The main reason I bought a CD-R drive was to back up all of the junk I’ve downloaded over the ‘net in oh…the last 3 years. The first thing that hit me was that the Teac drive I had so eagerly laid my cash down for was a 6X writer. Sure, it’s a rocket, but the problem lies in finding the right CD-R media to burn on. The vast majority of CD-R discs that you find at your local megastore like Best Buy or CompUSA are unlabeled in terms of their max recording speed. You can pretty much expect them to write at 4X and slower, but anything over that is a potential risk. First of all, if you plan to purchase the Teac 6x24, or any other 6X or faster drive, make sure you know where to look to find CD-R media that can be written on to at 6X. At the moment, I am using some CompUSA branded 6X CDs, which are probably easy to find wherever you live. Teac lists their recommended brands in the manual pamphlet. Although you can pretty much bet that TDK, Ricoh, or any of the brands they list are going to be suitable, they are also considerably more expensive. So far, I’ve found that the drive has had no problem writing on anything that is rated at 6X or above.
The very first CD-R I recorded (or burned, whatever you want to call it), was filled with some random zip files and movie files (no…not those movies sicko, but CG game intros). Using Adaptec CD Creator 3.5b, the CD appeared to record successfully. The movies played fine from the CD and the zip files opened up normally. However, upon trying to extract from the zip files, I was assaulted by CRC errors everywhere. For the uninitiated, CRC errors are Cyclic Redundancy Checks. Basically, they are very precise checks that repeatedly verify that the zip file is the real thing. Apparently, some of the zip file was lost while being burned on to the CD. I tried two more times. Both CDs had the same errors. I finally deduced that I was losing by data transferring files from an Ultra ATA hard drive and trying to record to the SCSI 6x24 at the maximum 6X speed. I took a spare 1 GB SCSI drive I had lying around and recorded the same contents from that hard drive to the CD-R drive. Everything turned out fine. No CRC errors anymore. The lesson is, if you want to record at the maximum speed of 6X (and why would you not want to?), it is recommended that you transfer from across from SCSI hard drive to SCSI CD-R drive, at least for compressed files with file verification such as CRC checks. This isn’t a problem inherent to the Teac, but most likely happens with any fast SCSI CD-R drive. Except for those first three failed recordings, my music mixes and backup CDs up to this point have all turned out fine.
As one of only a few 6X recorders, the Teac drive is only slower than the several 8X recorders out on the market. As you would expect from the 6X rating, the average time it takes to fill up a 650 MB CD falls right between the a 4X drive’s 20 minutes and an 8X drive’s 10 minutes. From my CD burning experiences, average times fell right at 14-15 minutes for 650 MB. With speed like that, I found myself going away while my CDs recorded, only to come back 30 minutes later and forgetting that I had meant to come back to my computer earlier. Having a drive this fast is a truly a convenience. To test the drive, I copied one of my game CDs. Remember that it is illegal to make a backup copy of software unless you own it, which still sounds a little weird to me. The first game I copied was Unreal, which I somehow have three real copies of. The joys of OEM bundling… Anyway, if anything, I’m entitled to a backup under the law (err…I think) even though I don’t exactly need one =). The copy was incredibly fast, in large part because Unreal does not take up a whole CD.
If you plan to also use your CD-R drive as your primary CD-ROM drive, all Teac drives serve up some of the fastest read speeds in the industry. At 24X, they may not be quite as fast as those newfangled 52X or 40X drives, but for a CD-R drive 24X is superb. The drive’s audio extraction was also impressive. Ripping music tracks was always done at an average speed of 12X in Xing Audio Catalyst.