Sony CDU-7211. (CD-ROM drive) (includes related article) (evaluation)
by Troy Tucker
CD-ROM technology is rapidly entering the world of computing. The drives, or players as they're sometimes called, can access enormous amounts of data from compact discs (CDs). They operate quietly, and though CD-ROM drives are slower than hard drives, their performance is quite acceptable. This is my first time using one, and I'm impressed with what they can do, as well as with what they can offer us in the computing world.
The unit I reviewed is a Sony model CDU-7211 SCSI CD-ROM drive. With it, I received Future Domain's TMC-850 SCSI adapter. Installation is fast and trouble-free. Plug the SCSI adapter card into a computer slot first. The manual that comes with the adapter clearly explains the setup procedure and provides easy-to-follow diagrams. Next, use the supplied cable to connect the CD-ROM drive to the SCSI adapter, and plug in the power cord.
The last step in the setup procedure is to install the software drivers, which are conveniently provided on both 3 1/2- and 5 1/4-inch disks. To install the drivers you simply run the SETUP program on the disk. Everything is taken care of for you. All the necessary files are copied, and changes are made to the AUTOEXEC .BAT and CONFIG. SYS files. When the program is finished, you're ready to go. That's all there is to it.
The CDU-7211 is a half-height drive, so it easily fits almost anywhere on your desktop. It features two SCSI bus connectors which conform to ANSI standards, allowing you to daisychain other SCSI devices. The controller has a 64K buffer memory. You place your disc in a caddy before inserting it in the slot in the front of the drive.
This CD-ROM drive is capable of audio playback and provides audio line outputs on the back and a stereo headphone jack on the front. You also get a program that allows you to play your music CDs on the drive. In addition to being able to eject a caddy with the eject button and an emergency eject hole on the front of the unit, you can also use an eject program to eject the disc using only a software command.
If you're considering a CD-ROM drive, the Sony package is a good choice. It contains everything you need to get started except CDs. It's very easy to install, and since it's a Sony, you can bet that it'll be around for a long time.