Yamaha CD-RW - Part 4

Packet Writing
One of the new features of a CD-RW drive is Packet Writing. Packet Writing is much like writing data into a floppy disk, except that for this case, you are writing to a CD.

In the early days of CD-R, an entire volume had to be recorded in a single step. Once you stopped recording, you need to close the session. Once the session is closed, no further data can be added to the CD. Under Orange Book Part II, a single volume can remain open through successive recording sessions, which lets you add more data later on as needed.

Packet writing takes this process a step further, so that a session can remain open while discrete packets are added. This lets you drag and drop files right onto CD-R or CD-RW drive-letter icons and edit CD-based files directly from within Windows applications, just as you would with a floppy disk. The capability makes recordable CD drives much more useful and accessible to the average PC user.

You may ask, should I get a SCSI or IDE CD-RW ?

As an advocate of SCSI peripherals, I will say go for a SCSI CD-RW. Back in the early days, CD-R drives are only available in SCSI form. You need to install a SCSI host adapter in order to use the CD-R drive. However, most of the companies now offer an IDE version too.

SCSI based drives are generally more versatile and reliable than IDE based models. IDE drives more prone to buffer overruns, in which the buffer runs out of data to record and aborts the recording. When this happen, you have what we called a COASTER disc. When this happen, you can use the coaster disc as your frisbee. :)

To minimize the possibility of buffer overruns, you should not connect the recorder to the same IDE-channel as your intended source. IDE is notoriously poor at multitasking on a single channel. Usually, the hard disk is connected to the primary IDE channel and the CD-ROM drive is hooked to the secondary IDE channel. For best results, change this configuration so that the hard disk and CD-ROM are set as master and slave, respectively, on the primary channel. Then add the CD-R or CD-RW drive to the secondary channel as master.

Also, you should get a CD-RW drive was a huge buffer. For example, the Yamaha 4260 and 4261 comes with a 2MB buffer. If you are burning at 4X (600kb/s), this gives you approximately 3 seconds of "buffer" before data runs out.

Not only getting a SCSI CD-RW drive is important. Your CD-ROM should also be SCSI based. Our testing also revealed that with many recordable CD drives, you must have a SCSI CD-ROM drive in order to successfully copy CDs. And all recordable CD drives require a SCSI drive to make high-quality reproductions of audio CDs. When we used an IDE CD-ROM drive (common in most PCs), CD copies often didn't work, and audio CDs were full of pops, hisses, and other ill-sounding artifacts.

However, the 4261 is a solid EIDE drive that live up to Yamaha's name. It is the improved version of it's predecessor, the 4001T and is based roughly on the same architecture as the 4260.


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Special Thanks to Mr Michael Tan of Convergent Systems
for the provision of the Yamaha CD-RW