by July 14, 2001 0 comments

There are few backup solutions available in the market for people who are on the move. Iomega is already well known for its Zip and Jaz drives, but these require special hardware that are not available everywhere. This is where CD- Writers enter the picture, and the Predator is Iomega’s latest addition to its growing line of products.

Predator is a small and light drive with very sleek and appealing looks, and is compatible with PCs and Macs.

Iomega Predator CD-RW

Price: Rs 19,000
Features: 4x4x6x USB, 8x4x32x FireWire, 2 MB buffer
Pros: Portable, sleek 
Cons: Slow, expensive
Contact: Ingram Micro.
Tel: 011-6833726. D-13/5 
Okhla Industrial Area
Phase-II, New Delhi

The one major problem that all portable CD-Writers face is that of the interface. The fastest and most convenient option available today is USB. However, USB is not as fast as IDE/SCSI interfaces, and limits CD writers to a maximum speed of 4x. And this is the Predator’s bane–slow writing. This writer is perfectly capable of faster writes, but only if you purchase the Firewire adapter and have the appropriate interface on your computer as well. With Firewire, you can write at 8x, rewrite at 4x and read at 32x. Without it, one is limited to its 4x4x6x specs. We tested the USB model.

Setup is simple and involves snapping on the interface adapter, plugging in the power and stretching a cable from the adapter to your USB port. Install the bundled software, and you are ready to burn. Like most portable drives, the Predator is top loading but one can open the cover only when the drive is powered on. There is a line at the back of the adapter, and a volume knob and headphone jack are conveniently located at the front of the drive. 

BurnPROOF Drives

BurnPROOF is a technology originally developed by Sanyo that helps get rid of the most common cause for coasters–buffer
underruns. BurnPROOF lets a drive ‘pause’ while writing to a CD if it runs out of data and wait till more is available. It does this by recording the last sector successfully written and then resuming from that point.

In our tests, burning a 648 MB CD of more than a 1000 different files took a little more than 20 minutes, which is just about average for a 4x drive. The time taken to erase a CD-RW disc was about a minute, but a format took more than 30 minutes. Our next test involved copying a 99 MB file from the hard drive to a CD-R using DirectCD. This test was completed in 5 minutes and 5 seconds, which gives the drive an average throughput of about 325 kB/sec. But as we said before, the Predator’s USP is its portability, and not speed. 

The Predator is a good deal for people who need a CD-Writer for their notebook. Its pleasing aesthetics is an additional plus. This is definitely not a desktop solution though. For its price, one can get much faster drives using IDE or SCSI. Also this drive’s plastic body makes it look a bit fragile–not good for components that are transported often. The drive comes with
2 MB cache, which is good enough for its low speed, but with technologies like BurnPROOF becoming commonplace, it would’ve been nice to see Iomega put it in their drives as well. The drive ships with one CD-R and CD-RW. Also bundled are Adaptec CD Creator and Musicmatch Jukebox.

Anuj Jain at PCQ Labs

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