Specifications according to Artec's manual/website:
- CD read speeds of 40X max
- DVD read speeds of 16X max
- Digital audio extraction speeds not specified
- 512 KB buffer
- <100 ms average random access time
- ATA-33 interface
For more information on drive specifications, click here
to see Artec's online product page.
The retail box contents include:
- The drive
- Audio cable
- 4 screws
- InterVideo WinDVD 2000 movie playback software
Goodies are sparse for a retail package. Notably missing are a drive manual and an IDE cable. The closest we get to a manual is a 4x6 sheet of paper with system requirements and software installation instructions. The side of the box has a drive installation diagram.
The rest of the drive's vitals: Artec has perhaps the largest LED we've ever seen on an optical drive - about as big around as the tip of a pencil eraser. In addition, there's a standard headphone jack and single eject button on the drive face. The rear of the unit houses both analog and digital audio outputs as well as typical master/slave/cable select jumper settings and a 40-pin IDE connector.
The drive arrived with firmware revision 1.05. No newer revisions are currently available.
Artec advertises quiet operation and "good vibration resistance." They're right. This drive is noticeably quieter than Pioneer's 16X DVD offerings, both during CD reads and DVD playback. Noise levels are typical of an average 32X CD-ROM. The drive also stays relatively cool during extended use. Yes, it gets warm, but again, it's a noticeable step down from heat levels produced by the competition.
Current online pricing is not yet available - a search of Pricewatch and PriceGrabber does not show this drive for sale anywhere. Artec cites an MSRP of $129, though with direct competitors selling their product for $75 and less on Pricewatch, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Artec come in at similar or lower price points once resellers begin carrying them. Our contact at Artec tells us they recently received their first shipment of these drives, so they should be available from retailers soon.
Let's move on to the performance tests. First, lets go over CD reading abilities.
CD-ROM Performance Results...