleddog
12-05-2000, 07:44 AM
One consideration not mentioned, but which doesn't seem to apply in this case...

Using a CD-RW drive regularly to simply read CDs can lead to early failure of the drive. I installed an HP 7100 CD-RW several years ago as the only CD drive, used it at lot for just reading, and experienced partial failure after a couple years (it won't work with CD-RW disks, but is still okay with CDRs). And I've read of other similar instances. I've since installed a standard CD drive and use the CD-RW *only* for writing when necessary.

uncle_bent
12-08-2000, 12:28 PM
I have an HP drive of similar vintage which was used only for writing and it is also beginning to fail (A Plextor is on the way in the mail as I type this). I think it is the write laser that is the problem on these drives. It has soured me a bit on HP cd-rw drives (that may be a silly attitude but I can't help it).

sea69
12-15-2000, 12:47 PM
ummmm Sound Advice' from Red....
We have similiar systems.. me: Athlon 800 sys. w/ 128 mg's ram, 30 gig hdd, win 98SE, also using Adaptec software (EXCELLENT){only a 4x4x32-burner http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/frown.gif~..) It IS best to always 'Test' 1st when copying. Additionally I personally have found it best also to ensure success to close EVERYTHING else out while 'Burning' <ESPECIALLY> Close Internet connection!!! Also luckily or not my pc came with cd-rw AND dvd -drive, which I find VERY usefull.. as opposed to NOT having 2 drives. :-)~
Originally posted by ReddDogg:
I copy cd to cd all the time. I have an acer 8x/4x/32x internal in an Athlon 600 system with 128 ram and 20.5 gig hd, running windows 98Se. Am using Adaptec Easy CD Creater and Adaptec Direct CD for cd-cd copy. It burns 95 percent of the time successfully, and if I am burning something from orininal disk (ie games) I use the test first option which has never lied to me about whether the process would work. I also have a 4x/2x/6x external Sony Spressa, which i have had longer, and it is a usb connection, and i use it with PII 300 laptop that has 128 ram and running windows Me, has 6.5 gig hard drive. I use adaptec products on this computer too, the sony hotburn, nero, and cdwin3a programs all gave coasters on a regular basis. I make copies of everything, from audio cd's, downloaded movies, program discs, games. Even OS cd's, linux, mandrake, windows Me beta, and other things I doubt I should disclose. At anyrate, Adaptec only program taht has worked consistantly, and the test feature like I said, has never lied. One thing that all my sucessful burns have in common, I did not have anything else running on computer when I did the burn that might use up system resources.





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lol

stimpson j. cat
12-15-2000, 11:46 PM
Hello,
A couple of notes. First, if you don't use your cd-rom very much, you will be better off to just buy the CD-R. For the little use it will get besides writing to a cd, you don't need to worry about it getting worn out. But just having one CD drive means anytime you want to copy something from CD to CD, you'll have to write it to the hard drive first. A couple of general tips anytime you're writing something. Always turn off the screen saver. Don't be doing other work in the background. These are the number 1 reasons why the writing program messes up and you get a coaster. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/frown.gif I have a CD-R and CD-ROM and I write from cd straight to cd. It's quick and I've never made a coaster. You should have the cd drives on different IDE channels. This helps avoid the buffer underruns. Also, you don't have to write at the fastest rated speed of your CD-R drive. That can make a coaster sometimes, too. Also, Plextor brand CD-R drives are very good. Hope it helps a little. Later.

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"Reinstall Windows again? Oh joy!"

xor_chad
12-19-2000, 05:04 PM
Yes. you should. you should always buy as much stuff as you can fit in your PC. Then when its full, get a bigger case and keep adding. Laters...



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Chad Wilson
C++/ASM Programmer
PC Support Technician

kenja
12-23-2000, 03:50 AM
A technical term that needs to be brought up here, since we're talking some about making audio CDs from existing CDs: DAE (Digital Audio Extraction).

I've used CD Creator since before Corel sold it to Adaptec.
I love the 4.0 version of Easy CD Creator, BUT: It now insists on using Digital Audio Extraction when performing a direct copy of a music (or multi-media) CD. Version 3.5c didn't require it for audio copies, only if you were making a compilation disk (pulling individual songs off of other CDs). Another thing I miss after upgrading: used to be able to perform DAE over my LAN, but not with 4.0.

OK, back to the topic of hardware: Just because a certain CD-ROM drive has a high read number rating does NOT mean that it will have a correspondingly high rate of DAE. For example, I think my Plextor 40x (SCSI) was "the best in the West" when it came out: it performs DAE at 24x. On the other hand, my I/O Magic 52x (false advertising, W2k reports it as being a 48x) can only manage to do DAE at 7x.

Side note on the I/O Magic: Yeah, it's almost scary when it's fully wound up, but it's worth the $30 (after rebate) you can sometimes get it for at CompUSA. (I bought a second one.)

Speaking of scary: Maximum PC ran a reader's photo of the totally shattered face of a CD player. Seems if you leave a disk in a high speed drive day after day, the polycarbonate can become brittle.