Minimal load and recog, maximum starting CAV

Question: What optical drives/brands are the fastest CD/DVD readers today? To be specific, which drives have the:

  1. [li]smallest load times[]smallest recognition times[]fastest starting CAV transfer rates[]fastest finishing CAV transfer rates (actual, not the advertized 48x exagerations)[]smallest spin up time

Other factors apply, of course, but I have been unable to find databases of tested results for drives available today. CDSpeed2000 used to keep a database of drive (as well as disc) test results from nero disc speed, but they no longer have it. Don’t even get me started on and other nonsense: they don’t have drive information - it seems no one does these days. Perhaps I’m searching for the wrong things…

At any rate, please lend me your experiences, if you can spare a minute or two. The fastest CD and/or DVD readers you have, or can remember, in the past year or so.

Thanks in advance.
Only read on if you’re bored. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m tasked with solving a problem, and I’ve been failing for the past 7 months now. A small hospital + 9 clinics in the Detroit area have patients bring in medical record studies on CD-R discs varying widely between different suppliers. Problem: each disc takes anywhere from 30s to 5min to load completely (due to study file size variance: 50-300 MiB). Thus: 1 or 2 discs per day = no one cares; 50-100 discs per day = hours of lost time.

Why is this a problem?: film and other old media can be read and finised in the time it takes to simply load these discs. But film and paper are being pushed out by electronic medical record nonsense. So were stuck with these discs where doctor efficiency plumets, patients suffer like crazy, clueless dilbert administrators get in the way, etc, etc. (All driven by big medical [large hospitals and insurance providers] lobbying for federal laws that kill the competition via indirect costs. No matter what you may have read about electronic medical records, down here in the trenches they mean everyone, everyone loses).

There are two solutions: (1) spend millions (literally, I’m not kidding) updating infrastructure and inet connectivity to transfer studies via networking, or (2) get faster CD/DVD readers. Anyone worth their salt working IT in healthcare will tell you #1 is a fantasy. Which leaves #2. In particular, the readers need to have fast starting CAV read transfers, since most studies never fill more than half the disc. Drives report their ending CAV, which doesn’t help, since drives often take their sweet time getting up to 48x (if even). Use of nero drivespeed has no effect.

Now you know the story. :sad:

With prices being what they are, I don’t expect clear-winner quality drives anymore. That died with plextor when they started rebranding instead of building their own. No matter what the brand, extensive testing usually reveals cut corners and etc. Oddly enough, HL-DS seems to make the best drives these days, but the variance in the models (some awesome, some terrible) makes it a bit of a crap-shot. Dell OEM crap-shot optical drives are beating out top-brand models today in read times - go figure. :a


  • Bought Sept 2008, near top-model by LG (HL really)
  • load + recog time = ~22s
  • initial transfer speed = 20x CAV
    HL-DS GSA-H73N Dell OEM (manual test)
  • Bought Aug 2008, $500 PC for a secretary
  • load + recog time = ~10s
  • initial transfer speed = ? not sure of exact numbers, but about noticably faster

So when did OEM become better than retail? Moving on…

Why should I care, you say? Most people rightfully focus on burning speed/accuracy, but have forgotten that read speed is just as important for those with no time to waste. Sadly, read speed appears to be something manufacturers no longer care about (especially with CDs, etc). I’m not kidding when I said doctors are losing hours of their time using these discs. The numbers add up. Copying discs to drive and then using them doesn’t really solve the problem, since copying takes time. To make things worse, some of those disc suppliers will ONLY launch from CD - their software is so crappy (by design?) that bulk copying the discs to drive and launching them doesn’t work 1/4th of the time. Batch ISO making and mounting trades one problem for another: WinXP doesn’t like it when you mount/unmount hundreds of discs a day (random BSODs) [daemon utils was used, since it can be scripted].

Anyway, I’m done. Sorry for the wall of text :smiley: