Speed freaks take note: you can now shave about 90 seconds off the time it takes to burn a full CD. This may not sound like much, but there are a couple of reasons why it could be good news for you. However, if you are using a 12x CD-RW then don’t bother upgrading to this one – you’ll get a speed increase but nothing to write home about. If, however, you are using an 8x or slower, this drive should be on your wish list.
The first reason for upgrading is the aforementioned speed increase – if you have an 8x machine you’ll halve the time it takes to record a CD. The recording process is not just the burning of data though, there are preparations before and a finishing process after the burning. This bit isn’t greatly affected by the speed increase, though the finishing seemed a little faster.
For an 8x model, the burn time – not including finishing – takes 9 minutes and 15 seconds. Slower 4x and 2x models take 18.5 and 37 minutes respectively. The LaCie 16x took less than five minutes to burn 650MB of data.
The software that ships with the CD-RW is the ubiquitous and award-winning Toast 4.11. It is undoubtedly the best CD burning software available anywhere on any platform. That is, until last week when Roxio launched Toast 5. However, I’m sure that LaCie will include Toast 5 (see page 53) as soon as it becomes available to bundle with its hardware. Version 5 does have plenty off nifty features, but version 4 is still adequate.
It isn’t worthwhile buying a 16x CD-RW if you already have a 12x model, the speed difference simply isn’t enough. Also, remember that all new G4 Power Macs include 8x CD-RWs, so this will be for speeders only.
If none of these points applies to you, then I heartily recommend this drive. The new design is an improvement over previous models, it’s more stackable and less spikey – the old one had sharp feet. It also has dual FireWire ports so you can daisy-chain devices.