CRW1208 IDE CDR-W - Page
has a long tradition in making CDR-W drives. The CRW1208A is the first ever
CDR-W drive that supports "Seamless Link" anti-coaster technology:
"...The conventional CD-R/CDRW drive can't stop the recording process during
recording while the buffer under run error happened and re-start the recording
process while the data received again.
critical issue was how close the gap between the stop and restart point could
be controlled to let the recorded data satisfy the standard and be read back
without any problem. The traditional solution for the buffer under run problem
was: Enlarge the buffer size to accumulate more data to prevent the error happened.
But the Seamless Link technology is a new function, which is developed to prevent
the Buffer Under Run problem automatically by predicting them before they happen.
The working principle of Seamless Link was list as following:
- Monitoring the amount of data, which buffered during writing.
- Stop the writing process and store the RecEnd address if there is any problem
which causes the amount of data in the memory below a certain level - Waiting
on the Pause state and receiving the new data to fill the buffer memory
- Seek to the in advance of RecEnd address to find the exactly RecEnd point
- Re-Start the recording process
The original idea for "Seamless link" is from Philips. Acer modified
the specifications in co-operation with Phillips and for now is the only manufacturer
to use this technology. The "Seamless Link" Technology is completely
controlled through the Firmware. No hardware modification is necessary.
There are two key different between "Seamless-Link" and "BURN-Proof
" - "Just-Link":
"BURN-Proof" and "Just-Link" need extra IC(s) to provide
the function, which means that if you purchase the extra IC, you would get the
patent. Sanyo for example have released this IC and technical information to
many companies (like Plextor, TEAC, Lite-On..), but Ricoh haven't.
2. Because "SeamLess Link" doesn't need any extra IC to support
the Buffer-Under-run proof function, it also don't need to do any setting on
writing software to enable this function. This means that you don't have to
"turn-on" this technology in CDR software, since it is enabled from
default. "BURN-Proof and "Just-Link" basic status is turn-off
so you must use the software to turn on it.
Till this moment there is no clear information about the gap length of "SeamLess
Link" technology. Acer seems not planning to licence this technology in
the near future to other manufacturers. We are not informed about Philips future
package supplied was the retail Europe version. This included: The drive itself,
the user guide, MS-DOS drivers, 1 High Speed RW Blank (4x-8x), Audio cables
and mounting screws. The software supplied with the CRW1208A was: Nero Burning
ROM v188.8.131.52 and Ahead InCD v1.69 (for packet writing use). Last there is a
nice quick Nero 5.0x setup guide for the daily tasks.
The front of the drive contains the logo of Acer among with the drive features
"12/8/32". Also you will find the 2 leds (red is writing, green is
for reading), the eject button, the play/stop button for audiocds and the headphone
input jack/volume selector:
At the back of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface,
power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the analog/ SPDIF output
connector. The HS-RW media comes from Acer with the following features (ripped
from CDR Identifier):
ATIP: 97m 22s 60f
Disc Manufacturer: Acer Media Technology, Inc.
Assumed Dye type: Cyanine (Type 0)
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. 8X
nominal Capacity: 656.20MB (74m 41s 50f / LBA: 335975)
CDR-W drives are simple to install. Just decide what the drive should be, master
or slave, set the appropriate jumper and start! After booting, the CDR-W identified
itself as the ATAPI CD-R/RW 12X8X32. We unchecked the Auto Insert notification,
checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was a February 2001 model with firmware
revision v9.GB. The strange thing is that the drive's top label said that the
drive has 9.EB firmware..
For most of our tests we used Nero 184.108.40.206 among with InCD v2.09 and CloneCD
v220.127.116.11 and PadusDJ v3.00.800. Even the CloneCD author haven't announced official
support for Acer 1208 and "SeamLess Link" the "BURN-Proof/JustLink"
feature is checked from default.
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
ATI AIW 128
Acer CRW1208 firmware v9.GB
PlexWriter PX-W1210A firmware v1.07 (TLA#000)
Ricoh MP7120A firmware v1.20
Ricoh MP7125A firmware v1.00
2. Data Tests
IDE CDR-W - Page 2
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0: This was used to compare the Acer's CRW1208
I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed
CD containing PlexTools v1.08 for all tests.
- CD Speed 99 v0.80 was also used to check the drive performance with
pressed CDs. For that test we used PlexTools v1.08 original CD.
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results:
The Acer CRW1208 performed very good in most of our tests. The drive gave
back the best "Average Random I/O" test result super passing the competition.
In the "Average Sequential I/O" tests the Acer drive gave the 3rd
test result with 3579, far away from the competition of PleXWriter PX-W1210A
and Ricoh's 7125A. Last in the "Average Same Sector" I/O tests it
gave again the 3rd best value. Overall we could say that Acer 1208 is a good
performer but wants more improvement to reach the top.
- CD Speed 99 v0.80 results: (click here
to see the chart)
Using CD Speed 0.80, we can see that the Acer 1208 had the worst average reading
performance between 4 competitor drives. There is a performance gap between
the first (PleXWriter PX-W1210A) and the last (Acer 1208) of 0.61x, which confirms
our previous tests.
Do you remember that the Acer CRW1208 had the best "Average Random I/O"
test result? Here is the explanation: Acer 1208 simple kicks ass in seek times
with only 77ms when the Ricoh 7125A has 95ms value. Impressive performance from
Acer 1208 in this particular test.
3. RW/CloneCD Tests
CRW1208 IDE CDR-W - Page
RW reading tests
For the RW tests we used Ricoh HS RW media written at 8x speed, since the
Acer 1208 doesn't support 10x re-writing speed. As you can see the Acer performed
very bad when reading HS-RW media:
We used CloneCD (v18.104.22.168) and 3 original CDs (Rally Masters, Euro2000 and
Vrally 2 Expert) in order to test the reading time for Acer CRW1208. We also
tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs since the reading
speed varies among original and backup media:
a) SafeDisc Results: Euro 2000 (Total: 257982 sectors - 10141 bad sectors)
- Reading Speed: Max
The Acer 1208 performed very badly in the SafeDisc protected CDs reading tests.
The drive is very slow and in order to make the image of the Euro 2000 CD would
take about 48minutes with both original and backup CD. The competition is much
b) LaserLock Results: Rally Masters (Total: 321528 sectors
- 6317 bad sectors) - Reading Speed: Max
The Acer 1208 continues to have the worst reading performance among the 4
CDR-W drives especially with the backup CD. The performance with the original
CD is satisfactory.
c) SecuROM Results: Vrally2 Expert - 343767 sectors
The Acer 1208 doesn't support reading "SubChannel Data from Audio/Data
4. DAE Tests
CRW1208 IDE CDR-W - Page
- Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.21 beta and EAC v0.9 prebeta 9 software
in order to check the DAE performance of Acer 1208 with various AudioCDs. We
made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The
Average DAE reported speed along with the CPU Usage is displayed in the test
- DAE features:
used EAC v0.9 prebeta 9 to examine the drive's features. As the program reported,
the drive doesn't "Caching" data or support "C2 Error Info",
and supports "Accurate Stream".
- Pressed AudioCD results: (click here
to see the graph)
The Acer CRW1208A supports only up 14x (max) average DAE speed. The competition
is much faster and this must be an improvement point for Acer. Also notice that
CD Speed reports that the drive hasn't got accurate stream, which however seems
not applying with CDR media. We can assume that the:
- CDR AudioCD results: (click here
to see the graph)
The Acer 1208 performed different with CDR media than with pressed CDs.
The drive's DAE with CDR media seems locked at 8x (max) as our tests showed:
- Advanced DAE Quality:
As you can see all drives got 100 (perfect) score in the Advanced DAE Quality
tests. The Ricoh MP7125A gave the faster reading speed in this test with (23.71x).
The Advanced test confirmed that the drive supports reading of CD-Text and SubChannel
- Ripping 90 and 95mins AudioCDs
The Acer 1208 didn't recognized both our 90 or 99 media therefore we could
test the drive's performance with the specific media.
5. CDR Tests
CRW1208A IDE CDR-W - Page
The Acer CRW1208A is the first drive, which supports "SeamLess Link"
anti-coaster technology. We used the CD Speed 99 build-in writing speed test
and confirmed the 12x writing speed - 12.00x average (check left picture).
We tested the Acer CRW1208A with Nero v22.214.171.124, CloneCD v126.96.36.199, Padus
DJ v3.00.800 software and with the following media: Princo 74min (16x) &
80min (16x), Platinum 80min (12x), Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Mitsui
74min (16x), Prodisc 80min (16x)(red bottom) and with Ricoh/Plextor/Verbatim
74min HS RW. We noticed that the drive had problem recognizing both 90 and 99
- CD-R Tests:
We created "DataCD" job with data slight higher than 74mins (74:03:65).
We burned the same job with all 4 CDR-W drives:
As you can see, there are differences between the 4 tested drives. The Acer
CRW1208A gave back a satisfactory recording time among the 4 CDR-W drives. The
PleXWriter PX-W120A has the biggest (416) and both Ricoh drive hold the first
2 places. The interesting part here is the increased CPU usage over the competition.
28% for 12x writing is a LOT so that caused us many questions since all previous
tested drives had much lower CPU usage. We also tried the same test in Win2k
but the results were the same.
- 80min CDs:
As with the previous test, we created a DataCD (80:02:16) and used the same
media for all burns:
The Acer 1208A has the biggest time with 445secs. The Ricoh based drives gave
the lower burning time in this test. The later one is 1 sec ahead while the
other drives (Ricoh MP7120A & Plextor PX-W1210A) are following with 2 and
6 secs behind.
- Overburning Tests:
We used 90 and 99min CDs (from Medea
International and Copy4All)
but the Acer CRW1208A denied recognizing both CDR media.
The Acer CRW1208A is probably the fastest CDR-W drive that can backup all
current protected CDs (including SD2). The drive supports DAO-RAW only as you
can see in the left picture and the "BURN Proof/JustLink" is enabled
According to the CloneCD the drive supports "DAO-RAW" but not "CD+G
Update: Tthe latest version of Clone CD v 188.8.131.52 already be confirmed
that fix the DAO96 RAW Writing issue with Acer 1208a, this version already allow
Acer writer to copy Diable2 successful and play it fine ( in the earlier version
of Clone CD can copy Diable2 with 1208a successful, but the backup disc can't
play successful ).
For the SD2 tests we used the "No One Lives For Ever" CD title.
We used the Acer CRW1208A both as reader/writer. The results were the best you
can find around. The produced backup worked in:
TDK CyClone 161040
From our tests, the Acer CRW1208A can backup 100% SD2 protected CDs. Currently
it is the only 12x CDR-W drive that have this feature, which makes it unique
to the competition.
- Buffer Underrun tests:
The Acer CRW1208A supports "SeamLess Link" anti-coaster technology.
The "SeamLess Link" anti-coaster technology supposed to work with
all current (and old) CDR software since all the work done automatically from
the drive. In order to test this claim we used "FireBurner v1.06"
and tried to burn an image pressing at the same time "ctrl+alt+del",
in order to freeze the PC and cause a Buffer Underrun. All our attempts didn't
caused any problem to both FireBurner/Acer and the task completed ok. Notice
that FireBurner v1.06 supports neither "BURN-Proof" nor "JustLink".
For making that our test was valid we tried the same procedure at Yamaha 2100E
(with FireBurner). When we caused "Buffer-Underrun" the Yamaha 2100E
CDR-W drive simply stopped working.
Verdict of CDR Results:
The Acer CRW1208A worked good in most of our tests. It worked satisfactory
with most CDR media, had some problems with 90 and 99min CDs, and the writing
times were in what the competition offers. The most negative issue was the unexplained
high CPU usage (28%) for the 12x writing speed.
CloneCD users will love this drive since it supports DAO-RAW and is the fastest
CDR-W which can backup 100% SD2 protected CDs. The "SeamLess Link"
anti-coaster technology seems working fine with older CDR software, which for
example "BURN-Proof" or "JustLink" doesn't...
6. RW/Packet Writing Tests
CRW1208A IDE CDR-W - Page
RW Writing Tests
We used Nero 184.108.40.206 for writing CDs at the maximum RW speed for all the tested
drives. The Acer CRW1208A supports 8x RW writing speed. All other drives wrote
at 10x RW writing speed:
The Acer CRW1208A had the highest writing time since the drive supports only
8x. All other drive support 10x RW writing so the direct comparison is a bit
unfair. The CPU Usage again was very high compared to the competition and the
erase time was the lower among the 4 drives.
- Packet Writing
We used Ahead InCD v2.09 for all Packet Writing tests. The drive
is packaged with v1.69 and we suggest upgrading to the latest one. We used Plextor
HS-RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 7min.
After formatting, we tested all four drives for their packet writing performance.
The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147
kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using
explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible
time measurement faults and user errors:
The results show that the Acer CRW1208A has the lower reading/writing performance
among the 4 drives. I guess you could predict that due to lower RW writing speed.
The "Average write speed" was 5.76x and the "Average read
speed" was a bit higher at 5.96x.
CRW1208A IDE CDR-W - Page
- Supports "SeamLess Link" anti-coaster
- Good DATA reading performance
- Fair DAE ripping performance
- Fastest Seek times around
- Supports HS RW standard (8x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports Overburning (?)
- Produces perfect SD2 backups
- Good retail package/software
- Low price (around 120$)!!
- Low DAE (8x) with CDR media
- Low speed (8x) with HS-RW media
- Low packet writing performance
- High CPU usage (?)
- Bad CloneCD reading performance
- Doesn't support 90/99min CDs
- Doesn't support reading of SubChannel Data
The Acer CRW1208A is an interesting drive since it has 3 important features
which many CDR-W drive misses:
1) The "SeamLess Link" anti-coaster technology: The Acer CRW1208A
is the first CDR-W, which supports this new anti-coaster technology. This new
technology works very good and will prevent buffer underruns. The interesting
part is that works in all CDR software even the software doesn't support it!
2) The capability to backup 100%, SD2 protected CDs: The Acer CRW1208A is
the first 12x CDR-W, which can produce working backups of SD2, protected CDs
in all CD-ROMS drive. 95% of the currently sold CDR-W drives misses that feature.
For many people it might not be so important but a lot of users would appreciate
3) Low price... Well guys 120$ for a 12x writer with anti-coaster technology
is simple a rocket deal. The competition is much higher priced, (PleXWriter
PX-W1210A 170$, Ricoh MP7120A 130$, Ricoh MP7125A 180$), which gives Acer CRW1208A
an extra advantage.
On the other hand the Acer CRW1208A has several problems which will trouble
possible buyers such as: low DAE with CDR media (seems locked at 8x), high cpu
usage when writing CDs, bad CloneCD reading performance, no support for reading
SubChannel data etc. As usual you have to judge the positive and negative and
make your own conclusions.