I/O Magic

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This article was originally published over a decade ago, I am simply adding it to my website for posterity.

Nu’s News, issue #2.
I/OMagic: a story… 8/20/2003

Let me just get this out in the open: I AM NOT A FAN OF I/OMagic Hardware.

Now, before I go any further, let me explain. I/OMagic, I was told, was the brand to go with if you wanted an affordable CD-RW drive that would work for as long as you’d have it. I had no idea, I’d used an HP 2X2X8X CD-RW drive when they first came out, and to this day I still use my LG 8X4X24X drive. And I will have to, for many many more years.

In January, I thought it was time for my “three year life cycle” of my computer to come to an end. In fact, it was more like two years, but I don’t think straight in the cold Winter months. Anyways, my old Thunderbird 1.1Ghz and 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 system was indeed past it’s prime, and I needed to move on in the world. So I built myself a new computer, from the ground up. I knew I wanted a CD-RW drive (I can’t afford a fancy DVD writer, no way!!), and I saw the perfect bargain in the Sunday paper in late December.

OfficeMax had a bargain where I could pickup a $50 48X16X48 CDRW drive, I/OMagic, of course… and after all of the rebates: an amazing $20. What a bargain! I remember paying nearly $300 for my 2X HP burner! (Although I also remember paying $350 for my 4.2 GB IBM hard drive). So I arrive at the store, and as with every other time I’ve ever gone to a store to take advantage of a great deal, their products were out of stock. I had lost my voice, but I was at least able to… politely remind the manager that “bait and switch” tactics are no longer legal. My girlfriend insisted on doing the rest of the talking.

Three employees, two desks, and one chair later I was able to get the manager to order me one personally, and have it shipped to my house at no extra charge. Lovely. Remember, this was the last week of December? Well, January 25th rolled around and my drive arrived. Guess what? I never got my rebates, to this day, thanks to OfficeMax having the drive out of stock.

I pop the drive in my recently finished rig, and power it up. Hooray! I startup the latest version of Nero to give it a test run… the drive only wants to burn at 40X, instead of 48X. I figure it’s my media… the guy told me it was 48X, but it wasn’t labeled… I didn’t care! 40X was better than 8X! I’ll keep it, and not complain. During the burning of my FIRST DISC, my computer locked up. Froze. Reboot, pop the disc out, set my bottle of Jolt on it, pop in the next disc. This time it burns. Yay! For the next month I have this “off and on” problem with it killing my entire computer. One day it stops all together. It won’t read or write anything. I/O Magic kindly says I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know how to work a burner, but I persist and get my RMA.

Six weeks later, the next drive arrives. Completely different physically from the one I had before, this one detects itself in the BIOS as “ATAPI 48X16X–“… I can tell it’s down hill from here. It will run “autostart” programs on CD’s, but when I try to browse the contents of a disc it locks everything up. I try to burn, it asks me why I haven’t put a blank disc in. My RMA’d “refurbished drive” was one they obviously haven’t even repaired yet! So I send this one in, too. However, when I paid $9.30 to send them the first drive (and remember, after rebates this drive was only supposed to cost $20!), I demanded they send UPS to my house to pick the drive up – I told them I would not pay for this second RMA.

Finally the third drive arrives. I pull it out of the little brown box, and the front of the drive is silver and says “USB 2.0.” My friend (known to the internet as “The Xev”) is standing by, as I nearly pitch the drive through a Window. But as I look, the drive is an internal drive, just made out of so many spare parts it would scare you.

This is drive three. I install it. I’ve had it since Late July, and it’s been working well, except for burning Audio CD’s. I’ve tried to get a BENQ firmware update, and I’ve switched to the latest version of Nero 6’s Trial software, and still the drive messes up audio CD’s. It puts extended gaps in between every track, sometimes over 15 seconds between tracks. And trying to skip track to track will either take an extended amount of time, or it will pick up in the middle of the song you tried to skip over!

I/OMagic, of course, blames this on Nero – and tells me to check their trouble shooting guide. I burn the same CD with my 8X LG Burner, and everything works flawlessly.

I can honestly say, and I feel I must warn the public, that I will never again buy an I/OMagic product. Or BENQ, for that matter, because they do actually make the hardware. But with my experiences here with I/OMagic (I finally have a 48X drive that burns @ 48X, just messes up Audio CDs) have driven me away from them. I cannot and will not support them, not even in their ‘media’ market for blank discs.

THESE ARE MY EXPERIENCES – and do not in any way reflect those of the public or anyone who visits my site. I’m not here to whine and complain in hopes a hardware website, or another company will try to win me over and make me feel warm and fuzzy by sending me new hardware. I just needed to vent – because 3 CDRW drives since January (most of the time waiting for them to issue an RMA, and actually replace my drive) is just too much.