CD/RW's - Are They All The Same?

Not sure if this is an IMHO thread or a GQ thread. I’ll put it here for now unless some decides to move it.

I’ve seen a ton of CD/RW drives on sale that are almost free after rebate. I would like to get one and these offers are very attractive. I’m not talking about some old drives either. I’m talking about drives running at 52x24x52.

Now, when buying something like a floppy drive or even a CD-ROM for a PC the quality is the same across the board and I usually go for the cheapest one. Is this the case for CD/RW drives? Are all the drives the same quality and it really depends on what type of software you are using? Also, the really cheap ones have a 2MB buffer. I’ve seen some others with an 8MB buffer. Does that make much of a difference?

Well now a days you are rather safe going with an inexpensive brand when it comes to Cd/RW’s, just be sure that your warranty does not suffer, and the company is a reputable one.

The bigger the buffer the safer the burn. But with today’s technology you don’t have to worry about bad burns 95% of the time.

My sugegstion is spend a little more and get yourself atleast 4 meg buffer and a fast cd/rw drive. As you mentioned, you can find such models at very affordable prices.

Buy Lite-On. That’s the best advice I can give you.

Lite-On thoroughly trumps all other brands in its price range and has features and reliability that rival drives that cost three times as much.

With a Lite-On 40x or faster, you’ll get maximal overburn capacity from the cheapest media, support for the upcoming Mt. Rainier standard, incredible burnproof performance, silent read-write performance, and just an all-around great product.

Some brands are just rebadged Lite-On drives, so ask around for that, but if you can’t get reliable information in that regard, just buy an original Lite-On badged drive. Short of an overpriced Plextor drive, Lite-On makes the best CDRW drive available in the known universe.

      • Try here:
        It doiesn’t maintain an up-to-date consumer-review type listing, but is updated regularly and tells just about anything else you’d want to know.

I second this. Plextors are the best, but way overpriced. I only buy the cheapest CDr media I can find (often free after rebates- see ) and only have Lite-Ons. My 3 year old Lite-On is still going strong and has yet to burn a coaster.

You can search for a thread a while back - there were dozens of recommendation, most for Liteon. They make good stuff. :smiley: More for IMHO, but whatever

As well, I’ve had very good luck with LG units.


The only thing that would steer me away from Lite-On and toward Plextor or Yamaha is compatibility with CD+G (karaoke discs). Other than that, Lite-On, Asus, whatever. CD-RW’s do seem to have a limited lifespan. I’ve gone through a Panasonic SCSI 4X and a Yamaha IDE 8X in my time. Make sure the drive has burn-proof writing, especially on IDE drives where there is bus contention if you are doing other things while burning. Also consider the software that comes with the drive. Roxio nee Adaptec software is scary stuff IMHO. Nero is good, and I’ve seen good reports on DiskJuggler, although I’ve not used it myself. Usually the burning software you get with a drive will check the drive BIOS to be sure it is the drive model that came with the CD, so don’t expect to grab anyone’s disk to install Nero, for instance.


There was a free-after-rebates CDRW drive in an office supply store’s ad last month. Further checking showed that it was the same brand as some CDRs that I refuse to get, even free, because they are so crappy.

I suspect similar deals are of comparable quality.

As far as I’m concerned, CD-RWs are useless. They have a much higher failure rate than CDWs. I’ve tried 4 different brands of RW media, and they all went corrupt on me within a few months. CDWs are so cheap, it’s not worth the hassle of rewriting. Save yourself some cash and a huge headache and stick to writeables.