Here you will find basic info on CD-R Technology

CDR Basics

Are you considering purchasing a CD recorder or rewritable but are confused about the difference? CD recording technology changes quickly, and it's easy to get confused.

A CD-Recorder (also called CD-R drive, CD burner or CD writer) can record (write, burn) to one blank CD-Recordable disk at a time. The disk can be used once only, although with the proper settings in supported software, you can add to the disk in more than one recording session until it is full. This is called "multisession" recording. The disk cannot be erased and used again, however.

CD-Rewritable drives (CD-RW) make it possible to erase what you have previously recorded and re-record again over the top of it. How many times you can do this depends on the specifications of the disks being used. Some disks claim that you can erase and rewrite up to 1,000 times! However, you must use rewritable media (CD-RW) which is different than standard CD recording media (CD-R).

Okay, so you purchase a burner, but before you worry about media, you have to hook it up. If you are using a Windows system with a Pentium processor and purchase an IDE-compatible recorder, you will probably connect it to your IDE (Intelligent Drive Electronics) interface which is the same interface to which your hard disk is connected. Most systems will have two interfaces and can therefore support two devices.

There are come external CD writers that can be hooked up to your parallel port (normally used for printers). If you purchase one of these CD drives, see the manufacturer's instructions for installation.

SCSI: The Standard for CDR/W

Many high speed drives are SCSI-based. SCSI stands for Small Computers System Interface. To use these drives, you will need to install a SCSI adapter (also called a card) inside your computer. With a SCSI adapter you can also hook up other SCSI type devices like extra hard drives, scanners, Zip or Jaz drives. SCSI devices usually are faster than IDE devices.

If you are using a Macintosh, hook your drive up to your external SCSI port (although some Power Macs and other models may support an internal drive - see your manufacturer). The iMac has a USB port - not a SCSI port. At the time of this writing, there are no CD recorders available with a USB port. One of the problems is that the sustained data transfer rate of the USB port on the iMac is not fast enough for a 4X recorder. This produces buffer underrun and results in "coasters" - CDs that are useless!

Both CD-R and CD-RW disks will hold up to 650 Mb of data or 74 minutes of audio, although we now have CD-R disks that will hold up to 700+ Mb of data and 80 minutes of audio.

The length of time it takes to record (write) a disk depends on how much data or how many minutes of audio you have and the speed of your CD recorder or rewritable. If, for example, you have a full 650 Mb of data or 74 minutes of audio, at single speed it would take 74 minutes to record. A 2X recorder (recording at double speed), it would take 37 minutes to record. If you have a 4X recorder (recording at quadruple speed), it would take 18.5 minutes.

Some recording software (also called pre-mastering software) have a feature that allows you to verify the data you have written against your source file (disk from which you are recording), and that will take a little longer.



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