View Full Version : What problems does a IDE to USB adapter pose?

01-24-2008, 04:59 PM

I'm planning on building a tower of IDE-CD-drives and hooking them up to my computer via USB-adapter and a USB-hub for batch ripping purposes. That is, IF there shouldnt be any problems with this sort of setup.

What do you think, will there be some problems due to the USB-setup?

Thank you

01-24-2008, 05:16 PM
Firewire is far less problematic than USB. Firewire's interface is nearly identical to the SCSI and ATAPI interfaces, which are the standard ways that optical drives have been communicated with, historically.

USB, however, has a much more constrained interface. In addition, the USB bridge chip has to be depended upon to perform a more complex "translation" and encapsulation of ATAPI commands between the computer and the drive.

A lot of USB bridges fail to properly support commands or features that are required for or useful options for *secure* ripping, such as cache-control and C2 reporting. In addition, some USB bridges will fail under the heavy stress that secure ripping can place on the translation portion of the chipset.

I've found that USB drives usually work fine for "burst" or "normal" CD ripping, but fail when using secure ripping (e.g. via dbpoweramp or even the "error correction" feature of iTunes). In some cases the failure is immediate (drive "disappears" from computer/disconnects or all tracks rip as 0 bytes), disc-dependent (works fine for a while, then fails when dealing with disc errors), or just plain random.

And of course, there result of the bridge chip failing badly is that the device was disconnected unsafely, which usually requires power cycling the drive enclosure and rebooting the computer to get it working again, something that isn't fun when you are trying to work through a large stack of CDs.

Adding a hub will just create an additional point of failure (or at least, point of questionable functioning).

Most contemporary Windows-PC-based duplicators use firewire now to avoid both the potential USB lack of robustness as well as the issue with errors causing a DMA connection fallback to PIO connection in the windows IDE driver.

Then again, with good quality discs and luck in finding the right USB bridge chipset, or if you don't perform secure ripping, you might not run into any of the above.