[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Philips CD-RW Drive

November 15th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Philips CD-RW Drive Ad - 1997“This product is not intended for the unlawful copying of copywrited material.”

Rewritable CD-RW discs seemed like a good idea when CD-Rs (which could only be written once) still cost $10 a piece. But as the price of CD-Rs fell to pennies per disc over the course of about five years, the CD-RW format’s popularity quickly faded.

[ From PC World, November 1997, p.103 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you burn your first CD-R or CD-RW? How did you feel when you did it? What did you write to the disc?

17 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Philips CD-RW Drive”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    My first CD-RW drive was a Ricoh and I think I paid $299 for it, which at the time was a pretty good price. The problem was my CD-ROM drive, there was some incompatibility with it, so every CD I burned had popping noises in it. I think the drive had to have “Audio Extraction” if I’m not mistaken. At $3 per disc at the time, it wasn’t fun doing trial and error trying to get it to work right.

  2. XCALIBR8 Says:

    My drive was purchased late in the game. I was 17 and had was working at my first job. After receiving one of my first checks I finally went to go purchase a CD-RW drive. It was late 1999 and I opted for a $79.99 OEM Samsung CD-RW/DVD player combo drive.
    It worked great and it’s still going strong in my Linux tower as a backup drive. It originally was dropped into a hand me down Packard Bell. CD-R Discs were very cheap at that point. I never did CD-RW, but I was a sucker for doing multi-session discs.

  3. Skywyze Says:

    I burned my first disks around 1994 – 1995. I was lucky enough to have a HD big enough (just barely) to copy the uncompressed music files from standard CD. So one at a time a backed up my CD collection for use in my car. Which was great foresight because the copies got stolen, not the originals.

  4. Muzer Says:

    The first CD I burnt was when I was rather young back in 2002 (yes, I am still rather young). I believe I was trying to make a copy of Lego Island for a friend, using Nero Burning ROM. This tactic later paid off when my own CD broke, and I made a copy of the copy I gave to him for my own use… so it really was a backup copy, honest!

  5. idisjunction Says:

    I believe I burned my first one in 2003. My reaction was mixed; I was surprised it worked at all, and somewhat unhappy that I had not done it correctly and finalized the disc with only one song on it. Oh well. Practice makes perfect.

  6. Xyzzy Says:

    My first burner would have been in 1998, and it was a RW. I would have used it to back my hard drive up, since back then hard drives weren’t exactly huge. Also, since I was commuting to university an hour away and was stuck on campus for a few hours between classes, I used a Multi-Session CD to bring my mp3s & WinAmp with me to use in the campus computer lab.

    I tried using RWs early on, but the blasted things were so abominably slow that it wasn’t funny. Since Multi-Session already existed, and many CD drives couldn’t read RW discs, it wasn’t worth the effort.

  7. BDD Says:

    My first burner was a Ricoh 4x IDE burner, no buffer overrun protection, which cost $299. The first CD I ever burned contained a few songs from the South Park movie soundtrack, just as a test. Later on, I was able to convert the drive to 6x using a firmware update, and eventually I had to blow into the drive to get it to recognize discs. The next drive I bought cost $75, IIRC.

  8. Fenn Says:

    My first burned cd was back in 1993 on an old 2x speed burner. I borrowed the external scsi burner and a 780mb external HD from a graphic design industry specialist down the street. My first recollection of staying up all night was the first night I borrowed the drive. I spent all night copying several of my Zip Discs to the external drive to backup to the CD-R. I will always, to this day, remember the feeling when I woke up the next morning, and realized that I had 13 clean zip discs waiting for me to fill up, and 2 completely full CD-Rs of everything I had collected over the past year.

    As a 14 year old, that is as close to the definition of bliss as it comes.

  9. Geoff V. Says:

    First burner of mine was a external Sony drive that could read 8x, write 4x and rewrite 2x. Goodness was it slow. Couple that with USB 1.0, it could take half an hour to rip a CD and copy it.

    However, being the first guy in the dorm with a mobile ripping/burning drive made me “popular” for a couple weeks. This would have been in late ’98 or early ’99, before the glory days of Napster.

  10. jarson Says:

    My first CD-R was a Phillips drive that cost $1,999.99, I believe around 1993-1994, that burned to $20 a piece discs. It was the size of a desktop computer and was interfaced via SCSI. I believe the first disc was a coaster, as software/hardware configurations and hard drive speed meant that you burnt a lot of coasters while trying to get usable discs out of it. We used it for creating disc masters of CD-ROM titles for replication. We had it hooked up to a Macintosh 7100.

    Further research has found some info on this drive:

  11. Zoyous Says:

    I started burning CD-Rs in 1998, to free up space on my 3.2GB hard drive. Almost all of them from back then still work, but I’ve had a couple seemingly deteriorate… I get cyclical redundancy errors when I try to read them. I never really got into using CD-RWs… although I would’ve like to, I never figured out the proper procedures for using them and didn’t have the patience to keep at it.

  12. ffr Says:

    the first time i actually burned my own cdr was in early 2000. i’d seen cdr’s and even had my friends give me cdr’s way before then, but never had a burner of my own. i didn’t really have experience with installing new drives then, so i saved up 400 dollars for an external one that connected via serial port.

    i was happy about finally having a burner, but it wasn’t a feeling of all that excitement. i do remember the first time i saw a cd burner in the store, and wondering why it justified such a high price (this was before mp3s had gained prominence and i didn’t really have a use for one).

    and on that note, i burned a music cd filled with mp3s downloaded off napster. it was essentially a prom music mix cd which i planned to play in the limo on the way to prom.

  13. Moondog Says:

    My first CD-R was around 1993, and interfaced with a Sound Blaster card, and my first CD-R/RW was in 1998, and cost around $225. IIRC it was a 4x. I bought a bunch of CD’s real cheap, and discovered soon they weren’t legible after about a year. i would make backups of the My Documents folder on my PC.

  14. arlandi Says:

    my first experience with a CDR drive was around 1994-95. I was at my part time job. the drive was slow. Capable of burning at only 1x speed! And it connects through an ISA SCSI Controller. I burned bunch of multimedia kiosk apps with it. now i’m backing up to a DVDR, and barely even use a CDR anymore. I own a CDRW, i was planning to use it for live linux cds… but in the end, i use USB Flash disks instead… how time has change!

  15. Ant Says:

    7/1998: Upgraded Tower Machine: Upgraded to an Award Bios Intel Pentium II 300 MHz (DFI P2XBL motherboard (Revision A) — 440BX 100 MHz bus tower with 128 MB of SDRAM (PC100), ATX Full Tower Case, 300W power supply, 2 ISA, 3 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 Shared PCI/ISA Slot, and 512K CPU cache. Added a Diamond Fireport 40 PCI (SCSI-3) and Yamaha CRW 4260 (6x4x2; SCSI) — a CD burner.

    Heh. I used CD-RW with multisessions or didn’t want to waste my CD-Rs.

  16. Cody Says:

    I don’t remember when I had my first CD drive or burnt my first disc, but I do remember selling the Ricoh’s for years prior. They were sooo expensive even moreso than Sony and heavy, and were meant to be the best quality available (“Didn’t Ricoh invent CD technology?”)

    Back then, Creative Labs and a bunch of other “small” companies made CD drives too which were quite popular, though sometimes hard to get hold of.

  17. Dan Says:

    Dunno if this counts, but my first experience with CD-R was at my high school’s radio station in 1999. We had done a production of “The War of the Worlds,” and wanted to have copies for ourselves. I actually have two copies – a CD I burned on the station’s super-fancy-deluxe CD player, and a pair of 7″ reels of quarter-inch tape.

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