Texel DM-5024 external CD-ROM kit. (Texel America) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Bradley M. Small
Sooner or later, like hard drives, CD-ROM drives will be required equipment for even the most casual user. Though hardly a household name, Texel has a drive that boasts features comparable to those with more familiar names, and at a considerably lower price.
Texel is a subsidiary of a 74-year-old Japanese manufacturing company called Shinano Kenshi. It's been making precision motors for computer peripherals since 1962, heavy-duty commercial audio CD players (like the ones used at radio stations) since 1989, and CD-ROM drives since 1990. With credentials like that, I think Texel's qualified to compete.
This drive has some impressive features, not the least of which are its 265-ms access time and 300-kbps data transfer rate. If this all sounds like Greek to you, then think of it this way: It's about ten times slower than a fast hard drive and about two to three times faster than a floppy drive. An audio CD (the kind you listen to on your stereo) player transfers data at 150 kbps. Because the Texel is twice as fast as that, it's called a double-speed drive.
Equally impressive is its ability to read audio CDs, Kodak Multisession Photo CDs, High Sierra CDs, and ISO 9660 CDs. It's also XA compliant, which means that with a special decoder board, it won't necessarily have to slow down to 150 kbps to play the audio track on a game or encyclopedia but instead can read it at 300 kbps and buffer its output to the speakers.
As far as compatibility and ease of installation go, I had the drive and card installed and running in less than ten minutes. The Texel operated impressively under both DOS and Windows. I also received excellent - and free! - technical support when I ran into a problem running it under OS/2.
If you need a CD-ROM drive, the Texel is well worth consideration. It's a very fast and quite reasonably priced drive with excellent technical support. It's the most drive for the money.