Procom MCD-ROM 650/E. (CD-ROM drive) (includes related article) (evaluation)
by Kim Horn
The Procom MCD-ROM 650/E drive offers flexibility that makes it a good choice if you've got more than one type of computer.
The drive that I reviewed included software for both the PC and Macintosh, cables for both units, and a SCSl AT-bus interface card for the PC(CC16 Enabler - $349). The drive itself is housed in a nicely styled, light-gray external case with the power supply beside the drive. This makes the Procom somewhat wider than some other drives, so you may have trouble fitting it next to your PC on a crowded desk. It's actually large enough to place under most monitor stands, but the plastic case seems a little too thin to support a heavy monitor. Small rubber supports allow you to place the case vertically, but in that position it can be difficult to insert and remove discs - the case can slide around when you push the disc in.
If you lack experience installing hardware and software or if you're just intimidated by such installations, you might want to call on an experienced friend for help. Depending on what other cards you have installed in your PC, you may find yourself changing jumpers on the board to alter its IRQ numbers and memory addresses, not an easy task for beginners. I found the software easier to install than the hardware, but because there's no installation program, I had to modify my CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files myself.
Procom's software and board also support SCSl hard drives, removable media drives, and two standard PC floppy drives; so this setup is a good choice if you need to attach other SCSl devices to your computer. Procom also includes drivers that allow you to use this CD-ROM drive on a Novell network.
Music lovers will appreciate PlayCD, an included program that you can use to play regular music CDs through the drive's headphone plug. While you're running PlayCD, you can program tracks in any order. It's even possible to listen to a CD while you're working with another program.
Although the documentation for the Procom MCD-ROM 650/E doesn't mention support for the Amiga, I was able to sue the Mac cable and a third-party driver disk to connect the Procom drive to an Amiga and access the Fred Fish collection public domain disc and run a CDTV game. The Procom drive is definitely a good choice if you're a family with more than one kind of computer.
I didn't have any compatibility problems with the MS-DOS CD-ROM discs that I tried on the Procom. If you're looking for a drive that has software support for the PC and Macintosh, and that can be used with other SCSl computers like the Amiga, the Procom drive is a good choice.