EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

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EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby digitaldoofus » 2010-12-02 @ 19:50

It's frustrating to try to transfer your games or data to a different (older) PC by using CD-R media with your PC's older CD-Rom Drive...only to find that it won't read CD-R media.

So, what were some of the earliest CD Drives that could ALSO read CD-R media? Was it drives that were only made after a certain year? Or are the CD-R reading drives generally the ones manufactured at certain "speeds" like 24X or 32X or 40X? Did the 32X or later CREATIVE brand CD drives have CD-R reading capability?

Or do you guys feel that the only "sure" way to get a CD-R reader, is to buy one that can also write to CD-R?

I know that "speed" of the drive wasn't the determining factor, but I'm mainly trying to find out which "older" drive(s) had the added capability of reading CD-R media.

Care to share your knowledge or experiences with this?
Last edited by digitaldoofus on 2010-12-02 @ 23:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby BigBodZod » 2010-12-02 @ 20:02

I wish I could say on readers as my earliest experience was with my first burner, an Acer 2 x 2 x 6 CD-R.

Since I no longer have my original SB16 Multimedia Pack which included a Panasonic 2x reader, I can't test on that device.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby digitaldoofus » 2010-12-02 @ 20:07

BigBodZod wrote:I wish I could say on readers as my earliest experience was with my first burner, an Acer 2 x 2 x 6 CD-R.

Since I no longer have my original SB16 Multimedia Pack which included a Panasonic 2x reader, I can't test on that device.


I currently have a CREATIVE 2X CD-Rom drive, and it will not read CD-R media (I think my CREATIVE 2X drive is actually made either by Panasonic or Mitsumi or Mitsubishi...not sure which)
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby retro games 100 » 2010-12-02 @ 20:14

I appreciate that this is not the most helpful comment in the world, but I vaguely recall that my quad speed IDE NEC CDR-273 CD-ROM drive being able to read a CD-R disc OK. Unfortunately, I can't double check this ATM, because I've temporarily packed away my junk for about a week.

Edit: Re NEC code - It's 273, not 272.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby BigBodZod » 2010-12-02 @ 20:17

It sounds like about the 4x spead is when they started to read CD-R media.

I bet it was all due to a firmware update in the optical drive in order to accomplish this feat.

Most likely it was not an important feature until after more burners were being sold ;)
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby HunterZ » 2010-12-02 @ 21:06

My guess is that 8x or faster should be a sure bet, with 4x being a little risky.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Jorpho » 2010-12-02 @ 21:31

I imagine it could depend a lot on the specific drive manufacturer as well as the brand of CD-R and the speed at which it was written, rather than the time of the drive's release.

Really, CD drives are quite cheap these days and generally backward-compatible, so what does it matter? If your old drive won't do the job, just replace it. (I suppose there's that matter discussed in that other thread about faster drives being noisier, but the throttling solution works, right?)
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby HunterZ » 2010-12-02 @ 22:01

Yeah, most newer IDE CD-ROM drives still support the slower PIO and DMA modes so there's little reason to buy an old one (unless maybe you run into stuttering problems due to the drive reading too fast and then spinning down and having to spin up again).

I never noticed burn speed affecting readability, except due to the physical limitations of the disc itself of course.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby rfnagel » 2010-12-02 @ 22:07

I've had two Teac 4x CDROM drives in my (now disassembled) 486 throughout the years, that was connected to my SB16 (and later, an AWE32) via the sound cards Panasonic CDROM interface.

Both of them were able to read CD-Rs just fine :)
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Tetrium » 2010-12-02 @ 22:20

Iirc the oldest one I ever tested was an 8x cdrom drive but I can't remember for sure if it could read cdr's or not. To be safe I put a 20x in my 486.
I'm 100% sure though that I also tested a 2x speed and it would -not- read cdr's!
My guess is that it could read atleast -some- of the cdr's

Edit:And another tip, use cdr's burned at as low a speed as you can. Those old readers have a better chance at being able to read cdr's written at say 2x speed, like I used to do.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby HunterZ » 2010-12-02 @ 22:30

Tetrium wrote:Edit:And another tip, use cdr's burned at as low a speed as you can. Those old readers have a better chance at being able to read cdr's written at say 2x speed, like I used to do.

Is that really, actually, honestly true? It always struck me as a wives' tale, as I've never seen any real, concrete evidence of burn speed affecting readability unless the disc itself couldn't take it to begin with.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Tetrium » 2010-12-02 @ 23:20

HunterZ wrote:
Tetrium wrote:Edit:And another tip, use cdr's burned at as low a speed as you can. Those old readers have a better chance at being able to read cdr's written at say 2x speed, like I used to do.

Is that really, actually, honestly true? It always struck me as a wives' tale, as I've never seen any real, concrete evidence of burn speed affecting readability unless the disc itself couldn't take it to begin with.


It's how I've always burned my disks and even the audio cd's I've burned at low speed on 'noname' disks are still readable as many disks I've gotten from friends burned at max speed have tons of errors on them now.
A friend of mine who is also a musician told me he found ot that when burning at higher speed his car cd player couldn't read audio disks burned at higher speeds but could read them better when burned at lower speed, using the same burner and the same disks.

The higher speed disks were made to burn as fast as they did because they (the manufacturer) could sell more of them, not because they became more reliable. This includes both the disks and the drives. However, faster media doesn't always mean it's more reliable and I've always preferred reliability over speed.

I've also noticed this myself, burning a disk faster will make it more likely it can't be read by some readers (this includes my now ancient audio disk drive in my livingroom and some older pc-cdrom drives) or will sometimes read and sometimes be unreadable. The slower I burned them the more reliable they became and the longer they seem to remain readable.
Perhaps the modern burners and disks don't have this issue anymore but a) I hardly ever use a burner anymore and b) We -are- talking ancient (2nd) generation cdrom drives here.

Now I kinda never burn any disks actually, only an audio cd once in a blue moon (USB storage ftw :) )

Edit: Mind you, I present you with not scientific evidence here but -everything- I've noticed in the 5-odd years burning cd's almost weekly or even daily told me what I wrote above is true.
I don't need a scientific paper about this, I've experienced this 1st hand ;)
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2010-12-02 @ 23:38

The theory behind lower burn speeds is that the laser can produce more pronounced and precisely spaced pits in the substrate at slower speeds, therefore helping the readability in marginal drives.

That makes sense, but I wouldn't say it always holds true... it depends equally on the burner, the media, and the reader. A crappy burner with crappy media is probably going to produce a crappy disc, regardless of the speed. A high quality burner with high quality media will probably put out a better disc at higher speeds than a middle quality burner with middle quality media at lower speeds. And so forth.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Tetrium » 2010-12-02 @ 23:41

It'll also depend on the reader you're gonna be using with said disk. Some older cdrom drives could read some cdr's better then other old cdrom drives. Remember the different color cdr's we used to have back in the day?
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby digitaldoofus » 2010-12-03 @ 00:05

Jorpho wrote:Really, CD drives are quite cheap these days and generally backward-compatible, so what does it matter? If your old drive won't do the job, just replace it.


It's not really that simple. I use an *external* older 2X CD-Rom drive, and I don't have any open 5.25 bays even if I wanted to add an internal "modern" CD Drive. And it's kind of hard to find newer "matched-up" Optical Drive/Interface Card/SCSI Drivers sets (or even if you can, SCSI is sometimes a little troublesome to work with, if you're not very familiar with it -- like me).

And in any event, I'm trying to keep the components of my vintage setup more-or-less from the same general "era" of PC technology (or at least as close as possible).
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby Old Thrashbarg » 2010-12-03 @ 00:07

Can you not pull the 2X drive out of its case and replace it with a newer one? Most of those old SCSI enclosures just used regular drives inside 'em...
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby HunterZ » 2010-12-03 @ 00:28

digitaldoofus wrote:And in any event, I'm trying to keep the components of my vintage setup more-or-less from the same general "era" of PC technology (or at least as close as possible).

I don't know anyone who used SCSI for a DOS gaming computer back in the day :P
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby valnar » 2010-12-03 @ 00:49

Most people here got it right. I remember it was around 8x that was reliable for CDR and in some cases you need upwards of a 24x or 32x for some CDRW media.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby digitaldoofus » 2010-12-03 @ 00:57

Old Thrashbarg wrote:Can you not pull the 2X drive out of its case and replace it with a newer one? Most of those old SCSI enclosures just used regular drives inside 'em...


Probably. But there's still the matter of obtaining the matching interface card, drivers, and configuration. I'm willing to do the work, but I am also trying to avoid potential problems or complexity. I also want to know that the drive I'm using as a replacement will be able to read the CD-Rs...which is one of the reasons behind this post.

Again, I'm trying to keep the system close to "period" (early to mid -90's) as possible.
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Re: EARLIEST CD-ROM Drives that could Read CD-R's ???

Postby digitaldoofus » 2010-12-03 @ 01:09

valnar wrote:Most people here got it right. I remember it was around 8x that was reliable for CDR and in some cases you need upwards of a 24x or 32x for some CDRW media.


That's what I've read in some forums. Since my (external) CD drive is CREATIVE brand (probably made by Panasonic), I'm hoping maybe I can find an appropriate CDR-reading CREATIVE or Panasonic replacement drive for it at around 8X, or 12X speed. Which would also keep it of mid-90's vintage. I'm hoping I can confirm these drives will read CDR's before making the investment.
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