CD-ROM drives have come a long way since their humble 1X beginnings in 1987. Along the way, we've seen proprietary interfaces, a change in read styles from CLV to CAV, and finally stagnation in read speeds. Current CAV-style readers top out at 56X maximum transfers, or 8.4 MB/sec. The reason for the limitation is related to spindle speeds. Whereas the 1X readers of yesteryear topped out at about 200 RPM, today's 56X readers spin at a constant 12,000 RPM. Such spindle speeds not only create high vibration and noise-levels, they also require precise balancing in order to maintain read accuracy.
Although established in October of 2000, Artec USA's product line consists of drives produced by one of the leading OEM optical drive manufacturers, Ultima Electronics Corporation. Artec is still getting their feet wet in the U.S. market, but more online resellers carry their products since we reviewed their 16X DVD-ROM a few months ago. Still, their optical drives are scarce on the net and in some cases are only available from Artec's own online store.
Join with us as we see how this drive stacks up against competition from Afreey, Creative Labs and others.