Actima 36x CD-ROM

An awful lot of us Super7 users are such because we are on tight budgets.  With this in mind we take a look at Actima's 36x CD-ROM drive.  I picked up this drive for a genuinely low price of $42.00 at a local computer shop and seriously, for the price I didn't expect too much.  So, I was happily suprised to find decent performance out of such a low cost device.  The drive comes well packaged along with a simple to understand manual, an audio cable, and all the  screws you'll need to securely mount the drive in any open 5.25in half height drive bay.  Jumper configuration for mode selection is a breeze and once you've plugged in the IDE host interface, the power connector and audio cable, you're ready to close up and play.

Physical Characteristics

Weight 2.4 lb.
Front panel Headphone Jack, Digital Volume Control Buttons,
On/Busy LED Indicator, Disc Tray, Emergency
Ejection Hole, Play/Skip Button, and Open/Close
Button
Rear panel Digital Audio Output Connector, Analog Audio
Output Connector, Master/Slave Select Jumper,
IDE Interface Connector, and DC Input Connector

General Specifications

PC system IBM PC 4865X or compatible, or higher
PC operation system MS-DOS 6.xx ,Windows 3.x / 95 / 98 / NT and  OS/2 Warp
Disc size 12 cm and 8 cm
Data transfer rate 5400 KB/sec maximum
Average access time 120 ms (typical)
Disc formats CD-DA, CD-ROM/XA, Video CD, CD-I/FMV.
Karaoke CD, Single/Multi-Session Photo CD,
and Enhanced CD/CD-RW
Interface type E-IDE/ATAPI
Laser diode wavelength 780 nm (typical)
Max. laser diode output power

4.3 mW

Audio Specifications

Signal to noise ratio > =  75db
Headphone output > 0.8 Vrms
Line output < 0.7 Vrms

Reliability Specifications

MTBF 60,000 POH with 10% duty cycle
Error rate < 10 -15  bit read

Power Requirements

DC 5V +5% 500 mA (typical)
DC 12V +5% 750 mA (typical)

  The Actima 36X CD-ROM drive, while hard-pressed to ever reach the performance level of it's maximum rated 36X still performs well and with an acceptable noise level.  

Testbed for Actima 36X CD-ROM Drive

Processor AMD K6-2 333MHz
Memory 64MB PC100
Hard Disk Drive Western Digital AC33100 3.1G UDMA
Operating System Windows 98

The drive performed on average at the level of a 26X CD-ROM drive.  Running Winbech 98's CD-ROM Tests, the following scores were noted (as an average over five runs of each test).  The Actima 36X CD-ROM drive scored an average 1580 WinMarks, averaged 17% CPU Utilization and posted an average access time of 124ms.

Using SiS-Soft's Sandra 98 and a file 84MB in size, the drive scored an average drive index score of 1944, showing the inner track speed at 12,490 RPM, with buffered reads at 31MB/s, sequential reads of 3,184 KB/s and random reads of 875 KB/s.  The benchmark also recorded the full stroke (estimated) access time at 126ms

approved.gif (5878 bytes) While hardly 36X, the drive performance/Price ratio is perfectly acceptable, lending us to give our full approval to any user on a tight budget who is tired of their old, slow 12X drive

  last Updated 11/24/98

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