One of the most important things to get right before the release of CDVDBurn 3 is drive compatibility. In an ideal world, CDVDBurn 3 would “just work” with all drives available past, present and future. Unfortunately, experience tells us that this will not happen, unless I get very very lucky.
So to make the best of the limited resources I have (both financially in buying drives and enough time to test them extensively), I somehow had to make compromises. So I identified three groups of potential CDVDBurn 3 users that have to be catered for.
Group 1: users who already have a drive, e.g. because they already own a USB drive for their PC or because they bought a complete system like the ARMiniX, the ARMX6 or the TiMachine that are usually delivered with a CD/DVD writer.
Group 2: users who are prepared to buy a new drive and want to know which they should go for. So CDVDBurn 3 needs good compatibility with drives available to buy now.
Group 3: CDVDBurn customers who want to keep using the drive they have always used with previous versions of CDBurn or CDVDBurn.
To be honest, for the first release of CDVDBurn 3, group 3 will not be the focus group. CDVDBurn 3 will (at least initially) not come with compatibility for RiscPC-age stuff like IDE writers connected to a Simtec IDE podule, or SCSI writers connected to a Castle SCSI podule. However, IYONIX IDE support is thought to be still intact and working. I think this is not a major loss, because the old version of CDVDBurn will keep on working, and you can still enjoy some of the new features of CDVDBurn 3 like the Extractor.
After many tests and a lot of work on the driver code to get a reasonable amount of drives working, the current “CDVDBurn 3 drive compatibility matrix” looks like that:
|Drive||IF||Style||CDFS||Audio read||Extractor||Data CD||Audio CD TAO||Audio CD DAO||DVD-R||DVD-RW||DVD+R||DVD+RW||DVD-RAM||BD-R||BD-RE|
|Asus ZenDrive U7M||USB||Slimline||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||–||–|
|Samsung BD-DVDW SE-506||USB||Slimline||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK|
|Asus BW-16D1H-U Pro||USB||External||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK|
|Asus BW-16D1HT Silent||S-ATA||Internal||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK|
As you can see, nearly every type of medium is listed separately – this is because the code to write those different media is also different. One exception is CD-R and CD-RW, which is identical, so you only see “CD” in the table row headers.
So, if you are a user in my group 2, which drive should you buy? It depends on a lot of things. Should it be an external drive (style “Slimline” and “External” would match here), i.e. connected to USB, or an internal drive (native S-ATA on the Titanium, or via the inbuilt S-ATA-USB adapter on the ARMX6)? Should it be a drive capable or reading and writing BD media (more expensive), or is a DVD writer sufficient (cheaper)? At the end of the day, it also matters which drive is actually available from the dealer of your choice. My gut feeling is that the drives labelled “External” are less problematic than their “Slimline” cousins, because they are not powered via USB, but with their own PSU. But they are a lot more spacey. My recommendation for “Slimline”-type drives is to always connect them via a powered USB hub. An USB3 hub will (currently, because of lacking RISC OS support) not make your drive faster, but their power supply is usually a lot stronger, so if you can afford one go for it.
If you are a user in my group 1, just connect the drive you already have to your RISC OS machine and first of all check if it works fine as a CD and DVD reader via CDFS. Then, you would check the exact drive name in a taskwindow with the command
if it is connected via USB or with the command
if it is connected via S-ATA on your Titanium. Keep in mind that what is sold as “Samsung” calls itself “TSSTcorp” (“Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology”), and “LG” drives identify themselves as “HL-DT-ST” (“Hitachi-LG DaTa STorage”).
If you find that drive (or a slight variation of it – sometimes, different case colours result in different names, like with the LG GP57ES40 from the table above which is the silver colour, the same drive is also available in black as GP57EB40 and in white as GP57EW40 – you should be safe and CDVDBurn 3 will work finde with your drive. If you have a drive that is not listed above, please contact me and we will work out a way to analyze your drive before you actually buy a licence. From my current knowledge, I would expect that nearly every LG and Asus drive should work flawlessly with CDVDBurn 3.
Currently, there are known problems with a range of Samsung (TSSTcorp) drives, especially with Audio Disc-at-once writing mode. I will try to get that fixed, but no promises. When I get the time, the table above will also show drives that I know don’t work perfectly, with indications where they fail.