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The $219 CyClone CD Revo says portable with its carrying handle, but it's only partially so. The silver-gray case has transparent sides, weighs four pounds, and measures 11.75 inches long by 7 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall, which makes it lighter but not smaller than its competitor, the EZQuest Boa FireWire CD-RW drive. Some of that weight was simply transferred to the external, 13-ounce power brick, which gives you one more thing to carry--or forget. The CyClone CD Revo features a Sanyo mechanism that sports Burn-Proof technology, a buffer-underrun-protection scheme that lets you burn a CD while multitasking yet not lose data. We tested a 32X/10X/40X PC model of the drive, but the CyClone is available in a separate Mac version and in speeds of up to 40X/12X/48X.
In spite of the documentation's sparse guidance, the CyClone CD Revo's setup process was very easy. A single, eight-page foldout sheet describes the simple process of installing the supplied CD-writing software (Nero 5.5 comes with the PC model, Roxio Toast Lite 5.0.2 with the Mac) and plugging the drive into a FireWire port. The CyClone CD Revo comes with a FireWire connection cable, and it's compatible with FireWire-enabled PCs using Windows 98 SE or later and Apples with Mac OS 8.6 or later. The supplied version of Toast isn't compatible with Mac OS X. If you're using the last OS, you'll need to buy a copy of Toast Titanium or use Apple's built-in CD-burning feature or iTunes.
The CyClone CD Revo performed acceptably overall in CNET Labs' tests. It excelled at digital audio extraction, ripping a 27-minute track in only 52 seconds. During packet-writing, the CyClone was the best of a mediocre pack, taking 10 minutes, 17 seconds to write 400MB to CD-RW. But in the audio-burn test, it finished more than 1 minute behind the EZQuest and QPS drives, making it a poor choice if you want to create audio CDs on CD-R. All the drives installed Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition in about the same amount of time.
The CyClone CD Revo's support is typical. A one-year warranty covers parts and labor. Telephone support requires a toll call to the company's California headquarters, and it's available on weekdays only, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. PT. If you get stuck on a weekend, you can consult the company's Web site for FAQs and driver updates; you can also send an e-mail, but that may require waiting for an answer.
The CyClone CD Revo offers decent portability and solid overall performance, especially on audio-ripping and backup chores. While its bulky power supply and poky CD-R performance drag down the drive's overall appeal, it's still a viable option for sharing among office staff or moving files from one PC to another.
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Audio extraction tests|
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)
The CyClone CD Revo excelled at digital-audio extraction, ripping a 27-minute track in only 52 seconds. During packet-writing, the CyClone was the best of a mediocre pack, taking 10 minutes, 17 seconds to write 400MB to CD-RW. But in the audio-burn test, it finished more than 1 minute behind the EZQuest and QPS drives, making it a poor choice if you want to create audio CDs on CD-R. All the drives installed Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition in about the same amount of time.