Up until now, users of tray-loading iMacs who want CD burning capabilities have been relegated to slow external USB 1.1-based CD-RW drives. Now Mac peripheral maker
MCE Technologies, LLC
has announced an internal upgrade for these older systems called the iCDRW16.
As the name implies, the iCDRW16 is a 16x replacement for the original tray-loading CD-ROM drives included in legacy iMacs. The drive is fully compatible with Apple’s iTunes and Disc Burner software, according to MCE. It’s also bootable, works with Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and is supported by Roxio’s Toast CD mastering software.
MCE president Arnie Ramirez put the new drive’s performance in perspective. “Until now, the only way to burn CDs on tray-loading iMacs was through the USB port at a lethargic 4x. With the iCDRW16 operating at 16x speed you can burn a full 700MB CD-R disc inside your iMac in only five minutes … compared to over twenty minutes with a 4x external USB drive,” he said.
The new iCDRW16 is supported on all tray-loading iMacs, from the original 233MHz Bondi Blue straight through to the “Five Flavor” 333MHz iMac systems.
The iCDRW16 will write CD-R discs at up to 16x speed, and will write to CD-RW discs at 10x speed. It’ll read regular CD-ROMs at 24x. The drive features Buffer Underrun protection to help limit the number of “coasters” it’ll produce due to interruptions in the flow of data to the drive.
The iCDRW16 is a user-installable upgrade, although MCE recommends dealer installation at an MCE-authorized upgrade center. Installation instructions and user guide are included. The drive sells for US$199 — a unit bundled with a version of Roxio Toast Lite is also available for $219. The new iCDRW16 is expected to ship beginning next week, on June 24.