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A new CD-ROM Drive

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A new CD-ROM Drive

Postby APwrs on Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:06 pm

Greetings one and all. I'm currently looking to buy a new CD-ROM drive to replace my old one. I don't need / want a CD-R/RW drive, as I already have one, but I do like having a regular CD-ROM.

Now I really must throw myself at your mercy, O people who know much more about this stuff than I. I'm simply looking for a drive that has few if any errors, and most importantly, one that reads subchannel info. The drives on my list which I'm looking at are:

LG GCR-8521B
Sony CDU5221
Asus CD-S520
Aopen CD-956
Mitsumi FX5401W
Lite On LTN-526

I am looking to get one of those, and like I mentioned before, ability to read subchannel data is the highest priority, and it would also be nice if it didn't have huge CPU utilization. I checked on CloneCD's website, but they only talk about CD burners... they don't have straight CD-ROM drives listed. Any information you can supply along these lines will be greatly and highly appreciated. Thank you.
Last edited by APwrs on Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:36 pm

i have the LG CRD-8521B 52x CDROM drive.
i don't know what's the difference between the CRD and the GCR versions.
i don't really like the drive, it's slow with CDRWs and not a very good reader in my opinion. has trouble reading burnt CDRs that read fine on my plextor burner. i'm not sure if my drive is defective or if it's just a bad model.

however, as for your question:
i've had some correspondence with LG support and asked them about the ability to read subchannel data with this drive.
I wrote:In your FAQ (www.lgservice.com, country - Israel, Product Support, FAQ, Product - CD-ROM), question: "Which cd-rom models support 'Read Sub channel' at Clone CD?", the answer says "CRD-8520B can read Sub channel". My question is: can also the CRD-8521B read Sub channel data with Clone CD?

LG support wrote:Also the crd-8521b can supports 'Read Sub channe' at clone cd including crd-8520b.

presumably the GCR is a newer model, i would assume that it too has this capability.

they guy said "If you ever need support feel free to contact me at any time you want to. For further information, feel free to contact us."
if you want to ring him up, here's his email: juno@lge.com
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Postby APwrs on Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:46 pm

Thank you, brave adventurer, for your reply. I will take this into consideration, and I will be using the e-mail address that you have supplied.

And please, all others out there that have information and advice about their experience or knowledge with one of the above models, please do post and share what you know (especially about the subchannel reading question). Thank you.
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Postby APwrs on Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:04 am

I've also become interested in the Lite On LTN-526 drive.
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Postby Dartman on Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:32 am

You might want to consider the Liteon 166s DVD also. It's not a straight cd rom but it's DAE is FAST, they keep updateing the firmware, it reads protected audio cd's, at least it can the one I own :) It can do all types of DVD's and it can be made redion free. Also it can be had cheap and is also sold under the Buslink name at Best Buy.
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Postby APwrs on Sat Feb 01, 2003 5:09 am

I don't really know what you mean when you say it can be made redion free... this isn't something I'm familiar with. I appreciate your comments, however, I'm only looking for a CD-ROM drive... I'm happy enough watching DVD's on my DVD player hooked up to my TV.

After doing some research (or quite a bit of research, actually) I think I've narroed it down to the Mitsumi drive and the Lite On drive. I can get the Lite On for $26 and the Mitsumi for $21.

I haven't been able to read much about the Lite On, other than what it says about that drive at their website. According to their website, it sounds like it can read a whole bunch of media types (including 99 minute CD's) so I wouldn't be too surprised if it can read subchannel, but I'm not sure.

I read a rather interesting article that compared the Mitsumi and two other drives, and according to that the Mitsumi is very fast and can also read subchannel data. However, it only reads up to 90 minutes, instead of the full 99 minutes like the Lite On, and it's also rather plain looking (just standard beige with an open / close button and that's it) where as the Lite On looks a bit nicer (it's black and has a headphone jack, and the front of the tray is also slightly rounded).

Both sound like good drives for good prices, so those are the two that I have narrowed it down to.
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Postby dodecahedron on Sat Feb 01, 2003 5:17 am

a correction:
i just read the 8 CDROM roundup at x-bit labs that eliminator posted
http://www.xbitlabs.com/storage/8-cdrom-roundup/
and according to them the GCR-8520B does not read subchannel data.
sorry about my mistake.
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Postby glock20rocks on Sat Feb 01, 2003 11:47 am

I think Dartman meant "region free" :wink:
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Postby Dartman on Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:07 pm

Yup, OOOPS! :oops:
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Postby APwrs on Sat Feb 01, 2003 7:48 pm

Oh, region free, now that's different hehe. And by the way, go Mandrake Linux!

As for the subchannel issue with the LG, I found this review over at pricegrabber.com that claims that it can read subchannel data.

http://www.pricegrabber.com/rating_getp ... 8cdbbf1435

However, I've heard more than one complaint about that drive and in the article mentioned above, and in another article I read that was using that drive as one of the drives they were comparing, it had quite a high percentage of CPU utilization.

Also, yesterday I called LG's toll-free 24/7 tech support number to see if they would tell me wether or not it read subchannel information (before I made my first post here) and the tech on the other end didn't have any idea what I was talking about and got kind of upset for really no reason at all and just said something about that if it was a feature they needed it would be added into the firmware. I don't know, all in all, I didn't get a very good feeling about LG when I was trying to deal directly with them, and I don't get a very good feeling about their drive.
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Postby APwrs on Sat Feb 01, 2003 11:40 pm

I'm really leaning towards the Mitsumi because even though the Lite On looks like a really solid drive with really solid features, I really haven't been able to find out much of any information about it, such as wether or not it reads subchannel info. However, I've found lots of information about the Mitsumi, and it can read subchannel info.
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Postby cfitz on Sun Feb 02, 2003 1:26 am

The LiteOn claims to support formats like CD-Text and Karaoke-Cd (CD+G):

http://www.liteonit.com.tw/english/new_ ... -cd52x.htm

If we can believe the specs (drive manufacturers are somewhat notorious for claiming CD+G support but not completely living up to the claim), then it does read the sub-channel data.

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Postby APwrs on Sun Feb 02, 2003 5:59 am

So if a drive can read CD-Text and CD+G then that means it can read subchannel data?
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Feb 04, 2003 5:25 pm

i believe so, yes.
(well, nobody else answered so this is better than nothing).
AFAIK the CD+G and CD-Text information are written in the sub-channels. so a drive that can handle these things must (obviously) be able to read sub-channel data.
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Postby APwrs on Tue Feb 04, 2003 5:33 pm

That's what I thought at first too, until I read some tests where there were drives that could read CD+G and CD+Text, but couldn't read subchannel data.

When I'm done with this thing, I'll post all of my findings in one large group to make it easier to read for those that are curious, but I've been getting e-mails from the different companies, and here's what I know so far:

LG This drive does not read subchannel data
Sony This drive does not read subchannel data
AOpen The tech wasn't sure, and is e-mailing their HQ in Tokyo to find out
Lite On This drive does not read subchannel data

That's all the info I've recieved so far from the different companies. The rest of the companies I'm still waiting to hear from.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Feb 04, 2003 5:40 pm

APwrs wrote:That's what I thought at first too, until I read some tests where there were drives that could read CD+G and CD+Text, but couldn't read subchannel data.


well, that's why i said "i believe so", wasn't 100% sure.
still sounds fishey to me. :o

anyone else know???

as for CD+G, it's know that many drives claim to support it but don't really. search around on the forum, cfitz posted some detailed info about it a while back (maybe he'll see this and drop a link, but i know he's busy lately :x )
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Postby APwrs on Tue Feb 04, 2003 6:22 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I think for now I'll just content myself with waiting to hear what the different companies have to say about their drives, and then I'll certainly post that info here.
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Postby cfitz on Wed Feb 05, 2003 1:21 am

There are 8 subchannels defined in the Red Book specifications. The P subchannel is used to store track information. The Q subchannel is used for track timing and table of contents (TOC) information. Every modern drive reads the P and Q subchannels. CD+G and CD-Text are extensions to the Red Book specification that store graphics and text on the R-W subchannels. So, if the drive really does read CD+G then it is reading the R-W subchannels.

Now it may be that the drives to which you refer are either only partially supporting the reading of R-W subchannels (maybe they read it only in the lead-in) or else aren't supporting it all. As dodecahedron said, there seem to be a lot of fishy claims about CD+G support. That is why I prefaced my earlier comments with "If we can believe the specs...".

That's about the best I can offer, without shelling out $120 a piece for the official Phillips specifications.

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Postby APwrs on Wed Feb 05, 2003 3:21 am

Thank you very much for the interesting information. When I was reffering to the drive that said CD+G / CD+Text support, it was in refrence to a test I've seen on a webpage somewhere (looked at so many of them in research, I can't exactly recall which one now) where Nero Speed (I believe it was the tool they were using) reported that the drive supported the afore mentioned two specifications, but didn't support subchannel reading. While not specifying whether it meant full RAW+96 or just RAW+16, the only two drives in the test that it reported as being able to read subchannel info were the Mitsumi drive, and I believe a Panasonic drive.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:41 am

APwrs wrote:the only two drives in the test that it reported as being able to read subchannel info were the Mitsumi drive, and I believe a Panasonic drive.

that sounds like the x-bit labs review i mentioned before (posted by eliminator):
http://www.xbitlabs.com/storage/8-cdrom-roundup/
a table neat the end of the second page - out of the 8 drives there, only the Mitsumi and the Panasonic read subchannel data (according to Nero CD Speed).
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Postby APwrs on Wed Feb 05, 2003 7:15 pm

Yeah, that's the one I was talking about. Hehe, thanks for the link :).
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Postby APwrs on Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:00 pm

I heard back from AOpen today, and their drive also does not read subchannel data. That leaves Asus as the only unkown drive, and it will probably take a bit of time for them to reply as they have been out of the office celebrating Chinese New Year until today.

Once I hear from Asus, I'll post an overall summary of all the drives I've listed above, just for the curious.
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