Creative Blaster CD 32x

Introduction
The CD-ROM was first developed to store digital audio for playback through home stereo systems, because of this, drives were originally designed to run at a constant linear velocity (CLV) to maintain a steady stream of data. CLV drives provide consistent data-transfer rate by slowing down rotational speed as the laser head moves towards the outer edge of the disc. This adversely affects random-access time, however, since the motor has to change speeds between random reads. To achieve high throughput rates and better access times more effectively, drive manufacturers had to adopt new rotation schemes in which transfer rates vary across a disc. The Creative Blaster CD 32x is one of the new drives that use constant angular velocity (CAV) implementations rather than CLV. Unlike CLV drives, a CAV drive spins the disc at a constant rotational speed no matter where on the disc the head is located. Random-access times are improved because the drive doesn't have to adjust the rotational speed of the disc before a read can begin.
There is a downside to CAV, though, in that data will be read at a slower rate from the inner part of the disc than from the outer part. Because CD-ROMs are written from the inner tracks to the outer tracks--and most discs don't contain a full 650MB of data--data won't often be read at the rated top speed of a CAV drive.

Creative's 32x internal CD-ROM transfers data at up to 4,800 KB/second and accesses data in 85ms (1/3 stroke) to 170ms (full stroke),giving it the ability to take on the performance requirements of your data-intensive CD-ROM programs. You'll notice quicker loading times, and video and animation sequences play more smoothly. The Creative 32x CD-ROM drive has an internal design and features an integrated 512k cache buffer for quick access and a motorized tray for easy handling of CD-ROMs.

Specifications


According to the nicely detailed manual accompanying the drive, before installation it is a good idea to determine where, within your IDE scheme, the drive will go (master/slave) and set the jumper found at the back of the drive.  You can then slide the drive into any available 5.25' half-height drive bay.  The device provides connectors for digital and CD audio output as well as its EIDE data and power connectors - all of which are clearly documented.  Once all the cables are properly connected - take note:  A drive of this speed is bound to cause some vibration so, you'll want to make sure that you tighten it down well before closing up the computer housing.

In any of the new super7 systems, this drive will be auto-detected in the BIOS, and Windows 9x will install the proper drivers.  But if you have a problem or are building from scratch the drive comes packaged with a full set of drivers on floppy disk.

This drives performance is outstanding but as you may guess, at this speed it generates a good bit of noise - not quite as loud as say a vacuum cleaner but, it isn't whisper quiet either.

Testbed for Creative's Blaster CD 32x

Mainboard Tyan S1590 Trinity 100AT
Processor Cyrix MII 333
Memory 64MB PC100
Operating System Windows 98

Using Winbench 98 the drive performed admirably averaging 1690 over5 runs of the CD-ROM WinMark98 tests, with a CPU utilization of a remakably low 18% and access times averaging 117ms.

Using SiS-Soft's Sandra 98 and a file 77MB in size, the drive scored a very high drive index score of 2668, showing the inner track speed at 13,582 RPM, with buffered reads at 37MB/s, sequential reads of 3,844 KB/s and random reads of 905 KB/s.  The benchmark also recorded the full stroke (estimated) access time at 105ms.

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Conclusion

Although a bit on the noisy side the drive performs exceptionally well and if you are looking for an upgrade for your old drive, this one matches up nicely with your new super7 system.  With prices found as low as $64.00 you can be sure of a good value for your hard-earned dollar.  The Super 7 Hardware Guide heartily gives this drive our seal of approval...


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