I just built my Duplicator tower today. Cost = under $800
I built this a a budget project for making DVD dubs for a video project, we dont have alot of money to work with, and we have alot of work to do. So I wanted something reliable, and CHEAP. Our videos are for the client, so they cant have any read errors. So it was important to incorporate a HDD to load the masters to. Just to be safe and if I have time I load the master to the HDD @ 1x and copy to the drives @ 6x or 8x. FYI I just built this today, and immediately produced 250, 4 GB DVD's without a cool down period including verification. I only had 1 error...it ended up being a scratch in the media...
Here is the device.
12 target CD/DVD Stand-alone Tower currently 1/11 target. SATA Interface. with HDD and Controller.
(x1) Wytron DVD-899.
Thirteen SATA ports to control 12 writers with one source drive. Source can be either HDD or DVD ROM, or both. Automatically formats HDD partitions according to drives attached. I suggest going into the sub menus and manually selecting partition sizes if you have DL-compatible burners...but rarely duplicate DL DVD's as it will partition to 9.4 GIGs, you can set sizes from 850 MB, 4.9 GB, 9.4 GB, 30 GB, and 50 GB. Also compatible with Blu Ray.
(x1) ILY model VS-013A
Thirteen Bay Duplicator tower case with 400 watt PSU, has 3 cooling fans on the case, and one in the PSU. I got it from Directron for $100.
-as advertised it was not supposed to come with bay covers, a problem if you want to build a 6 bay now, and expand in the future...
-was not supposed to come with a place to mount the Hard drive either
I opened the box, and all the bay covers were there!
There is a HDD mounting bracket right under the PSU
(x11) LG SATA model GH22LS30 DVD multi-burners. (Retail not OEM)
-from what I gathered they are rated compatible, have good reviews, and most importantly they were cheap.
$30.99 per drive
(x1) Athena Power Hot Swap HDD cage.
It is really nice....solid...mostly aluminum.
-Only bought because I was told the case did not have an HDD mount, am going to return, and get another LG Burner.
(x1) Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640 GB hard drive.
And lastly the PSU uses 4-pin Male Molex connectors. So I had to buy Molex to SATA power adapters. I saw them online for like $1.50, but couldn't wait to see if everything worked so I bought local and paid $2.99 per adapter.
I got free Shipping on everything, except 1 shipment.
Grand Total. = $767.07
DVD-899 (or any SATA controller card for that matter)
SATA rather than IDE.
IDE is obsolete, so even if you can get a 12 target IDE Controller card for 80 bux, what happens 1 or 2 years from now when a couple of your drives fail? IDE Writers are getting pretty rare, and the prices are still pretty close to what i paid for the LG SATA models. So in the future when you need to update 10 drives, and find the firmware...have fun. Did I already say that IDE is slow?
-Blu Ray compatible.
When Bluray Combo writers come down in price (Soon) you can upgrade the drives, and keep the same Controller.
-HDD/DVD-ROM master -or- Both. Actually I dont thing you even need a ROM Drive, you can tell the controller you want to make SATA port # 2 the Master reader, even if it isn't a ROM drive. ROM Drives are obsolete too. Don't quote me on this but I wouldn't bother to buy one. If they weren't obsolete there would be more available for purchase...there aren't
Build it yourself, find the manuals online....for Wytron...especially the 899 the manuals and firmware updates are not available online. Just EMAIL customer support i think it is firstname.lastname@example.org make sure it is the .tw extension. I emailed last night, and got a response in 5 minutes....Broken English but quick, courteous and they sent me a PDF of the manual specifically for the 899 not the generic BS manual you would normally find for their IDE controllers (31 pages with a few diagrams) and the most current up-to-date firmware bin file. FYI don't bother calling the support phone # in California....its a distributor Ebenezer tech or some crap, and they still havent replied to my emails. the Taiwan email address is good because when it is nearing midnight in the USA, they are at work...in the morning AM.
I dont care what anyone says about buying a Duplicator pre-built from some company. Because I would have had to pay more than DOUBLE for a "similar" system. Yeah it may come with "better" drives but who is to say it is better. You will not get a 640 GB Harddrive, maybe a 350 GB...and is it a 7200 rpm drive with 16 mb of cache?
How about that warranty? yeah...are they going to charge you for shipping, are they going to send you a brand new replacement drive, or are they going to make you wait while they send it to the manufacturer for repair?
If you get a good cheap drive, and one breaks down...go to the store and buy a new one for 30-40 dollars. (Same brand, and Firmware version)
If your Controller card craps out...buy another, try another brand.
Where is the value of spending $800 to $1000 dollars more than I did, when the components are so easily replaced?
and to close.
There are only 3 brands of controller cards that are worth considering. Even then they are almost identical, do your research, ask around and settle on one that suits your needs, but from a place with a good return policy so if you don't like it, or it isn't compatible with the drives you just spent $300-500 dollars on, you can simply exchange it for another brand.
I hope this helps someone out there.