Teac – CD-R56S review

internal SCSI CD recorder
Photo of Teac – CD-R56S
£349 + VAT

CD-R drives are now available at cheap-’n'-cheerful prices, particularly drives with EIDE interfaces that don’t require SCSI adapters. But such drives are not exactly swift. They’re fine for the occasional user who wants to make backups (for want of a better euphemism) of their CDROMs, but for duplicating houses or limited distribution runs, something a little faster is required. Teac’s new drive offers 6-speed write performance, transferring data at up to 900KB/sec and considerably reducing the amount of time required to burn a CD-R.

Partly because of the weight of the extra electronics in the read/write head, CD-R drives rarely have particularly good read performance. Teac seems to have overcome that problem in this drive, however, since the CD-R56S has a maximum read performance of 24-speed, which equates to 3,600KB/sec. In practice, that figure won’t often be reached – the drive uses a technique known as partial-CAV to access data, meaning that transfer rates vary depending on which part of the disk is being read. Generally, a 16-speed average is attainable, with the average access time being 150ms. Both figures are impressive for a CD-R drive, meaning that this drive can easily double as a conventional CDROM drive.

The CD-R56S is a conventional half-height drive that will fit in any standard 5.25-inch drive bay. It uses the SCSI-2 interface and is supplied with a copy of Adaptec’s EasyCD Creator and DirectCD products. The former allows the creation and duplication of CD-Rs from a variety of data and audio sources, while the latter lets the user drag and drop files onto a CD-R disk without having to worry about the traditional sessions and buffer errors, although only newer CDROM drives are able to read CDs created in this manner.

Company: Teac

Contact: 01923 225235

Its 24-speed read performance is more than adequate for multimedia or software installation, and at full write speed the CD-R56S can burn a full CD in a little over 12 minutes. It is, consequently, more expensive than many slower drives of its type, and you should bear in mind that if you're planning to duplicate CDs, you'll either need a second CDROM drive or up to 650MB of free hard drive space.