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Appeared on: Tuesday, February 19, 2002
TEAC 540E CD-ROM


1. Installation

Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom - Page 1

Teac has a long history of manufacturing top quality optical products. Most people will remember the Teac 532A IDE CD-Rom. This was a very popular drive, since it combined good performance with an attractive price tag. This year Teac released a new CD-Rom model: the 540E. Will the new Teac CD-ROM drive manage to be the next big sales hit for Teac?

Package:
The OEM version that arrived at our offices contained just a bare drive unit. Below there is a picture of the Teac 540E CD-Rom:

Specifications

Teac 540E (internal)

Disc Readable

CD-DA
CD-ROM(MODE-1,MODE-2)
CD-ROM XA MODE-2(FORM-1,FORM-2)
Multi-Session Photo CDTM
CD-I,Video-CD,Enhanced CD & CD PLUS Compatible

Interface

EIDE/ATAPI

Performance

Data Transfer Rate

6.0MB/sec. max, 4.6MB/sec. average

Burst

    16.7MB/sec. (PIO mode4/Multi Word DMA mode2)
    13.3MB/sec. (Ultra DMA mode2)

Disc Rotation Speed

Aprox.8,560rpm

Access Time

85msec.typ.

Data Buffer

128KB

Front Panel

Eject

Auto eject; Emergency eject

Disc Loading

Tray, auto load/auto eject

Headphone Jack

Stereo mini Jack

Dimensions and Weight

Dimensions(WxHxD)

146W x 41.3H x 192D(mm)

Weight

1,150g

Reliability

MTBF

100,000POH (10% Duty)

Warranty

1 year

- Installation:
Installing the Teac 540E CD-Rom was an easy process. We installed it on the Secondary IDE Channel, as the master drive. During boot-up, the BIOS identified the CD-ROM as the Teac CD 540E. This was also true for Windows 98 SE. Minor configuration changes were made to Windows 98 SE. These were: disabling auto-insert notification and ensuring DMA was enabled.

The Teac 540E CD-Rom supplied was manufactured in December 1999. The onboard firmware revision was version 1.0a. We also checked Teac Europe website for any updates or useful information .It was found that a new firmware revision (v3.0a) had been posted, so we immediately downloaded and "flashed" the drive. Teac had also posted an expansion utility v3.22beta for the Teac 540E model that can handle:

1. Setting the READ CD-DA speed of the drive (4-10x, 8-20x, 17-40x)
2. Setting the time to the point of the spin-down
3. Opening and closing of the tray

Teac's Expansion Utility v3.22 beta

NOTE: As Teac suggests when the media face to be read is stained or scratched; the read speed may be slower than the set speed. In addition, a problem such as failure to read data correctly may result by increasing the read CD-DA speed. If this happens, reduce the read CD-DA speed.

- Capabilities:
Below is a screenshot from Feurio CD Writer displaying Teac 540E features:

- Test Machine #1:
ABIT BH6
Celeron 300A over clocked to 464 MHz
164 MB SDRAM PC 100
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
Asus 3400 TNT
MS Windows 98SE
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.03
Teac 540E firmware v3.0A
Sanyo CRD-Bp2 firmware v2.21
Sanyo CRD-Bp900 firmware v3.20


2. Data Tests (Pressed CDs)
Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom - Page 2

Data Tests (Pressed CDs)

Test Method:
- CD WinBench 99 v1.1. This was used to compare the Teac 540E CD-Rom with various others CD-Roms and DVD-ROMs (see charts)
- CD Speed 99 v0.66 was also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test we used WinBench 99 v1.1 and PlexTools v1.04 original CDs.

- CD WinBench 99 v1.1 results:

CD-Rom WInMark 99

CD Rom Access Time

CPU Utilization

CDRom Tranfer Rate -

- CD Speed 99 v0.66 results:

WinBench 99 v1.1  results with CD Speed 99 v0.66

PlexTools v1.04 results with CD Speed 99 v0.66

Verdict of data (pressedCDs) tests:
The Teac 540E CD-Rom performed very well with pressed CDs. It's average reading speed using WinBench 99 v1.1 was 29.15x and with PlexTools v1.04 a slightly higher 30.06x. In the WinBench 99 test, the Teac 540E took first place in almost all of the tests. It reached a transfer rate of 5.9mb/s and 2.64mb/s on the outside and inside of the disc, which is 5.08% (average) higher than its competitors. It has a seek time of 90ms and is the better than the other 40x CD-Roms. CPU usage is also low (6.42%) since it is UDMA compatible.


3. Data Tests (74min CDs)
Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom - Page 3

Data Tests (74min CDs)

Test Method: CD Media 74min tests
We created a DataCD with Nero 5.0 using the Sanyo CRD-BP2 CDR-W drive. Several copies were created on different media types at various write speeds (4x, 8x, 12x). This was performed to test the compatibility with various CD media and the Teac 540E CD-Rom. CD Speed 99 v0.66 was used to measure the performance of the drive with the different media.

Notice when you read the graphs, to check both the three tests results (start, end, average) since they give the most complete view of each media performance. Most users however, will prefer just to read only the average speed results. ;)

DataCD comparison (4x write speed)  

As you can see the drive does not have any problems with various media types and reads them with a 25x average speed. The Princo and Mitsui media seem to have slightly better performance compared to the other media types used.

DataCD comparison (8x write speed)

Again the Teac 540E has no problem with media written at 8x. The average reading speed is again 25x between various media types used.

DataCD comparison (12x write speed)

As we expected, the Teac 540E CD-Rom, also handles the media written at 12x with the Sanyo CRD-BP2 really well.

Total Results from 74min Media:
The Teac 540E CD-Rom also seems to work very well with all CDR media (Gold, Silver, Blue). The average reading speed is 25x (the total CD time is 45min).


4. Data Tests (80min and RW CDs)
Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom - Page 4

Data Tests (80min and RW CDs)

- 80min tests:
The Teac 540E CD-Rom works also very well with the 80min CDs:

The graph above shows that the Teac 540E outperformed the Pioneer 40x DVD-Rom but was surpassed by Plextor 40x.

The graph above shows that this time the Teac 540E outperformed both the Pioneer and the Plextor 40x drives using the Mitsui 80min media. Interestingly the Plextor 40x only averaged 23.61x. It was a surprise as both of the other drives read the test CD fine...

- CDR-W tests:
The Teac 540E gave outstanding performance reading RW CDs, reading them with 30,38 average speed! I do not know of any other CD-Rom that can read RW CDs so fast!

Verdict of CDR Media Tests:
The tests show that the Teac 540E gave the same results for both CDR media and pressed CDs. The TEAC did not appear to have any problems with 80min and RW CDs. The TEAC gave excellent results with RW CDs, It read them as normal CDs (30.30x average reading speed) and the results appear to show that this drive may be the best around when using RW media. All of test CD's could be read by the Teac at impressive speeds. From these tests we feel that the drive will have no major problems with different CDR/CD RW media and performance on all type of media is impressive. If anyone does find any problems please let us know.


5. DAE Tests (Audio pressed CDs)
Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom- Page 5

DAE Tests (Audio pressed CDs)

Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.2 with AudioCDs in order to check DAE performance of the TEAC drive and we compared it with other CD-Roms. We also used the TEAC expansion utility and selected 17-40x reading DAE speed:

- CD DAE 99 v0.2 results:
The Teac 540E DAE performance, with pressed CDs, was very good because it had no problems producing error free wav files in the (CD DAE 99 v0.2) test. It also outperformed the Plextor 40x CD-Rom, which is supposed to be the king of DAE performance ;)

DAE Tests (CD media)

Test Method:
We made several copies with Feurio v1.32 written at 12x (used the Sanyo CRD-BP2 CDR-W drive) in order to check the DAE performance of the drive. We measured ripping speeds with CD DAE 99 v0.2 and compared it with other CD-Roms.

CD DAE 99 v0.2 results:

- Maxell 74min 8x AudioCD:
The Teac had no problem reading, at high speeds, homemade AudioCDs and produced error free wav files. Again the TEAC gives the Plextor 40x a run for its money...

Maxell media-DAE results

- FujiFilm 74min AudioCD:
No surprises here as the Teac 540E don't have any problems with CD media and reading DAE at very high speeds:

Fuji Film media-DAE results

Verdict of DAE Results:
The Teac 540E is the DAE champion of all CD-Rom around since it manages to reach high speed DAE reading speed and producing error free wav files. Notice you will get that performance only with v3.0a firmware and the Teac's expansion utility. I think this is simply the best solution for IDE CD-ROM fans.


6. Conclusion

Teac 540E IDE CD-Rom- Page 6

Conclusion

Positive (+) :

Negative (-) :

- Great Data performance with all CDs
- Great DAE performance with all CDs
- Blazing RW reading speeds
- Great seek times
- Low CPU usage
- Digital Output
- Low price
- MMC DAO RAW read support (CloneCD compatible)

- Weak CloneCD performance!

The Teac 540E is a very good IDE CD-Rom drive. It performed very well with pressed and CD media in all of our tests. It had possibly the fastest reading speed when using RW media (30.38x average reading speed). The DAE reading speeds are very good for an IDE CD-ROM and managed to outperform even the Plextor 40x CD-Rom. In addition the drive seek time is very low (60ms) which is usefull when reading CDs with a lot of small files. The combination of performance, DAE speed and media compatibility combined with a very low price = killer combo!

Additional Information:
The weakest point of the drive appears to be the disappointing CloneCD compatibility since it cannot read a protected CD (with lots of errors) very fast. CloneCD users will not be pleased about this, but again nothing is this life is perfect ;) The Teac 540E is capable of reading MMC DAO RAW (CloneCD compatible) but as the CloneCD author posted: "..Setting read speed doesn't work and it is very slow skipping read errors.."

Summarize

Why buy it:

Why not buy it:

Very fast IDE CD-Rom
Very good DAE performance
Low price!

CloneCD freaks might not like it so much...



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