- 1 Thermaltake Armor Case
- 1 Thermaltake 450W PSU
- 1 Intel main board
- 1 Intel Celeron 2.5G cpu
- 2 x 512mb sdram
- 1 x 40G hdd
- 8 x LG dual layer DVD burners
- 2 x IDE controller cards
Firstly, the case decision was a no brainer, the only one available here in Perth was the Thermaltake Armor, can take up to 11 external cd drives so there was no problem with fitting the 8 I have for this project.
The PSU the one which came with the case so I thought id give it a shot firstly and see how it handled the drives before upgrading it, in the end it handled the job fine.
The main board and cpu were spares I had laying around at work and seeing how the duplication process doesn’t appear to be very cpu intensive , the Celeron handles the job quite well.
I started off with 1G of ram and was prepared to up to 2G if needed but there were no latency issues with the burning process so it seems that 1G of ram is sufficient for this.
The HDD, all I had available was an old quantum 40G, this was fine for me as this project was really a one off and I wouldn’t need to be storing images locally, if you were building this then I would probably recommend installing a bigger capacity hdd and one with 16mb cache as I think the extra cache would be much better. It didn’t effect this project as the image I was duplicating was only about 40mb so the hdd and system didn’t seem to mind, I would think that if you were duplicating a full cd then the hdd’s cache would come into the equation.
The Burners, I did a bit of googling prior to this and all the info I came across said it was very important to have all your burners the same model and some sites even went on to say that the same firmware revision was also equally important, I made sure that all the burners I purchased for this project were the same model number and that was all.
The controller cards, this is where I ran into the most problems, I originally brought two highpoint rocketraid cards for this but didn’t study up enough before buying them, it appears they do not support CD/DVD drives, only hard drives , consequently, the bios could see then burners but the operating system could not so I went back and did a bit more research and discovered that the St labs IDE controller cards suited my needs and at about $60.00 each, they were good value so I ordered two of those. Once fitted they, gave me access to all 8 burners and the burning software I used recognized them all with no issues.
The drives are set up as follows
- 1 burner on IDE 1 along with HDD
- 1 burner on IDE 2
- 3 burners on PCI IDE 1
- 3 Burners on PCI IDE 2
This is due to the layout of the case as I could not get the top two burners to reach the PCI cards as the ide cables were too short and I cold not find any longer ones at short notice. The system could easily handle another two burners but they were not required for this project
As for software, I tried a few, I started with Nero, I installed a copy we have from the school and noticed that while it supports multiple burners, without an additional plug-in, it is limited to two burners so I jumped on the web so see about ordering the plug-in and near fell off my chair when I saw how much they cost……….needless to say I didn’t use Nero, I ended up with a trial version of Alcohol which supported up to 32 burners at once.
From there it was a simple process, insert the original , image it to the hard drive and then commence duplication, seeing as this was a relatively small image it was a fairly quick process and the system was churning out 7 copies every 3 to 4 minutes. In total I made 1520 copies of the original cd over the space of one weekend and the school was most grateful.
When the management first approached me with this project, they wanted 1500 cd’s copied and the timeframe was one week. I firstly started looking around at duplication services here in Perth and the cheapest I could find was going to cost the school $2700.00 inc cd’s to have the order processed within the week. Interstate was out of the question due to the time constraints so then I started looking at duplicating stations and there are several available but again, the costs were quite high and out of the budget so I thought to myself, it cant be too hard to build one so I did.
The total cost of this system is outlined below
- Case: $235
- Burners: $560
- IDE cards: $120
- Blank cd’s: $570
All the rest of the components, the board, CPU, ram, hdd, fdd were old parts we had lying around at work
So all up, including the 1500 blank cd’s the whole system cost $1485.00