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Hot-Rod Your CD-RW Drive 326

Anonymous Coward writes: "Currently almost everyone with a computer has a CD-ROM drive and also a big part of them have a CD-RW drive. But what if you want to spend less time on writing a CD-R ? You have to buy a new one, or, if you are a real geek, you just overclock it! Seems to be to good to be true ? It's not! Currently a lot of cheap manufacturers of CD-RW drives are using the same parts in their 32x,40x, and 48x drives and start to sell them at 32x, later to 40x and in end as 48x. and with a little upgrading of the firmware (totally legal) you will have a faster drive, because you remove its limits! It currently works on drives from Lite-On (who also makes drives for Memorex, TDK, Iomega, Cendyne, TraxData and Pacific digital all overclockable) And the list goes on as there are also overclock tricks for LG (32x -> 40x) and Sony drives (32x -> 48x). If you don't believe it, read all the reactions and the postings on the forums mentioned above!"
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Hot-Rod Your CD-RW Drive

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  • Plextor? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Luke-Jr ( 574047 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @11:26AM (#3922495)
    Don't suppose this goes for old Plextor writers does it?
  • Profit Margins ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PureCreditor ( 300490 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @11:41AM (#3922562)
    Let's they less money on the 32x drives, since they're using the same components on the 48x that yield much higher margins. So....if we all buy their lowest rating drives, would they dip into red? =)
  • Re:Firmware (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 20, 2002 @11:45AM (#3922588)
    Not a long ago I went shopping for a new DVD player and asked a salesman in one of the shops if I could make a particular player region code free. He got really upset and explained to me that tampering with the hardware in that way would not only void the warranty but would also be illegal and that as authorized dealers for S*ny (manufacturer's name obfuscated to protect the innocent) they certainly wouldn't give any information about how to free the region code in the player.
  • Silly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 20, 2002 @12:03PM (#3922675) Homepage Journal

    I HIGHLY doubt that the exact same TESTED components are used in both drives. It is much more likely that a 40x drive is simply a drive that passed the 40x tests, but not the 48x tests, just like how processors are graded.

    It would be kind of stupid to stamp 40x on a box just to sell it for a lower price. Why not sell a 48x for the lower price and intice the customer further?

  • Re:Firmware (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 20, 2002 @12:25PM (#3922744)
    CDs do not technically have explicit copy protections but more often than not the drives have been crippled from writing in raw mode. This is done to prevent perfect copies of certain types of cds. Sony and Toshiba often do this on their low level consumer drives. Sometimes, these firmware upgrades remove this limitation. This could violate the DMCA, as most judges do not seem to understand fair use and/or legitament purpose. Look ant DeCSS it is a regional protection, it does nothing to stop copying at all. If you have a US DVD drive and US os, for instance, you can copy the tracks all you want. Try it with the ATI file player. Copy a track and play it on the hard drive. It works fine.
  • What's new? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by marcovje ( 205102 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @12:26PM (#3922745)
    This has happened before, see e.g. the Yahama CDR200 2 speed, which could be changed into a
    4 speed (with less cache then the real 4sp tho) by
    soldering a small resistor on two pins

  • Re:Silly (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 20, 2002 @12:34PM (#3922777)
    It's called price discrimination, a basic economic principle.

    It's the same principle behind having different prices for adult and children movie tickets, or differing airfare depending on how far in advance the ticket is bought by.

    Selling everything one fixed price reduces total revenue. By having price discrimination, you can charge more to people that are willing to pay more, and charge less to people who normally wouldn't have bought your product had it been at a higher price.
  • by Chasing Amy ( 450778 ) <> on Saturday July 20, 2002 @12:49PM (#3922838) Homepage
    > Remember when 4x was fast?

    Yup. I'm still using my Creative 4-2-24 CD-RW drive to this day. :-) Since I've never had the need to get CDs burnt as fast as technologically possible, I've never felt like upgrading it. It's followed me from my old K6-2 to my Duron to my Athlon.

    Unfortunately, after 5 years or so of faithful service it's been slowly dying for the last few months. First it stopped reading past 650MB on 700MB CDs. Weird, but I figured the thing's just so old... And then, it started burning coasters about 10% of the time even though I use good Taiyo Yuden media. Then it gradually climbed up until now a CD gets burnt properly about 1 in 10 tries. Sometimes the CDs would come out completely unwritten, and sometimes the data would only be very lightly burnt in, making it obvious the writing laser wasn't working reliably anymore.

    So, it's time to finally put the old girl out to pasture and get one of those newer, faster, more versatile models. Plextor or Asus, I guess, from what I've read about various models. But I'll kinda miss the old CD burner, the only part of my first desktop PC that's still being used in my newest desktop PC...

    Sad when old hardware finally bites the dust. :-)
  • by ihra ( 594581 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @01:16PM (#3922957)
    Everyone who have burned couple of coasters and all those with slow speed due harddisk transfer speeds must have wondered why there is not a 700 megabytes of memory for cache in drive?.

    These are times of cheap memory (and yes, it could be ANY memory, still speed is sufficient) and then you can transfer your data from disc to cdr/w drive in matter of seconds and whooosh! - burning can start and it wont suffocate the cpu and harddrive.

    Also devious mind could also make "1 button copying" with one drive ("insert disk"- light, "insert blanco disk" -light) - even while computer runs whatever operating system or rendereing or whatever.

    And if you have memory based cache for whole cdrom, then you can forget the crappy transfer rates from harddisk and burn as fast as disc will spin ;) 120x? "Instant burning"? (Think all those neat commercial oneliners!)

    In fact, I would pay a lot more for a cdrw drive with "whole disc memory cache" and even HP will still be making cdrw-drives with profit.

    So instead of tuning up cdrw drive, I would like to add some technology... well, one can always dream on.

  • Re:Plextor? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ziviyr ( 95582 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @04:03PM (#3923692) Homepage
    In this case the firmware part could add support for CD formats, make burning marginally more reliable and so forth.

    I really think stories have to tone themselves down nowadays. Too many readers are getting wrong ideas and cranking up the slashdot effect.

    Well, I can't say this isn't a subscription service anymore, but really.
  • by jerry924 ( 569970 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @05:16PM (#3923942)
    What these companies are doing after manufacture is binning the parts to how well they test. If they test poorly, they sell them as slower drives - it the test s have better results, they sell these as faster drives. Taking a slower drive and just speeding it up will work, but some things will fail - you just won't know what since you are doing an exhaustive QA testing on the device after you clock it. What happens when you overclock but then the temperature of the drive rises, then the quality drops!
  • "I did discover that IE5.5 FUBARs CD burning, tho -- causes constant buffer problems, regardless of what software is used, and REALLY slows things down."

    Strange ... I have had problems with Roxio EasyCD 5 (*) where the only way to get the software to WORK was to reinstall IE5.5.

    (*) I personally have ditched EasyCD because I bought(**) Nero [] several weeks ago which is worlds better and have never had any buffer problems. These roxio problems were on a client's machine.

    (**) Yes, I actually spent money on Nero and did not find a pirated serial somewhere. This program is worth the money and it is not overpriced, therefore I pay for it.

    "BTW per tests someone did (story posted here a while back), 52x or so is the practical top limit due to CD media shrapneling itself at around 56x."

    Limitations will be overcome by sidestepping the problem. Every now and then we also see an article about how the physical limits of magnets have been reached but HDD mfgrs keep coming out with bigger drives. Sooner or later some manufacturer will use more lasers or spin the laser in the opposite direction of the disc to obtain a higher speed. (***) They could even allow people with hordes of RAM to cache the disc image on a RAM disk thus eliminating any IDE related problems.

    (***) Yes, I did come up with this idea as I was typing this post. I did not copy it from somewhere.

  • by Thai-Pan ( 414112 ) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @09:42PM (#3924723) Journal
    I remember when my HP8100 4x2x24x burner was a rippin' little machine and I got it at a steal for only $450 Canadian. When I got it home, I found it could only burn up to 74 minutes on a CD, where a friend of mine could burn right up to 83 minutes! I was frustrated with my purchase and started digging around on the internet. It turns out that the limit was a firmware thing and not hardware at all; some nice fella out there even put up a modded firmware for me, so I could get those extra few minutes onto a CD-R. I flashed my burner's firmware, and voila! I can now fully utilize 80 minute discs.

    I now have a 40x Liteon I got for barely more than $100 Canadian, and I've been running it at 48x for a while now. Not only is it marginally faster, but my burner now supports Mt. Rainier, and the burn quality is significantly better! Before discs from this burner done at higher than 16x skipped in my car, now I can write them right up to 48x and they work great.

    There's also a lot of CD-R media out there that's rebadged falsely. There's got to be hundreds of brands of CD-Rs out there, but there aren't nearly that many factories producing CD-Rs. It's not the case so much anymore, but 80 minute discs and discs rated past 4x used to cost quite a lot more than other ones, but if you knew what no-name brands to buy, you'd end up with identical discs to the more expensive ones.

    Rebadging takes place everywhere in the computer market, so keep your eyes peeled. Now and again, Dell sells refurbished monitors at REALLY good prices. I mean $300 Canadian for a 21" monitor. A friend of mine grabbed two of them a while ago, and he popped it open to check the manufacture date. Not only were the monitors only a couple of months old, there were giant Sony stickers inside. It's no secret that Dell monitors are usually remarked Sonys, but these were barely used, high end Sony monitors selling dirt cheap.

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