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Appeared on: Monday, March 25, 2002
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol1


1. Introduction

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 1

Which one is the faster?

- Introduction

The 40X recording family keeps growing with new recorders from ASUS, LiteOn and Cendyne manufacturers. After Plextor PX-W4012A, slowly other manufacturers release their 40x (Z-CLV) recording proposals and the writing speed becomes very interesting for the end users, and of course for us too. Let's see which one is the faster 40x recorder/reader and how good the writing quality is in that high recording speed. Enjoy :-)

- ASUS CRW-4012A

The drive supports 40x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, has an 2MB Buffer and includes "FlextraLink", "FlexSpeed" and "DDSS II" technologies.

ASUS explains: "...FlextraLink, technology prevents users from buffer underrun problems and eliminates the creation of unusable discs, while FlextraSpeed technology enhances accuracy and reliability when reading, writing, re-writing across a broad base of certified media. Throughout the recording process, FlextraLink technology consistently monitors the data buffer status, whereas FlextraSpeed continuously monitors the recording media and sets the optimal writing speeds to ensure best recording quality. Both ASUS proprietary technologies occupy minimal system resources so the PC remains full operational and available for other applications even during recording process.

The ASUS CRW-4012A drive also features advanced mechanical designs, including the patented ASUS DDSS II technology and unique dust resistance design. DDSS II is an enhanced follow-up to the first generation Double Dynamic Suspension System developed by ASUS. The DDSS technology is designed to minimize the vibration caused by the spindle motor and resonance between components as well as the drive and PC cases. The patented DDSS II stabilizes the pick-up head of the drive in both horizontal and vertical directions that makes tracking and focusing even more precise, and successfully reduces the vibration and noise caused by high revolution of the spindle motor..."

The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 24x (16-24x), 32x (16-32x) and 40x (20-40x) based upon the Zone-CLV recording technology. The writing speeds are 2x, 4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive also supports 48x (CAV) reading speed. The drive supports all the known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW); among with the packet write/overburning option but there is no Mt. Rainier format support. As it happened with the last ASUS model, the drive is based upon the MediaTek chipset. Lastly it supports AudioCD authoring up to 40x (Zone-CLV) writing.

- ASUS 4012A 40x writing speed

ASUS CRW-4012A supports the 40x writing speed using the Z-CLV writing technology. Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph, which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV writing technology:

The 40x writing speed range is divided into four zones: The drive starts writing at 20x from the lead-in till the 8mins, then shifts up to 24x until 26mins, shifts to 32x at 30mins, and lastly shifts to the 40x at 52mins and stays there until the end of the burning process. The average recording speed is 30.39X. The drive is supposed to be faster than PleXWriter PX-W4012A but the actual recording tests showed the opposite.

- The package

The package supplied contained: the drive, 1 piece of ASUS 80min 32x CD-R blank (manufactured by Acer, 97m 22s 67f), 1 piece of ASUS 80min 4-12x HS-RW blank (Acer 97m 22s 60f), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.7.5 and Ahead InCD v3.23 (for packet writing use). The drive is still under development, since the firmware revision is only 0.60. In the future, firmware updates will possibly fix all the problems we noticed during our tests.

We don't know yet whether ASUS CRW-3212A comes with a 2-year warranty (only in Europe) or not. Lastly as the package says the drive is "XP" compatible which was confirmed from our test results, since the drive worked without any problems in UDMA-33 mode.

On the front of the drive there are the "ASUS" and the "40x12x48" logos. You will also find only two leds, the eject/play buttons and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

In the rear panel of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, the analog/digital output connectors and 3 jumpers which are used to setup the drive's working mode, PIO-4Mode (default) or UDMA33. For setting up the UDMA33 mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:

- Installation

ASUS CRW-4012A was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as "ASUS CRW-4012A". We used WinXP for the recording, reading tests and the DMA was automatically enabled.

The drive was a January 2002 model with firmware revision v0.60 installed. We used the newer build of Nero (5.5.7.8), InCD (3.24), and CloneCD (3.3.4.1) for our recording tests. Note that the tested firmware revision (v0.60) is not final and the drive will be shipped with the v1.00 installed.

ASUS felt the drive was ready enough to be evaluated from our labs and in general the performance was good, with some weak points in the supported media list for the 40x recording speed and several recording problems (with coasters) with the use of specific media in the same speed.

ASUS CRW-4012A automatically reduces the maximum writing speed (4x0) when it detects lower quality media for burning. The below pictures come from Nero when various blank media were inserted:


2. Introduction - Page 2

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 2

- LiteOn LTR-40125S

The drive supports 40x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, 2MB Buffer and "SmartBurn" as the main anti-buffer under run technology. The maximum reading speed of the drive is 48x (CAV). The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12, 16x (CLV), 20x (16-20x), 24x (16-24x), 32x (16-32x) and 40x (20-40x) (Z-CLV). The re-writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive doesn't support Mt. Rainier format and can author AudioCDs up to 40x recording speed.

Ending, the drive supports all the known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW). LiteOn continues to use Mediatek's chipsets also for the 40x model.

 

- LiteOn's 40x writing speed

LiteOn LTR-40125S supports the 40x writing speed with the use of the Z-CLV writing technology. Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph, which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV writing technology:

The 32x writing speed range is divided into 4 zones: The drive starts writing at 20x from lead-in till the 4mins, shifts up to 24x at 8mins, shifts up to 32x at 28mins and lastly shifts to 40x at 54mins and stays there until the end. The average recording speed is 30.49X and it's probably the faster 40x recorder as it currently stands.

- The package

The package supplied was the retail version. This included: the drive itself, a quick set-up guide, 1 piece of LiteOn 80min CD-R blank (actual manufacturer Ritek), 1 piece of LiteOn 80min 4-12x High-Speed RW blank (actual manufacturer NAN-YA Plastics), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.7.1 and Ahead InCD v3.23 (for packet writing use).

LiteOn and ASUS include now 80min HS-RW media, which is very positive. We don't know if LiteOn LTR-40125S includes 2years of warranty or not. Lastly, as the package says the drive is "XP" compatible which was confirmed from our test results.

The front of the drive is exactly the same as with the latest models. The drive includes the LiteOn's website url, the HS-RW logo and the drive's features (40x12x48x). You will also find only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

In the back of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, 3 factory reserved jumpers and the analogue/digital output connectors.

- Installation

LiteOn LTR-40125S was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "LITE-ON LTR-40125S". We used WinXP for the recording/reading tests. DMA was automatically activated from the operating system.

The drive was a February 2002 model with firmware revision vZS08 installed. We used the latest Nero build (5.5.7.8), InCD (3.24) and CloneCD (3.3.4.1) for our recording tests.

If we use low quality media, the drive automatically lowers its recording speed down to (even down to 16x) before it starts writing:

LiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 24x LiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 16x

However inside the recording software (in our case Nero), you can de-activate the "Smart-Burn" function and write ANY media at ANY recording speed. After un-ticked "Smart-Burn", Nero will display the following message warning you about the possible problems that may occur:

Nero Message!

Note that we do not suggest de-activating the "Smart-Burn" function because we noticed many problems even with 24x certified CDs. The problems occur when the drive shifts up to the 40x recording speed. The following graph displays the C1C2 error rate from Mitsui's SG Ultra media (16x certified) with "Smart-Burn" de-activated. The error rates at the 20x and 24x speed are low enough, but after the drive shifts up to 32x and especially at the 40x, the error rate are seriously increased.


3. Introduction - Page 3

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 3

- Cendyne Lighting III

Cendyne is another company that sent us a 40x recorder. The drive actually is based upon LiteOn LTR-40125S and came with vZS03 firmware. For our test proposes, we re-tested the drive with the different firmware to see any possible differences. From the test results, we could say that there were enough improvements from the ZS03 to the ZS08 firmware builds.

The drive supports 40x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, 2MB Buffer and "SmartBurn" as the main anti-buffer under run technology. The maximum reading speed of the drive is 48x (CAV). The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12, 16x (CLV), 20x (16-20x), 24x (16-24x), 32x (16-32x) and 40x (20-40x) (Z-CLV). The re-writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive doesn't support Mt. Rainier format. Ending, the drive supports all the known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW).

- Cendyne's 40x writing speed

The Cendyne drive supports 40x writing speed with the use of the Z-CLV writing technology. Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph, which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV writing technology:

The 32x writing speed range is divided into 4 zones: The drive starts writing at 20x from lead-in till the 4mins, shifts up to 24x at 8mins, shifts up to 32x at 28mins and lastly shifts to 40x at 54mins and stays there until the end. The average recording speed is 30.51X (ZS03 firmware installed). This average speed is higher than what the LiteOn drive gave. However real recording tests showed the opposite.

- The package

The package supplied was the retail version. This included: the drive itself, a quick set-up guide, 1 piece of 80min CD-R blank (actual manufacturer Princo), audio/IDE cables and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.7.2 and Ahead InCD v3.21 (for packet writing use).

The front of the drive is exactly the same as with the latest models. The drive includes the LiteOn's website url, the HS-RW logo and the drive's features (40x12x48x). You will also find only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

In the back of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, 3 jumpers (factory reserved) and the analog/digital output connectors.

- Installation

Cendyne Lighting III was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "LITE-ON LTR-40125S". We used WinXP for the recording/reading tests. DMA was automatically activated from the operating system.

The drive was a February 2002 model with firmware revision vZS03 installed. We used the latest Nero build (5.5.7.8), InCD (3.24) and CloneCD (3.3.4.1) for our recording tests.

If we use low quality media, the drive automatically lowers its recording speed (even down to 16x) before it starts writing.

LiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 24x LiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 16x


4. Data Tests

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 4

Data Tests

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results

LiteOn LTR-40125S is the faster drive due to the increased 48x maximum reading speed. Cendyne Lighting III follows, ASUS CRW4012A comes third and PleXWriter PX-W4012A last. The LiteOn drive has an average of 5375Kb/s in the Sequential test and the third best result in the Random test.

- Pressed CD results: (Click to see the ASUS and LiteOn and Cendyne CD Speed Graphs)

In the Nero CD Speed test, LiteOn LTR-40125S is the faster drive, with 36.81X average reading speed. Cendyne Lighting III comes second with 36.62X and ASUS 4012 gets the third position with 35.59X.

In the same test, LiteOn and Cendyne have similar seek times. Both drives have 90ms random seek time and ASUS 40x follows with 92ms. PleXWriter comes last with 121ms. Note that with CDR media, the seek times of ASUS were increased up to 128ms.

- CDR Media: (Click to see the ASUS and LiteOn and Cendyne CD Speed Graphs)

With CDR media, Cendyne Lighting III is the faster drive with 36.85X. LiteOn LTR-40125S comes second with 36.66X and ASUS CRW4012A third with 35.84X. PleXWriter PX-W4012A follows with 31.59X.

- HS-RW media: (Click to see the ASUS and LiteOn and Cendyne CD Speed Graphs)

For the RW tests we used the Mitsubishi Chemical HS-RW written at 10x. Cendyne Lighting III has the highest reading speed of 32.17X; LiteOn LTR-40125S comes second with 32.02X and PleXWriter PX-W4012A third with 31.59X. ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 25.14X:


5. CloneCD reading Tests
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 5

CloneCD Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v3.3.4.1) and 4 original CDs - No One Lives For Ever (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drives. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive(s) reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

ASUS CRW4012A is the faster reader with 48secs. PleXWriter PX-W4012A comes second with 54secs and both LiteOn/Cendyne third/forth with 116/120sec respectively:

- SafeDisc 2 Results

PleXWriter PX-W4012A is the faster reader for SafeDisc 1/2 protected CDs. ASUS CRW4012A follows and LiteOn/Cendyne drives come last.

- LaserLock 2 Results

With LaserLock v.2 protected CDs, ASUS CRW4012A performed very well and gets the first place with the original disc. PleXWriter comes first with the backup disc.

- SecuROM Results

All tested drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. LiteOn LTR-40125S comes first, ASUS CRW4012A second, Cendyne Lighting III third and PleXWriter PX-W4012A last.


6. DAE Tests

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Test Method

We used CD DAE 99 v0.3 beta and EAC v0.9 beta 2 software in order to check the DAE performance of the drive with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). The posted DAE results are the average of both applications. We made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The Average DAE reported speeds are displayed in the test graphs.

- DAE features

We used EAC v0.9 beta 2 to examine the drive(s) features:

- ASUS CRW4012

The drive doesn't "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2" error info.

- LiteOn LTR-40125S/Cendyne Lighting III

The drives does "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and include"C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results

LiteOn LTR-40125S is the faster reader at the 40x recording race with AudioCDs. The drive supports up to 48x (CAV) reading speed, and its average reading speed is 34X. Cendyne Lighting III comes second with 33.8X and ASUS CRW4012A third with 33.6X. PleXWriter PX-W4012A comes last with 30.1X:

- CDR AudioCD results

All the drives behaved the same in the CDR DAE test, as in the previous pressed CD test. Only PleXWriter PX-W4012A dropped its reading speed down to 29.7X:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

For each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
LiteOn LTR-40125S
4.4
5.0
Cendyne Lighting III
11.5
11.3
ASUS CRW4012A
11.0
11.1
PleXWriter PX-W4012A
7.3
7.0

- Advanced DAE Quality

All tested drives got a 100 score (best) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. LiteOn LTR-40125S is the faster drive with 33.83X.

- ASUS CRW4012

The drive's average reading speed was 31.01X. As the following picture shows, the drive can read SubChannel Data/CD-Text and from the Lead-In area:

Freecom 32A Nero Advanced DAE Tests Results

- LiteOn LTR-40125S

The drive's average reading speed was 33.83x and no errors were produced. As the following picture shows, the drive can read CD-Text/SubChannel Data and from Lead-In/Out area:

- Cendyne Lighting III

The drive's average reading speed was 33.21x and no errors were produced. As the following picture shows, the drive can read CD-Text/SubChannel Data and from Lead-In/Out area:

- Bad CDR Media results

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

Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
LiteOn LTR-40125S
15.2
472459
0.06
Cendyne Lighting III
0
0
0
ASUS CRW4012A
0
0
0
PleXWriter PX-W4012A
22.6
86674027
11.46

The best reader for this test comes from LiteOn. The drive, due to Smart-X reduced the reading speed and produced the lower total amount of errors. PleXWriter read the disc faster, but produces almost 12% reading errors. ASUS CRW4012A cannot recognize the disc, while Cendyne Lighting III stops reading the disc at 55%.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

LiteOn/Cendyne/ASUS drives recognize both 90/99 min CDs without any problems.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used two protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with CD DAE v0.3b/EAC v0.9 beta2) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Key2Audio
CDS200
CDS100
CDDAE
EAC
CDDAE
EAC
CDDAE
EAC
LiteOn LTR-40125S
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Recognizes tracks, cannot rips
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible
Cendyne Lighting III
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
ASUS CRW4012A
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Plextor PX-W4012A
Rips entire disc without problems
Rips entire disc without problems
Cannot recognize Audio Tracks
Rips entire disc without problems under special settings

The only drive that can rip protected AudioCDs comes from Plextor. The ASUS/LiteOn drives cannot recognize the Key2Audio disc contents and have problems ripping the CDS200 AudioCD.


7. CDR Tests - Page 1
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 7

CDR Tests - Page 1

- Procedure

We tested all five drives with latest version of Nero/CloneCD. We used various media for our tests: Mitsubishi Chemicals 74/80min 24x/32x certified, Mitsui 74min 24x certified, Prodisc 80min 32x certified, Taiyo Yuden 74/80min 24/32x certified, Ricoh 80min 24x certified and Mitsubishi Chemicals/LiteOn HS-RW media. We burned CDs at almost all recording speeds from 16x up to 40x using the SAME amount of data for all drives. The posted recording times are the best we had from our test results. Using other media can increase the final burning time. Note that the ASUS drive doesn't support 20x writing speed. Lastly we had problems with the ASUS drive since it allowed 40x recording speed with ACER based media.

ASUS CRW4012A drive has 0.60 firmware revision installed. This caused several "coasters" when we used Mitsui 16x/24x media up to 40x writing speeds. The drive returns a "write error" and aboard writing producing a coaster. We assume that those problems will be fixed by the time the firmware reaches the 1.00 revision build:

- Comparison

Before starting the recording tests, let's see how the drives are compared in the writing/rotation speeds:

The above chart displays the different approaches towards 40x Zone-CLV recording speeds. All drives start writing at 20x, and the LiteOn drive shifts faster than both Plextor/ASUS drive at 24x. The Plextor drive shifts second at the 24x and the ASUS drive last. At the second jump, LiteOn again shifts faster to the 32x speed, than the rest two drives. Both Plextor and ASUS drives now have the exact same shift points/writing speeds. In the last jump, the ASUS drive shifts faster than the other two drives, LiteOn comes second and the Plextor third.

All drives have the same rotation speeds at the start. The LiteOn drive, as being the faster recorder, has the highest rotation speeds, producing more noise but allowing faster recording speeds.

- 74min CD-R Tests

We created a "DataCD" job with data slightly more than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same job with all five tested drives. The faster drive at the 16x writing test comes from LiteOn. The drive ends the task at 304 (SmartBurn disabled). Cendyne Lighting III comes second and the ASUS CRW4012A third:

The faster recorder at the 20x writing speed comes again from LiteOn. The LTR-40125S needs only 250secs, while the PleXWriter drive comes second with 259secs.

LiteOn LTR-40125S continues to lead the race at the 24x writing speed. The second faster drive comes from Plextor and Cendyne Lighting III third with 231secs. ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 238sec.

LiteOn LTR-40125S offers the lowest recording times again at the 32x writing speed. It needs 193secs to end the task and the second faster drive comes from Plextor. Cendyne Lighting III comes third and ASUS CRW4012A last with 212secs.

At the maximum writing speed, LiteOn drive continues to lead the race. The drive ends the task at 3:09mins and currently is the fastest recorder around. Cendyne Lighting III comes second with 197sec and PleXWriter PX-W4012A third with 198sec. ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 201secs.

The following pictures show the writing times from Nero. Note that for the LiteOn drive there are two pics (one with Smart Burn enabled/disabled):


8. CDR Tests - Page 2
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 8

CDR Tests - Page 2

- 80min CD-R Tests

In our normal burning tests the 80min CD contains slightly more than 80min data (80:01:47). With 80min CDs, ASUS and TDK drives had the same performance and finished the task after 334/336 seconds:

The faster recorder at the 20x writing speed comes again from LiteOn. The LTR-40125S needs only 250secs, while the PleXWriter drive comes second with 259secs.

LiteOn LTR-40125S continues to lead the race at the 24x writing speed. The second faster drive comes from Plextor and Cendyne Lighting III third with 231secs. ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 238sec.

LiteOn LTR-40125S offers the lowest recording times again at the 32x writing speed. It needs 193secs to end the task and the second faster drive comes from Plextor. Cendyne Lighting III comes third and ASUS CRW4012A last with 212secs.

At the maximum writing speed, LiteOn drive continues to lead the race. The drive ends the task at 3:09mins and currently is the fastest recorder around. Cendyne Lighting III comes second with 197sec and PleXWriter PX-W4012A third with 198sec. ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 201secs.

The following pictures show the writing times that Nero gave. Note that for the LiteOn drive there are two pics (one with Smart Burn enabled/disabled):

LiteOn LTR-40125S with Smart-Burn disabled


9. CDR Tests - Page 3
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 9

CDR Tests - Page 3

- Overburning Tests

Using Nero, we saw that ASUS CRW4012A and LiteOn LTR-40125/Cendyne Lighting III can overburn up to 99mins.

- CD-Text Results

We created several AudioCDs with CD-Text enabled. All tested drives can read/write CD-TEXT without any problems.

- 8cm Media Tests

For this proposed we used a 8cm RW media and we burned up to 185MB. None of the tested drive had problems writing/reading from the 8cm disc.

- CloneCD Writing Tests

CloneCD v3.3.4.1 reports that all drives support the DAO-RAW feature. We performed our usual tests and we confirmed that both drives support the DAO-RAW writing mode at the following CD protections: SafeDisc 1/2, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 CD protections. ASUS CRW4012A can write up to 32x (not sure about 40x because we only had 2 pieces of Acer based media) and LiteOn LTR-40125S can write up to 40x:

- SD2 Support

For the SD2 test we used the "No One Lives For Ever", "Max Payne", "Serious Sam - The Second Encounter" and "Medal of Honor Allied Assault" game titles. We used each drive both as reader/writer at the maximum reading/recording speed. The produced backups were tested with various DVD-ROM and CD-ROM drives.

* No One Lives For Ever

The "No One Lives Forever" is protected with the SD2 v2.05.030 build. Cendyne/ASUS/LiteOn drives doesn't have any problem to produce a perfect backup.

* Max Payne

The "Max Payne" has the SD2 v2.30.033 build protection. Again the Cendyne/ASUS/LiteOn drives produced perfect backups.

* Serious Sam - The Second Encounter / Medal of Honor Allied Assault

Both "Serious Sam 2" and "MOHHA" have SD2 v2.51.021 build protection. The produced backup with the Cendyne/ASUS/LiteOn worked in all the tested drives without any problems:

Drive
Worked (Yes/No)
Plextor PX-W40TS CD-ROM
Yes
LiteOn LTD163 DVD-ROM
Yes
ASUS DVD E616 DVD-ROM
Yes
Creative CD5233 CD-ROM
Yes
TEAC 540E CD-ROM
Yes

As the test results showed, all drives can backup any SD2 of 2.x-2.51 builds. Plextor PX-W4012A cannot produce perfect backups of SD2 v2.51.x builds.


10. Writing Quality of ASUS
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests of ASUS CRW4012A

We used many media, mostly 24x certified, and burned them at various recording speeds with ASUS CRW4012A. We used Nero 5.5.7.8 as the CDR software. The produced CDs, were measured from DigitalDrives and results are illustrated in the following tables.

- 24x writing speed

Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x)
16
0.3
3:58
Mitsui 74min (16x)
15
1.6
3:58
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x)
19
0.9
4:13

- 32x writing speed

Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (32x)
15
0.3
3:36
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x)
14
0.4
3:38
Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min (24x)
31
5.0
3:32
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x)
23
0.6
3:46
Prodisc 80min (32x)
15
1.5
3:46
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (24x)
21
4.9
3:45

- 40x writing speed

Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Ritek 74min (32x)
62
3.9
3:16
Acer 74min (20x)
52
10.7
3:21
Acer 80min (32x)
29
1.9
3:29

ASUS CRW3212A performs well during the writing process. The produced CDs have low C1 error rates. The best results come with TaiyoYuden's 32x certified media.


11. Writing Quality of LiteOn
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 11

Writing Quality Tests for LiteOn LTR-40125S

We used many media and burned them at various recording speeds with LiteOn LTR-40125S. We used Nero 5.5.7.8 as the CDR software. We burned CDs with "Smart-Burn" enabled/disabled to see the performance gap and the writing quality at both modes. The produced CDs, were measured from DigitalDrives and results are illustrated in the following tables:

- 20x writing speed

Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
10
0.2
4:10
Rrodisc 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
27
1.8
4:27

The C1 error rate is very low with TaiyoYuden media at the 20x writing speed.

- 24x writing speed
Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
8
0.1
3:40
Rrodisc 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
24
1.9
3:53

The drive continues to have low C1 error rate with Taiyo Yuden media.

- 32x writing speed
Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
38
0.5
3:13
Taiyo Yuden 74min (32x)
11
0.2
3:13
Taiyo Yuden 74min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
20
0.6
3:13
SKC 80min (16x)
24
0.6
3:26
Ricoh 80min (24x)
19
2.6
3:23
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x)
15
0.6
3:25
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x) Smart-Burn
20
0.7
3:25

The drive with Taiyo Yuden produces high quality CDs. The Smart-Burn function doesn't seem to affect the total recording time, but affects the burning quality.

- 40x writing speed
Brand
C1
C2
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
19
2.3
0
3:10
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
18
1.7
3:13
Taiyo Yuden 74min (16x)
4651
1111.4
920
16.3
3:08
Taiyo Yuden 74min (32x)
16
0.8
0
3:09
Taiyo Yuden 74min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
30
1.5
3:09
Mitsui 74min (16x)
843
180.6
3:10
Mitsui 74min (16x) Smart-Burn Off
761
172.5
3:11
Mitsui 74min (24x)
1097
250.7
1
0
3:11
Mitsui 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
1336
237.8
3
0
3:11
Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min (24x)
737
120.7
0
3:13
           
SKC 80min (16x) Smart-Burn Off
27
3.1
0
3:20
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
791
155.1
3:16
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (24x)
47
6.9
3:28
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (32x)
136
14.4
3:16
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
75
12.1
3:16
Hitachi-Maxell 80min (40x) Smart-Burn Off
17
1.8
3:15
Hitachi-Maxell 80min (40x)
23
2.1
3:19
Prodisc 80min (32x)
28
2.1
3:16
Ritek 80min (32x)
27
1.3
3:17
Ricoh 80min (24x)
35
4.5
3:18
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
27
2.0
3:17
Taiyo Yuden 80min (32x)
17
1.6
3:17

The test results showed that at the 40x writing speed, the drive produced a high error rate with the rest media except from the Taiyo Yuden 32x certified. Especially with the Mitsui 74min 16x/24x the drive produces lot of error even with Smart-Burn enabled/disabled. With the Mitsui 24x media, we also saw C2 errors.


12. Writing Quality of Cendyne
40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 12

Writing Quality Tests for Cendyne Lighting III

We used many media and burned them at various recording speeds with Cendyne Lighting III. We used Nero 5.5.7.8 as the CDR software. The produced CDs, were measured from DigitalDrives and results are illustrated in the following tables:

- 24x writing speed
Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
8
0.2
3:51
Prodisc 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
27
2.1
4:00

Cendyne Lighting III drive produces high quality CDs when Taiyo Yuden media are used.

- 32x writing speed
Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
9
0.2
3:22
Prodisc 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
47
3.7
3:40

Even up to 32x writing speed, the drive produces low error rate with Taiyo Yuden media.

- 40x writing speed
Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x) Smart-Burn Off
11
0.2
3:17
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (32x) Smart-Burn Off
23
14
3:28
Hitachi-Maxell 80min (40x) Smart-Burn Off
22
1.8
3:31

Even at 40x writing speed, the writing quality stays high. The "Smart-Burn" function doesn't seem to affect the writing quality with the ZS.03 firmware version. The ZS.08 firmware does offer higher recording speeds.


13. RW-Packet Writing Tests

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 13

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero 5.5.7.8 for writing CDs at the maximum RW speed for all the tested drives. All tested drives support 12x re-writing speeds:

LiteOn LTR-40125S and PleXWriter PX-W4012A are the faster re-writers in this category. Cendyne Lighting III follows with 2 seconds slower performance and ASUS CRW4012A comes last with 412secs. ASUS CRW4012A also seems to have the lowest erasing time.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.24 for the packet writing tests with the LiteOn HS-RW media. 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 Windows Explorer (we dragged and dropped) and we completed the test twice to eliminate any possible time measurement faults and user errors:

LiteOn LTR-40125S has a highest writing performance under packet writing format with 8.69X. Cendyne Lighting III follows with 8.66X and ASUS CRW4012A third with 8.65X. PleXWriter PX-W4012A stays below since it didn't manage to reach the 12x re-writing speed with the test disc. In the reading part, LiteOn LTR-40125S comes first with very fast reading speed of 23.18X.


14. Conclusion

40x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 14

Conclusion

ASUS CRW4012A

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 40x writing, 12x re-write and 48x reading speeds
- Supports FlexLink/FlexSpeed/DDSII technologies
- Very fast DAE speeds
- Good CloneCD reading performance
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading/writing of SubChannel Data
- Can produce perfect SD2 backups (up to v2.51.x)
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface
- Retail package contains Nero/80min HS-RW media

- Competition offers 2 years of warranty
- Doesn't support 'Mt. Rainier' format
-Only 2MB of buffer
- Limited media support for the 40x speed. This will be improved with future firmware upgrades
- High seek times with CDR media (128ms)
- Cannot "handle" protected AudioCDs
- Didn't recognized our "bad media" test disc

LiteOn LTR-40125S/Cendyne Lighting III

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- For now the faster 40x recorder. It has the lower recording times ever measured
- "Smart-BURN" and "Smart-X" technologies
- Build-in media quality detection system can de-activated
- Very good reading performance with both CDR/pressed media
- Best DAE speeds at this category
- Supports HS-RW standard
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading/writing of SubChannel Data
- Can produce perfect SD2 backups (up to v2.51.x)
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface
- Complete retail package (includes Nero/80min HS-RW media)
- Low price (<105$)

- Drive is in general NOISY
- Competition offers 2 years of warranty

- Doesn't support 'Mt. Rainier' format
- Needs further turing of "Smart-Burn" function
- Only 2Mb of buffer
- Low CloneCD reading performance
- Low PSX ripping speed
- Cannot "handle" protected AudioCDs

After the first 40x capable recorder from Plextor, we had the chance to examine two more drives that also support the 40x Zone-CLV recording speeds. ASUS and LiteOn 40x drives have the advantage of the higher reading speeds of 48x and have exactly the same writing/re-writing speed with Plextor PX-W4012A. The final results are much different between the three drives so users much carefully decide upon their specific needs. Of course, there is the Cendyne Lighting III drive, which however is a LiteOn drive with a different firmware revision installed. Future updates will be released for the Cendyne/LiteOn drives that should will fix some of the problems mentioned below.

ASUS CRW4012A has potentials to compete both LiteOn and Plextor drives. The tested drive had a 0.60 firmware revision and ASUS engineers did mention that towards 1.00 version, writing speed will be further increased. As it currently stands, our biggest problem was the limited media support for the 40x writing speed and several "coasters" that were produced, when the drive shifted from 32x to 40x. This happened with Mitsui SG Ultra I/II media (16x/24x certified). The drive can backup SD2 v2.51.x CDs and will possibly have a low price to compete the LiteOn based recorders.

LiteOn LTR-40125S is definitely the winner at this roundup. The drive is the faster in both reading/writing tests than both ASUS and Plextor drives are. LiteOn decided to give users the option to de-activate "Smart-Burn", which however is not recommended from our side, at least with 16x and even with 24x certified CDs. Users will be pleased from the ability to backup almost all protected CDs and will be disappointed from the lack of Mt. Rainier format, the increased noise and the fact that it cannot handle any protected AudioCD. The biggest advantage of the LiteOn drive towards the competition is assumed in one word: Price.

Plextor PX-W4012A has a few unique features (black tray, VariRec function) but also an increased price (up to $150+). Of course the European users have an additional year of warranty (2 years in total), which can affect their final decision. In addition Plextor has promised Mt. Rainier format support with future firmware upgrade, which none of both ASUS and LiteOn have done so far.

Things are pretty simple if you judge upon your needs. Do you have increased Audio needs and feeling that Mt. Rainier format will throw away the traditional diskette somewhere in the future? Then buy a Plextor 40x drive. Can you find a LiteOn 40x drive at the price of 100$ and can live with its specific weaknesses? Then buy a LiteOn 40x drive. We cannot recommend the ASUS 40x drive yet, but as soon the final firmware arrives, we will revise (with a new roundup probably) our conclusion. Soon more players from TEAC and Sanyo are entering this category. Ending, we give LiteOn LTR-40125S and the Cendyne Lighting III our "Safe Buy" award for their performance/value mark.



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