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Last updated: 11/17/99

The Toshiba SD-M1212 6X/32X DVD drive not only brings first-rate DVD movie quality to you computer screen, it has enough CD-ROM oomph to make a Windows 98 install on a 650 Mhz Athlon computer quite fast.  No longer do you have to feel that you are giving up substantial CD-ROM performance to get DVD features in the same drive.

Want a movie theater on your desk?  Add a computer with zest (see below), with a 17" (or larger) monitor, a MPEG2 hardware decoder, a good 4-channel sound board, and a surround sound speaker system, plunk in the Starship Troopers DVD, and get ready to ignore phone calls from the wife asking why your not home for supper yet.  That's exactly what I did.  It will blow your socks off!  The display was sharper than anything on my home TV and the movie played without incident.  Now to try to sneak enough stuff past Claudia's ever watchful $eye to build my own at "work" theater...

Back to the drive...  Besides the DVD 6X and CD 32X data transfer rates, the SD-M1212 has the following features:

  • CD-R, CD-RW (read) Compatible
  • Ultra DMA (ATA/33)
  • 246KB Buffer
  • DVD/CD 135/95ms Average Access Speed
  • ATAPI Interface

I used "Larry's simple CD-ROM bench mark" to compare the CD-ROM performance of the SD-M1212 against a AOpen CD-936E/AKU 36X UDMA 33 drive.  That bench mark is the time it takes to move the Windows 98 SE cab files, about 121 MBytes, from the CD to the hard disk on the same computer.  The SD-M1212 did it in 40 seconds and the 36X CD-ROM did it in 36 seconds, which is what one would expect from the ratios.  As I have said before, there isn't much perceived CD-ROM performance gain beyond 36X.

Installation of the drive with Windows 98 SE and installation of Windows 98 SE with the drive is no more difficult than with the average IDE CD-ROM.   The SD-M1212 works with the generic ATAPI CD-ROM drivers on the various Windows 98 Startup floppies, etc. making a Windows 98 install more or less a yawn.  Windows 98 SE detects the drive and installs the proper drivers.  I did not have to use the driver floppy that came with the drive.

The DVD drawer on this drive is quite solid, but it is a bit noisy (about the same as a Mitsumi CD-ROM--nothing to get excited about). The drive itself was quiet and without noticeable vibration.  There is no headphone jack or volume control on the front of the drive (use your sound card).

At about $100.00 the Toshiba SD-M1212 would make a very good Christmas present (for me).



Test Computer: AMD 650 Mhz Athlon processor, MSI MS-6167 motherboard, 1/2 MB cache' (part of the processor), 128 MB, 6 ns PC100 memory, Western Digital WD273BA hard disk, Windows 98 OEM SE with FAT32 file system (4 GB C: drive, defragged), Diamond Viper V770 Display Adapter with 32 MB, Toshiba SD-M1212 DVD Drive, Creative CT7160 Decoder Board - Inlay (Dxr2), Diamond Monster MX300 PCI Sound Board, Cambridge SoundWorks/PCWorks FourPointSurround FPS1000 Speaker System.

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