Most of us have at some stage had to burn a large batch of CD or DVD discs for a company presentation, product catalog or other similar job. While one, or even two drives, are more than enough to get the job done for small batches, if it's something that needs to be done frequently and it involves a large number of discs, then it becomes tedious and frankly, it's not worth the effort. There is a better solution, or should I say solutions, available from ACARD. ACARD offers an extensive range of duplicator configurations for any type of CD or DVD duplication job. The duplicator we'll be looking at in this review is their latest release, the ARS-2033N 1-to-21 Copy Controller, which can accommodate up to 21 burner devices at once.
ACARD Technology Corp., based in Taiwan, was founded on September 19, 1996. Since then, ACARD has been engaged in IC design, with its core technologies in the fields of IDE and SCSI, enjoying a high reputation as a leading global provider of storage solutions.
ACARD offers small, medium, and large scale corporations, a broad range of controller chips, SCSI/SATA/IDE RAID controllers, SCSI-to-IDE/SATA converters, CD/DVD duplicators, RAID subsystems, NAS, external storage for DVR, and CD/DVD recording software. ACARD's products are targeted at PC and Macintosh users, as well as OEM customers worldwide.
At the heart of the 1-to-21 Copy Controller is the ATP867 chip, which is a high performance PCI 64-bit 66MHz 4-channel IDE RAID controller, targeted for server class and high-level workstations. The built-in IDE engine, supporting Ultra DMA mode, can transfer data at a speed of up to 133MB per channel. The IDE channels can operate simultaneously, which is essential for a multi-tasking environment, while a PCI scatter/gather function reduces the interrupt handling and tremendously improves performance.
ATP867PCI 4-Channel UltraDMA133 IDE Controller Features
- 64-bit, 66MHz PCI bus with data rate up to 133 MB/s.
- PCI specification Rev 2.2 compliant.
- PCI Bus Power Management Interface Specification Ver 1.1 compliant.
- Scatter/Gather function compliant to Bus Master Programming Interface to IDE ATA controller Rev 1.0.
- Flash ROM interface For RAID setup utility and booting.
- Up to 4 independent IDE channels. Each IDE supports DMA133 speed.
- PIO mode 0,1,2,3,4 and Multiword DMA mode 0,1,2 to 16.6 MB/s.
- Ultra DMA mode 0,1,0+1,2,3,4,6 up to 133MB/s or higher speed.
- Support RAID0, RAID1, RAID10 function and JBOD.
- Built-in timer for Auto-rebuilding on RAID1 and above level.
- Simultaneous data written to both channels on RAID1 mode.
- Built-in interface for hot swap hard disk caddy.
- Enclosure services for fan, temperature, voltage, caddy insertion can be detected.
Normally, you would buy the ARS-2033N already configured in a cabinet, through one of Acard's worldwide distributors. What we received, were the individual components that make up the entire 1-21 controller. This is a unit that can write simultaneously to 21 CD or DVD burners. That's a lot of drives and it makes quick work of most medium scale jobs.
We'll be taking a look at how to connect the various components together in the next page. The ARS-2033N 1-to21 as it came to our labs, comprises:
- 3 ARS-2033N controller boards
- 4 AEC-4430H SATA converters
- User manual
- IDE and SATA cables
ACARD also offers an AEC-4420P USB link which can connect the ARS-2033N to a host PC, making the ARS-2033N an external writer for the computer. This was not in our package, but it can be requested from ACARD separately. ACARD further provides its own recording software for use in this type of setup, called Ha! DVD Burner. Further details can be found on the ACARD website.