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Appeared on: Tuesday, February 19, 2002
TDK CyClone 161040 CD-RW


1. Introduction
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

Introduction:
2000 was a great year for TDK. The TDK CyClone 121032 made a huge impact among users for its very good reading/writing performance and price. Back in November TDK announced with a brief press release the news of the CyClone 161040 drive, which promised to be the faster (16x) -nowadays- CDR-W drive surpassing Plextor and Yamaha, that shipped the fastest writing drives in the past.

This time TDK partnered with Sanyo and used their 16x solution, which has the code name "CRD-BP1400P", in order to become the first ever manufacturer who would ship a real 16x *CLV* recorder. The drive supports 16x writing speed, 10x re-writing and 40x reading speeds. If that's not enough TDK's 16x solution adds "BURN-Proof" technology, which eliminates coasters, and DAO-RAW(?)! Yep folks. All you can dream of is included in this package. The real question now is how this CDR rocket performs? Lets find out! Here are some of the specs: Writing: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x - Re-writing: 2x, 4x, 8x, 10x - Reading: 40x (max) - DAE: up to 32x (max) - 2MB of Buffer + BURN-Proof technology.

Supplied Package: The package supplied was the retail European version. This included: The drive itself, a detailed manual (in 6 languages), a quick installation guide, one TDK 16x CD-R blank, 1 High Speed RW Blank, Audio cables, mounting screws and a CD-R pen. The software supplied with the TDK CyClone was: Nero 5.0.3.5, Ahead InCD 1.75 and the TDK Digital Mix Master v3.5 build 131 software.

ATIP: 97m 24s 01f
Disc Manufacturer: Taiyo Yuden Company Ltd.
Assumed Dye type: Cyanine (Type 1)
Media type: CD-Recordable
Recording Speeds: min. unknown - max. unknown
nominal Capacity: 656.40MB (74m 43s 00f / LBA: 336075)
ATIP: 97m 34s 23f
Disc Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp.
Assumed Dye type: Cyanine (Type 3)
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. 8X
nominal Capacity: 656.40MB (74m 43s 00f / LBA: 336075)

The front of the drive displays the High Speed Logo on the left hand side of the front tray among with the "16/10/40" logo. The tray has a blue colour adding a special paint in the drive. There are also 2 leds (read, write) and the BURN-Proof logo above it. In the back you will find the usual connectors (including the standard SPDIF digital output). Using CDR Identifier we were able to determine the manufacturer for both the TDK 16x CDR (Taiyo Yuden) and HS-RW 4-10x (Mitsubishi) included media.

Installation: We installed the TDK drive as a secondary master on the IDE controller of our motherboard and powered up the PC. After booting, the CDR-W identified itself as the "TDK CDRW161040X" and worked at "PIO Mode 4". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was marked as being manufactured in December 2000 with firmware revision v5.29.

As we were informed there will soon be a newer firmware revision, which will fix both reading/writing DAO-RAW problems.. Most of our tests were carried out using the newest Nero v5.0.3.8. For the Packet Writing tests, we used Prassi abCD v1.5.169 and not the supplied Ahead InCD since we faced several problems under WinMe OS.

Don't forget also to install the TDK Digital Mixmaster v3.0 software and head over to the TDK's upgrade page and grab a few additional skins. TDK Digital MixMaster is nice software, which will give you something to play with for many hours.

The player will remind you of WinAMP since it offers similar features such as play lists, skins, equalizer, connection to CDDB databases, plug-ins for both visual and audio. The TDK Digital Mixmaster is actually based on the forthcoming Nero Media Player. Be warned it does limit all recording to all but the TDK CyClone drive (hence the same TDK ;).

Test Machine
WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
VIA 4 in1 4.27
VIA IDE BUS 3.01.1 (miniport version)
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4GB
SCSI: DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA)
ATI AIW 128
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.12
Sanyo CRD-BP4 firmware v4.28
Sanyo CRD-BP1400P firmware v5.29
Yamaha CRW2100E firmware v1.0h
TDK CyClone 161040 firmware v5.29


2. Data Tests
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method:
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0: This was used to compare the TDK's I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.06 for all of the tests.
- CD Speed 99 v0.75 was also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test we used PlexTools v1.06 original CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results:

As you can see from the graph above, the TDK drive performed very well in most tests. Its performance was the same as with CRD-BP1400P in both Sequential and Same Sector I/O tests. This is natural since both models are based in the same drive. The slight differences can be explained as the differences from the same production model known issue. The Yamaha still seems to give out the best Random I/O mark but looses the title of the fastest recorder around -in the reading part, since both BP1400P and TDK CyClone climbed up to 4460 kb/s! Very good performance from the TDK CyClone 161040.

- CD Speed 99 v0.80 results:

Using CD Speed 0.80, we can see that the TDK and the CRD-BP1400P give out the same performance and still hold the first place among Yamaha 2100E and BP4 models.

The TDK CyClone drive seems improved over the Sanyo BP1400P/BP4 drives since in all our tests it gave the lower seek time mark. The Yamaha 2100E has the higher seek time and as it seems Sanyo based drives really smash the competition! Let's wait however to see how the coming PleXWriter PX-W1610A would perform before rushing announcing the title of the faster CDR-W drive around.


3. RW reading tests
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 3

RW reading tests

For the RW tests we used Ricoh HS RW media written at 10x speed. As you will notice the Sanyo/TDK drives goes maximum at 32x and not at 40x as the CRW2100E does. The Yamaha 2100E drive keeps the first place here:

CloneCD Tests

- Procedure:
We used CloneCD (v2.8.4.2) and 3 original CDs (Rally Masters, Euro2000 and Vrally 2 Expert) in order to test the reading time for TDK CyClone 161040. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs since the reading speed varies among original and backup media. For comparison reasons we added the results from Sanyo CRD-BP4/1400P and Yamaha CRW2100E.

- Results:

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

The TDK CyClone 161040 seems not performing good when the time comes to read SafeDisc protected CDs. The Yamaha 2100E is simply un-beatable in this test. Note that the drive supports only hardware error skip mode.

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

The TDK CyClone 161040 drive also gave back the lower "LaserLock CloneMark" . This is really strange since the other Sanyo BP4/1400P drives performed very good with the LaserLock protected CDs...

c) SecuROM Results:
The TDK CyClone 161040 doesn't support reading subchannel data from data tracks. :(

Verdict of CloneCD Tests:
The TDK CyClone 161040 didn't performed the way we expected in the CloneCD reading tests. The drive in most test results had the higher reading time, even compared to the Sanyo BP4/1400P models. The Yamaha 2100E simply rules the CloneCD reading tests. Also the drive doesn't support reading subChannel data from data tracks so you can forget SecuROM backups.


4. DAE Tests
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 4

DAE Tests

Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.2 with AudioCDs in order to check DAE performance of the TDK CyClone 161040 and we compared it with the Sanyo CRD-BP4/1400P and Yamaha CRW2100E models. Use 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.

- Pressed AudioCD results:
All Sanyo based drives have similar DAE performance (around 23.4x average) but considerably less than what the Yamaha CRW2100E is able to do (40x max):

- Princo 74min AudioCD:
The Sanyo based drives have the same performance with CDR media as they do with pressed CDs:

- Advanced DAE Quality:

As you can see all drives got 100 (perfect) score in the Advanced DAE Quality tests. The Yamaha 2100E still holds the first place among the Sanyo based drives. Sanyo has to look for the sync errors which the test revealed and improve the already, almost perfect, DAE performance!

Noticed anything interesting here? CD Speed test show that the drive can read SubChannel data (from audio tracks probably).


5. CDR Tests
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 5

CDR Tests

The TDK CyClone 161040 is the first drive that supports 16x CLV writing. You might be confused since Yamaha was the first company ever presented 16x writer, which however used 16x partial CAV. The main difference between 2 technologies is that 16x CLV should be faster around 15sec (in full 74min CD). The drive didn't perform good with CD Speed v0.8 test so we were unable to confirm the 16x writing speed. This shouldn't worry you since the drive does support 16x writing speed:

- Procedure:
We tested TDK CyClone 161040 with Nero v5.0.3.8, CloneCD v2.8.4.2 software and with the following media: Princo 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Platinum 80min (12x), Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Mitsui 74min (16x), Ricoh/Plextor/Verbatim 74min HS RW. The media manufacturers have acted fast to the 16x writing challenge and you will find easily 16x certified CDR media to use. In most cases the 12x certified CDR media will do just fine for 16x writing.

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

As you see all 4 tested drives (BP4, BP1400P, CRW2100E) gave the same exact burning time (404sec). The TDK 161040 makes 2 extra seconds to finish the task, which shouldn't be considered as a drawback. The CPU Usage is little higher than what we got from the Sanyo drives.

Let's now see the 16x writing speed performance. The Sanyo and TDK drives need about 8-10 secs in order to calibrate the media..The time (including lead and lead-out) is 312secs (5:12min), which is the fastest you can get nowadays from a 16x CLV recorder. The Yamaha 2100E stays back 12secs since it uses 16x CAV writing technology.

- 80min CDs:
As previous we created a DataCD (80:02:16) and used the same media for all burns:

The Sanyo and TDK drives gave the lower burning time in this test. The Yamaha 2100E needs 4 more seconds to finish the task, which however is not a big difference in terms of time.

At the 16x recording speed again the Sanyo and TDK drives deliver the lowest recording time (334sec). The Yamaha 2100E lags behind, as it is 19sec slower. The time difference between 16x CLV and 16x CAV writing speeds has increased in this test.

- Overburning Tests:
We used 90 and 99min CDs (from Medea International and Copy4All) and using Nero we were able to write up to 92minutes. Both drives stop writing at 93mins so you will not be able to use fully the increased capacity of 99min CDs. The 90min media can be written entirely:

 

90min CD

99min CD

Sanyo BP4

92:08:51

93:44:25

Sanyo BP1400P

92:08:21

93:46:32

TDK 161040
92:08:55
93:45:02

- AudioCD Tests:
We created several Audio CDs (including CD-Text). All of the CDs we created were tested with the Plextor PX-40TS and Plextor's CD-Text compatible CD player. From what we saw, everything worked just fine.

- CloneCD Tests:
The TDK CyClone 161040 is supposed to support DAO-RAW according to CloneCD v2.8.4.2. However, real life tests showed the exact opposite. The DAO-RAW is NOT working since the drive either produces un-readable CDs or CDs with only Audio tracks! This happens in both DAO/SAO RAW modes! The problem was also confirmed using PadusDJ. Add the known problem reading SubChannel data from Data tracks and you have the complete idea. Of course since the DAO-RAW writing is not working we weren't able to check if the drive can make safe backups of SafeDisc 2 protected CDs...

Both problems have been reported to TDK/Sanyo and were admitted as true. We hope that they will be fixed soon, so that users can enjoy CloneCD :). The drive also supports SAO/DAO-RAW among with Simulation, which Plextor drives don't support. CloneCD doesn't display the 16x write speed option but if you set the write speed at "MAX" it will do the job ;)

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The TDK CyClone 161040 includes the improved BURN-Proof technology,(gap lenght 2micro meters), which eliminates buffer under-runs and of course coasters. The drives worked fine even under heavy pressure from our side (100% CPU Usage). The BURN-Proof technology will save you from any possible buffer under-run you might ever face!

Verdict of CDR Results:
The TDK CyClone 161040 is based on Sanyo Bp1400P. The general impression that the drive left us, is that it behaves normally in most cases when using CDR media and try to write at the maximum 16x. There might be some problems if the CDR media is not of good quality. The recording time is the same as with the Sanyo drives, and beats Yamaha's proposal in most CDR tests. Keep in mind that you will need a very fast CD-Rom/DVD-Rom for be able to keep writing 16x on the fly. If your source drive is not fast the recording time will be increased dramatically... Overburning works great but only up to 93 mins so you will not be able to use 99min (or 120min) CDs.

The BURN-Proof technology is there and gives you the freedom eventually to work in your PC without any fear of Buffer Underruns. CloneCD users will freak out when they find out that the DAO-RAW of the drive is not working! Let's hope this nasty bug will be fixed soon...


6. RW Writing Tests
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 6

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero 5.0.3.8 for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives. All other drives write at 10x RW writing speed except Yamaha CRW2100E since it supports only 8x re-write:

The Sanyo and TDK drives gave the same time (around 491 secs) in the HS RW writing test. The Yamaha 2100E gave back the biggest time since the drive supports only 8x writing speed. The erase times are more the same for all Sanyo/TDK drives. However we noticed several problems when tried to erase HS RW media. The drive locked at the end and after reboot the media wasn't really erased. This happened several times and leads us in the assumption that there might be another bug in this area.

- Packet Writing Tests:
We used Prassi abCD 1.5.269 for all Packet Writing tests - avoid installing latest PX Engine update since after that Prassi abCD refused to recognize the TDK CyClone 161040. We used Plextor HS-RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 7min. After formatting, we tested all four drives for their packet writing performance.

The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user error:

The results show that the TDK CyClone 161040 doesn't perform very well in the packet writing tests. The Yamaha 2100E seems to perform better, especially in the writing mode. The TDK CyClone 161040 performs very well at the reading part with 6.45x.


7. Conclusion
TDK CyClone 16/10/40 IDE CDR-W - Page 7

Conclusion

Positive (+) :

Negative (-) :

- First retail *real* 16x writer on the market
- Improved BURN-Proof technology
- Best DATA reading performance around
- Very good DAE ripping performance
- Supports HS RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW (theoretically)
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports Overburning (write up to 93mins)
- Low noise when reading at max speed
- Full retail package

- DAO-RAW writing is NOT working!!!!
- Not so good CloneCD performance
- Doesn't support reading of SubChannel data
- Packet writing/reading performance could be better...
- Weird HS-RW erase problems!

The TDK CyClone 161040 is among with the Sanyo CRD-BP4/1400P the first *real* 16x writers on the market. The drive's reading performance is the best you can get around and gives Yamaha something to consider improving. The DAE is also very good (32x max) but needs some fine-tuning to correct the Sync errors.

There are however some problems which will trouble users: a) DAO-RAW writing simply doesn't work , b) the drive doesn't read SubChannel data from data tracks and c) the drive seems to behave very strange when you try to erase HS-RW media. Those issues must be solved soon in order to let TDK CyClone 161040 users fully enjoy the drive. The drive's price would be around 225 Euro, which seems to be much lower than the announced for the PleXWriter PX-W1610A (around 280 Euro) that will ship later than the TDK CyClone 161040. The retail package is very good (contains Nero) and will give you all you need for a quick start.

We cannot still announce the winner of the 16x-writing race since one strong competitor has not yet arrived! The announced PleXWriter PX-W1610A will have a hard time against both Yamaha 2100x and TDK/Sanyo BP1400P drives. The final battle hasn't yet started... Stay tuned!



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