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Appeared on: Sunday, February 17, 2002
AOpen CRW2440 CD-RW

1. Introduction

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:

has shipped in 2001 many models, from the low end CRW1632 to the faster CRW2040, announced a new model with the fastest writing speed available. The CRW2440A has to compete the already established Sanyo based recorders, the PleXWriter PX-W2410A and the famous LiteOn LTR-24102B. The AOpen solution utilises 2 different technologies (JustSpeed/JustLink) the render the drive unique in that category. Is the AOpen proposal capable of taking on the challenge and win, even if it is a bit late for it? How strong is the retaliation from its competitor drives with their latest firmware updates installed?

- Features:
The drive supports 24x writing (Z-CLV) max speed among with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed".The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 20x, 24x (Z-CLV) and re-writing speeds 2x, 4x, 10 (CLV). The drive also includes 2MB of buffer and supports all available writing modes (TAO, SAO, DAO, Multisession and Packet Writing). Even AOpen specs state that the drive uses Z-CLV for 16x writing speed, our tests showed that its CLV.

In order to achieve the 20x/24x CD-R writing speeds AOpen chose the Z-CLV writing technology. When a recorder uses the Zone CLV recording method, the CD is divided into 3 zones from the inner to the outer side of the CD, and within each these zones the recording speed varies but it's always constant (CLV). The recording process starts at the beginning of the disc at a constant speed in the first zone. After a pre-defined time (when the next zone starts) the recording automatically elevates to a higher speed. At the speed switching point, the anti-buffer underrun technology (in our case JustLink) is used to assure the transition with no data loss or corruption.

AOpen's approach of 24x Z-CLV writing speed is different than what we had seen with other 24x recorders. The drive shifts writing speeds (20x) at 10 and 26minutes (24x). The average writing speed with an 80min CD is 22.03x making it slower than both Sanyo/Plextor and LiteOn based recorders. Most of our recording tests confirmed that claim. However that approach seems to produce very good quality CDs.

- The package:
The tested drive was an "engineer sample" with final hardware/firmware. The retail European package will look like the left picture and include: The drive, a printed manual in 6 languages, 1 piece (24x certified) of AOpen 74min CD-R blank, 1 piece of AOpen 74min 4-10x High-Speed RW Blank, audio cable and mounting screws. The attached software will be Nero Burning ROM v5.5x OEM and Ahead InCD v2.3x (for packet writing use) and a Mp3 encoder/player ["Gamut 2000"].

The front of the drive continues to be an AOpen typical. The drive doesn't have the AOpen logo printed on it. It does include though, the "High-Speed RW" and "JustLink" logos. User will understand directly the drive's specs from the "24x10x40x" logo. You will also find only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

At the backside of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, the analog/digital output connectors and 3 jumpers which are used to setup the drive's working mode, PIOMode4 (default) or UDMA33. For setting up the UDMA33 mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:

- Installation:
The AOpen 2440 was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "AOpen CD-RW CRW2440". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was an August 2001 model with firmware revision v0.95 installed. We used the Nero (, InCD (2.32), CloneCD ( and Padus DJ (3.50.799) for the recording tests. Both LiteOn and PleXWriter have been re-measured with latest available firmware updates (LiteOn 24102B v5S07 and PleXWriter PX-W2410A v1.1).

- Test Machine:
WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
AOpen CRW2440 firmware v0.95
LiteOn LTR-24102B firmware v5S07
PleXWriter PX-W2410A firmware v1.01
TDK CyClone 241010 firmware v6h.35

2. Data Tests

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method:
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x: This was used to compare the drive's  I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.08 for all of the tests.
- Nero CD Speed v0.84b was also used to check the drive's performance with pressed CDs. For that test, we also used the PlexTools v1.08 pressed CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results:

The AOpen CRW2440 stays in the top behind the PleXWriter PX-W2410A. The drives performance is very good and gets the first place in the "Average Random I/O" test outperforming all competitors. The drive gets the second place in the "Average Sequential I/O" test and the PleXWriter PX-W2410A holds strong the first place. The LiteOn 24102B stays back in the third place and as for the TDK CyClone 241040 must improve its performance for compete other drives.

- Nero CD Speed v0.84 results: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

Using Nero CD Speed 0.84b, we confirm SCSI Mechanic results. The PleXWriter PX-W2410A is the currently faster 24x recorder with 31.79X average reading speed. The AOpen CRW2440 comes second with 31.09X, LiteOn 24102B third with 30.85X and TDK CyClone 4th with only 30.55X. The PleXWriter takes the lead since it has higher speed in start (19.04X) and the highest in end (41.71X). AOpen can tweak drive's performance with future updates. Remember that drive's firmware is still v0.95!

In the "Seek Times" test; the AOpen CRW2440 has the lowest seek times with only 89ms! The LiteOn LTR-24102B comes second with 90ms, TDK CyClone 241040 third with 124 and PleXWriter PX-W2410A last with 148ms.

- PSX Pressed Media:
For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to HD with CloneCD. We measured the reading times and the AOpen 2440 needs 175secs to finish the task. The time is higher than what Plextor and LiteOn drives need:

- CDR Media: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

With CD-R media, AOpen CRW2440 manages to outperform all other drives and take the lead from the PleXWriter PX-W2410A with 0.01X! Both drives start at 18.69X but the CRW2440 is faster in the end.

3. RW reading tests
AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 3

RW reading tests

- Nero CD Speed v0.84b Test: (Click here to see the CD Speed graph)

For the RW tests, we used TDK's HS-RW media. The AOpen CRW2440 has the highest reading speed (31.66X) outperforming competition:

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure:
We used CloneCD (v3.0.9.1) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading performance of AOpen CRW2440. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. For comparison reasons we added the results of the already tested LiteOn LTR-24102B, PleXWriter PX-W2410A and TDK CyClone 241040. The following picture shows the AOpen CRW2440 reading/writing capabilities:

- SafeDisc 1/2 Results:

The PleXWriter with the v1.01 firmware improves dramatically its performance and is the best solution for reading SD1/2 protected CDs. However the AOpen CRW2440 doesn't perform badly either and stays close to the top. LiteOn LTR-24102B improves also its performance with firmware 5S07 but is 50% slower than Plextor one.

Again with SafeDisc v2.0 protected CDs, the AOpen CRW2440 come second. However the performance gap is now smaller.

LaserLock 1/2 Results:

In the LaserLock protected CDs test, the LiteOn LTR-24102B takes easily the first place. The AOpen CRW2440 comes second, TDK CyClone 241040 third and as for the PleXWriter...Still has the same behaviour as we posted in our hardware review. Some people suggested using other software, CD Mate, for reading LaserLock 1/2 protected CDs so you could give it a try.

With LaserLock 2 LaserLock 2 protected CDs, LiteOn LTR-24102B hold the first place and AOpen CRW2440 follows...

SecuROM Results:

The AOpen CRW2440 can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks very fast! Currently seems the faster drive for that proposes.

4. DAE Tests

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 4

DAE Tests

- Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.21 beta and EAC v0.9 prebeta 11 software in order to check the DAE performance of the AOpen CRW2440 with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). The posted DAE results are the average of both applications, but the CPU usage was only taken from CD DAE 99, since EAC occupies the system a lot more. As a last note, we used the "BURST" reading mode of EAC. 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 graphs.

- DAE features:
As the program reported, the drive doesn't "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2 Error info".


- Pressed AudioCD results: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)
The AOpen supports up to 40x DAE with both pressed and CDR media. The DAE ripping performance was very good but the PleXWriter PX-W2410A still holds the first place with 30.1X average DAE speed:

- CDR AudioCD Results: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)
The drive performs better with CDR media. The drive reaches 29.6X DAE speed but needs further improvement to get the first place:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode:

After many viewer-requests we have added the EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Notice that for each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
TDK CyClone 241040
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
AOpen CRW2040
LiteOn LTR-24102B

- Advanced DAE Quality:

The AOpen CRW2440 performed excellently at the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test. The drive produced 0 data/sync errors and got a perfect score (100). The drive can read "CD-Text" enabled AudioCDs, despite the fact that CD Speed reports it doesn't and can read "SubChannel Data" (from audio tracks):

- Bad CDR Media results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)

Despite the fact that Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test stretches drive's mechanism to the max, we decided to do real life tests with a scratched disc. The disc was dirty, and with some light scratches, enough in order cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results were very interesting:

Average DAE Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
AOpen CRW2440
LiteOn LTR-24102B
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
TDK CyClone 241040

As the tests showed, the AOpen CRW2440 performs very badly when CD has scratches and dust. The drive produced 58476010 errors which mean that 77.29% of the read data were false. The LiteOn has great performance with 25.7X DAE speed and only (?) 345 errors. The PleXWriter PX-W2410A cannot recognize the disc and the TDK CyClone 241040 has the best behaviour with 0 errors.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs:

>> Click To Enlarge!

As we can see from the above graphs, the AOpen CRW2440 doesn't have any problem ripping both 90min and 99min CDs.

5. CDR Tests - Page 1
AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 5

CDR Tests - Page 1

Click To Enlarge!The AOpen CRW2440 supports 20x and 20x Z-CLV writing speeds. We used Nero CD Speed build-in writing test in order to test the drive's writing performance. The drive's average writing speed with 80min CD is 22.06X as Nero CD Speed writing test showed.

The drive also supports JustSpeed, which automatically reduces the writing speed in case an un-certified 20/24x CD is inserted. JustSpeed detects the quality of the media and adjusts the writing speed accordingly. So even you use low quality media, the drive will select as maximum writing speed 16x/12x or even 8x! Of course you can turn JustSpeed off and write in the maximum (20x/24x) speed.

As we said earlier, the AOpen CRW2440 has 22.06X writing speed. The LiteOn LTR-24102B has the highest writing speed (22.78X), PleXWriter follows (22.77X) and TDK CyClone 241040 comes third with 22.56X. We will see later if those tests results are confirmed with real life tests:

CDR-W drives
Average Writing Speed (X) with 80min CD
AOpen CRW2440
LiteOn LTR-24102B
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
TDK CyClone 241040

Click To Enlarge!

From the above graph we can see the differences between the PleXWriter PX-W2410A and AOpen CRW2440. The Plextor drive shifts faster in the 20x writing speed and also stays less time in the first (20x) zone. The AOpen CRW2440 not only shifts later to 20x speed but also stays longer so the final average writing speed is shorter.

Click To Enlarge!

The AOpen in general has lower rotation speeds. The maximum rotation speed is around 8000rpm, while the Plextor drive reaches 8500rpm. That makes the drive quiter than the Plextor drive but also slower.

- Procedure:
We tested the AOpen CRW2440 with Nero v5.5.4.9, CloneCD v3.0.9.1 and Padus DJ v3.50.799 software. For the CDR tests we used: Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Taiyo Yuden 74 & 80min (24x), Mitsubishi Chemicals 74/80min 24x, Mitsui 74min (24 & 16x) and Ricoh/Verbatim/TDK 74min HS-RW media.

- CD-R Tests:
We created a "DataCD" with an amount of data slightly higher than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same data amount with all 4 CDR-W drives:

The AOpen CRW2440 needs the highest time with 319secs to finish the task. The PleXWriter PX-W2410A is faster (313secs), TDK CyClone 241040 follows (317secs) and LiteOn LTR-24102B comes third with 318secs. The time difference may vary with different medias.

The AOpen CRW2440 at the 20x writing speed seems close enough to the competition. The PleXWriter takes an easy win with 259secs. The AOpen CRW2440 needs 7 and LiteOn 8 more secs to finish.

Let see the maximum writing speed now. The AOpen CRW2440 is clearly the slower drive. It needs 243secs to end the task, JustSpeed disabled. PleXWriter is 13 and LiteOn 11secs faster (with certain media of course). The TDK CyClone 241040 is faster by only 3 secs.

- 80min CDs:
As with the previous test, we created a DataCD (80:01:47) and used the same media for all burns:

The AOpen CRW2440 performs better with 80min CDs. The drive needs the exact same time with the PleXWriter PX-W2410A (337secs) to end the task. Both LiteOn and TDK drives are slower.

At the 20x writing speed, the AOpen CRW2440 is again slower than both LiteOn and Plextor drives. The drive needs 3-7 more seconds to finish. The CPU Usage seems lower than the competition.

The AOpen CRW2440 continues to be the slower 24x writer with 10secs time difference from other drives. The TDK CyClone 241040 is also faster by 3secs. Both LiteOn and Plextor drives have equal performance.

- JustSpeed Operation

Below are some results with JustSpeed function enabled/disabled in order to reflect the differences. In some cases when JustSpeed is off, the total burning time is higher than JustSpeed on, especially when low quality media is used:

74min CD
80min CD
Writing Speed
JustSpeed On
JustSpeed Off
JustSpeed On
JustSpeed Off

6. CDR Tests - Page 2
AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 6

CDR Tests - Page 2

- Writing Quality tests:

We used Ricoh's 74min 24x CD-R media. All CDs were burned with Nero and were Audio CDs with 74:51:27 in size. The produced CDs, were measured from DigitalDrives and results are illustrated in the following tables:

20x writing speed With Ricoh 74min 24x media
Average Burning Time (secs)
AOpen CRW2440 (JustSpeed on)
AOpen CRW2440 (JustSpeed off)
LiteOn LTR-24102B
Plextor PX-W2410A

*note: results for LiteOn, Plextor and Sanyo drives are not with the latest firmware due to lack of test media :(

The AOpen CRW2440A performed very well with Ricoh's 24x CD-R media. With JustSpeed On the drive needed 272secs to end the task, which is 5secs slower than PleXWriter PX-W2410A, but on the other hand it has better writing quality with 1.6 average C1 errors. When JustSpeed is disabled, the drive has 1.7 average C1 errors, which also are lower than what the PleXWriter drive achieves. We also used Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min/80min CDs and we got similar results with the Ricoh 74min 24x CD-R media :-)

Click To Enlarge!

When JustSpeed is disabled, high C1 errors are produced during 28-31minutes. This is also noted at the 24x writing speed. At the end of the disc C1 errors are also increased.

Click To Enlarge!

When JustSpeed is enabled, the drive behaves very well in almost all of the burning time. There are some peaks, at 24mins, but they are not worrying.

24x writing speed with Ricoh 74min 24x media
Average Burning Time (secs)
LiteOn LTR-24102B
Plextor PX-W2410A
Sanyo CRD-BP1500P
AOpen CRW2440 (JustSpeed on)
AOpen CRW2440 (JustSpeed off)

*note: results for LiteOn, Plextor and Sanyo drives are not with the latest firmware due to lack of test media :(

At the 24x Zone-CLV writing method, JustSpeed system seemed to work very good and produced the same C1 error rate at the 20x writing speed. When JustSpeed is enabled the drive managed to write even less errors, 1.30 average C1, outperforming the competition. The burning time is 6-7 longer than with the PleXWriter PX-W2410A. We had similar results for the AOpen CRW2440 with Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min 24x CD-R media.

Click To Enlarge!

The drive continues to show an unpleasant behaviour when JustSpeed is disabled. The peak between 34 and 37mins is something that should puzzle AOpen engineers.

Click To Enlarge!

With JustSpeed enabled, the drive has a smooth operation. The C1 errors in the shift points are low and seem to increase at the end of the disc.

- Overburning Tests:
The AOpen CRW2440 supports overburning up to 99minutes!

- CD-Text Results:
We created several AudioCDs with CD-Text enabled. The AOpen can write/read CD-Text Audio CDs.

- CloneCD Tests:
The CloneCD v3.0.9.1 reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW writing feature. The drive also supports JustLink. From our tests results DAO-RAW writing works without any problem for the SafeDisc 1, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 protections.

- SD2 Support:
For the SD2 tests we used the "No One Lives For Ever" and "Emperor Battle for Dune" CD titles. We used the AOpen CRW2440 both as reader/writer. The produced backup didn't work using the same or any drive we tested with. Therefore, the AOpen CRW2440 cannot produce SD2 working backups.

- 8cm mini CDs:
The AOpen does support 8cm CDs and/or business cards. We did try several burns with business cards and 8cm CDs without any problems.

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The AOpen CRW2440 supports "JustLink" anti-buffer underrun technology. That ensures no buffer underruns will happen as long as it is activated. From our tests, the drive worked without any problems when we attempted to cause buffer underruns by pressing ctrl+shift+del several times.

7. RW Writing Tests

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 7

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. All drives support fully the HS-RW writing standard. We did notice problems with Verbatim's HS-RW media since the drive refused to write at 10x speed producing severe write errors. For our tests we used Ricoh's 10x HS-RW media:

The AOpen CRW2440 performed very well and it was slower by only one second from the PleXWriter PX-W2410A. The CPU Usage is also low and the erase time did not exceed 60 secs.

- Packet Writing Tests:
We used Ahead InCD v2.32 for the Packet Writing tests. We used TDK HS-RW media and we formatted it. The formatted disc revealed 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) and we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

The AOpen CRW2440A can compete against the other drives and win by a noticeable difference in the reading part. The drive has 7.25X average writing speed and 20.09X average reading speed! It is simply the faster 24x recorder you can buy nowadays for packet writing use.

8. Conclusion

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 8


Positive (+):

Negative (-):

- Supports 20x/24x writing speeds
- "JustLink" anti-coaster technology
- "JustSpeed" media quality detection system
- Low C1 errors with 24x certified media
- Very Good data reading performance
- Very Good Seek times
- Very Good packet reading/writing performance
- Supports HS-RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Very Good CloneCD reading performance
- Supports reading/writing of SubChannel Data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface
- Retail package includes Nero 5.5x
- Low Price ($98)!!!!!!!

- 20x/24x writing speeds are slower than competition
- Low PSX reading time
- Bad DAE quality with scratched CDs
- Failed to backup SD2 protected CDs
- Problems with dusty/scratched media
- Problems with Verbatim HS-RW media

AOpen has deliberately delayed the shipping of their 24x writing proposal, but the final result is very good. Although the drive had a firmware version 0.95 it performed very good in most of our tests and in some cases it won the first place. In most cases, the PleXWriter PX-W2410A is faster and holds the lead but AOpen drive is very close. Both 20x/24x writing speeds are slower than the competition and that's a negative point for the drive. However it manages to produce low C1 errors during recording when 24x certified media was used. The JustSpeed technology is present and helps the drive in obtaining these excellent results.

The DAE is high, with good quality media, but has problems when dust and scratches are present. We spotted general recognition problems with tested discs that had fingerprints on them. The lack of making perfect SD2 backups is something that the competition offers, and its absence will disappoint many users.

The drive can be found at the price tag of 95-$110 making it very good looking in users eyes. The LiteOn LTR-24102B has also the same price and as for the PleXWriter PX-W2410A costs over $180. If you find this drive sold inside your local store, just stand in front of it and think about the positive & negatives. If the price is right, then the choice is very easy :-)

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