Nuggets: Backpack CD-RW drive does the job

It'll work with a good old parallel port, but it's not gonna win many beauty contests

So, you're thinking about buying a CD-RW drive now that Scour Exchange has been closed down?

Well, if you're looking for an external model and you're lacking a USB port, then the MicroSolutions Backpack CD-rewriter might be the answer. Mind you, we're not talking ultra-fast or dead portable.

This CD-RW drive can link to either a USB or parallel port, from its own parallel interface. This means it should work whether you've got a funky new PC or notebook (which should come with USB) or a knackered old Pentium (which might not). Good news?

Not exactly -- you won't get the full speed of USB because the Backpack's parallel port will slow things down a bit.

So, yeah, those speeds. Twenty-four speed when reading a CD, and four-speed for writing and re-writing, aren't exceptional when compared with an internal drive.

Still, there aren't many non-USB external drives around, so it's good to see a manufacturer realising that we don't all have brand new machines at home. As well as duplicating CDs, MicroSolutions reckons the Backpack could be used as a backup device, and even a hard drive.

Don't panic if you're already using your parallel port for a printer. It's possible to connect another peripheral off the Backpack CD-RW. You won't have to reboot your machine before you plug the drive in, either, as this drive is "hot-pluggable" (except if you are running NT 4).

We ought to mention that, at not far off 3kg, you certainly wouldn't want to be lugging this drive around with you for too long. It's not the prettiest bit of kit, either, as it looks a bit like a fat paving slab. On the positive side, though, the Adaptec Easy CD creator software is pretty cool and easy to use, and lets you make some pretty inserts to go in your CD cases.

  • Microsolutions CD-rewriter drive

  • £259 (inc VAT)

  • 2.7kg (not including the power supply

  • 560x179x298mm

  • Twenty four-speed read, four-speed write, four-speed rewrite

  • USB and parallel connectivity

  • Windows 2000, 98, 95,NT

  • Adaptec Easy CD Creator software supplied


I love gadgets so take me to the Nuggets Special page NOW!

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.