Tandy CDR-1000. (CD-ROM drive) (includes related article) (evaluation)
by Robert Bixby
The Tandy CDR-1000 CD-ROM is easy to install if you have a spare 5 1/4-inch half-height bay in your PC, an empty slot in your expansion bus, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and an adventurous spirit. (If you have all but the screwdriver or the adventurous spirit, your local Radio Shack will install the CD-ROM for you.)
It provides the advantages of CD-ROM for a bargain price of only $399.95. Tandy isn't known for its price leadership, preferring to make a name for itself providing the widest availability of products and service. Still, the under-$400.00 price is a breakthrough particularly when you consider that this CD drive is one of the few that meet or exceed Microsoft's multimedia standard of 150K per second data transmission.
Though the data transmission is very rapid, the CDR-1000 access time is 800 milliseconds - almost a full second to find a particular piece of data on the CD, which means that if you are using your CD for heavy-duty database access, you should look for a faster (and more expensive) unit. Since the CDR-1000's forte is streaming information quickly to the computer once it is found, it's particularly suited to playing games and other applications where animation is important.
To load a CD, you slide the entire unit forward like a bureau drawer, When it's nearly all they way out of the machine, you can lift a hinged lid to expose the CD area. Unlike many CD-ROMs, the CDR-1000 doesn't use a CD caddy. You simply place the CD in the unit as you would in a portable CD player. One less piece of cyberjunk to clutter your office.
Recognizing that the CDR-1000 will be the first upgrade many users make to their basic machine, Tandy put the manual/ installation guide together with the novice in mind. It covers installation and use of the CD-ROM very gradually in step-by-step procedures.
The CDR-1000 is capable of playing audio CDs as well as reading data CDs. It features a headphone minijack and volume control in the front panel. The back of the expansion and card features two female RCA jacks, allowing you to connect the player to your stereo. The audio CD can be controlled from the command line or from the control panel that supports a mouse. It will continue to play when you start up another application, so you won't have to make a choice between playing music and using your computer productively.
The performance, features, and price of Tandy's CDR-1000 are sure to attract attention in today's incrasingly important CD-ROM drive market.