Shattered: This CD's in Tatters?

If you hear an intense vibrating noise or a bang from your superfast 48X CD-ROM or CD-RW drive, beware: Your disc may be shattering.

Robert Resovich, application engineering manager at drive maker Plextor, says that a CD's generally vulnerable inner ring becomes more so when the disc is spun in the newest drives (currently the standard is 48X/24X/48X). "You get upwards of 10,000 rpm, and at the outer edge, that's roughly the equivalent of 150 miles an hour," he explains. "At that speed, things can come apart."

User Ricardo Kustner discovered that the problem may occur even with slower drives. When he put a Microsoft Windows NT 4 installation CD with a tiny crack into his 24X CD-ROM drive, "it started to make a spinning noise, and then suddenly a loud crack." When he opened the drive, the disc had shattered.

The threat isn't dire: Esteban Kim, marketing manager at CD-ROM and CD-RW drive manufacturer Lite-On, notes that drives capable of reading at 48X and 52X have only a 0.01 to 0.02 percent risk of causing a disc to shatter--the equivalent of 1 to 2 discs for every 10,000.

Resovich says discs must suffer from a serious defect to shatter. Examples include brittleness caused by repeatedly snapping discs in and out of cases or drives in portable players or laptops, and imperfect balance, perhaps from an off-center or wrinkled label.

CD-ROM vendors such as Plextor are trying to improve disc balancing techniques and to build stronger drives. Still, the next time you pop a CD into a drive, be sure to look for abnormalities that could cause the disc to splinter.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?