Is a 12X FireWire CD-RW really
50% faster than an 8X CD-RW?

Posted 12/15/2000; updated 1/20/2000 with new cost analysis.
2000 Rob Art Morgan, chief test pilot of BARE FEATS

The QPS Que! Fire 12X CD-RW external drive is shipping for Macintosh. Is it worth paying $350 for a 12X when you can get an 8X for $240? Is it really that much faster?

If you are burning regular CD blanks, the 12X drive is 42% faster than the 8X drive (counting burn and verify time). Not exactly 50% but close.

If you are burning rewritable media, the 12X drive burns and verifies 77% faster than the 8X. (Actually, the 12X drive burns the erasable media at 10X and the 8X drive burns the erasable at 4X.)

Although the performance gap widens, I don't know why anyone would use rewritable media. I buy "one time" blanks for 30 cents each. I burn them and either store them, use them or toss them. Why would I want to spend $2 for each rewritable CD blank just so I could fill up my spare time erasing it for reuse?

Besides, if you are using CD's for backup media, you do NOT want to overwrite the previous backup. As a former supervisor of a computer center, I learned the hard way that overwriting previous backups is a sure fire way to perpetuate a corrupted file with no recourse.


Is the 12X worth the extra cost? Based on the latest prices, I say YES!

The latest prices have it at $269 after rebate, only $40 more than the lowest price for the 8X.

If that doesn't convince you, there's one feature that may justify the extra cost of the 12X. It's called "Burn-Proof" technology. It eliminates buffer underrun errors in fast write modes. (I hate when that happens.)

MacGurus specializes in the highest quality, highest performance upgrades for Macintosh


The TEST machine: An Apple G4/400 Sawtooth and 512MB of "222" PC-100 memory. Mac OS 9.04, VM off, ATALK off, clock display off, minimal extensions.

CD-RW drives tested:
QPS Que! FIRE 12X/10X/32X FireWire external drive.
QPS Que! FIRE 8X/4X/32X FireWire external drive.
(Both drives use the Plextor mechanism. Both drives include an OEM version of Toast software and one free rewritable CD. Click
HERE for Acrobat brochure.)

I take a 30MB file and drop it into the Toast window. Then I do a "Session" burn. I time it with a stopwatch until it finishes writing, housekeeping, and says, "Wanna verify?"

I say "Yes" to "Wanna verify?" and time it with a stopwatch until it says, "You can eject now."

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2000 Rob Art Morgan, publisher of BARE FEATS
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