Correspondence Upgrade: Vintage CD/DVD Copying Tower

Small but *very dense* with mid-oughties quality components. Dunno if the white DVD drive is a later replacement or what. Now that I ponder it, tho – the model number is “2DVDN80G” which suggests it was originally equipped with just *2* burners, with the third one added later as an upgrade. That also suggests that the motherboard, with its 4 dual-channel IDE interfaces, could theoretically support *8* drives, if the case had space for them. Well, 1 hard disk, 6 burners and a reader, at least. Hmmmnnn…Hitachi “Death Star”, 164gb IDE drive. Runs pretty quiet, so it probably doesn’t have many running hours on it. I pulled it out and checked it in gParted, but it just shows up as “unallocated space” with no recognizable partition, even with 16 disk images on it. I guess it’s some sort of proprietary partitioning and filesystem. All the dated components are 2006. This is the tiny, single-purpose motherboard, mounted in the controller slide bay. Two of the ICs are epoxied to prevent identification, another clue that there’s some proprietary stuff going on. The chip marked “DVD” looks like Flash RAM, basically a mini-SSD that prolly contains the updatable part of the very small and simple operating system. The epoxied chips would contain the low-level functions. The hard disk just stores disk images in *some* format. That means the OS is all contained on this board, inviolate, so I can later swap out the spinning rust drive for an SSD or a CF card. The burners are all off-the-shelf and can easily be replaced with new ones if they ever die. Good survivability for the future!Ripping a disk to a disk image on the AccuTower. They *still* make these, right uptown in Phoenix. Prolly the exact same hardware/software, but updated burner drives. The new ones are 52x, while this 2006 one has 16x drives.Currently in the earholes:

Updated: November 12, 2023 — 7:21 pm


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  1. Talk about a thrift store rarity! What are the odds one would end up there, never mind making its way into just the right hands to be put to good use? If it’s burning images, I assume it can do video/audio or data?

    1. Yep, Correspondence has all the formats, and they all imaged fine – CD Audio, CD data and DVD video.

  2. Ah yes, the infamous “DeathStar” HDDs. Lots of memories of those back in my PC repair days. I too thrifted a standalone CD archiver/copier a while back, although the one I found appeared more like a big cable TV box with twin CD burners and HDD inside, so CD only. When I got it home and tested it out, the drive was full of images of PS1 game disks….

    1. Ha! pirate PS1 disks – I seem to recall those weren’t so easy to make. Don’t remember why, but vaguely remember being frustrated and unsuccessful :D

      1. Memory is a bit fuzzy on all that, but I do recall only certain models of CD burner drives and firmwares could do PS1 disks reliably. And only on certain media, burned at slow speeds etc… Not that I ever would have done such a thing mind you. :)

        1. ahh, that’s right – well, I suppose that means your duplicator is set up to meet those requirements. Convenient! :D

  3. It looked to me like the new ones they’re still making are essentially the same, but the hard drives are SATA and start at 500GB. I’m glad you are enjoying this optoelectronic gizmo – I figured for $10 I’d plug it in and see what it does, and at the very least, gift it to Ted when I was done! :D I also like to think that I’ve committee the world’s least efficient form of music piracy… I ripped my Joe Jackson CD (which I think I special-ordered through the distributor of my local music store back in the day) onto this box and then physically drove it from Buckeye to Mesa so you could reconstitute it. Try tracing that IP address, DMCA! lol

    1. Is it still piracy if I already have it? I mean, it’s Joe Jackson – can you actually throw a party without some Joe Jackson in the mix? :D

      1. You’re the man, Ted. :)

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