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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Monday, February 18, 2002
Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW


1. Ricoh enters the DVD Recording with the first DVD+RW recorder!

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 1

Ricoh enters the DVD Recording with the first DVD+RW recorder!

- Introduction
DVD recording has been something that users kept dreaming for a long time now. The increased storage capacity among with the option to create DVDs working at stand alone players is the strongest points of the DVD format.

During the evolution of DVD recording, 8 companies offered an alternative solution for DVD recording under the name of "DVD+RW". DVD+RW has been standardized by 'DVD+RW Alliance' that consists of eight companies including those recently promoted CD-R/RW: Sony (Japan), Dell Computer (USA), Thomson Multimedia (France), Hewlett-Packard (USA), Philips (Netherlands), Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan), Yamaha (Japan), and Ricoh (Japan).

The 8 companies promises ultimate performance among with maximum compatibility: "...Recent technological advances, including Broad-band communication, have brought about the need for larger storage capacity of recording media. PCs are becoming a remarkably popular means of viewing TV programs. We see that more opportunities to process even larger information/data will lead to various needs for removable, large-capacity media that enable seamless data exchange between PCs and AV appliances. DVD+RW is the rewritable DVD standard with capacity of 4.7 GB to take all the needs into reality..."

- DVD+RW: Physical format

DVD+RW at a glance:

- Single-sided (4.7 GB) and double-sided (9.4GB) discs option
- Uses a bare disc - no cartridge required
- 650 nm laser (numerical aperture 0.65)
- Constant linear data density
- CLV and CAV recording
- Write speeds from 1x to 2.4x DVD-Video data rates
- Defect management handled by the drive
- Quick formatting
- Recording: (Sequential and random recording, 32 kB ECC blocks, Lossless linking)

DVD+RW format allows ‘CAV recording’ (Constant Angular Velocity). Due to the constant rotation speed of the disc CAV recording allows for fast random access. Yet two other benefits are the incorporation of ‘Defect management’, especially designed for reliability of the data, and ‘Quick formatting’, enabling instant use of blank discs. Those benefits mentioned above make this format ideal to use for high performance systems. For video applications the format has the capability of ‘lossless linking’ allowing to use variable bit rate recording for longer playing times.

- The 'Lossless linking' feature

With DVD + RW, it is possible to perform lossless linking, i.e. to suspend and continue the writing process without linking loss. The physical structure of DVD+RW disc is designed to be compatible with DVD-ROM, and a combination of HF (High Frequency) Wobbled Groove and ADIP (Address In Pre-Groove) correction keeps the data connection points after adding or editing at 1 micron or less (Lossless Linking function). This technology provides the excellent compatibility even after data is added or edited. DVD+RW drives are also compatible with DVD+RW Video Recorder, integrating PC and AV worlds.

Additionally, lossless linking makes it possible to replace any individual 32 kB block (recording unit) by a new one, without losing compatibility. For lossless linking, it is imperative to write any data block in the correct position at a high degree of accuracy – within a single micron.

In conventional optical recording drives the write/pause operation causes a rather big area (usually one sector = 2 Kbytes) to be corrupted due to poor linking accuracy at the border between two contiguously written pieces of information.

This linking loss makes the disc incompatible with existing read-only devices like DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives.

- The compatibility

DVD+RW recorders have designed to be two-way compatible, which means that:

- Stand Alone DVD+RW recorders will play DVD-Video discs
- Recordings made on rewritable discs with a DVD+RW recorder can be played in most DVD-Video players as well as in PCs with a DVD-ROM drive

All physical parameters of DVD+RW fit within the DVD-ROM specification. The reflectivity is in the same range as the dual-layer reflectivity specification of a read-only disc and the density is the same as for the single layer specification:

However Ricoh states, that the recorded media may not be readable on approximately 30% of existing DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. For that propose Ricoh (DVD-ROM & DVD-Video players) and Philips have lists of compatible drives. Those lists contain at 47 DVD players and 19 DVD-ROM drives that support DVD+RW format. This does not mean that a non-listed drive does or not support DVD+RW.

- The Defect Management & Physical Formatting System

A DVD+MRW system according to the specifications in this document will offer the following features:

- Full random access
- Data transfer between host computer and drive is based on 2K User Data Frames
- Defect Management handled by the drive (or by a dedicated Read-Only device driver)
- Physical formatting performed in background by the drive (without interaction with the host computer)
- Disc will be available for use immediately after insertion
- Ejecting the disc before the Background Formatting process is completed is possible

- Shortened formatting time (Featuring Background Formatting)

* Drive starts formatting for the random access write with a small portion of disc first (lead-in area and part of the data area, required to start writing). It then resumes for the remaining portion automatically in the background when there is no writing or reading operation (Background Formatting). This feature enables to start initial writing in just two to three minutes.

* Background formatting shall be suspended should additional reading/writing be required.

* Discs that are only partially formatted can be ejected from the drive, maintaining the compatibility with existing DVD-ROM drives.


2. The drive

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 2

- What's New at the MP5120A series?

Click To Enlarge!- Pick-up module, that mounts LDs (Laser Diodes) for both CD and DVD, but only 1 lens (2LD-1Lens pick-up module), is upgraded for DVD writing.

- Newly developed analog front-end processor LSI, which controls pickup, servomotor, and seeking, and a digital controller LSI for encoding/decoding support DVD writing at 2.4x which requires highly accurate control.

- MP5120A is equipped with the 'radial tilt correction mechanism' that uses a sensor to detect a camber or a tilt of the disc, and corrects the laser angle so that laser light is always directed vertically to the disc surface. (It functions only in DVD recording and playback)

- A high-precision stepping motor supports highly accurate seeking, even for DVD+RW media which has narrow tracks. It also reduces noise during operation.

- The drive

The super DVD+RW combo recorder supports 12x (CD) and 2.4x DVD+RW writing, 10x re-writing, 32x (CD) and 8x (DVD-ROM/+RW) reading. The drive also supports "JustLink" technology in order to avoid buffer underruns, for CD format. Its writing speeds are: 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x (CLV) writing and 2x, 4x and 10x (CLV) re-writing.

The writing speed for DVD+RW format is 2.4X CLV (X factor is now 1385Kb/s) which is equivalent to 20x of CD-RW drives. Even the media support both CAV and CLV writing modes, the drive incorporates the CLV recording. The differences are the same as with CD writing in that the overall writing speed with CLV will be quicker however random access with CAV is quicker. We don't have any information if Ricoh will ever support CAV writing technology.

The attached 2MB of buffer may seem small when writing at 2.4X DVD writing speed, but as we saw earlier buffer underruns are not present due to 'Loss less linking'. The drive doesn't support writing at DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM media. DVD+RW group prepares its own recordable format (DVD+R) and will try to compete the DVD-R!

There are some rumors that the existing DVD+RW drives would be able to write future DVD+R media with a simple firmware upgrade but this hasn't been totally confirmed from Ricoh :"...The present drive cannot support DVD+R. The next generation drive will support DVD+RW and DVD+R, however whether this can be done by firmware is still unknown..." The firmware update would be the ideal case but we must wait. If DVD+R eventually does supported it should be considered as an extra bonus. Last despite the fact that DVD+RW supports Mt. Rainer format the drive doesn't! Probably the next generation of DVD+RW drives will support it.

The following writing formats are supported:
1) DVD+RW: DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Random Access Write
2) CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, CD-I, Mixed-ModeCD, VideoCD, PhotoCD, CD TEXT and Bootable CD.

- The media

DVD+RW medi for DataRicoh, among with other manufacturers (Optodisc, Ritek, Sony, Verbatim, HP, LeadData and Philips), offers 4.7GB DVD+RW media. The quaternary Ag-In-Sb-Te phase change recording material, previously developed by Ricoh has been customized for DVD. "...Ricoh's DVD+RW discs hold 4.7GB, are rewritable with reliability due to the defect management of the drive..." Ricoh says. However the drive doesn't support the advertised DVD+RW defect management at all!

Ricoh's media can be written from 1X-2.4X and have a life of more than 100 years. A DVD+RW disc can be re-written more than 1,000 times. The prices of the DVD+RW media are expected to be around 15$, slightly less than the current DVD-RW media cost.

The "official" DVD disc sizes are confusing because they do not follow the conventions used for other digital media. In the DVD world, 1 Gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 (109) bytes, whereas in the computer world, 1 Gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 (230) bytes. Therefore a 4.7-GB computer hard disk contains more data than a 4.7-GB DVD. In other words you can only fit up to 4.38GB of data, as with DVD-R/RW media.

DVD+RW media for VideoThere are 2 DVD+RW media types: "For Data", can be used with drives that support DVD+RW media and "For Video" for stand alone Video players/recorders and drives. Both types include CSS written information in order to be compatible with all standalone DVD players. That software on the market and broadcast programs that have anti-copy signals can not be recorded due to integrated copy protection. This refers mainly to consumer DVD+RW devices where TV broadcast, like Digital CS or BS Digital broadcasting have some copy protection signals in their broadcasts (in Japan). The European broadcaster may have other standards.

The DVD+RW format supports double-sided media specification that boosts capacity up to 9.4GB! Philips recently made an announcement for such product. The posted information about the new media is very limited and Ricoh couldn't promise that the MP5120A will support it "...since this 9.4 GB is simply a double sided - single layer disc logically it should work..."

- The package
The package supplied was the retail Europe version. This included: The drive itself, a quick start instruction guide, 1 piece of Ricoh 74min CD-R media, 1 piece of Ricoh DVD+RW media, 1 piece of Ricoh 74min High-Speed RW Blank, audio cables and mounting screws. The attached software programs were: Bs Recorder GOLD v3.04, BS Clip v3.04, Sonic MyDVD v3.0, WinProducer v1.00, WinCoder v1.50 and WinDVD v3.0. Also there are 2 extra tools for setting up the drive's working mode (PIO Mode4/UDMA33) and the region settings. Pricing for the drive is about 1500DM ($690) and about 35DM ($16) for the media.

Let's zoom at something interesting from the retail box: Yes it's true! The Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120A has 2 years of warranty, as the European laws order. Ricoh added "...This warranty is only for the product purchased in Europe. The warranty in other areas is the standard one year; however the 2 year warranty will be honored outside of Europe so long as the customer can provide a proof of purchase..."

Ricoh dropped Nero as the main recording CD/DVD solution and offers instead the BS Recorder Gold. Changes are always welcomed but at this case...don't seem so succeful. Bs Recorder GOLD general interface is a bit harder to use than Nero one and also many features are missing :-(. Latest Nero 5.5.5.4 worked very well with Ricoh MP5120An so there are alternative solutions for the user who will find BS Recorder GOLD not the best solution for his needs.

The front of the drive contains all the necessary logos to separate it from normal CD-RW drives. The "Ricoh", "JustLink", "High-Speed RW" and "DVD+RW" logos printed on it among with the drives codename "MP5120A" makes the difference. There is also only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select, the SPDIF output connector and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved):

- Installation:
The Ricoh MP5120A was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a 2001 model (not sure which month exactly), with an initial firmware revision of v1.29. Ricoh released a newer firmware update to v1.30 which fixed some problems with reading/writing of DVD+RW media. We used the latest version of Nero Burning ROM (5.5.5.1/5.5.5.4), Bs Recorder Gold (v3.04), Bs Clip (v3.04) and CloneCD (3.0.9.1) for the recording tests. The drive is RPC2, which means that you can change its DVD region only 4 times. The DVD Region Info software gives the needed RPC2 confirmation. However already there are region free firmware available, even for the latest 1.30 :-)

- Test Machine:
WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
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
Ricoh MP5120 firmware v1.29


3. CD Data Tests

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 3

CD 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 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.

For comparison reasons we post the results of the Pioneer DVR-A03

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results:

The Ricoh MP5120A is a very good performer with pressed CDs. The drive has high Average Random I/O score and its average reading speed is 3614kb/s. Direct comparison with the Pioneer DVR-A03 cannot be done since supports only 24X reading speed.

- Nero CD Speed v0.84 results: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph)

Using Nero CD Speed 0.84, we can see that Ricoh's average reading speed is 24.81X. The drive starts reading at 14.86X and ends at 32.55X.

Ricoh's MP5120A "seek times" results are impressive. The drive stays around 100ms for random use.

- 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 for the Ricoh MP5120, which was very low (88secs):

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

With CDR media, the Ricoh MP5120A has even higher reading speed of 25.31X compared to the pressed CD results.

- DVD Speed v0.52: (DVD Speed graphs for DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW , DVD+RW)

The Ricoh MP5120A has 8X DVD reading speed which is more than acceptable for our daily needs.

The seek times of the Ricoh MP5120A stays to what drive's specifications indicate- full stroke seek time of 261ms. Almost the same as for the CD format :-)

When ripping DVD movies, the Ricoh MP5120A has an average of 5211Kb/s.

Let us now check the drive performance when reading DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW media. As our tests results showed, the drive can read DVD-R and DVD+RW very fast but has problems with DVD-RW media...

- Movie Tests :
We tested the Ricoh MP51200A with many DVDs and our overall impression was very good. When playing DVD movies, the average CPU Usage was 45% using PowerDVD v3.0 Build 0421. We noticed no problems during DVD playback, no matter what tricks we tried!


4. RW reading tests
Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 4

RW reading tests

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

For the RW tests, we used Ricoh's 4-10x HS-RW media. The Ricoh's average reading speed with HS-RW media is 25.24X, slight lower than what a pure CD-RW drive can give back:

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 the Ricoh MP5120A. We also tested its reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between the original and the backup media. The following pictures show reading/writing capabilities for both drives:

- SafeDisc 1/2 Results:

The Ricoh MP5120A performed very well with SafeDisc protected CDs. The drive needs 5mins to complete the task. Note that the drive reports more bad sectors than the real existing one.

With SafeDisc v2.0 protected CDs, the Ricoh MP5120A performs lower than with SD1 CDs... Again the drive reports more bad sectors than the real existing one.

LaserLock 1/2 Results:

In the LaserLock 1/2 protected CDs tests, the Ricoh MP5120A performed quite well..

SecuROM Results:

The Ricoh MP5120A can read SubChannel Data from Data/Audio tracks.


5. DAE Tests

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 5

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 Ricoh MP5120A 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 EAC v0.9 prebeta 11 reported, the Ricoh MP5120A doesn't "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2 error info".

- Pressed AudioCD results: (Click to see CDSpeed Graph)
The Ricoh MP5120A supports up to 32X DAE speed at both pressed/CDR media. Its average performance was around 22.8X:

- CDR AudioCD Results: (Click to see CD Speed graph)
The Ricoh MP5120A drive better performance with CDR media than with pressed CDs:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

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

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
Pioneer DVR-A03
1.6
1.6
Ricoh MP5120A
12.3
11.6

- Advanced DAE Quality

All drives performed excellently in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test. The Ricoh MP5120A produced 0 data/sync errors and got a perfect score (100). As the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test showed, the drive can read "CD-Text" and "SubChannel Data":

- Bad CDR Media results

Despite the fact that Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test stretches a 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 to 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 Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Pioneer DVR-A03
7.0
68804154
9.09
Ricoh MP5120A
8.7
31033674
4.10

As the tests proved, the Ricoh MP5120A performed better than Pioneer DVR-A03 since it produced lower reading errors. However the 4.10% is considered high compared to other CD-RW drives.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs

Click To Enlarge! >> Click To Enlarge!

The drive supports reading up to 98minutes as Nero CD Speed showed...


6. CDR Tests
Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 6

CDR Tests

The Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120A supports up to 12x (CLV) writing. The drive includes "JustLink" as the main anti-buffer underrun protection. We did our tests with Nero v5.5.5.1/5.5.5.4, CloneCD v3.0.9.1 and Padus DJ v3.50.799 software. For the CDR tests we used: Creation 74min (12x), Taiyo Yuden 74 & 80min (24x), Mitsui 74min (24 & 16x) and Verbatim/TDK 74min HS-RW media.

- CD-R Tests
We created a "DataCD" job with data slightly higher than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same job with all three drives, using the same media:

The Ricoh MP5120A needs 406secs to finish the task, which is exactly what the competition also offers.

- 80min CDs:
Following the same procedure as in the previous test, we created a DataCD with data higher than 80min (80:01:47). The Ricoh MP5120A needs 439secs to end the task:

- Writing Quality Tests:

We used Creation 74min CD-R 12x certified media (real manufacturer Plasmon), and wrote a full 74min CD. All CDs were burned with Nero 5.5.5.4, and they were Audio CDs with 74:51:27 length size. The produced CDs were measured from DigitalDrives:

12x writing speed
Model
C1
Average Burning Time (secs)
Max
Average
Ricoh MP5120A
36
8,3
406

The Ricoh MP5120A produced 8.3 average C1 errors, when using low quality media from "Creation". When using higher quality media (such as Taiyo Yuden 80min 24x), it produced low C1 error rates (1.5 average). The following graph comes from the Creation 74min 12x media:

Click To Enlarge!

- Overburning Tests:
The Ricoh MP5120Aa drive supports up to 99minute CDs overburning capabilities as our tests with Nero showed:

- CD-Text Results:
We created several AudioCDs with CD-Text enabled. The Ricoh MP5120A can write/read CD-Text without any problems.

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

- SD2 Support:
For the SD2 test we used the "No One Lives For Ever", "Max Payne" and "Emperor Battle for Dune" CD titles. We used the Ricoh MP5120A both as reader/writer. The produced backup didn't play using the same drive or any drive we tested. Therefore the MP5120 drive cannot produce SD2 working backups.

- 8cm mini CDs:
The Ricoh MP5120A supports ONLY reading of 8cm CDs as the specifications state. Ricoh also suggests avoiding reading business cards.

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The Ricoh MP5120A supports the "JustLink" anti-coaster technology for making buffer Underrun error-free CDs. The gap length of JustLink is 2-5micro meters, which may seem big, since the second generation of the "BURN-Proof" technology has 0-gap length. The drive worked fine even under heavy pressure by our side (100% CPU Usage).


7. The Attached Software - Page 1

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 7

The Attached Software - Page 1

- Bs Recorder Gold v3.04

Has been developed from BHA Software and is mainly known to our Japanese audience.

It supports both CD/DVD formats and writing at the DVD+RW format is the same as with CD-R/RW. It allows free adding of data and keeps compatibility. Allows choosing a mode to record the actual data only (and exclude dummy data) that enables fast production of DVD-ROM even with data smaller than 1GB.

When the software loads, a wizard offers the possible projects and after selecting "DataCD" we can start our first DVD+RW project. Just drag and drop enough data (up to 4.38GB) the programs explorer:

Bs Recorder Gold offers under General Options a tab with the "DVD+RW" settings. You can "Emphasizes the reading compatibility" which is used for: "...The DVD-ROM standard has a minimum data requirement (i.e. capacity); therefore with the DVD+RW when the amount of data is quite small it may be necessary to record additional data. If this option is selected recording will not stop until a radius of 30mm is reached..." Also you can select the background formatting mode.

Lets check the track options:

Recording tab offers only 2.4X (CLV) writing speed, no simulation allowed:

Burning started and we can monitor the progress bar:

After our project finished, our disc is using 96% of its total empty capacity:

The interesting issue here is that even the disc is closed; you can add more data in the remaining free space! Just add more data, press "Record" and you go! This technique is based upon "UDF Adding Data", which Nero doesn't support.


8. The Attached Software - Page 2

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 8

The Attached Software - Page 2

- BS Clip v3.04

It provides high-speed writing by background formatting function. Able to do the writing by simply specifying file/folder in drag & drop manner, for both DVD and CD. It only takes a little over a minute to format a disc and allows an instant writing. It writes on UDF1.5, providing maximum compatibility with all OSs that supports it natively (Win2k/WinXP). For other OSs, BS Clip must be installed in the system to read the DVD+RW and CD-RW disc recorded data with BS Clip.

- InterVideo MyDVD v3.0

This Is the main authoring software for DVD-Video tasks. It makes easy and fast to transfer contents from AV appliances and to create your own DVD-Video with a PC. Features 'Direct-to-DVD' that allows direct recording from AV appliances to DVD+RW media. You can create easy DVD menu titles. Also it can handle jobs from capturing video clips to MPEG2 encoding and writing and allows to choose a mode to record the actual data only (and exclude dummy data) that enables fast production of DVD-Video even with data smaller than 1GB.

MyDVD includes the "Direct-to-DVD" function which can only be done if you have at least a P4 1.0+Ghz CPU. MyDVD makes it easy to record directly to DVD from any video source, such as a VCR, a television tuner, or a camcorder. This is the easiest way to get your movies onto disc. If you wish, MyDVD can automatically create menus during the recording step. The menus contain buttons which link to key scenes (called Chapters) in the video. Simply connect the video device to your PC, then use My DVD's built-in controls to start recording.

- InterVideo WinProducer/WinCoder/WinDVD

WinCoder Main WindowThose 3 utilities will help you capture-encode-playback DVD movies.

The primary job of WinCoder is to record and playback video from a wide variety of sources in MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats on-they-fly using advanced software-based compression and decompression technology. WinCoder provides the smallest file sizes while maintaining the best possible image quality. WinCoder can also use pre-recorded AVI files and encode them in either Mpeg1/2 format.

WinProducer is a member of InterVideo's WinCinema suite of multimedia applications. These applications cover all the steps of movie making, from capturing video (WinCoder) through publishing your completed masterpiece on CD-Rs (MyDVD) to share with friends, family, and colleagues.

WinProducer lets you combine your personal video, digital images and audio into exciting, professional-quality movies. Whether you are editing your first movie or looking for a program that will let you take your productions to the next level, Win Producer's straightforward drag-and-drop editing style combined with its comprehensive editing capabilities will meet your needs today and tomorrow. You will have to install at least WinCoder in order to perform Direct-to-DVD procedure.


9. Background Formatting

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 9

Background Formatting

Background Formatting is the function that enables you to use PCs for other operations while the drive is internally physically formatted. It takes about 30 minutes to format completely with MP5120. In order to enable background formatting either Nero or Bs Recorder GOLD must be installed.

You can copy files/folders onto a DVD+RW disc even when the drive is still background-formatting as long as the packet writing software finishes its formatting process. With the packet writing build-in eject function, you can eject a disc in one of the following modes before completing Background format.

1. Enable to be read by DVD+RW and DVD-ROM drives by writing temporary lead-ins onto the disc. It takes about one minute to eject the disc.
2. Enable to be read only by DVD+RW drives without writing any lead-ins onto the disc. When you select [Eject] via the Explorer or the PC shuts down, the disc will be readable only with DVD+RW drives because no lead-ins are written onto it. Physical format will be automatically starting again when the disc is inserted.

Format
Eject
CD-RW
Format and reformat
Ejected as is. Read and write acceptable after re-insertion
DVD-RW
Format and reformat. Complete formatting takes
about 2 hours to finish.
DVD+RW
Background format and reformat. It only takes a little over a minute to format a disc and
allows an instant writing
Eject as one of the two different modes depending on formatting status

When you first insert a DVD+RW media it shows up as "Unformatted". The drive will auto format the media when not used, needs around 24mins to complete. After the format is over you will be able to use the disc for any task. In our case we simply wrote upon the media without any previous process and after the succeful ending of our task we did playback the DVD movie without any problems.

However inside Nero we saw that our disc formatting has stopped, due to the fact that we have burned our data. Nero gives the option to continue formatting:

In order the disc to be able to recognized from other DVD-ROMS the formatting must continue:

After formatting has finished, DVD+RW media can be used anywhere:


10. Nero and DVD+RW format

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 10

Nero and DVD+RW format

Nero does support DVD+RW format and the latest version (5.5.5.4) added a unique features - Multisession option for DVD ISO projects. Nero does not support Multisession at UDF/ISO tasks. While BS Recorder's GOLD "UDF data adding" feature seems much easier for end user, Ahead gives an interesting alternative answer:

"...With the Nero Multisession option, you can do things like incremental backup! Just for example, save one partition on your hard drive or a folder (maybe a 2GB partition or folder) with Nero and "Start Multisession". Then, you can make changes to some doc file, and then write again to the disc with "Continue Multisession". Now, Nero will write only the additional files. Let us say, you will do this on Monday, and then make "continue Multisession" every day after that. Nero will only save the files, which have been changed. So for example, if it is Friday, and you want to get the file version of Tuesday, because this version was the last one, which worked, then it is still on the disc!

In addition, since the DVD+RW media is written in ISO9660, it can be read back in all environments! UDF only is not available on all platforms! Therefore, you can use the Nero Multisession disc and can read back the data on all DVD-ROM drives under all OS, including Apple for example..."

The rest options inside Nero are the same with CD projects. At the ISO tab, a new notice has been added:

At the writing tab note the 2.4X writing speed:

After we have added data in our disc,

just press burn. Our project is finished after 23mins:

Let's also check the written data:


11. RW Writing Tests

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 11

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero 5.5.5.4 for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. All drive support fully the HS-RW writing standard:

The Ricoh MP5120A gave back the best recording time than the competitor drives. It needs 484secs to complete the test. The erase time is also 55secs.

- Packet Writing Tests:
We used Bs Clip v3.04 for all Packet Writing tests. We used Ricoh HS RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. 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 Ricoh MP5120A gets the first place also in packet writing results. The drive outperforms the competition and delivers 7.27X writing speed. However at the reading part, Plextor PX-W1610A holds the first place.

- Packet Writing Under DVD+RW

Packet writing under DVD+RW format is quite easy. The BS Clip software must be used to format the DVD+RW under UDF v1.50 format. If the drive supported DVD+MRW format, UDF v2.0X would be used. Bs Clip will guide you in every step:

Let select the disc's label and notice that after 2mins our disc is ready:

After format is finished our disc is ready to use. We can fit up to 4.37GB of data:


12. DVD Tests

Ricoh MP5120A IDE DVD+RW - Page 12

DVD Tests

- Writing Performance
We used Nero 5.5.5.4 and written the same amount of data for both Pioneer DVR-A03 and Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120A drives. The results are listed in the following table among with the average CPU Usage:

DVD Tests
Drives
Writing Speed
Average Writing Time (min)
Average CPU Usage (%)
Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW
(2.4x)
23:02
19
Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-R
(2x)
28:22
14
(1x)
56:24
7
Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-RW
(1x)
56:25
6

As the tests result showed, the Ricoh MP5120A is the faster DVD recorder for now. The 2.4X writing speed is true and for writing a nearly full 4.7GB disc, you will need about 25mins. The Pioneer DVR-A03 needs 28mins at 2X and 56mins at 1X writing speeds. It is interesting that the DVD+RW writing seems to occupy much more CPU than DVD-R/RW.

- Erase Time Performance

Average Erase Time (mins)
Drives
Quick
Full
Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW
1:02
11:31
Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-RW
1:45
56:45

The Ricoh MP5120A has very low erase times - one minute for quick erase and 11mins for full erase.

- Packet Writing Performance

We used the same file/methodology we are using for our CD packet-writing test. The Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120A needs less than 2minutes to write the test file. The drive performs as the specification state:

Packet Writing/Reading Tests
Drives
Average Writing Speed
Average Reading Speed
Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW (2.4x)
2.4x
2.51x
Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-RW (1x)
0.96x
1.00x

- Compatibility Tests

The compatibility tests done with the same discs used for the DVD-ROM drives (Matsushita's DVD-R, Pioneer's DVD-RW and Ricoh's DVD+RW media). All discs written with Nero 5.5.5.4 and were the same DVD movie.

DVD-ROM
Drives
DVD-R
DVD-RW
DVD+RW
Ricoh MP5120
Yes
Partial
Yes
Pioneer DVR-A03
Yes
Yes
Yes
LiteOn LTR-163
Yes
Yes
Yes
AOpen 1648
Yes
No
Yes
Pioneer-U05S
Yes
Yes
Yes
Ricoh MP9200
Yes
Partial
Yes
BTC BDV316B
Yes
No
Yes

PS. The Pioneer DVR-A03 couldn't recognize DVD+RW media with 1.55 firmware but this was fixed with newer 1.65 firmware revision!

Let's comment the results: ALL drives read DVD-R media without any problems. So far so good. Both Ricoh drives had problems reading DVD-RW media. Both drives could read the content of the disc, and playback the backup DVD-R through PowerDVD but after a while both drives stopped reading and PowerDVD error message came up... Since both drives have similar symptoms, we assume that this is a problem. The good news is that it can be solved with a firmware update :-).

There are 2 DVD-ROMs that couldn't recognize DVD-RW media. Both BTC/AOpen 16x with latest firmware installed failed to recognize the written DVD-RW media. DVD+RW has the same compatibility with DVD-R, with the tested drives. No problems occurred during recognizing and playback.

Judging from the results we can say that DVD+RW has better compatibility than DVD-RW, at least with the DVD-ROM we tested. There would be drives that cannot recognize DVD+RW media but this can be fixed with firmware update.

DVD-Players
Drives
DVD-R
DVD-RW
DVD+RW
Marantz DV-17
No
No
No
Pioneer DV-444
No
No
No
Rotel RDV-985
No
No
No

Lets now see what happened with a few DVD players we did managed to test with...All 3 DVD players failed to playback any of our DVD-R/DVD-RW/DVD+RW media! Why? We are not sure. Either the drives cannot physically read the 3 DVD formats or something wrong happened during the authoring part. There are reports from users that several authoring software offers higher compatibility than others. Ricoh lists the Marantz DV-17 as DVD+RW compatible player, something that complicate things...

If you look over Sony's product catalog you will find that ONLY 2 models (DVP-NS900V, DVP-NS700V) official support DVD-R/W media as SONY states. The highest DVP-S9000ES doesn't mention anywhere DVD-R/W support, although even we feel it also supports it. Ricoh also has the DVP-S9000ES as a DVD+RW compatible drive. For the rest models of SONY nothing is mentioned about the compatibility with DVD-R/W. Again Ricoh lists some of them as DVD+RW compatible.

If you remember Sony is a member of both "DVD Forum" - that proposes DVD-R/W- and the "DVD+RW Alliance". We assume that Sony's latest DVD Players should support all DVD-R/W/+RW formats. Till today no DVD+RW recorder has been announced from Sony. There is already a stand alone & for computer DVD-R/RW recorder. Le'ts dig some more info out: Sony had announced in 2001 CES show a "...RW Dual Compatible Recorder -- In an effort to simplify the various recordable DVD platforms, Sony is displaying a prototype recorder that will support both DVD-RW and DVD+RW media. The RW Dual Compatible Recorder is scheduled for introduction in mid-2002...". SONY's has chosen DVD-R/RW as the initial DVD writing attempt but we don't know about what the future will bring....

The DVD+RW alliance has enough power to push manufacturers supporting DVD+RW format also. As Philips said already DVD+RW test discs has been send to various manufacturers for testing compatibility. Things supposed to be much better with upcoming DVD+R format...


13. Conclusion

Ricoh MP5120 IDE CD/DVD+RW- Page 13

Conclusion

Positive (+):

Negative (-):

- Super CD/DVD+RW writer Combo
- Supports DVD playback
- "Just-Link" anti-coaster technology
- DVD+RW seems having very good compatibility
- Very good data reading performance with CDs/HS-RW media
- Good DAE ripping performance
- Very good reading/writing packet writing performance
- Good access times
- Very good DVD playback/reading performance
- Supports HS-RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33
- Maybe future firmware will support DVD+R
- 2 years of warranty!!!

- Dad DAE quality with dusted/scratched CDR media
- Failed to backup SD2 protected CDs
- Doesn't support defect management (DVD+MRW)
- DVD-R has proven higher compatibility
- Price is almost as with Pioneer's DVR-A03

Ricoh's DVD+RW proposal comes with the codename "MP5120". This is the first drive that supports CD and DVD+RW formats and it settles a new generation of super combo recorders. The drive supports 12x writing (CD), 10x re-writing (CD), 32x reading (CD), 8x DVD reading and 2.4x writing (DVD+RW). The only drive that possibly can be compared is the Pioneer DVR-A03, which however supports the established DVD-R/RW formats.

DVD+RW format from specifications seems an interesting format due to increased writing speed and various other features (Lossless linking, Defect Management). Many people claim that DVD+RW will substitute not only DVD-RW but also DVD-R quite soon. If you think about the companies that assembles it, you can be sure it will have its share in the market and if the competition from DVD Forum doesn't improve DVD-R/RW writing speeds this will happen true. There are rumors that the second generation of DVD+RW drives will support up to 4x DVD+R/RW writing speeds. That would bring the burning time of a full DVD down to 12mins!

The comparison of DVD+RW with DVD-R is not fair. When the DVD+R come out we will see how good it compares to DVD-R. We should compare DVD+RW with DVD-RW. In short DVD-RW supported from the DVD Forum and has 1X writing speed. The DVD+RW supported from 8 leading manufacturers and has 2.4X writing speed. The DVD-RW doesn't contain any anti-buffer underrun technology while DVD+RW support 'Lossless linking'. DVD-RW doesn't include any defect management of bad sectors and while DVD+RW supports, the Ricoh MP5120A doesn't. The DVD+RW formatting needs only few minutes, when DVD-RW needs much more time.

Should i buy the Pioneer DVR-A03 or the Ricoh DVD+RW MP5120A?

The answer depends upon your needs. DVD-R is, for now, the format with the maximum compatibility among DVD-ROM/DVD players as most people agree. If your needs include re-writing, DVD+RW should be examined also. If only current DVD+RW drives supported DVD+R things would be easier for users who wish both recordable and re-write DVD solution in one package. Last the drive's price is expected to cost almost the same as the Pioneer DVR-A03.



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