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Appeared on: Monday, March 25, 2002
CD-ROM Roundup Vo1

1. Introduction

CDROM Roundup Vo1 - Page 1


CD-ROM drives still hold their position in the market, although some of us may think that the CD-RW drives have pushed them aside. The need of reliability and fast data reading exists and three manufacturers offered their CD-ROM drive proposals for testing. The drives come from Cyberdrive, Mitsumi and Samsung, and support 52x maximum reading speed and 54X for the Mitsumi drive.


The package contains the CyberDrive 52x drive, a brief multilingual installation guide, an audio cable and mounting screws.

In the front panel of the drive there is the "52x" logo, the eject and stop/forward buttons, an operation led, the volume selector and the headphone jack.

The rear panel of the drive is almost the same for all the three drives. You can see the analog and the digital out, the IDE interface connector, the DC input and the Master/Slave/CS selection pins.

In the Mitsumi box there are the 54x drive, a quick start guide, a Mitsumi product catalogue, an audio cable, mounting screws, and an installation floppy disc.

The front of the drive has the "54x max" logo, an operation led, and the eject button.


The Samsung package contains the drive, the user's guide, mounting screws and audio cables.

The "Samsung" and "52x" logos are found in the front of the Samsung drive. The eject button is next to the led and they both light during operation. On the left there are the headphone jack and the volume selector.


CyberDrive 52x was identified as "ATAPI CDROM.52X" . Nero Info tool v1.01 states that the drive supports only 4x read speed, which is definitely wrong as the maximum read speed is 52x. The firmware version installed was v130K, and the buffer size of the drive is 128K. The read features supported are CD-R, CD-RW, Video CD, CD-Text, CD-G.

Windows identified the Mitsumi drive as "Mitsumi FX5401W1A". The maximum read speed is 54X and the firmware version installed is v.U01F. The drive supports CD-R/RW/Video-CD read features and CD-text. Ultra DMA and multisession discs are also included in the features.

Samsung "SC-152L" v.C100 offers a 52X maximum read speed, has a 128KB cache buffer and reads fro, CD-R/RW/Video-CD. Nero Infotool reports that the drive does not support CD-text, however, our tests showed the opposite.

2. Data Tests

CD-ROM Roundup Vo1 - Page 2

Data Tests

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results

The faster drive at the SCSI Mechanic test comes from the Mitsumi. The drive scored 6074Kb/s average Sequential I/O throughput using our pressed disc. The Creative CD5233E comes first at the Random I/O throughput test iwth 1225Kb/s and the Mitsumi FX54 second with 1020Kb/s.

- Pressed CD results: (Press for CyberDrive, Mitsumi, and Samsung Speed graphs)

As it was expected, Mitsumi FX5401W1A is the fastest reader, due to the increased 54X supported read speed. The average performance of the drive could be better, if the drive had not lowered the speed in the end of the process. Cyberdrive follows in the second position and Creative and Samsung share the third and fourth position, respectively.

Mitsumi also gave the lowest seek time with 146 seconds in the full access mode test. Creative and Samsung are slower and have approximately the same performance, and Cyberdrive follows with 170 seconds in the last position.

- CDR Media results: (Press for CyberDrive, Mitsumi, and Samsung Speed graphs)

Same behaviors in the CD-R reading test, with Mitsumi to be the fastest reader with 41.69x, Cyberdrive with 40.9x, Creative with 40.46x and lastly Samsung with 39.05x.

- HS-RW Media results: (Press for CyberDrive, Mitsumi, and Samsung Speed graphs)

Cyberdrive read the HSRW disc at a 18.47x average speed, but the competition from Creative is harder, and Cyberdrive gets the second position. Mitsumi comes third with 16.42x and Samsung follows with 12.12x, with a reading speed locked under 12.5x throughout the test.

3. CloneCD reading Tests

CD-ROM Roundup Vo1 - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v3.2.3.1) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), Serious Sam (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading performance of the drives. We also tested its reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between the original and the backup media.

CloneCD reports that all the drives support multisession, read of digital audio CDs and the produced digital audio data is accurate.

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to HD with CloneCD. We measured the reading times of all the drives.

Mitsumi had hard times in this test and finished the task after 9:39 min. Cyberdrive gave the best result with 110 seconds, and Samsung/Creative follow with a 40 second lower performance.

SafeDisc 1/2 Results

Good performance from Mitsumi with a similar behavior with the original and the backup title. Samsung is much slower with 268.78 sectors/sec for the original CD, and Cyberdrive reduced the reading speed too much with SafeDisc v.1 protected CDs. Creative 52x was too slow in this test so we excluded this performance in the above chart.

Mitsumi is still the faster drive with SafeDisk v.2 discs. Samsung, Cyberdrive and Creative follow with lower performances. However, Samsung was the only drive that produced a SafeDisc v2 working backup.

LaserLock 1/2 Results

In the LaserLock v.1 test, Creative did not give any chances to the other drives, and finished the original /backup CD test with 495.42/2232.83 sectors/sec. The second best performance comes from Mitsumi, Cyberdrive and Samsung follow with lower performances.

All the drives lowered their performance in the LaserLock v2.0 test, but their behavior remains the same as in the previous test.

SecuROM Results

This time, Cyberdrive leads the race with 1008.11 sectors/sec for the SecuROM v.2 title test. Creative follows with the same performance for the original/backup test. Samsung and Mitsumi gave close to each other performances in the original CD test, and in the backup test, Samsung is a little faster.

4. DAE Tests

CD-ROM Roundup Vo1 - Page 4

DAE Tests

- Test Method

We used CD DAE 99 v0.3 and EAC v0.9 beta 1 software in order to check the DAE performance of both drives with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). The posted DAE results are the average of both applications. 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

All three CD-ROM drives does not "caching" data, support "accurate stream" and "C2 error info".


- Pressed AudioCD results

Cyberdrive gave the fastest average DAE speed with 15.1x, followed by Mitsumi with 13.5x. Samsung lowered the speed to 6.9x and also the 10% of the ripped data were fault.

- CDR AudioCD Results

The same scenario in the CDR DAE test, with Cyberdrive to lead, Mitsumi in the second position and Samsung to remain last with 6.5x.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

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

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Cyberdrive 52x
Mitsumi FX5401W1A
Samsung SC-152L
Creative CD5233E

- Advanced DAE Quality

Cyberdrive 52x

Cyberdrive was fast enough but produced some errors in the advanced DAE test. The drive gets a 99.9 quality score.

Mitsumi FX5401W1A

Mitsumi finished the test with a 15.29x average speed and gets a 100 quality score.

Samsung SC-152L

Samsung was faster than Mitsumi but produced 62 data errors during the test.

The following chart shows the previous results for the CD-ROM drives. Among them, Creative CD5233E seems to be the slowest drive.

- Bad CDR Media results

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

Average Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Cyberdrive 52x
Mitsumi FX5401W1A
Samsung SC-152L
Creative CD5233E

Mitsumi gave a very low performance in this test. The drive produced too many errors (66%!) and lowered the ripping speed to 4.1x. Cyberdrive was the fastest and more accurate drive in this test.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs

Cyberdrive 52x does not support ripping of 90/99min CDs, and the drive will stop ripping at 80min. Mitsumi finished the 90min CD test successfully, but with the failed to rip the 99min CD. Samsung can handle 90min CDs and will stop ripping at 96min with 99min media.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

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

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)
* CDR AudioCD protected with Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) - made with Clone Audio Protector v1.1 (adding 30 secs lead-out)

Cyberdrive 52x
Rips entire disc without problems
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible
Mitsumi FX5401W1A
Rips entire disc without problems
Rips entire disc without problems
Samsung SC-152L
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip

The "Cactus Data Shield 100" audio protection cannot be bypassed by any drive of this test. Mitsumi has no problem to rip the contents of "Key2Audio" or "Cactus data Shield 200" protected audio CDs. Cyberdrive can handle only "Key2Audio" protection and Samsung will disappoint since it cannot rip any audio protection.

5. Conclusion

CD-ROM Roundup Vo1 - Page 5


CyberDrive 52x

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Fast reader with pressed/cdr/hs-rw media
- Faster DAE speed than competition
- Can rip scratched AudioCDs fast and with low errors
- Supports CD-Text
- Good PSX ripping speed
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface

- Noisy when reading at full speed
- Low CloneCD reading performance
- Recognizes only Key2Audio protected AudioCDs
- Failed to correctly read SD2 protected CDs
- Does not support 90/99min media
- Access time higher than competition

Mitsumi FX5401W1A

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 54x reading speed
- Faster reader at 54x speed with pressed/cdr
- Low seek times
- Can "handle" some protected AudioCDs
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface
- Supports 90min media

- Makes lot of noise when reading at full speed
- CloneCD reading performance could be higher
- Cannot recognize CDS100 protected AudioCDs
- Failed to correctly read SD2 protected CDs
- Two many errors in the scratched AudioCD test
- Reading of hsrw could be better
- Low PSX ripping speed
- Does not support 99min media

Samsung SC-152L

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Fast DAE speed
- Working image of SD2 protected CDs
- Low seek times
- Supports reading up to 96min CDs
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports DMA 33 connection interface

- Reading performance could be better
- Makes lot of noise when reading at full speed
- CloneCD reading performance could be higher
- Rip of scratched AudioCDs with errors
- Cannot "handle" any protected AudioCDs

This time the decision is really tough to make. All the drives we tested do not share the same advantages and disadvantages, so the final choice is definitely up to your exact needs.

Starting from the reading speeds, Mitsumi FX5401W1A has the lead in advance since it supports 54x speed and the other two drives stay at 52x. Between CyberDrive 52x and Samsung SC-152L, Cyberdrive gave the higher average reading speeds with CD-R media.

DAE performance is another important issue for a drive. Cyberdrive was the fastest DAE reader and produced the lower amount of errors in the "bad medium" rip test. Mitsumi was slower and Mitsumi performed badly, since it gave a more than 50% error rate in the same test.

The Audio protected CDs will not be a problem for Mitsumi FX5401W1A. (Except from Cactus Data Shield 100). Cyberdrive 52x will rip only the "Key2Audio" CDs and Samsung SC-152L cannot handle any protection.

The CloneCD tests showed that only Samsung can produce SD2 working backups, although it will take some time to rip the image to the HD.

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