Title: LaCie 12x4x32x CD-RW External SCSI Drive in K525 Case

Manufacturer: LaCie

Price: List: $459; Sale: About $420


CD Drives

Note: These images have been reduced in size to fit into this area. In their original form, the quality was greater.

LaCie Drive in K525 Case

Adaptec Toast

Toast's main screen, which allows easy drag and drop methods for getting your files onto CD's.

Choose your default recording speed; the LaCie drive allows for the indicated speeds above, including the 12x.

Enjoy 12x CD-R creation.

Secure your backups on CD-RW many times; 4x is the industry's fastest.

This LaCie CD-RW Drive lets you beautifully burn your own CD's on recordable and rewritable media. Creating your own CD's is not only practical and efficient, but can be an art. You have the ability to backup your files, archive parts of your hard drive, and create audio CD's that will play in just about any CD player, whether it's in your computer, car, home stereo, etc. Other professionals that want to distribute their own works, such as large graphic files, video, multimedia, etc., can quickly get it on CD media. Millions of people have CD-ROM drives and can read the burned CD-R media, making it a practical choice that is very universal. The drive will also burn to rewritable media, so you can burn the data on to it more than once. This is a more efficient solution if you want to backup your files. Once the backups on the CD become old, you can just erase them or burn over them. Either solution, CD-R or CD-RW, will yield results for the user.

There are many different CD-RW drives on the market which vary in speed, make, model, interface, performance, availability, casing, etc. But with the LaCie CD-RW Drive, all the choices are addressed in the most appealing manner. It is quite possibly the quintessence of today's CD-RW market. It combines the demanded power, flexibility, speed, and more while still maintaining a fair price. There are many features of this drive which make it appealing to users.

Details: Setup
The drive includes the following items:

  • CD-RW Drive in K525 Case
  • 25/50 SCSI Cable
  • Power Cord; no bulky adapter needed
  • Software-LaCie Recording Utilities-Toast Standard Edition is the only included piece for Mac
  • Short Manual

Connecting the drive takes very few moments and is not quite involved. After connecting the SCSI cables and setting the built in terminator, the drive ID needs to be set. It is highly recommended that this number be five or six, so it receives high priority. Power up and the software can be installed. Once done, you can start burning immediately. It is a fairly simple process to get the drive up and running.

Details: Speed/Reliability
First off, the LaCie 12x4x32x Drive is the fastest on the market. When recording at 12 speed, you can burn 650 megs or 74 minutes in just a little over six minutes. That is seriously fast and LaCie currently does not share that speed with many other manufacturers. The four speed rewrite speed is also the fastest on the market, but has been available for some time now. A CD-RW drive with 32 speed reading is also rare. We completely welcome it though, as it does spin the CD's faster and that means faster data extracting. As you should see, speed incorporates an imperative part of this drive. Actually, the 12x record demands the data at such a fast rate, you may need to perform some tweaking on your system. When burning at 12x, it works out to about 1.8 MBps entering into the CD-RW drive. A fast hard drive, such as a 7200 rpm drive, can help. Ensuring that the drive receives high priority in the daisy chain also helps. However, another boasted feature of the unit is the quite large amount of buffer. The drive contains 4 MB, although Toast only claims it has 3.7 MB, of buffer to remove most buffer underrun problems that can occur if your system fails to put out the 1.8 MBps. If a buffer underrun does occur, the drive doesn't have any data to burn on the CD, and the CD is ruined. Clearly, having 4 MB at your disposal is definitely worth it.

When taking full advantage of the 12x recording, you want to use quality CD-R media. It is still slightly difficult to find 12x certified media, but eventually it will become just as popular as 8x certified media. One solution is to buy LaCie's own media, or just hunt down some 12x media. However, with quality brand name 8x certified media, you should be able to burn at 12x without a problem. We grabbed some Sony 8x media, and the CD drive allowed the opportunity to burn at 12x. This enhancement allows users to rest assured when it is time to find CD-R media. Now users have more flexibility and a choice instead of finding only a few brands of media that will work with the drive.

We burned to Sony CD-R media which is certified to 8x. Each CD also included an individual jewel case and insert within. The CD's also contain plenty of room if you wish to write directly on them. Overall, out of the many CD's we burned, we only ruined one CD. The reason for its failure is still a mystery. Perhaps it could be a defective CD.

Details: Style
With such a great drive to use, why not take its greatness to the styling concept so you can boast about it to your friends? The LaCie drive is housed in a deep blue case, not beige nor transparent. LaCie proudly marks its name on the top of the unit, near the oversized power light. It must be noted that the drive's dimensions are quite small, about two and a half inches high. For users with existing peripherals, they should find a place to stack it in order to save room.

Details: Software
Adaptec's Toast software allows users to create CD's with ease. Simply drag and drop your files on the window, pop in a CD, and click write. About six minutes later, you will have your finished CD. However, the included version of Toast is not the deluxe version, but just a standard version. The standard version only lets you create three types of CD's, those being Files & Folders, Audio CD, and DISC Copy. The Files & Folders type is great for making Mac CD's with your Mac files on them. It will also let you create sessions on CD's, so later you can burn more data onto a standard CD-R. On CD-RW media, the sessions can be erased entirely so you can burn over the old data. The Audio CD will be used to create music that you can play in your car, stereo, or wherever. Finally, the DISC Copy will let you duplicate a CD, without having to do any other work. But what if you want to create a CD that can be used by Mac, PC, and Unix users? How about an ISO format or something else not covered within the three standard types above? The standard version of Toast will simply not let you create those CD's. However, you can upgrade to the deluxe version of Toast, and it will allow you to create many more formats for your CD's, although it will cost you.

Details: Interface
Some users may loose interest in the SCSI interface. However, it is still a wise choice for demanding drives. Indeed, it is old, and has been reworked many times. There are still many SCSI equipped systems out there, and for those that don't have the ports, they can be obtained. An adapter or PCI card will do the trick. Also, USB has no possibilities with high performance drives. It cannot transfer the 1.8MBps needed, although it works well for scanners and printers. The other competitor is FireWire, which allows much faster speeds. There are not many FireWire CD-RW drives on the market today. It is a fairly new technology, and is still being defined. It would be a true challenge to find a FireWire hard drive on today's market. Sure, there are hard drives which are FireWire compatible, but they are just IDE drives with an expensive converter so you can connect your FireWire cables. Perhaps when we see hard drives with true FireWire mechanisms we can see CD-RW drives with FireWire ports that will allow even faster speed. Actually, this is a bit ironic, but LaCie possibly has some plans for the same 12x4x32x drive with FireWire ports. LaCie has not supplied us with an answer on when we may be able to see those on the market. Furthermore, competitor's FireWire CD-RW drives have been announced, but delayed in production and release. Currently, there is no 12x CD-R drive with FireWire ports.

If you are thinking about getting your files on CD, you have many options. You could spend $200 and wait almost 20 minutes to burn a single CD. Additionally you may experience problems such as buffer underruns. The quality of cheaper drives is questionable, and they don't supply the users with many features. If you are serious about creating your own CD's, you can purchase the LaCie CD-RW Drive and efficiently make your own media. This drive goes beyond satisfying the user. It has so many features that are really what people are looking for. Besides, the speed is so blazing fast that it will have your friends forgetting the speed of their CD-RW drive. Questions such as, "You burned that CD in six minutes?" and "You're done already?" may become common. The LaCie drive is the fastest on today's market. The price is acceptable too, as it is just a little more than the 8x drives. Finally, if you are wanting to get your files onto CD's, the answer is the LaCie 12x4x32x CD-RW Drive, which is available today, without any delays, pending it's in stock of course. Although many units have shipped and ended up in the hands of users, there is a quite large demand for this product. Backorder lists are difficult to fulfill and new customers may have difficulty ordering the product. LaCie officials tell us that the demand will continue for another six to nine months. So when you place an order, make sure that the supplier has the drive in stock, or will soon have it in stock. LaCie also claims that the availability of their drive is really out of their hands. How accurate that is, may be questionable. Either way, consumers should have a fair chance on purchasing the drive. But just remember if you purchase it, that the reseller ought to have a reliable shipping date so you can receive the drive soon.

If only the deluxe version of Toast was included, we would have been forced to give a 10/10 rating.

9/10 9/10


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