IDE or IEEE1394 or USB?

Is there any difference in data quality when
reading (or writing) a data/music CD/DVD
with a drive that is connected via IDE or
IEEE-1394 (firewire) or USB?

I’ve read that CPU bandwidth is somewhat
less with IDE and that USB 1.1 burns take
longer, but this question is about data
quality: jitter, noise etc.

IDE should be most appropriate for IDE burners simply because they were designed for IDE. USB and IEEE 1394 may not be as good as IDE when you are writing many small files in high speeds.

I appreciate your response. I plan on getting
a Plextor with either an IDE interface or the
more convenient USB/Firewire interface; I am
not planning on converting from one to the

Assuming that the A/D and the DAC on the
burner do a good job of digitizing the
signal when reading and writing the CD/DVD,
and given that the buffer is big enough to
keep to the A/D (or DAC) and the interface
(IDE or firewire…) from overrunning,
theoretically there should be no difference.

Since, however, the devil is often in the
details, I thought I would ask.

I do not see how small data files would
cause me problems since I master the
images on the hard disk before
burning them.

Although USB2.0 is specified to be running at 480Mbit, while IEEE1394A can do “just” 400Mbit, I’d advice the FireWire interface.

Why? Practice has shown that despite the smaller bandwith of the FireWire interface, the average speed is still higher. When doing lots of small files, this comes in handy. IDE is better ofcourse!

In the near future (this summer) the first external SATA opticals will be released. That should be interesting…

If I understand correctly, the responses so far address performance
not data quality/integrity.

This suggests to me that the issue has never been raised before and
perhsps is not an issue at all.

I would like to be confident that if I rip music with an external
USB/Firewire device that there won’t be any reduction in quality
compared to an IDE equivalent.

I discocered this threat whilst searching for a completely different topic, but anyhow… :smiley:

The question of braimbelch is interesting for me too, because I’m using my Plextor Premium via USB for ripping/burning my Audio-CDs.

So, does anybody know this?

As long as you’ve got enough bandwidth, you’re OK. The only digital to analouge conversions are done @ the sound card, and the little audio plug on the back of the drive. As long as the drive supports it, you can just use digital audio out from the drive, and the soundcard does the actual conversion. This usually yields the best sound, because the stupid little cables pick up a LOT of noise. The sound card usually has a better audio processor on it too, unless you’ve got something JUNKY.

As for the ripping process, as long as you don’t get any errors in the data stream, you’re OK with the external drives. It’s 100% digital, never makes it to an analouge format. I dunno what format you rip in, but unless you’re using >256 kbps, you lose more with an MP3 than you do through drive errors anyways. The only thing that would cause real problems is if the drive was a crappy reader, then you’d get errors and glitches in your sound. So, as long as the drive is a good ripper, you’re set for that. There’s no data loss over a USB or firewire cable.

Now burning is another story, you’ve got to keep good data flow, or you’ll get errors on your disks. As long as you get the right chipset, you’ll be able to burn just fine @ 12-16x on your DVDs and 32-48x on cds. Even then, the buffer under run protection stops it from making big errors, but burn quality will suffer if you get a junky external drive. I think most of the pre-assembled external drives are OK, some of the cheapo ones might give you trouble. All of the external drives are just an IDE drive in an external enclosure, whether you buy them assembled or not is your deal. I’d personally suggest going for an internal IDE drive, it’s guaranteed to work. Forget about a USB 1.1 burner, it will be slow as heck!!! Only use USB if it’s USB 2.0. So, it’s up to you, but if you’ve got a spot for another IDE drive, just put it inside. It will be cheaper, work better, and live longer. If you have a real need for a portable CD/DVD drive, then choose carefully. :iagree:

Hm. Still no manufacturer provides external SATA optical drives. :frowning:

There shouldn’t be any quality issues only speed issues.