On first glance this looks like any other CD-ROM out there, and on closer
inspection it proves it ;-) The only major physical difference with this drive
in comparison to the 40X Sony we reviewed a while back is the lack of a skip
button on the face of the drive. The point of having a skip button is basically
the same as having the head phone jack on the CD-ROM, so CD's can be easily
accessed... To be fair when listening to CD's I use software to jump tracks, and
have never used the skip button on my CD-ROM so I guess it is a little
useless in reality.
Opening the tray is a little slow, taking a few seconds before the door will
begin to open. The mechanism opening the tray is gear based, and relatively
loud. With the drive operating at full RPM, vibrations are minimal which is
nice to see for once. Quite often high speed CD-ROMs vibrate and make a lot of
noise when the disc is spinning at full RPM - either due to poor balance, or
resonance in the components.
Is this a good CD-ROM? As 40X drives goes the Panasonic CR-593 is
a satisfactory drive in its class. But, for $50 it is currently the
least expensive 40X drive we have been able to source out. Speaking from
a performance/cost standpoint it's a good choice. Mind you for another $12 you
could get the Sony drive we tested earlier....
Guess the final answer depends on how determined you are to keep prices down.
We've been reviewing a lot of inexpensive products lately because we have had
the task of building a few systems for the absolute least amount of money. We
used this Panasonic drive in our systems because of its price, not performance.
There are a few situations where price matters more then performance... not
many, but a few :-)