Monday, May 13, 2013

Acer CRW 6206A CD-RW Drive - Setup Can Be A Headache

A while ago, I have had this drive for more than three years. First week was spent trying to make it work. I realize that this is probably not the Acer problem, but the problem of all ATAPI CD-R/RW drives. 


The drive uses E-IDE/ATAPI interface. Obviously, you have to have an older system to install this drive. Even then, setup was not straightforward. I reinstalled Windows, tweaked registry, reloaded drivers. Nothing helped until I went to BIOS and changed PCI Bus Latency. Then it started working. 

Also I had a problem with DirectCD software that came with the drive. It crashed computer at start until I downloaded the patch from the Internet. I removed DirectCD software later, because it was too slow. 

If you get CD-R drive, make sure to get rid of "power saving features", I trashed a couple of CDs when my computer decided to "sleep", also while recording, do not do anything else. Other than that, this drive is good - I bought it after it won some compario test in the PC Magazine. 

The drive supports Disk-At-Once but unfortunately it doesn't support "overburning" - the ability to record more than 650 Mb of data or 74 minutes of audio on a standard 650Mb/74 min disk. I have yet to try it with 700Mb disks (update: it works with them, you can record 700 Mb of data or 80 minutes of music). 


The drive supports almost every type of media I tried (Acer CD-R, Acer CD-RW, Sony, Maxell, Imation, Mitsui) except Hi-Val (it rejected right away). 

Also keep in mind that it is more reliable to use lower speed - in this case the laser's power is reduced comparing to a higher speed operation, which minimizes overheating and provides better results (reliability wise). 

Also the lower speed requires less resources and minimizes the possibility of "buffer underrun", which happens when the stream of data is interrupted and disk goes to the trashcan. 

FYI: Recording at 1x requires 150 Kb/s of data (full disk will be recorded in just over 74 minutes), at 2x - 300 Kb/s (about 40 minutes). 

There are faster drives nowadays (this one supports max writing speed of 2x and reads at 6x), but if you don't burn a lot of CDs - this drive is a good value. 

Some Specs 

E-IDE / ATAPI Interface 
Write: 300 KB/s, Double Speed 
Rewrite: 300 KB/s, Double Speed 

Supports Disk at Once, Track at Once, Incremental Writing, Multi-session, Packet Writing 

Typical Access Time: 300 ms at 1/3 stroke 
Buffer: 512 Kbytes 

Bottom Line

I recommend it for an older system that has ATAPI interface - it's good and cheap.

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