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MF Digital Scribe EC Standalone
Posted Dec 1, 2004 Print Version     Page 1of 3 next »

MF Digital has few peers when it comes to offering flexible DVD and CD duplication equipment. The fully automated Scribe EC (standing for "endless configuration") is a perfect example. Available in standalone SA (reviewed here) and PC-attached models, the Scribe EC offers up to six DVD/CD or CD recorders, capacities ranging from 220 to 600 discs, optional label printing, and business-card production capabilities.

The Scribe EC achieves this flexibility through well-considered modular architecture. All models consist of a common duplicating station (several available sizes) containing the disc transport robot along with input and output bins. A Windows XP embedded control PC is also incorporated into standalone systems. A separate tower housing the recorders is placed on the deck of the robotic unit and with the printer on top of the tower. Thus, components can be mixed and matched to meet different job requirements or upgraded as needed with the different recorders or printers.

The Scribe EC comes equipped with either Pioneer DVR-108 DVD/CD or Plextor PX-W5224TA CD recorders. In terms of raw capabilities the Pioneer offers 16X DVD±R (the Scribe EC SA operates the Pioneer at 8X), 4X DVD+R DL, 4X DVD±RW, 32X CD-R, and 24X CD-RW writing. It also reads prerecorded DVD at 16X, DVD±R at 12X, DVD±RW and DVD+R DL at 8X, and CD-ROM/R/RW at 40X. The Plextor writes CD-Rs at 52X and CD-RWs at 24X and reads CD-R/ROM at 52X and CD-RW at 32X.

Two- and four-recorder versions of the Scribe EC can be outfitted in addition with a disc label printer—either Rimage's PrismPlus! or MF Digital's OptiEC Pro (a re-branded Primera Signature Z6). The $4,995 PrismPlus! is a thermal transfer unit offering 300x600dpi monochrome (black, red, blue, or green) as well as three-color (cyan, magenta, yellow) operation. It's quick and inexpensively produces durable labels on lacquer, bare, or thermal surface discs. The OptiEC Pro at $1,695 is a more affordable inkjet option boasting 4800x1200dpi resolution and full-color results using six inks. As is always the case, operation with inkjet is slower and requires printable surface media. The resulting labels, although more visually attractive than those produced by the PrismPlus!, are not as physically robust.

In Praise of Standalone
PC-attached systems have their advantages, but there is a lot to be said for the simplicity of standalone duplicators. These include ease of use, a small physical footprint, freedom from user meddling, and minimal virus concerns. Standalone systems also spare their users from nightmarish compatibility problems arising from various mishmashes of motherboards, BIOS versions, and chipsets, and even blindly trying to optimize performance through hard drive, controller, and interface experimentation.

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