VOGONS


First post, by pixelatedscraps

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Does anyone have recommendations for specific models that are either recently made (previous 10 years) or are standout examples of reliability (looking at pre-sale Plextor here)? I need a fairly new but extremely reliable unit to use on my test bench.

My ultimate dual 440LX / Voodoo2 SLI build

Test bench: Asus P3B-F | 1.3Ghz Tualeron w/ Powerleap | Geforce 2 Ti500 | SB Live! 5.1 CT4760

Reply 3 of 24, by pixelatedscraps

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imi wrote on 2021-10-17, 15:35:

my general experience is that the more recently made a drive was the less reliable it is :p

other than that, old plextors are the go-to yeah.

Go-to for sure - but what era should I be looking at? I remember they had the best reputation in the late 90s - early 2000s but don't know when they got sold and the quality dropped off. I assume the later versions were the best, provided you avoided the 40x / 52x models.

My ultimate dual 440LX / Voodoo2 SLI build

Test bench: Asus P3B-F | 1.3Ghz Tualeron w/ Powerleap | Geforce 2 Ti500 | SB Live! 5.1 CT4760

Reply 4 of 24, by Horun

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I had good luck with many Lite-On older IDE CDRW drives as well as Plextor SCSI drives. Not a fan of Sony older drives as jheronimus also mentioned.
For a newer drive (last 10 years) have not had any problems with any LG drives, they all still work just fine but do not know the exact models.

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Reply 5 of 24, by pixelatedscraps

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Okay, next question: who's got a rock-solid early-mid 2000s pre-takeover Plextor IDE and/or SCSI drive they swear by...

My ultimate dual 440LX / Voodoo2 SLI build

Test bench: Asus P3B-F | 1.3Ghz Tualeron w/ Powerleap | Geforce 2 Ti500 | SB Live! 5.1 CT4760

Reply 8 of 24, by Joseph_Joestar

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I look for a couple of things when buying CD/DVD drives for my retro systems:

  1. The ability to reliably read CD-R, CD-RW and DVDs. The latter is only relevant for WinXP and above
  2. Working CD audio and SPDIF headers. Newer drivers tend to omit one or both of these
  3. Low noise. Most 40x and 52x drives sound like a jet engine, but if they are compatible with slowdown utilities such as CDBeQuiet and Nero Drive Speed, this becomes a non-issue
  4. No stuttering when changing CD audio tracks. This gets really annoying if you're playing a fast-paced FPS game with CD audio music (e.g. Quake 2) and it freezes for a bit every time the track loops or changes. Newer drives rarely have this issue

Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a drive which covers everything. So far, my best experiences have been with Lite-On and LG drives made around 2001-2003.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1

Reply 9 of 24, by Anonymous Coward

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I also agree most Sony optical drives were kind of shitty. Though, I did really like their 1x and 2x caddy loaders. Those aren't good for reading CD-R(W) though. I'm not even sure if the 1X drives supported multi-session.

Aside from Plextor, I really liked Pioneers. From what I remember the quality of optical drives started going south around the year 2000, though most of the Japanese brands still tended to be alright.

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Reply 10 of 24, by SBLive

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pan069 wrote on 2021-10-18, 06:58:

I agree that older drives are usually better quality. The problem with older drives is though, they often are not capable to read burned media. 🙁

Any drive from 1997 onwards will read CD-Rs. Some early ones struggle with CD-RWs but by 1999 they read them no problem.

Reply 11 of 24, by SBLive

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-10-18, 08:07:

I also agree most Sony optical drives were kind of shitty. Though, I did really like their 1x and 2x caddy loaders. Those aren't good for reading CD-R(W) though. I'm not even sure if the 1X drives supported multi-session.

Aside from Plextor, I really liked Pioneers. From what I remember the quality of optical drives started going south around the year 2000, though most of the Japanese brands still tended to be alright.

Real Plextor CD-RW and Pioneer DVD-ROM is what I have in my Pentium 3 system and could not be happier.

Reply 12 of 24, by jheronimus

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SBLive wrote on 2021-10-18, 12:41:
pan069 wrote on 2021-10-18, 06:58:

I agree that older drives are usually better quality. The problem with older drives is though, they often are not capable to read burned media. 🙁

Any drive from 1997 onwards will read CD-Rs. Some early ones struggle with CD-RWs but by 1999 they read them no problem.

I've found that drives faster than 16x don't have issues with CD-R/RW. However, I do have a generic 4x Mitsumi drive from 1995 that reads CD-R but not RW. I also have two identical Mitsumi drives that don't read either, so it's kind of a lottery.

Reply 13 of 24, by mockingbird

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It's very simple:

If you're looking fore a fully featured drive, one with a headphone jack in the front, or if you're more adventurous, forward back buttons, then a Plextor or Yamaha SCSI, though the Yamaha SCSI drives are not as reliable. Be prepared to pay a lot of money.

If you're a more practical person, and you want something inexpensive that will cover all your bases, then you want either the LG GSA-H10x or GSA-H12x, both models being Renesas-based (as opposed to the lousy Panasonic varieties).

These drives don't need their capacitors changed, all they need is a belt cleaning or else the tray won't open.

These drives have excellent compatibility, they read (and write) everything you throw at them, and they are very inexpensive.

So be practical and get one of those, or you can shop around for old contraptions which may or may not work. Personally, I purchased a Yamaha SCSI drive for my Tualatin build, but that's because I need something that can write to very old media.

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Reply 14 of 24, by retardware

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-10-18, 07:38:
I look for a couple of things when buying CD/DVD drives for my retro systems: […]
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I look for a couple of things when buying CD/DVD drives for my retro systems:

  1. The ability to reliably read CD-R, CD-RW and DVDs. The latter is only relevant for WinXP and above
  2. Working CD audio and SPDIF headers. Newer drivers tend to omit one or both of these
  3. Low noise. Most 40x and 52x drives sound like a jet engine, but if they are compatible with slowdown utilities such as CDBeQuiet and Nero Drive Speed, this becomes a non-issue
  4. No stuttering when changing CD audio tracks. This gets really annoying if you're playing a fast-paced FPS game with CD audio music (e.g. Quake 2) and it freezes for a bit every time the track loops or changes. Newer drives rarely have this issue

Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a drive which covers everything. So far, my best experiences have been with Lite-On and LG drives made around 2001-2003.

To 1.: My demands go farther: Drives must read even borderline CD-R 800 and DVD-R DL flawlessly. A lot of drives fail this requirement, both IDE and SATA. I mainly use DVD for software and data storage, so I have no use for CD-only drives.
To 2: For this reason one needs SATA-IDE adapters when using SATA-only mobos. Not all combinations of adapter-drive works well, for example Sunplus-chip adapters seem not always cooperating well with Benq/LiteOn drives.
3. If you care about noise, configure the drive max speed. Normally you prefer good access speed and data transfer rate over being "quiet", right?
4. One of the reasons not to care about CD-only drives anymore, except if you are a collector.

My additional categories:
5. Serviceability: Carriage and head movement worm (or is it called slug?) must be easily accessible for cleaning and relubing. In this regard only old Plextor drives are good.
Pickup lens must be easily accessible for cleaning, too. Some manufacturers make this difficult, probably in the good intention to prevent laser spread. So I tend to not judge manufacturers preferability from this.
Door open mechanism transmission belts are always bad, gear transmission is preferrable. Old Plextor drives are particularly bad in this regard.

Too sad that there exists no "ideal" manufacturer/model that satisfies all these requirements well.

Reply 15 of 24, by Joseph_Joestar

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retardware wrote on 2021-10-18, 15:41:

3. If you care about noise, configure the drive max speed. Normally you prefer good access speed and data transfer rate over being "quiet", right?

Depends on the use case. I leave mine at max speed while installing games and copying stuff. But I turn the speed down while gaming, in order to silence the drive as much as possible.

The noise is particularly annoying in games that constantly load data from the disc (e.g. cinematic sequences and such). Luckily, most Win9x titles work fine at 8x speeds while DOS games rarely need anything above 4x. Talking about CD speeds here, not DVD.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1

Reply 16 of 24, by zapbuzz

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when it comes to optical media all models of Pioneer have never failed me. Theres a plethora to choose from a little more expensive than most but the internal suspension carriage makes them almost completely silent spinning 52x speed cdr's unless they're the cheapest generic which in that case may explode 🤣
SATA II PCI cards need to be explored because the retro IDE is dieing I'd recommend those with cable lock support due to vibrations in desktop pc's unless its cartridge memory and its hard to find adapters for them though there are sata ones of those too.

Reply 18 of 24, by Zup

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mockingbird wrote on 2021-10-18, 14:36:

If you're a more practical person, and you want something inexpensive that will cover all your bases, then you want either the LG GSA-H10x or GSA-H12x, both models being Renesas-based (as opposed to the lousy Panasonic varieties).

These drives don't need their capacitors changed, all they need is a belt cleaning or else the tray won't open.

That reminds me two (almost) unrelated questions:
- My wife computer has a LiteOn SHM-165S6S DVD drive that does not want to open. The symptons are that when you push the open button or try to eject through explorer, it makes an "going to open"/"i better close that" noise (clac-clac) but the tray barely moves. If I force open it, it closes as intended (and sometimes it's able to reopen). May it be related to that belt (I thought a tray position sensor could be involved)?
- I've been trying to make ISOs from some spaniard edited games that had a "ring" protection. That is, a bunch (usually more than 5000) non-existant sectors that appears like a ring on the disc. Obviously, it takes ages to make an ISO image (more than 10 hours)... a better drive could mean faster image extraction?

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Reply 19 of 24, by SBLive

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jheronimus wrote on 2021-10-18, 13:25:

However, I do have a generic 4x Mitsumi drive from 1995 that reads CD-R but not RW. I also have two identical Mitsumi drives that don't read either, so it's kind of a lottery.

...which is why I wrote "from 1997 onwards." 1997 is later than 1995. CD-RW wasn't even a thing in 1995 so of course that drive won't read them.