The two Yamaha drives are solid drives that performed beyond
my expectations. I have not encountered any buffer overruns when using these two drives
yet. Audio extraction was excellent when paired up with my Pioneer DR-U06S (32X SCSI).
Should you get a CD-RW now? Before you decide, take a look
at what will be coming up:
- DVD-RAM. This was the first
rewritable format approved by the DVD Forum, a consortium of companies that established
the original DVD specification. Last summer, the group approved the 1.0 specification for
DVD-RAM, a phase-change design that can hold 2.6GB of data per side on single- or
double-sided disks. The single-sided disks will come in removable cartridges, but to
protect the sensitive recording layer, double-sided disks will be permanently mounted in
cartridges. At least one DVD-RAM drive manufacturer--Matsushita, which makes Panasonic
products--promises that the drives will also be able to read PD/CD phase-change disks.
- DVD+RW. The largest faction to split
off from the original specification is led by Hewlett-Packard, Philips, and Sony which
jointly developed the DVD+rewritable format, or DVD+RW. Philips and Sony are also members
of the DVD Forum and have expressed support for the DVD-RAM specification; they're backing
the DVD+RW specification because they believe that it will be better suited for some
applications. For instance, Philips has said that future generations of its DVD+RW drive
could conceivably write CD-R disks, which means users could create content for the huge
installed base of CD-ROM drives.
DVD+RW's single-layer phase-change
disks have more capacity than DVD-RAM disks--3.0GB per side--and use a higher-density
recording process. The DVD+RW format does not rely on cartridges to hold the disks.
- DVD-R/W. Pioneer has put forth its
own specification, which it calls DVD-R/W. This is an evolutionary development based on
existing CD-RW technology. It will use random-access media that hold up to 3.95GB. One of
this technology's key characteristics is that its phase-change media have a higher
reflectivity than DVD-RAM or DVD+RW media, and as a result, can be read in existing
DVD-ROM drives and DVD players without modification. Because of this, DVD-R/W drives are
not intended to be end-user products but instead are to be used by content developers to
create disks that will be read on standard drives.
- MMVF. The final contender in this
list is the Multimedia Video File format from NEC, also known as MMVF. With a 5.2GB
capacity on one side, the disks hold more data than the first versions of the competing
designs. One important design goal was to be able to fit a full two-hour movie on one side
of the disk. The decision about whether or not to enclose the disks in a cartridge has not
yet been made, and drives aren't expected before late 1998.
It will be up to you to decide whether you really need a
CD-RW. Cost per megabyte is so cheap compared to any other removable storage devices. It
may take several years before technologies like DVD-RW are standardized. Why not invest in
something that is proven and cheap?
Special Thanks to Mr
Michael Tan of Convergent Systems
for the provision of the Yamaha CD-RW