Review: CenDyne 52/24/52 CD-RW
Posted Feb 1, 2003

The best way to describe my experience with CenDyne's newest CD-RW offering would be uneventful. While a processing error along the way left me without a manual, I certainly didn't need it to install this drive into the testbed 2.0gHz, 654MB RAM Dell Dimension desktop. The unit is slightly longer than that workstation's DVD-ROM drive and so may have some problems fitting into older machines, but for most users this shouldn't be an issue. I had everything installed in record time and was soon burning CDs.

There was only one problem: the CDs themselves were not threatening any speed benchmarks, as the drive has been touted to do. I was never able to obtain write-once speeds of more than 10X when copying CDs directly from one drive to another. Rewrite speeds lingered around 10X as well, and 15X was the peak speed obtained while burning data directly from a hard drive. Each CD took about five minutes to complete. This might not seem like that big of a deal, but on top of the slow speeds, the drive hogged 100% of my system's CPU. Five minutes to burn a CD isn't bad, but it seems a whole heckuva lot longer when you're staring at the screen waiting for it to finish. I attempted experiments based upon the famous "A Watched Pot Never Boils" trials of yesteryear, but to no avail.

Using Nero CD Speed, I obtained a 15X transfer rate, fast enough to do the job that it's supposed to do, but nowhere near the promised 52X for this LiteOn-based drive. CD Speed also confirmed that the dozen or so discs that I burned were all error-free. I played them on a variety of consumer electronics and desktop platforms just to be sure, and they performed without a hitch.

But the bottom line is that nothing about this drive sets it apart from the others that I've tested. It's easy to install, but most are nowadays. It produces flawless discs; no surprise here. And it doesn't live up to the speeds emblazoned across its packaging; sadly, no surprise here either. An entirely uneventful experience.