For too long the only way to use a fast-CD burner with a SCSI-less Mac was to install a SCSI card. USB burners run at a maximum 4x speed, and FireWire burners, though in existence, were not supported by Adaptec Toast. Now, finally, there’s a CD-RW that uses FireWire, and a version of Toast that will support it.
As CD writers go, the OnePro is bulky and not very attractive. This may put off some buyers, but it’s the functionality that’s important. The ability to store large quantities of data quickly, simply and in a format that just about every computer can read is very compelling.
Adaptec Toast is the thing that makes all this possible. Until the release of the 8-speed OnePro CD-RW, non-SCSI Macs were limited by the fact that USB CD-Rs were slow. Most run at 2x, later models achieved 4x, but USB simply doesn’t have the bandwidth for faster speeds. When burning a CD, the stream of data must be constant, otherwise the CD may be flawed. SCSI did a fine job of this, but with the newer machines it is not a standard feature. The thought of installing a SCSI card, even in a G3 or G4, is daunting to many. But, why should you have to when you have state-of-the-art FireWire? Well, now you don’t. And, if you need to share the CD-R with other people, you don’t need to shut down every time you unplug it – you do with SCSI.
If you’ve been waiting for a FireWire CD-RW – as we have at Macworld – the wait is over. It is great to be released from the shackles of SCSI, we have fried at least one SCSI card by forgetting it isn’t hot-swappable.
Now there’re FireWire CD-RWs, we can expect models capable of speeds beyond 8x. Until then though, the OnePro CD-RW is the best machine going. It’s just a shame the the design isn’t a bit more space age.