Iomega Predator 8x/4x/32x External USB review: Iomega Predator 8x/4x/32x External USB

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Small and sleek; available with USB or FireWire (IEEE 1394) connections; Mac and PC software; good support.

The Bad A little less rugged than a portable unit should be; external power adapter limits portability.

The Bottom Line The Predator's portability, novel design, and cross-platform compatibility make it a useful product for burning on the fly.

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Iomega is already well known for its Zip and Jaz drives, but lately, the company has been focusing more on developing new products. Its latest external CD-RW drive, the Predator, bears a striking name and a stylish design. But the real value lies in its portability and flexibility. It's small, light, compatible with both PCs (Windows 98, Me, or 2000) and Macs (OS 8.6 and higher), and it's available with FireWire (IEEE 1394) or USB interfaces. Although it could be more rugged for a portable product, at least Iomega backs it with adequate support. Iomega is already well known for its Zip and Jaz drives, but lately, the company has been focusing more on developing new products. Its latest external CD-RW drive, the Predator, bears a striking name and a stylish design. But the real value lies in its portability and flexibility. It's small, light, compatible with both PCs (Windows 98, Me, or 2000) and Macs (OS 8.6 and higher), and it's available with FireWire (IEEE 1394) or USB interfaces. Although it could be more rugged for a portable product, at least Iomega backs it with adequate support.

Two kinds
The Predator currently comes in two varieties: USB for $269 and FireWire for $329 (PCMCIA and USB 2.0 versions will be available later this year). Setup is simple in either case, especially because the package includes all the necessary cables. Just snap on the interface adapter, plug in the power and data cables, run through the installation CD, and you're ready to burn. Like portable CD players, the Predator is top loading, so you can switch discs when your computer is not powered up. The headphone jack and the volume control knobs are conveniently located on the front of the drive, and there's a line-out jack in the back.

At about 6.5 by 7.75 by 1.5 inches and 1.14 pounds (sans adapter and cables), the Predator's small size and flashy blue-and-silver design make it stand out. It's a bit larger than a portable CD player but significantly smaller than most other external CD-RW drives (Sony's Digital Relay Drive being one exception). While the Predator is easily small enough to pack and tote along with your notebook, unfortunately, it's not as rugged as other external drives. The drive's plastic casing seems weak or even fragile, and though the interface adapters clip firmly to the back of the drive, they hang there rather flimsily, as though they might fall off. Also, the drive requires an external power supply, so you won't be able to use the Predator in transit--or, at least, in the absence of a power outlet.

Two speeds
The Predator is rated as an 8X/4X/32X drive, but performance is dependent on which interface you choose. FireWire will give you full performance, while the USB connection limits the drive to 4X/4X/6X speeds. USB 1.1 has an absolute-maximum transfer rate of 1.5MB per second, but in reality, it's much slower--around 6X if you're lucky. In CNET Labs' tests, the Predator performed in line with our expectations. The USB performance matched that of other USB drives CNET's tested, but with the FireWire adapter, the Predator showed significant performance gains in both the CD-R- and CD-ROM-dependent scores.

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Iomega Predator 8x/4x/32x External USB

Part Number: 31119
Low Price: $74.25 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Write Speed 4x
  • Rewrite Speed 4x
  • Type CD-RW
  • Read Speed 6x
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