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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.

Appeared on: Tuesday, February 19, 2002

1. Introduction

Sony CRX 200E IDE DDCDR-W - Page 1

Sony has been the company that, alongside with Philips, have developed most of the well known CD patterns. On July 2000 Sony announced a new CD format called "Double Density", which promised to double (X2 times) the existing CD capacity up to 1.3GB. The new format has been described by the new "Purple Book" standard. In their initial press release, Sony stated:

"...The Double Density CD formats are designed to provide a natural migration path for both consumers and manufacturers alike, as the new formats offer a low-cost solution to high capacity discs that inherit the basic specifications of the CD formats. This allows manufacturers to utilize their current CD technologies and production facilities to manufacture Double Density CDs. The recent evolution of high performance processors and high capacity hard disk drives has empowered the PC to handle large audio, video and still image files. That in turn has raised the need for higher capacity CDs to store and share those files with other devices at the lowest running cost. In light of this market demand, Sony decided to develop the Double Density CD formats. The target market of CRX-200E-RP is 5% of high-end CD-R/RW after market, which is estimated approximately 17 million units world wide at the initial stage..."

- How did they do it?
The high capacity of the Double Density CD format is realized by a few simple modifications to the common CD format. In order to increase data density, track-pitch and minimum pit length are miniaturized to increase the data capacity from 650MB to 1.3GB. This capacity is achieved by utilising a conventional 780 nm laser and using a NA of 0.50 or 0.55, thus reducing the track pitch (by 1.45) and the minimum pit size (by 1.33):

Double Density Media >Normal CD

Comparison of DDCD and CD formats
Double Density CD
Conventional CD
Data Capacity
1.3GB (2048 B/sector)
CD-ROM (Mode1)/-R/-RW: 650MB (2048 B/Sector)
Objective Lens
Read: NA=0.50
Read/Write: NA=0.55
Read: NA=0.45
Read/Write: NA=0.50
Disc Size
Diameter: 120mm, 80mm
Thickness: 1.2mm
Track Pitch
Minimum Pit Length
Scanning Velocity
0.90 m/s
1.2 to 1.4 m/s
Error Correction

To accommodate higher physical bit density, a parameter in the error-correction scheme (CIRC) has been changed, and the address format (ATIP) has been expanded. Sony stated in the original press release that "...A copy control scheme will be included in the format to meet the increasing demands for secure content protection...".

This copy control scheme, as we can understand, means that you can not write AudioCD format in DDCD-R/RW media! Yeap folks. Sony denied any relation of the DDCD format with Audio CDs (and with all possible piracy issues). Just imagine that a DDCD-R media will be able to store 148mins of music... Someone might say that this is not a real problem since DDCD media is not playable from current stand alone players/CD-ROMs. That is true for the present situation, but what about the future? Sony's future CD-ROMs/CDR-W drive will probably support the DDCD format, and then this *problem* will become a reality. Of course you are able to write Mp3 files (as data tracks).

- Media:
The DDCD media can be either 80mm and/or 120 mm disc size. There will be 3 types of DDCD media: Read Only (DDCD-ROM), Write Once (DDCD-R), and Rewritable (DDCD-RW) with the same capacities. As you can understand, due to different physical structure, the DDCD Medium is not backwards compatible with the existing CD-ROM/DVD-ROM/CDR-W drives. This means that the media will only be playable in the devices that contains the "DDCD" logo.

For now there are not many manufacturers who ship DDCD-R/RW media. Only Sony and Verbatim sell DDCD-R/RW, and we haven't heard of any other media manufacturers going for it. Actually even Verbatim have announced DDCD media they haven't shipped in retail market due to low demand. Our guess is that they are waiting to see whether the new standard will be widely accepted from end users, in order to proceed to mass production. Below is a comparison chart beetween the CD/DDCD formats and the media that can be read/written:

As you may notice the DDCD drives can playback all CD media and DDCD media. The normal CD-RW drives simply cannot read the DDCD-R/RW media.

- Recording methods:
The DDCD format is supposed to support: "DAO, SAO, TAO" formats. Our tests showed that only "TAO" writing mode, Packet Writing and Multi-Session are supported. In the case of Packet Writing we will have 2 modes: Variable Packet Writing and Fixed Packet Writing (no futher information is given about their main differences). There seems to be a limitation with MultiSession of the DDCD and CD format as the following table shows:

As it is obvious, you cannot backup CDs which contain multiple sessions in DDCD-R/RW media, and vice versa.

- Recording speeds:
The DDCD format has mainly 2 different writing/re-writing speeds. The DDCD-R media can be written at 12x and the DDCD-RW media at 8x. In other words, you will need around 12 minutes to burn a full DDCD and around 15 minutes for a full DDCD-RW media. We hope that newer DDCD models will support higher recording speeds (16x) and, why not, a full 10x re-write mode.

- Use:
The product sheet of CRX200E model says that you can:

- Backup your most important files
- Store large or high quality digital photos
- Move your favorite music tracks from your HD
- Store 2 hours MPEG-1 digital motion pictures
- Store Internet homepage's multimedia contents
- Distribute and share data

Have you noticed that almost every single use contains the word "store" and "backup"? This is where the DDCD is aimed at!

- Future:
We cannot say much about the new CD standard from Sony and Philips, at least for now... Only time will tell. The main problem is that the DVD-R recording format is here, even in not so affordable prices for the masses (1000$ for the drive and around 10$ for the blanks). On the other hand, the DDCD format offers lower capacity (1.3GB) BUT at a much lower initial price cost (249$) and of course the media is very cheap (2-3$).

Don't forget about the licence patterns: In order for someone to use the new DDCD format, he is oblidged to pay fees to Sony and Philips. If prices are low maybe someone will be interested in supplying such drives, but so far no other manufacturer have announched anything...Therefore we must see the DDCD format not as a CD standard that tends to replace the existing CD or possible DVD-R/RW formats, but as a new proposal mainly for backup proposes. I know many people who wish to have some extra MBs in their 74 or 80 minute CDs to fit more data. The DDCD is designed to satisfy the needs of those people.

- Wait a minute... Nowadays there are 90, 99 and 120minutes around... What about those?
Yes, you are right! But those are out of the present standards and most manufacturers don't support them (at least officially). The interesting point is that all 90, 99 and 120minute CDs are backwards compatible with existing CD-players/CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs! From our experience we can say that 90minute CDs are the best solution for people who would like additional storage capacity, since 99 and 120minute CDs are not supported from many drives and probably due to compatibility problems. But then again, this applies for now. Maybe one day all manufacturers will decide to support the increased capacity media, which would work in the normal recorders. Also keep in mind that all Sony drives do not support overburning...Imagine the CRX200E being able to write 90 and 99minutes!

- What about MultiLevel (ML) recording?
As you might know MultiLever recording promises around 2.3GB of data written at 36x speed! How can the DDCD format stand upon it? The secret is timing...DDCD is here NOW! You can buy it in yout local store. ML recording devices will come by the end of 2001 from various manufacturers (TDK, Plextor, Sanyo and Yamaha).

2. Installation

Sony CRX 200E IDE DDCDR-W - Page 2

Supplied Package:
TDK Vortex Retail PackageThe package supplied was the retail European version and included: The drive itself, a quick installation guide, 1 DDCD-R blank, 1 DDCD-RW blank, mounting screws and a very useful CD-R pen.

If we take a closer look at the retail package we will see the "Early Bird Version" stamp. This stamp mostly is placed for the software and not for the hardware...In the European market, drive ships with WinOnCD 3.8/DirectCD 5.0 as the main CDR recording software. However,in France/US/Japan the drive ships with Prassi PrimoCD Plus and Sony abCD! Actually our version contained both software packages- WinOnCD/DirectCD came in written CDR, Prassi PrimoCD Plus in pressed CD. The final European drive will in addition: Dantz Retrospect Express, MusicMatch JukeBox, PhotoStudio, Photobase, VideoImpression.

There was also a postcard inside the package, which allows the buyer to get the full software when it is available for free. Retail users will not find that, since it will come with final version software.

Let's take a look at the drive itself. The drive looks so different than what Sony has posted in the Japanese homepage. The drive has a black colouring and tray, and the specifications and logos are with open colour shade.

Sony makes clear that the drive supports DDCD (Double Density) format by displaying the new standard logo in the middle of the tray door. In addition, for all those who don't understand it, the "1.3GB" letters are there to make it clear. The drive has only one LED and the usual controls: eject button, headphone input jack and volume potentiometer. Finally, supported speeds are shown by the "12x/8x/32x" specification logo:

On the back of the drive we find the usual connectors (IDE interface and Power), the jumpers for setting the drive to Master/Slave option, analogue and digital audio output connectors, and 2 factory reserved jumpers (not used).


ATAPI CDR-W drives are very easy to install. Just decide what the drive should be, master or slave, set the appropriate jumper and you are all set! After booting up your system, the DDCDR-W identifies itself as the "Sony CD-RW CRX200E". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was a March 2001 model with firmware revision v1.0f.

- CDR Software:
Here is what was kinda messy. The drive, as we mentioned earlier, will ship with WinOnCD 3.8/DirectCD 5.0 and in some other countries with Prassi PrimoCD Plus/abCD. For testing proposes we used the above software for the DDCD tests and Nero for some CD/DDCD tests. Ahead InCD v2.13 supported the drive's increased capabilities and also InstantCD/DVD 6.0 supposed to do that too (but failed in real life tests with DDCD-RW media). Padus DJ 3.00.783 had problems with the DDCD media, so an update was required in order to support the new format:

Usually we don't post the product specifications, but since the CRX200E supports a new standard we will make an exception:

Model Code CRX200E
Interface Ultra DMA/33 ATAPI
Write speed DD-R/CD-R 12x (1,800 kB/s)
Write speed DD-RW/CD-RW 8x (1,200 Kb/s :High speed)
Read speed 13 - 32x (1,950 - 4,800 kB/s)
Transfer rate (burst) PIO Mode 4 (16.7 MB/s)
Multiword DMA Mode 2 (16.7 MB/s)
Ultra DMA (33 MB/s)
Average access time 125 ms (random)
Buffer memory size 8 MB
Dimensions (w x h x d) 146 x 41 x 197 mm
Writing methods supported* Disc at Once, Track at Once, Session at Once, Fixed and Variable Packet
Formats and modes supported DDCD, CD-DA, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-I Ready, Video CD, Photo CD (single- and Multisession)
Supported operating systems Windows 98/2000/Me
Supplied software Sony Application Software: Roxio WinOnCD 3.8, DirectCD, Dantz Retrospect Express, musicmatch jukebox, ArcSoft PhotoBase™, PhotoStudioand VideoImpression

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
PlexWriter PX-W1210A firmware v1.07 (TLA#000)
Ricoh MP7125A firmware v1.00
Acer 1208 firmware v9.GB
Sony CRX200E firmware v1.0f

3. Data Tests

Sony CRX200E IDE DDCDR-W- Page 3

Data Tests

Test Method:
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 & CD Speed 99 v0.80 Tests: With these tests we attempt to compare the I/O performance of Sony's CRX200E to other various CDR-W drives (see charts) and we also checked the drive performance. In all of the following tests we used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.08 original CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results:

The Sony CRX200E performed fairly good in the SCSI Mechanic test. The drive had the lower score in both "Average Random I/O" and "Average Sequential I/O" tests results. In the "Average Same Sector I/O" tests the drive managed its internal cache very succesfully and gave a very good output (10829 KB/s).

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

The CD Speed 99 results confirmed our previous tests results. The Sony drive gave back the lowest average reading speed mark (only 23.85x) and it seems that it needs extra care from Sony engineers to gain some reading performance.

The seek times for Sony CRX200E are also increased compared to the competition. The drive has an average 150ms random seek time, which is almost two times higher than Acer's CRX1208!

- DDCD-R Media

We burned a DDCD-R media with data up to 1.3GB and the graph from CD Speed 99 was out of the usual limits with an average reading speed of 21.72x. The author of CD Speed has kindly offered us the latest beta of CD Speed 99 (0.82) which now has selectable testing scale and improved arlgorithms. The final result is much better than with the previous (0.80) build. With the new version the drive's average reading speed was 24.35x:

CD Speed 99 Graph >> CD Speed 99 latest build graph

4. RW reading tests
Sony CRX200E IDE DDCDR-W- Page 4

RW reading tests

- CD Speed 99 HS-RW tests: (click here for the CD Speed 99 graph)

For the RW tests we used the Verbatim HS RW media written at 8x speed. The Sony CRX200E performed quite good, giving around 16.05x as the average reading speed. The competition seems faster, except for the Acer CRX1208:

- CD Speed 99 DDCD-RW Tests:

According to CD-Speed 99 reports, the drive reads a DDCD-RW media with 8x speed. Seek times are much higher than with normal HS-RW media, and CPU usage for 8x reading seems very high (31%):


CloneCD Tests

- Procedure:
We used CloneCD (v3.0.0.14) and 3 original CDs (Rally Masters, V-Rally 2 Expert and Euro 2000) in order to test the reading time of Sony CRX200E. 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 PleXWriter PX-W1210A, Acer 1208 and Ricoh MP7125A.The following picture shows the Sony CRX200E reading/writing capabilities:

- Results:

a) SafeDisc Results: Euro 2000 (Total: 257982 sectors - 10141 bad sectors) - Reading Speed: Max

The Sony CRX200E had the same performance with both pressed and cdr media. Its performance is not bad but not as good as what PleXWriter PX-W1210A can deliver.

b) LaserLock Results: Rally Masters (Total: 321528 sectors - 6317 bad sectors) - Reading Speed: Max

In the LaserLock protected CDs test, the Sony drive achieved the second best performance in both tests with pressed/cdr media.

c) SecuROM Results: Vrally2 Expert - 343767 sectors

The Sony CRX200E can read SubChannel data and, as the test results show, fast enough!

5. DAE Tests
Sony CRX200E IDE DDCDR-W - Page 5

DAE Tests

- 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 the Sony CRX200E 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:
We used EAC v0.9 prebeta 9 to examine the drive's features. As the program reported, the drive does "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and can't utilise "C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)
The Sony CRX200E has its DAE speed locked at 12x (max). That gives the drive a slight disadvantage over the competition from other drives, since they support 32x DAE (max) according to their specifications. The Sony CRX200E didn't like our test disc with the CD Speed 99 and refused to finish the test. We then tried it with other pressed CDs and didn't have any problem with them:

- CDR AudioCD results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)
The Sony drive continues to have its DAE speed locked at 12x with CDR media. The drive's average ripping speed was 11.9x which is somewhat slow compared to the competition:

- Advanced DAE Quality

The CD-Speed 99 Advanced DAE Quality test revieled a possible problem in Sony's CRX200E DAE capability. The drive produced 1 sync and 99 data errors, which costed the perfect 100 score, and finally achieved a 99.2 quality score... The test also reported that the drive cannot read CD-Text, something that was confirmed with Feurio's build-in CD-Text player, and can read SubChannel data:

- Ripping 90 and 95mins AudioCDs
The Sony CRX200E recognized the 90min AudioCD without any problems but failed entirely with 99min CDs. Also, as CD Speed 99 reported, the drive stops reading at around 88minutes :

Reading 90minutes CD

- DDCD-R Media results:
Since the drive doesn't support writing Audio tracks in DDCD media, such tests were not performed :(

6. CDR Tests
Sony CRX200E IDE DDCD-RW - Page 6

CDR Tests

The Sony CRX200E supports 12x writing speed and is equipped with 8MB of buffer in order to avoid possible buffer underruns. The competition however supports anti-coaster technologies (BURN-Proof, JustLink, SeamLess Link), the lack of which is a negative for the possible buyer of Sony's proposal. We used the CD Speed 99 build-in writing speed test which confimed the 12x writing speed (12.02x average):

- Procedure: We tested the Sony CRX200E with Nero v5.5.1.8, Prassi PrimoCD Plus v1.5.730, CloneCD v3.0.0.14, Padus DJ v3.00.780 software, and with the following media: Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Mitsui 74min (16x), Prodisc 80min (16x) and with TDK/Plextor/Verbatim 74min HS RW. We did notice some problems with Prodisc 16x media when writting at 12x. After 3 minutes we got an error message "...Medium Error: No Seek Complete...". When we tried at 8x it worked fine. The final retail European package will come with WinOnCD/DirectCD package... We tried both, but for some reason our system hang right after the installation. :(

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

As you can see, the Sony CRX200E has the largest burning time among the four competitor drives. The drive is around 10 secs slower than Ricoh 7125A and 7 secs slower than Acer 1208!

- 80min CDs:
In our normal burning tests the 80min CD contains slightly more than 80min data (80:02:16) but since the Sony drive doesn't support overburning we had to remove some of the data in order for the project size to fall back to 79:59minutes. So the posted 80min burning time is actually lower than the expected real one (2-3 seconds higher):

The Sony CRX200E is again the slower drive since it gives the higher recording time (real time is 447secs). The Ricoh MP7125A is faster with 11 secs gap and the Acer 1208 is slightly faster with 2 secs...

- Overburning Tests:
No such tests took place since Sony CRX200E simply doens't support overburning! This is another negative issue since nowdays we cannot burn 90 and/or 99min CDs. But what does Sony have to say about this?

The following text comes directly from the Japanese homepage: "...You can use the 700MB (80 minutes) but not the 900MB (99 minutes) CDs. The 900MB, which is sold from the part manufacturer (99 minutes) doesn't comply to the standard "Orange Book", which decides the specification of CD-R/RW. The SONY CD-R/RW drives guarantees the compatibility of read/writing of the CD-R/RW disk which satisfies the specification of "Orange Book"...."

- AudioCD Tests:
We created several Audio CDs (including CD-Text). Nero had some problems burning AudioCDs with CD-Text, and we kept getting the same error message shown on your left (with various media). Therefore for making AudioCDs with CD-Text we used Prassi PrimoCD Plus and all produced CDs were played without any problem in the same drive.

- CloneCD Tests:
The Sony CRX200E supports DAO-RAW and SAO writing modes as the latest CloneCD reports. The drive also supports "Simulation". Our test results confirmed that the drive works with DAO- RAW.

- SD2 Support:
For the SD2 test we used the "No One Lives For Ever" CD title. We used Sony CRX200E both as reader/writer. The produced backup didn't play using the same driver or any drive we tested.

- 8cm mini CDs:
The Sony CRX200E supports 8cm mini CDs only for reading. Sony states: "...Both 12cm and 8cm CDs can be read, but only the 12cm can be written. When a special shape other than the circle is being used (star type and heart etc), please do not use, because there is chance of breakdown...". We did performed several simulation burning tests with 8cm miniCDs which were completed without any problem. However we cannot guarantee that real burn will work.

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The Sony CR200E doesn't support any anti-coaster technology. Instead it features 8MB of Buffer in order to solve this problem. As you can understand, under a light use you won't have problems, but if you start overdoing it then coasters will come aboard :-)

Verdict of CDR Results:
The Sony CRX200E general performance with CDR media didn't show any serious problems. The drive seems to need around 10more secs than others to finish the same task (different software didn't do any good, as our tests showed) which is something noticeable. Also it doesn't support overburning, which means you can forget about 90 and 99min CDs. On the other hand, it supports DAO-RAW, but failed to backup SD2 protected CDs, like most of the modern drives. Finally, the drive doesn't support any kind of anti-coaster technology, which would make it more attractive to the users eyes...

DDCD-R Tests

As we mentioned earlier, the Sony CRX200E supports 12x writing with DDCD-R media. The retail package contained only one piece of DDCD-R media so our tests were limited to only one burn :(. When more DDCD-R media arrives we will update our review. I know what you are thinking... How much data can a DDCD-R media hold? Prassi PrimoCD Plus has the answer:

As you can see the DDCD-R media can hold up to 148:09minutes or 1.302.21MB! Let's try to burn that capacity now. For our burn test we used Nero, which however was not the best solution..Why? Cause Nero's bottom bar has limit up to 800MB, while Prassi PrimoCD Plus goes up to 1.4GB. But for our tests we needed a burning time, which Prassi PrimoCD doesn't offer. Anyway, here are the test results of our one and only burning attempt,and various simulation times:

Burning Speed
CPU Usage
12:57 (real burn)
12:26 (simulation)
18:34 (simulation)
36:59 (simulation)

For burning a full DDCD-R media at 12x you will need around 13minutes. The simulation time was much lower (12:26). If you are not in a hurry the drive supports 8x and 4x writing speeds with DDCD-R media.

With the DDCD format, the writing mode is ONLY TAO Mode2/XA! We tried to burn at DAO with Nero but we encountered the following error message:

Also the Prassi PrimoCD Plus (that supports the DDCD format officially) offers only TAO mode, which proves our claims:

What if you try to record an AudioCD at DDCD-R/W media? The following error message apears:

The Sony CRX200E refuses to write since AudioCD is not allowed in the "Purple Book" standard.

7. RW Writing Tests
Sony CRX200E IDE DDCDR-W - Page 7

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs at the maximum RW speed for all the tested drives. The Sony CRX200E/Acer CRW1208 support only 8x and the rest drives 10x:

The Sony CRX200E burning time is again the higher, which is natural due to only 8x re-writing speed, since it needs 610 secs to finish the task. The drive's CPU usage was good (7%) and the erase time was the fastest we have ever seen (38secs!).

DDCD-RW Writing

The DDCD format supports 8x re-writing speed. The DDCD-RW media has exactly the same size as the DDCD-R one, as Prassi PrimoCD Plus reports:

For our tests we burned the same amount of data ,as we did with the DDCD-R media, and we recorderd the burning time,cpu usage and the quick/full erase times:

Time (minutes)
CPU Usage
8x writing
Quick Erase
Full Erase

- Packet Writing Tests:
The drive is packaged with Sony abCD v1.60/DirectCD v5.01s. We used both InCD and abCD for our tests since we had some problems with InCD software. After the first write/read attempt, the drive made 2 extra minutes to finish the task and refused to read the written data:

For the same purpose, we also used Sony abCD. We used Verbatim HS-RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 9min.The formatted disc had 534mbs 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 any possible time measurement faults and user errors:

The drive has a good packet writing speed for a 8x rewriter with 5.74X writing and 10.96X reading. The competition of course if faster due to different re-writing speeds.

DDCD-RW Packet Writing Tests

We formatted the DDCD-R media with Sony abCD v1.60. The format process took around 18minutes to complete, and after that the CD had more than 1GB of empty space!

For our tests we used the same way we tested normal CDR-W drives. We selected files which total size was around 995MBs (994.933kbs). The drive needed around 16:40minutes to write the files and around 16:46minutes to read them. The final writing/reading speeds are satisfactory if we keep in mind the file size and also the fact that the drive can re-write at only 8x:

Write Speed
Read Speed

8. Conclusion
Sony CRX200E IDE DDCD-RW- Page 8


Positive (+):

Negative (-):

- Supports new DDCD format (1.3GB)
- Supports 12x writing speed
- Supports 8MB of buffer
- Good CloneCD reading performance
- Supports HS-RW standard
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports CD-Text (read/write)
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Good packet writing performance
- Package contains DDCD-R/DDCD-RW media
- Supports UDMA-33

- No anti-coaster technology
- DAE locked at 12x
- DAE ripping quality is not perfect
- Burning times are higher than the rest drives
- Doesn't support overburning
- Doesn't support 90/99min CDs
- Problems with Prodisc media at 12x

- Doesn't backup SD2 protected CDs

The Sony CRX200E is the first drive ever to support the DDCD (Double Density) format. The new format promises up to 1.3GB of storage data, which will make a lot of users happy. The drive's overall performance is good, although there are several issues that will trouble some users. The lack of any anti-coaster technology and overburning capability is not a positive point, since the competition already offers it. In addition the DAE is locked at 12x and isn't perfect as the CD Speed 99 Advanced DAE showed. Users will be pleased from the drive's DAO-RAW support and reading of SubChannel data, even if it cannot produce working SD2 backups.

Our tests with DDCD-R/W media were a complete success, and you can have up to 1.3GB of data in one single CD if you like! The prices for the media are cheap (2-3$) and they will soon be available in all the stores. The drive's price is around 217$, 70$ higher than the rest of the 12/10/32 CDR-W drives, and in the same price level with a 16x writer!

You must ask yourself if you want the 1.3GB that the new DDCD format offers or not. If you are looking for additional storage space and cannot afford the cash for a DVD-R/RW burner, then this drive is suitable for you...

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