Formac 24x CDRW

For months, numerous manufacturers have been telling me that 24-speed CD-RWs are imminent. However, it has taken until now for anybody to show me a working 24x CD-RW. The company is Formac, and the drive is called simply CDRW. In times past, there was only one worthwhile way to burn a CD – Toast. This software from Roxio rules the CD-burning software roost. It was so superior to other CD-burning software that others didn’t stand a chance – until recently. Burning issue
The thing that upset the apple cart was Apple being “helpful”, and adding CD burners and burning software to the latest Macs. This was a wonderful gesture, but while it made ripping off music CDs simple from iTunes, it broke Toast. It’s nice to have CD-burning capabilities built-in to the operating system, but Toast is a far-superior product, and Apple’s meddling has now made it difficult to use. The 24x CD-RW ships with the OEM version of Toast Lite 5.0.1. If you want an easy life, under no circumstances install the Apple-burner software, because it won’t co-exist with Toast. If you tread carefully, Toast will work right away, but it’s a minefield. A USB connection isn’t up to the job of 24x burning; this requires FireWire. FireWire also makes it easy to connect compared with other high-speed peripheral connections, such as SCSI, which requires an address and termination. Speed is the main reason for spending this much money on a CD burner. You can get cheaper burners, but you’ll be able to fill a CD in half the time it takes with a 12-speed drive. This brings the actual burning speed down to a little over three minutes for a full 650MB CD. Of course, the burning time doesn’t include finishing time or verification, but it’s still pretty impressive. Another thing worth remembering is that if you’re using a CD-RW as a floppy file-sharing replacement, then most of the time the CD won’t be full. For many of the discs burned, you’ll spend more time unwrapping the CD than writing it. If you’re a fan of the way Apple is now supporting CD-RW drives within the operating software, you’ll be disappointed with this model. Currently, it isn’t supported by Apple’s Disc Burner or iTunes recording-software. Future updates may fix this – it really depends on how far Apple will take its bid for the CD-burning software market.

OUR VERDICT

If buying a CD-RW for the first time, or replacing an older model, the 24x CD-RW will keep you ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, it’s so far ahead of the pack that current software support is patchy, due to Apple’s meddling. However, there’s no faster way of recording CD-Rs, and I haven’t heard of any faster ones in the pipeline, so it’s a good time to buy.

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