by David Schloss
At first glance the powerfile c200 Studio is an unsightly beast; a large, dark slab of hardware. The C200 is the latest in affordable, networked CD/DVD jukeboxes.
The Powerfile is tailored to the needs of an individual user or small workgroup, providing access to as many as 200 CDs or DVDs at a time. The C200 Studio houses a massive carousel and dual CD readers.
The included server software and the unlimited-license client application allows any networked machine, be it Mac or Windows, to access the Powerfile as if it were directly connected.
Thanks to Firewire connectivity, the C200 Studio is a snap to set up, and just as easy to expand. Units can be daisy-chained together through the three-port connector on the rear of the unit.
The one drawback to a Firewire-only solution is the distance limitations of Firewire cabling. The 32x CD-ROM readers provided excellent transfer times, even across network connections, while DVDs mounted flawlessly at their relatively pokey 6x maximum transfer rate.
Loading and unloading the unit is a breeze — just push a button and slide a CD into the front-loading slot. The software automatically catalogs the disc, and the LCD screen on the Studio allows disc management without having to fiddle with the software.
This is one piece of hardware begging to be taken for a spin.
MANUFACTURER: Escient; 866-883-3669; www.dvdchanger.com
PRICE: $900 to $4,999
REQUIREMENTS: Intel Pentium (or equivalent);166MHz or faster; Microsoft Windows 98/98SE/2000/Me; Apple Macintosh OS 9.x; Apple Power Macintosh; Built-in FireWire port, or an OHCI IEEE-1394 compliant FireWire card or CardBus installed; 32MB available memory; FireWire 2.5 or higher
PROS: Easy set-up; available in a number of configurations; excellent transfer times
CONS: Large device; cable distance limitations