Xetec CDx CD-ROM filesystem, version 1.651
This is a CD-ROM filesystem for the Amiga family of computers,
including CDTV emulation software and Photo CD support. The package
includes two CD-ROM discs of freely redistributable software. The filesystem
supports discs written in High Sierra, ISO 9660 (Level 1 and 2) and
MacIntosh HFS format.
Address: 2804 Arnold Road
Salina, KS 67401
Telephone: (913) 827-0685 (Customer Service)
Fax: (913) 827-6023
BBS: (913) 827-1974 (Courier HST)
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
The Xetec CD-ROM filesystem (Xetec CDFS) is intended to be used in
conjunction with a suitable SCSI CD-ROM drive and a SCSI host adapter.
The installation software gives the following (quite possibly
incomplete) list of suitable SCSI host adapters:
o A.L.F. 3
o Amiga 3000
o A2091/ A590
o California Access CA 2000 Malibu
o GVP SCSI with Faaastrom drivers installed (Series II, A590,
o ICD AdSCSI
o IVS Trumpcard (Pro) (2.0+)
o Microbotics Hardframe
o Nexus 500/2000
o Xetec FastTrak/FastCard/FastCard Plus
Basically, any host adapter supporting either the Commodore SCSI
direct command (HD_SCSICMD) or block sizes of 2048 bytes using DoIO() will
do. You can check for SCSI direct command compatibility using a tool like
"SCSI-lister" (found on Aminet, in the disk/moni directory), or "SCSIutil"
(found on Fish Disk 669).
MakroSystem's Evolution (with 3.0 ROM) works with the Xetec CDFS in
DoIO() mode. Thanks to Torsten 'Milano' Fruehauf for letting me test the
CDFS on his Amiga.
The installation software includes a list of compatible drives, too:
o Chinon CDS 431 / 435
o DEC RRD 42
o DENON DRD 253
o Hitachi CDR 1750S / 3650
o Laser Magnetic (LMS) 210 / 212 / 214 / 231 / 234
o Matsushita CR 5xx series
o NEC CDR 25 / 36 / 73 (83) / 74 (84) / 75 / 77
o Panasonic CR-501 / LK-MC 501
o Phillips CM 210
o Pioneer DRM-600 / DRM-604 X
o Sony CDU 541 / 6110 / 6111 / 8001 / 8022
o Texel DM 3x1x / 3x2x / 3024 / 5x1x / 5x2x / 5024
o Toshiba XM 2100A / 2200A / 3101 BME / 3200B / 3201B / 3301
o other SCSI-II compliant CD-ROM drives
Although not listed specifically, I'll take for granted that the
Xetec CDFS supports state-of-the-art drives like Toshiba's XM 3401, NEC's CDR
74-1 or the Apple CD 300 (a.k.a. Sony CDU 561), too.
The Xetec CDFS runs quite fine on either AmigaDOS 1.3 and 2.x. I
have also verified compatibility with both 68000 and 68030 processors.
The Xetec CDFS driver software can be installed only from the
original driver disk.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
My test setup includes:
o Amiga 2000, ECS chipset, Kickstart 2.04, Workbench 2.1
o A2630 with 68030 accelerator with 4 MB of 32-bit memory
o GVP Series II controller with 2 MB of 16-bit memory
o NEC CDR-74 CD-ROM drive
o WShell 2.0 installed as system shell.
The Xetec CDFS comes as a bundle containing the program disk, two
CD-ROM discs, and the manual. The installation of the software takes a few
minutes and is easy accomplished: once you've fired up the installation
program, you just click around to specify your controller, drive type and
options. The installation then copies all of the needed system files to
their respective drawers, and creates a "XetecCDROM" drawer where it places
your choice of support files. I was pleased to see that the installation is
AmigaDOS 2.1/3.0 aware, which means that it creates a proper DosDriver icon
instead of a Mountlist entry.
The installation program, on the other hand, does not conform to
Commodore Style Guide rules, so it looks a little bit outdated on my system.
Once installed, the Xetec CDFS had no troubles running all my usual
discs. I tried the usual set of mean tricks, like feeding it the non-ISO
CDTV "Welcome Disk", and a CD-ROM mastered my Profit Press. The XA file
structure on the first test disc was graciously ignored, and did not lead to
a system crash. The second test case involves a very long volume name: the
Profit Press CD-ROMs seem to be notorious for padding their discs' labels
with "_" characters. The Xetec CDFS correctly truncated this label to 31
characters, thus enabling me to run SID 2.0 and the Magic File Requester, and
possibly many more programs that tend to fail on those volume names. (Note:
the volume name length should in theory not be limited, but I've been told
that 31 plus a terminating 0x00 character is the standard set by Commodore's
Next, I tried to determine any significant increase or decrease in
performance in comparison to the AsimCDFS, which I regularly use. The only
difference I could make out was a small speed increase on the Xetec CDFS
when dealing with small files. On larger files, those differences smoothed
out, so I'd say they're both approximately equivalent speedwise.
I toyed around with the CDTV support a little bit, and was quite
disappointed. I tried to get my "Defender of the Crown" to work, hoping
that the CDTV emulation would play digital audio from CD. Well, no such
luck. When I tried the supplied standard CDTV startup, it just bugged out
on me, leaving me with a black screen and a spinning CD-ROM. Very
impressive! I could get "Defender" to run by starting it manually from a
shell, but then I still lacked digital audio. I did not pursue testing
farther than this; mainly because I do not own other CDTV titles with
digital audio tracks. Anyways, CD32 emulation is the word of the day, isn't
I was also unable to test Photo CD support since my CDR-74 drive
steadfastly refuses to read PhotoCD XA.
I would like to hear from other users of their experiences with the
Xetec CDFS, as I had my review copy only for a limited time.
The Xetec CDFS comes with an A5 spiral bound Owners Manual of 64
pages. In the first half, it covers everything you need to know about the
installation of a CD-ROM drive as well as the Xetec drivers. I found the
instructions very easy to follow, so that even a novice should have no major
problem with them. The rest of the manual explains about the supplied
utility programs, MacIntosh HFS support, and CDTV emulation.
Programming examples for the CDx.device and the ARexx port of the
Xetec CDFS are found in the Programming and ARexx subdirectories of the Xetec
drawer on your system disk. For ARexx Programmers, there's a short manual
page detailing the supported commands of the Xetec CDFS function host. The
usage of the commands is further illustrated in a bunch of well documented
sample ARexx programs. The C programmer's support consists of a function
list conforming to Commodore's "AutoDoc" layout, the necessary include files,
and some example source code.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
The Xetec installation program is quite nice, but I would have
preferred a more AmigaDOS 2.x-like approach. Why not install the software
and drivers using an Installer script, and then have a real Preferences
program where one can set options and such?
I think selection of HFS forks using superscript 1 and 2 as file name
suffixes is a little bit cryptic to say the least. But since I've yet to
encounter HFS discs, I can live with that.
Having the CDTV emulation around is surely nice - if it only would
work properly in all circumstances.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
The Xetec CDFS 1.651 release compares quite favourably to the older
Asimware AsimCDFS 1.1c. For one thing, the Xetex CDFS offers the potentially
faster data transfer using the Dos.library's DoIO() function with 2 KB
The ARexx function host of the Xetec CDFS offers a very complete
command set which is in my opinion superior to that of AsimCDFS.
[MODERATOR'S NOTE: AsimCDFS itself has no ARexx port, but the AsimTunes
audio CD player program does. - Dan] However, one should bear in mind that
the new Version 2.0 of AsimCDFS is about to be released.
At least on my machine, the installation/preferences program fails to
close its screen when terminating.
Xetec operates a BBS where registered users can obtain software
updates as well as leave feedback to the makers of the Xetec CDFS.
Xetec offers all registered customers one year of warranty on their
CD-ROM system (obviously including the CD-ROM drive, if you purchased a
The Xetec CDFS seems to be a good product, and if you're thinking of
joining the ever growing group of Amiga CD-ROM owners, this should probably
be among your choices.
Copyright 1993 Thomas Bätzler. All rights reserved.
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