The CRW-F1 can write and read at up to 44x and ups the CD-RW ante by being able to re-write at up to 24x. Compatible with Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, XP and Mac OS X, this EIDE drive was a breeze to set up under XP. It came bundled with Nero 5.5, InCD, Nero Cover Designer and Wave Editor. Featuring an 8MB buffer to protect against coaster creation, the drive uses disc T@2 (tattoo) technology, allowing text and images to be burned to the data side of a disc. I tested this feature on dark blue, light blue and gold discs and found the most legible results came from discs in that same order. Disc T@2 disables further writing to a CD-R and only works on empty disc space. Audio track edit functions let you erase a particular track on an audio CD-RW disc without needing to erase the entire disc and start again. While on audio, the max 8x Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording mode widens a disc’s pits and lands (essentially, tiny bumps that define a track) during recording to reduce jitter and improve audio quality. On an Athlon XP 2600+ system with 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a 120GB 7200rpm hard disk, UDF formatting of a 24x CD-RW disc took less a minute; XP advised that 503MB was available. Using InCD, 501MB of data took 4 minutes 52 seconds to burn, 2 minutes 25 seconds to copy back to the hard disk, and 4 minutes 17 seconds to move that data to the hard disk, restarting each time. Ripping a 73-minute audio CD to .wav format using Nero took 2 minutes 31 seconds, and Nero reported creating an audio CD at the drive’s maximum 44x (even though I used a 32x max CD-R) in 3 minutes 38 seconds. n
In brief: Yamaha CRW-F1
A fast and innovative drive whose appeal will depend on your budget and needs. Other versions include an external USB 2.0 for $499 and external USB 2.0 and FireWire version for $599.
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