Panasonic's 24-speed CD-ROM makes everyday usage practicalPanasonic's new internal CD-ROM drive, the Panasonic LK-MC686BP EIDE/ATAPI, adds the capacity to read CD-read/write (CD-RW) and slowly closes the performance gap between CD-ROMs and hard drives, making CD-ROM technology more practical for database and multi-user purposes. By leveraging constant angular velocity, Panasonic has produced a superfast 24-speed drive with an 85 millisecond average seek time.
When compared to a 12-speed Enhanced IDE (EIDE) CD-ROM drive, the Panasonic drive transferred data nearly three minutes faster. It performed the same task only about one minute slower than a SCSI hard drive. The Panasonic drive boasts an impressive maximum transfer rate of 4104Kbit/sec (in mode 2 with error-correcting code off and 2336 bytes per sector). The drive supports CD-ROM (type 2) and CD-RW, as well as CD audio using the line-out or headphone jack. Panasonic includes drivers for DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51, and OS/2 Warp 3.0.
High-speed data transfer
I installed the Panasonic drive on my 166MHz Pentium-based Windows NT 4.0 server as the slave EIDE CD-ROM, using my 12-speed EIDE CD-ROM as the primary. To test the unit, I used a CD from the US Geological Survey Library containing 2107 files and 593Mb of data. I timed how long it took to transfer the data to my Ultra Wide SCSI drive.
From the Panasonic 24-speed drive, the data transfer took six minutes and three seconds. From my 12-speed EIDE CD-ROM, it took a tedious nine minutes and four seconds. Copying the same data from one directory to another on my Ultra Wide SCSI hard drive took exactly five minutes.
Panasonic offers a one-year limited warranty with the drive. It plans to offer a SCSI version of the drive in late July.
Panasonic's 24-speed CD-ROM drive makes CD-ROM technology more appealing for everyday use.
Estimated street price: EIDE $220. There was no price available for the SCSI version at time of publication.
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