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Appeared on: Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Ricoh MP5316DA

1. Introduction


As a leading member of the DVD+RW alliance, Ricoh plays a significant role in the development of future standards for optical storage solutions. Despite this, we saw fairly only recently, a press release from Ricoh stating that Ricoh is withdrawing from the optical disc drive business. So the appearance of a new drive model might seem strange. As you will read in the course of this review, it is not so strange after all.

The Ricoh MP5316DA is a high-performance internal drive that supports DVD+RW/+R and DVD-R/-RW discs and is capable of 16x-speed writing (+R/-R), 4x-speed writing for DL (double-layer) discs, and 4x-speed rewriting (+RW/-RW).

- Specifications

The drive cannot read DVD-RAM media and it uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool, VSO Inspector and DVDInfoPro:

- The drive / Retail Package

The retail version of the RICOH MP5316DA comes with all the necessary parts to install the drive (screws, IDE and audio cable) and a full featured software solution from Ahead (Nero Express 6, Nero InCD 4, Nero Vision Express 2, Nero Back IT Up, Nero StartSmart, Nero Recode 2 and Nero Showtime).



On the drive's front panel, you can see the eject button, the activity led and the eject hole. There is no volume control or headphone jack.

On the rear panel you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs, the IDE mode selection jumpers, the IDE connector and the power input.

Opening the device's case will void your warranty, so we advise against it. Instead, use the photos in this review for a closer look under the hood. Clicking on the image below will reveal a high resolution image.

The RICOH MP5316DA is an OEM NEC ND-3500A drive. This becomes quite apparent when we compare the photo above with the corresponding photo of the NEC ND-3500A. The latest firmware version at the time of this review was 2.B9. Hence, being an OEM NEC ND-3500A drive, we pretty much know what kind of performance to expect from this drive, even if it bears the RICOH brand name.

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "RICOH DVD+RW MP5316DAG " under Windows XP. You can see that the book type option is supported.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive against three other DVD burners with similar specifications, the BenQ DW1620A, the Pioneer DVR-108 and the NEC ND-3500A.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.55
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. PlexTools v2.18
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  8. DVD Decrypter
  9. CopyToDVD

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The RICOH MP5316DA supports up to 48X reading speed. Below are the transfer rate graphs along with the comparative results for the Pioneer DVR-108, BenQ DW 1620A and the NEC ND-3500A drive:

The RICOH MP5316DA along with the NEC ND-3500A proved to be the fastest with Pressed CDs and CD-R media. The BenQ DW1620A was the fastest drive with Ultra-Speed CD-RW media.

Comparing the RICOH MP5316DA and the NEC ND-3500A performances, there are bound to be many similarities, so we will comment mostly on any dissimilarities found between them in the course of the review.

- DVD Format

Very small differences were reported with pressed single layer DVD-ROM media. All drives performed similarly.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards the outer range for each layer. The MP5316DA's reading performance was not good with this type of disc. We observed the slowest speed compared with the other drives. The Pioneer drive was the fastest.

The RICOH MP5316DA can read DVD±R media up to 16X and DVD±RW up to 8X.

The RICOH MP5316DA reported an average ripping speed of 4912 kb/sec with DVD-Video discs (slightly slower than the NEC ND-3500A that reported 5825 kb/sec), and proved to be slower than all the other drives when it comes to DVD Video ripping. The BenQ drive was the fastest DVD Video ripper.


Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs

3. CD Error Correction Tests

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.


Errors total
Num: 1440784
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 141212 Avg: -79.4 dB(A) Max: -14.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 5496 Avg: 1.3 Samples Max: 18 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 33 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
64.4 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
98.7 %

The total error count was about average but the maximum error loudness level was high at -14.3dB. There were 33 skipped samples which is high, while the drive achieved a total score of 64.4. In general, the drive's performance was not that good with this test disc.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 4089
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 13856 Avg: -85.3 dB(A) Max: -49.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 86 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max: 1 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
81.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100 %

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. Most drives manage to compile a score in the 90s with the better drives managing 100. The drive managed only 81.6, showing again that the drive's CD error correction capabilities need improving. A good CD reader should produce better results than these.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimediaplayer (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. Here too, the drive turned in a poor performance. Almost all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level but good quality drives can read up to the 4th level. However, most drives will pass at least the third level without any problems.

- Summary

Generally we can say that the CD error correction of the RICOH MP5316DA is average, something that could be fixed with newer firmware releases.

4. DVD Error Correction Tests

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the RICOH MP5316DA drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests, we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media come from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The RICOH MP5316DA had no problems reading this test disc. No errors were reported, and the maximum 16X reading speed was achieved near the end of the reading process.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

The RICOH MP5316DA read this disc as if there were no defects and fingerprints at all. A continuous line was produced, and the drive once again reached its highest 16X reading speed.

-Dual Layer media


This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.


Most NEC based drives have problems reading this type of disc. As seen above, DVD error correction capabilities over former NEC based drives have been improved. The RICOH MP5316DA gave no errors during reading. The test was completed successfully. Excellent performance at this point!


The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

Again, the drive had no problems reading this disc.


The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

click to enlarge!

According to the resultant graph, the drive could read the disc with no problems. It started to read at a speed of 1.90X, reached a highest reading speed of 4.57X at the end of the first layer, afterwhich it began its descent until the end of the second layer, producing an average speed of 3.43X (similar results were reported by the NEC ND-3500A, as would be expected).


The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meter fingerprints.

click to enlarge!

Not even this disc was a problem for the RICOH MP5316DA drive.

- Summary

NEC based drives were known to be bad readers, and their DVD error correction capabilities were limited. We were happy to see that DVD error correction has been improved making it a very good reader with problematic media.

5. Protected Disc Tests

Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.
Game Title
Protection Scheme
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
01:09 min
1173.04 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
33:26 min
167.48 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:05 min
1848.50 sectors/sec

Although the BenQ drive was the fastest with Lybcrypt protected discs, the RICOH MP5316DA was not far behind being a good deal faster than the Pioneer DVR-108. With SecuROM v2 ripping, the drive was slightly faster than the NEC ND-3500A, but slower than the Pioneer drive. The RICOH MP5316DA is faster than the BenQ and Pioneer drives with Safedisc ripping.

- Writing Tests

The RICOH MP5316DA supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.


Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.51.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
Creative CD5233E

NEC ND-3500A


Like most NEC based drives, the RICOH MP5316DA cannot produce working backups with the newest v2.8x, v2.9x and v3.1x builds. Partially working backups were produced for SafeDisc v2.51.051 & v2.51.020.

6. DAE Tests

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The RICOH MP5316DA supports up to 13-32X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

The RICOH MP5316DA was slower with both Pressed CD and CDR media. The fastest drive was the Pioneer DVR-108, with the BenQ DW1620A slightly behind.

The RICOH MP5316DA drive can report C2 errors, but caching is not supported.

The RICOH MP5316DA achieved a score of 97.2 (slightly better than the NEC ND-3500A), which is a good score (but not perfect). Very good recorders can achieve a perfect quality score of 100. At the same time, the RICOH MP5316DA was the slowest drive in the comparison matrix. The RICOH MP5316DA cannot read Leadin data or Leadout data, but it can read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 24.17X.

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 90min Audio CDs at an average speed of 22.29X, starting the reading process at 15.35X and reaching a maximum speed of 32.93X. Reading speed dropped to around 8X near the end of the reading process, from the 77th min to the end but the drive read the disc without errors.

The 99min Audio CD we used for this test was not recognized correctly by the RICOH MP5316DA. The time length was wrong and the reading process could not start, giving the following error message.

It should be noted that 99min Audio CDs are a problem with all NEC based drives.

7. Protected AudioCDs

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9 beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session causing problems for readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track of the CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, the drive recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

NEC ND-3500A
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

The Ricoh drive could not rip 100% accurately CD200 discs since Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same between corresponding tracks. On the other hand, Key2Audio protected CDs were not a problem. EAC did not report timing problems, and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for all corresponding tracks.

Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a (Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter)

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors which create problems during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the wav file produced from the Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a disc with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors and for BETA/Jitter errors with PlexTools software using a Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.05).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
NEC ND-3500A
Reading performed without any errors.

The C1/C2 error graphs show that the RICOH MP5316DA managed to produce a 100% error free disc.

We then tried to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712SA and PlexTool DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files. The drive can backup the disc 100% accurately.

8. CD Recording Tests

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The RICOH MP5316DA, being an OEM NEC ND-3500A offers one of the largest combinations of writing speeds and writing strategies. Supported writing speeds are as follows:

It's uncommon for a drive manufacturer to support both Z-CLV and P-CAV/CAV writing strategies for the same writing speeds, but depending on the media manufacturer, the drive adjusts accordingly to produce the best possible results.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive clocked in an average speed of 36.31X. The test started at 21.47X and finished at 40.07X.

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart depicting the recording times with the various media.

You will notice that not all media could be recorded at 48X. This is a major drawback of the drive, since not even good quality media like TY could be recorded at full speed. The RICOH MP5316DA returned a time of 3:34 minutes at the 32X writing speed with Intenso 52X media, and 3:02 at 48X writing speed with BenQ 52X media. Very good performance at this speed. It should be noted that all media was recorded at the maximum supported speeds by the drive.

- Other features

The RICOH MP5316DA supports overburning up to 90mins at full speed and can both read and write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

The RICOH MP5316DA supports 4X, 10X, 16X (CLV) and 24X (Z-CLV) rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The RICOH MP5316DA does not support the Mount Rainier feature.

9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

On this page we present the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs when using various CD-R media burned at 32X and 48X writing speeds.

- 3T Pit results

The highest 3T Pit jitter level reached was 38nsec (MMore), which is a touch above the Red Book limit (35nsec). Best results were achieved with Taiyo Yuden media. Generally, the performance of the RICOH MP5316DA was very good.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land results were also good, reaching a maximum of 40 nsec, again with MMore media, while Taiyo Yuden CD-R media once again produced the best results.

10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is PleXTools Professional v2.16, and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.05).

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

MMORE 80min 52X @ 48X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

TY 80min 48X @ 32X

Creation 80min 48X @ 32X

- Summary

There were C2 errors reported with certain discs (MMore and Traxdata) which could be better. The overall writing performance of media needs improvement. NEC needs to look into improving this aspect with future firmware releases. It should be noted that all discs were recorded at the maximum speed supported by the recorder.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 52X
SKC Co., Ltd.
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
Creation 48X
Plasmon Data Systems Ltd.
TraxData 52X
MMore 52X
97m17s 6f
Moser Baer India

11. DVD Recording Tests

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The RICOH MP5316DA supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for DVD±R is 16X CAV and 4X CLV for DVD±RW media. You can see the full range of supported speeds on the first page of this review. Nero Burning Rom's reported speeds are shown below.

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