Upgrader - Installing a CD-RW drive

These days, it is almost essential to have your own CD-RW drive, and some newer systems even come with CD-RW as a standard feature. With it you can create your own audio CDs, make backups of all your software and archive large amounts of data that would otherwise cram your system's hard drive.

The first thing you need to consider is your computer's configuration. Will your old P100 with 16MB of RAM and a 2GB hard drive running the original version of Windows 95 be enough to support a CD-RW drive? The answer is yes. You just have to pick the right burner and follow a couple of usage tips for successful CD creation.

When burning a CD on a powerful PIII system with an abundance of resources, you can usually perform other tasks at the same time. For example, you could be surfing the Internet, writing a Word document or setting up a spreadsheet. On a lesser system (such as the P100 mentioned previously), it is advisable not to do this if you don't want the dreaded "Buffer Underrun" error to appear, as any other tasks will take valuable resources such as CPU time and memory away from the burning process.

The type of drive you install will also be a factor in the reliability stakes. On a lesser system, it would be far more beneficial to choose a SCSI device rather than an IDE device, as a SCSI device will put less strain on the CPU. Also, a large buffer is essential - anything over 1MB is the smallest you should go, but these days 2MB-4MB buffers are common and 8MB buffers are also emerging. If you have a more potent system, such as a PIII, then an IDE device will be sufficient - again, buffer is a key spec, but if you have at least 64MB of memory you should have no troubles.

Note, though, that a SCSI device requires a little more know-how to install than does an IDE device. Also note that these instructions are for a typical installation - always follow the instructions that are provided by the manufacturer, as procedures may vary. the top downInstalling an IDE deviceInstalling a SCSI device

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