LaCie CDRW 321040i

It’s ironic that just as CD burning becomes so lightning fast, CDs are beginning to seem a little small for backups. Never the less, the new LaCie 32x CD-RW is likely to endear itself to many as the model that is plenty fast enough. Just to put it in perspective, this 32x CD-RW can copy 700MB to a disk in under four minutes. Before you start saying that doesn’t include finishing time, spinning up to speed and loading into RAM, actually it does. Just to run you through it, it took 14 seconds to prepare itself to burn. That is when the files are gathered and smaller ones are loaded into cache. The next step should take (in a perfect world) about two and a half minutes while the burn takes place. In practice this took three minutes and 13 seconds. It took another 29 seconds to do the finishing process. Speed vs size
When we have gigahertz Macs and 1,000BaseT networking, four minutes for a CD sounds like a long time. But if you’re old enough to remember floppies (or are still using an ancient Mac) you will know that four minutes is pretty swift. We formatted a floppy disc, which took two minutes 43 seconds, then copied 1MB to it – which took another 44 seconds. That’s three minutes and 27 seconds to copy a single megabyte. Another thirty seconds to make a 700MB CD isn’t so slow. However, most people won’t be using this as an upgrade to a floppy drive. More likely you have a machine that may already have a CD-RW, or perhaps an older external model. My Power Macintosh G4 (533MHz) has an 8x CD-RW. Burning the same 700MB CD took a little over 11 minutes – a compelling reason to upgrade for anyone burning CDs.

OUR VERDICT

If you burn a lot of CDs, then this is a worthwhile upgrade. Remember, though, that most CD burns use a lot less data than 700MB – so burning takes less time, and speed is less important. Whatever your workload, the 32x drive is bound to speed the production of CDs. If this is something you need, then this is a great choice. There’s no quicker drive around

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