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Appeared on: Monday, April 15, 2002
Ricoh MP7320A

1. Introduction

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction

Click To Enlarge!Ricoh did not stay out of the 32x recording market and shipped a new drive with the code name "MP7320A". The drive is an internal ATAPI model and writes at 32x CD-R, as already mentioned, re-writes at 10x and reads at 40x. Ricoh has chosen the Z-CLV 32x writing strategy for this model and among the main features of the drive is the "JustSpeed" and "JustLink" technologies. We have already tested the most of the 32x recorders of the market and we expect to see whether Ricoh MP7320A will make the difference.

- Embedded technologies

During high-speed writing in the 32x speed range, the drive checks the type of disc in use and adjusts the writing speed to an optimal level between 16x and 32x; It reduces disc errors such as deficiency in writing power and servo follow error.

The mechanism controls the optimal writing speed by media type
(1) using the ATIP information (maker name, media type pre-recorded on disc),
(2) performing test writing to the OPC area at the inner circumference of the disc, and
(3) getting the status of the servo follow check of the outer circumference of the disc (checking of track shift due to lack of precision in cutting of the disc itself).

A combination of the above (1), (2), and (3) enables ensured high-speed writing, while offering support to discs for which maximum writing speed normally cannot be obtained from the ATIP information.

MP7320A provides 32x write speed with the ZCLV (Zoned Constant Linear Velocity) method where the write area of a disc is divided into several areas and each area is assigned a rotation speed.The speed to be assigned increases towards the outer area of the disc. This method enables the optimum write job at high speed without disturbing the drive's mechanisms.

Z-CLV Graph - Courtesy of Ricoh JapanDuring write operation using ZCLV, the speed switches from 16x to 20x, 24x,28x and 32x at designated speed switching points (referred to as T1 to T4) fixed on the disc. Those switching points are set flexible when JustSpeed is active, and during writing, each point is assigned in accordance with the condition of the disc. That is, the drive determines the positions of the switching points to specify areas suited for faster writing. This method provides MP7320A with both highly reliable and fast writing capabilities.

When using high-speed media with MP7320A, the speed switching point T1 will be located at the innermost periphery of the data area (at the end of the lead-in area). When JustSpeed is not active, the switching points T1 to T4 are fixed.

- Features

The new recorder supports 32x writing, 10x re-writing and 40x reading . MP7320A utilizes the already known techniques that were introduced by the MP7200A series: "Zone-CLV" recording mode and "JustSpeed" quality control mechanism.

The drive supports 4x, 8x,12x, 16x (CLV) and 16-24x, 16-32x (Z-CLV) writing speeds. The rewriting speeds are 4x and 10x and 40x maximum (CAV) reading speed. The cache buffer of the drive is 8MB and supports the "JustLink" buffer underun protection. Lastly, Ricoh MP7320A does not support the Mt Rainier format.

The drive comes with newly developed modules and mechanism to enable high-speed writing and reading.

- High-speed writing is handled by the newly developed pick-up module incorporating a high power laser and high precision pulse control.

- The newly developed digital controller LSI controls the width of pulse precisely,allowing for stable writing at high-speed.

- Incorporation of the high-speed rotation type spindle motor gives stable and precise rotation during high-speed writing.

- Addition of the high-precision stepping motor to the seek algorithm enables highly precise positioning and high speed access at 120 msec, while improving the noise level.

- Ricoh's 32x writing speed

Ricoh MP7320A supports 32x Zone-CLV writing speed.. We used Nero CD Speed 0.85 build-in writing test in order to test the drive's writing performance:

Press to see the complete graph!

As Nero CD Speed showed, the drive starts writing at 16x and after 2-4minutes it jumps up to 20x. The next jump to 24x comes after 10 min from the beginning of the disc, and after 22 min the drive increases the writing speed to 28x. The last speed shift is the 32X at 38min. The average writing speed is around 27.41x

- The package

The drive we have in our hands was not in the retail package, and the installed firmware revision was vBP06. The same drive will be shipped in the retail packages that will be sold in the European/Japanese/Asian/rest of the world markets. The package will include the MP7320A CD-RW drive(ATAPI Interface), Nero Burning Rom and InCD as attached software, 1 Ricoh High Speed CD-RW blank disc, 1 Ricoh CD-R blank disc, a Quick start Instruction, analogue audio cable, and mounting screws.

The front of the drive includes the "Ricoh", "JustLink", and the "32x10x40" logos printed on it. There is also only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector.

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select and the SPDIF output connector:

- Installation

Ricoh MP7320A was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "Ricoh CD-RW MP7320A". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a February 2002 model with firmware revision vBP06 installed.

We used the latest version of Nero Burning ROM (, InCD (3.24.3) and CloneCD ( beta1) for the recording tests. As we can see from Nero's features screenshot we can select if "JustLink" and/or "JustSpeed" will be enabled or not by default.

2. Data tests

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 2

Data Tests

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results

The drive gave the third best "Average Random I/O" result among the 4 tested drives. In the "Average Sequential I/O" test it gets the last place with 4580kb/s, very close to the performance of the LiteOn drive. Finally the drive's "Average Same Sector I/O" results were the worst in the category.

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

Using CD Speed 0.85, we confirmed that the previous results. The drive reaches around 31.32X average reading speed, very close to LiteOn's performance. The competition from the Aopen drive is strong since it is the faster with 37.71X and CyberDrive follows with an 36.83X average speed.

In the "Seek Times" test results, the Ricoh MP7320A gets the first place with an under than 90ms random seek time, complying with the drive's specifications. The Aopen drive has also the same Random performance but the competition from LiteOn and CyberDrive is strong enough.

- CDR Media: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

Ricoh MP7320A showed the same performance with CDR media as with the pressed ones. The drive is the slowest in this test among with the Liteon LTR-32123S.

- HS-RW media: (Click here to see the CD Speed graph)

For the RW tests, we used Ricoh's HS-RW media. Ricoh MP7320A gave lowest result (25.62x) among the 4 tested drives, since its speed was reduced to 34.23x at the end of the 74min:

3. CloneCD reading tests
Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v4.0.0.0 beta 9) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever / Serious Sam (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading time of Ricoh MP7320A. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following picture shows the Ricoh's MP7320A reading/writing capabilities:

- PSX Pressed Media

Ricoh MP7320A finished the PSX ripping really fast and finished after 95 seconds. Liteon LTR-32123S was slower with 138 secs and Aopen CRW3248 gets the third position with 174 secs.

- SafeDisc 1/2 Results

Ricoh MP7320A showed a very bad performance with SafeDisc 1 protected CDs. The drive skips bad sectors very slowly, compared to Aopen and LiteON, that lead the race.

With SafeDisc 2 protected CDs, Ricoh MP7320A continues its bad performance as mentioned earlier.

LaserLock 1/2 Results

Ricoh MP7320A continues its bad performance during the LaserLock protected CDs test. The drive has the second slowest reading performance, with both original and backup CDs.

It is to no surprise that the drive continues to have bad performance with LaserLock 2 CDs. The srive had really hard times to make the image file of the original CD, and kept the slow reading performance in the backup CD test, as well.

SecuROM Results

Ricoh MP7320A was faster in this test and with the original CD it managed to get the second position with 1899.27 sectors/sec. In the backup CD test the performance is lower. LiteOn LTR-32123S is the fastest drive in this test.

4. DAE tests

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 4

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

As EAC v0.9 beta 2 reported, the drive doesn't do data "Caching" and supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2 Error info". The specifications state that the drive can reach up to 40x DAE (max) with both pressed and CDR media.

- Pressed AudioCD results

The DAE ripping speed of MP7320A is not so good as the specifications declare. The maximum DAE ripping speed is not high and is kept far away from 40x. That gives a rather low average ripping DAE speed, compared to the competition:

- CDR AudioCD Results

Ricoh MP7320A continues to perform average with CDR Audio CDs. The drive does slowdown in the outer tracks of the test disc and gives an only 23.1X average ripping speed:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

After many requests from numerous visitors we have added the EAC's 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)
LiteOn LTR-32123S
AOpen CRW3248
CyberDrive CW-058D
Ricoh MP7320A

- Advanced DAE Quality

Ricoh MP7320A completed the Nero CD Speed "Advanced DAE test" successfully, and the speed results were low as expected.

The average reading speed was 23.88X and Nero CD Speed reports that it can read "CD-Text" enabled AudioCDs, among with "SubChannel Data". Lastly, the drive got 100 quality score (max) , since it produced zero sync/data errors.

- 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 Of Total Disc (%)
LiteOn LTR-32123S
AOpen CRW3248
CyberDrive CW058D
Ricoh MP7320A

The best reader for this test comes from AOpen. The drive lowered its reading speed down to 8x and managed to produce the lower reading errors at this roundup. The CyberDrive CW058D comes second with much higher errors but low overall error rate. Ricoh MP7320A comes third with a high average speed and with an 0.01% error rate and 50892 errors.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

The drive recognizes both 90/99min AudioCDs without any problems.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 3 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)
* CDR AudioCD protected with Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) - made with Clone Audio Protector v1.1 (adding 30 secs lead-out)

AOpen CRW3248
Cannot recognize disc contents
Rips up to 91%
Rips entire disc without problems
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible
CyberDrive CW058D
Rips entire disc without problems
Rips entire disc without problems
Problems recognize 1st track
Rips entire disc without problems
LiteOn LTR-32123S
Cannot recognize disc contents
Problems recognize 1st track, cannot rip
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Ricoh MP7320A
Cannot recognize disc contents
Cannot recognize disc contents

The best reader for audio protected discs comes from CyberDrive, which can rip contents of Key2Audio/CDS200 discs without any problems only when using the EAC software. The AOpen CRW3248 can also rip CDS200 discs (even with CDDAE) but fails entirely to recognize Key2Audio discs. Ricoh MP7320A cannot recognize the contents of any CDs, except from the CDS100 disc, which are recognized as data tracks.

5. CDR tests - Page 1

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 5

CDR Tests - Page 1

- Procedure

We tested the drive with latest version of Nero/CloneCD. We used various media for our tests: Mitsubishi Chemicals 74/80min 24x/32x certified, Mitsui 74min 16x/24x/40x certified, Prodisc 80min 32x certified, Taiyo Yuden 74/80min 24x/32x certified, Ricoh 80min 24x/32x certified and Mitsubishi Chemicals/Ricoh 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.

In the case of the MP7320A, JustSpeed the drive automatically adjusts the writing speed for having the best quality results and doesn't allow writing at maximum speed with non 32x certified media. The picture below comes from Nero, when 32x media are inserted:

JustSpeed On

When we used lower quality of media, Nero lowered the maximum allowed writing speed at 24x.

JustSpeed Off! Writing has limited to 24x

In that case, even we disabled "JustSpeed" inside Nero, the drive didn't allowed 32x writing speed. We don't know if this a bug of Nero or the drive itself.

- 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 32x Zone-CLV recording speeds between CyberDrive and Ricoh.

Average Writing Speed (X) with 80min CDs
LiteOn LTR-32123S
CyberDrive CW058D
AOpen CRW3248
Ricoh MP7320A

- 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 can see, Ricoh MP7320A gave the highest recording time among the 4 tested drives. The time difference with LiteOn LTR-32123S is just 1 sec, which can be different with various media. Aopen CRW3248 is the fastest drive in this test, with just 310 seconds.

Let's see how the drives behave during the 20x writing speed test. The MP7320A gave the third best result with 233 seconds, very close to the second Aopen CRW3248. The lowest writing time came from CyberDrive.

At the 32x test, Ricoh MP7320A was fast and finished the task after 208 secs, just 1 seconds sower than Aopen. CyberDrive still holds the first position. The results with JustSpeed enabled and disabled were almost the same.

6. CDR tests - Page 2

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 6

CDR Tests - Page 2

- 80min CDs

As with the previous test, we created a DataCD (80:01:47) and used the same media for all burns:

In the 16x test, Ricoh MP7320A finished the task in 337 secs, faster than LiteOn but 13 seconds slower than CyberDrive CW-058D.

At 24x Ricoh MP7320A gave the same writing times as the Aopen drive. CyberDrive is faster again with 239 secs.

In the maximum writing speed, Ricoh MP7320A showed the best performance with with 215 secs, followed by CyberDrive. Aopen CRW3248 is just one second slower and LiteOn gets the last position with 227 secs.

The picture below comes from Nero when Prodisc 32x media were used. That was the best burning result for 80 min at 32x speed, with the "JustSpeed" enabled.

Using the same media with "JustSpeed" disable will slight increase writing time:

7. CDR tests - Page 3

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 7

- AudioCD Authoring

Ricoh MP7230A permits AudioCD authoring up to 32x. Even at the 32x writing speed, the writing quality stays at high levels. The drive will produce higher C1 error rate at the 32x (Z-CLV) writing speed, as expected, but the average stays low enough. Of course with different media results can be reversed. That's why we only advise using quality media for AudioCD recording in such high recording speeds.

DAE Ripping Speed
Writing Speed 16x
Writing Speed 32x
Ricoh MP7320A

The ripping capabilities of Ricoh MP7320A are also not affected from the increased writing speed.

- Other features

Overburning Writing
Up to 99mins
CD-Text (Read/Write)
8cm CDs

- CloneCD Writing Tests

CloneCD v4.0.0.0 beta 21 reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature. We performed our usual tests and we confirmed that the drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode at the following CD protections: SafeDisc 1, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 CD protections.

- SD2 Support

For the SD2 test we used the "Emperor: Battle for Dune", "Max Payne", "Serious Sam - The Second Encounter" and "Medal of Honour Allied Assault" game titles. We used the drive both as reader/writer at the maximum reading/recording speed. Unfortunately, he produced backups did not work at any drive we tried to. Using the build-in feature "Amplify Weak Sectors" has eliminate this problem.

8. RW - Packet Writing tests

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 8

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. All drive support fully the HS-RW writing standard:

Ricoh MP7320A gave back a low result compared to the other drives, due to the 10x supported re-writing speed. The other drives support 12x HS-RW speed, and among them the CyberDrive is the fastest writer with 394 seconds. In the "quick erase" test Ricoh MP7320A was fast and finished after 27 secs.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.24.3 for all Packet Writing tests. We used Ricoh HS RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. 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 errors:

The MP7320A gives a lower packet writing speed (7.11x) against the other drives, but was faster in the reading part, finishing the test in the third position.

9. Writing quality tests
Ricoh MP7320A IDE CD-RW - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests

We used many media and burned them at various recording speeds with Ricoh MP7320A. We used Nero as the CDR software. The produced CDs were measured by DigitalDrives and the results are illustrated in the following tables:

- 24x writing speed

Average Burning Time (mins)
SanyoDigital 74min 16x (JustSpeed Off)
Ricoh 74min 24x (JustSpeed Off)
Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x (JustSpeed On)
Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x (JustSpeed Off)
Mitsui SGUltra II 74min 24x (JustSpeed On)
Prodisc 80min 32x (JustSpeed On)
Prodisc 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off)
Ricoh 80min 24x (JustSpeed On)
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed On)
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off)

- 32x writing speed

Average Burning Time (mins)
Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x (JustSpeed On)
Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x (JustSpeed Off)
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed On)
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off)
Prodisc 80min 32x (JustSpeed On)
Prodisc 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off)
Ricoh 80min 24x (JustSpeed On)

The highest C1 error rate comes from Mitsui media. The problem is that Mitsui CDs, have less recording capacity than other media. We burn data with 74:03:65mins long, so with Mitsui media, each drive must overburn, and as a result, in the last minutes the C1 error rate increases. With the rest media, writing quality is very good.

At the 32x writing speed, the produced CDs had also a good overall quality. However, the best results came from Taiyo Yuden 24x media, with or without the "JustSpeed" enabled.

10. Conclusion

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 10


Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Fastest 32x recorder
- "Just-Link" anti-coaster technology
- "Just-Speed" quality protection system
- Good ripping quality with dusted/scratched CDR media
- Fast PSX ripping
- Good writing quality with quality media
- Very Good access times
- Supports 90/99min media
- Supports HS-RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33

- Supports only 10x re-writing and 40x reading speeds
- Lower DAE and Data reading performance than competition

- Bad CloneCD reading performance
- Failed to backup SD2 protected CDs
- Unable to handle audio protected CDs

Ricoh MP7320A showed a very good writing performance, especially at the maximum supported speed. The "JustSpeed" feature kept the drive's recording quality in high levels, even when the media we burned were not in the Ricoh recommended media list. As for the drive's mechanism, we could say that Ricoh enginners made a good job and managed to give the drive very accurate and fast access to the discs.

In the advantages of the drive are also included the 8MB of cache buffer and the "JustLink" anti-coaster technology. The drive supports overburning up to 99 minutes, CD-Text for audio CDs, and will work at Ultra-DMA 33 mode. The PSX ripping test gave Ricoh MP7320A the first position.

On the other hand, the drive failled to reach the 40x DAE speed and was really slow in the corresponded tests. Ricoh was also not very fast when reading CD-R and CD-RW discs, and the lack of 12x rewriting speed made the drive slower than the competitor drives in the test charts. The users of CloneCD will not be satisfied by the performance of Ricoh, since the drive is too slow with all the protected titles and cannot produce working backups of SD2 discs.

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