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Home > Software Reviews > Optical Storage

Wednesday, May 30, 2001
NTI CD Maker 2000 Professional

2. Setting the general options

Setting the general options

These are the important settings affecting every aspect of the software?s functionality. You can select the directories used for the program?s cache buffer and log-file saving. Keeping track of the changes made on the log files seems to be a good idea for expert users when troubleshooting recording problems. For most of us, however, it might be a good idea to leave these setting to their default positions.

If a particular user owing more than 2 hard disks or able to select among different disk partitions might try setting the cache on the fastest disk, provided there is amble free space.

In the Preference pane you can protect your media during the recording process and experience fewer ?coasters? by incrementing the percent of the source disk ?tested for reading speed? before recording. We found the notation: ?amount of source data to measure? being used in the programs dialog somewhat complicated, however.

By enabling the relevant check-box, the program will measure read speed versus write speed before actually writing to a disc. The amount of source data to be measured is adjustable from 25% to a full 100%, in 4 steps.

Unfortunately, this option does not apply to BurnProof or JustLink enabled CD recorders when the relevant option is checked on. In our opinion, the user should be able to judge by himself whether a chosen recording speed is too high for a particular recording job and be able to resort to a lower speed, even if his recorder is able to gracefully recover from a buffer underrun situation by using anyone of the above technologies.

We like programs offering this option, as it is known (at least to some experts) that linking adjacent sectors on a CD by using either one of the available buffer underrun protection technologies introduces increased locally C1/C2 errors. (Avoiding this type of errors has always been the ?holy grail? of CD recording (and optical, and magnetic) technology research and development.)

In the same pane you can also select whether the recording speed will be lowered just after a Buffer Under Run error occurs during testing.

What seems to be a particularly interesting feature of NTI Maker 2000 pro is the option offered for verifying the recorded disk files versus the original source data. Right after the writing process, the program is able to check the quality of the resultant disk, comparing sector-by-sector the files recorded on the CD against the original source data. The comparison takes of course several minutes for a 650MB-long compilation, but our belief is that it?s well worthy.

This was a long-awaited feature by many users and it is being now offered by some commercial packages.

It is also possible to compare complete folders recorded onto a disk with respect to the folders on the hard disk or other medium.

It would be desirable next versions of this (or other applications) to offer the following features as well.

  1. Comparison of ISO track-images with respect to recorded tracks both on a sector-by-sector and file-by-file basis. What we would like to see is essentially the incorporation of the WinImage shareware right into a recording application.
  2. Full file-by-file comparison of the recorded files against the original, but this time performed from a different CD-ROM. This would apply during a period of time less stressing on the rotor/head of the recorder and allow an extended period of problem-free recording. In this case, the exact location of the original files should be determined by using the .CDM file consisting of the particular compilation information, as saved from the program itself.

In the ?CD Copy? option pane you can force the program to ignore medium errors from a source CD. The software will ignore any damaged files during CD reading and will continue recording skipping to the next readable files or sectors. This is useful for copying from scratched and other non-repairable media, but should be used with caution. Some files might not be copied during recording when this options is checked on, but might be otherwise possible to copy them by cleaning the originals or trying a more capable reader. In such a case the user might be left with the impression that he has a perfect CD copy when this is absolutely not the case. The only remedy is to read carefully the displayed messages or always perform a full disk comparison against the original.

Finally, in the ?Advanced? option pane, you can select the size of the small files to be cached before recording. When making a data CD, any file that its size is less than this adjustable value (0KB to ?All files?, in increments of about 64KB); will be cached in the directory specified above for the program cache buffer before recording to the CD.

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