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Appeared on: Monday, July 08, 2002
EasyWrite


1. Mt Rainier Info
Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 1

As it is already known, the Mt Rainier Group (Compaq, Microsoft, Philips and Sony), propose an open industry standard for making CD-RW easier to use by enabling OS support and increasing compatibility and performance. The name of the new standard was named after Mount Rainier in the US state of Washington at the foot of which Microsoft has its headquarters.

The Mt Rainier format is mainly applied to general storage data applications, or "Drag&Drop on CD-RW". However, writing data (Drag&Drop) on CDs is currently not supported by any operating system. The functionality is currently handled by special applications that need to be installed on the PC running the drive. New CD-RW discs need to be formatted before data files can be written to them. The objective of the Mt Rainier solution is to overcome these issues by enabling native OS support of the drives and allowing CD-RW to be used as a "Drag&Drop" device by choice.

The main elements of the Mt Rainier format are the physical defect management by the drive, the logical write addressing at 2K, the background formatting, the command set implementation and the compatibility and standards-compliance. All the Mt Rainier CD-ROM / CD-RW drives should be compliant to those specifications.

Currently the UDF 1.5 file-system used in Drag&Drop applications handles defect management. The Mt Rainier proposal for adding physical defect management into the drive, allows more commonality with standard data-drives (DVD, MO…).

The logical addressing capability of the storage devices is also an important factor. The Mt Rainier functionality has defined 2K logical addressing as a mandatory support requirement for drives.

The Mt Rainier specification allow user to Drag&Drop data within seconds after insertion and spin-up of the disc. The disc formatting process occurs in the background, and the Drag&Drop data storage tasks should get priority above process of "de-icing" and "finalization", by the drive.

For a Mount Rainier compliant drive, implementing a mandatory command-set for data-use is required (fitting the MMC-2 structure).


2. Easy Write logo

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 2

- What is EasyWrite?

EasyWrite is a standards compliance logo for the Mount Rainier format as defined by Microsoft, Compaq, Sony and Philips. The need for verifying how good Mt. Rainier is implemented by each manufacturer, lead Philips and other Mt. Rainier group partners to setup a test suite and special test discs that will test in depth the Mt. Rainier enabled drives.

- Why EasyWrite is important?

Mt. Rainier format promises robustness needed for frequent data interchange and distribution. Mt Rainier main propose is to replace floppy diskette and improve the readability of the stored data. Since scratches and media defects are frequent to many users, each Mt. Rainier drive should be able to handle them and always protect the written data. Therefore the need for a test suite is important. EasyWrite comes to complete that need

- How can I obtain the EasyWrite logo?

EasyWrite requires compliance with the specifications of the Mount Rainier group. Philips (http://www.licensing.philips.com) provides the Mount Rainier Test suite to hardware manufacturers for testing their drives. If the drive passes all tests, it is awarded with the EasyWrite logo. EasyWrite logo ensures that the specific drive works according to the Mt. Rainier group specifications.

- Who conducts EasyWrite tests?

Each hardware manufacturer can obtain the EasyWrite test suite and test discs. After testing its drives with the EasyWrite test suite and send the test results to Philips, can obtain the EasyWrite logo.

Two-three times per year, all hardware/software manufacturers that support Mt. Rainier format, gathered in Microsoft's offices and perform the so-called "Plugfest" (http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/events/rainierpf.htm). The objective for the Plugfest is to improve the quality of Mt. Rainier capable hardware and applications, and the interchange of the media written by these on the Windows platform. This event is intended for hardware developers and software engineers who are responsible for writing the firmware and drivers for these devices. The Plugfest is intended to be a workshop to test interchange and interoperability.


3. Test Discs
Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 3

- Mount Rainier Test Suite


All the Mt Rainier compliant drives should be standardized and should meet the hardware and software requirements. The drives are approved by the Mt Rainier group and get the "EasyWrite" logo, as a certification of the Mt Rainier compliance.

The Mount Rainier Verification test is to assure that any media from a Mount Rainier recorder drive can be read and written in any Mount Rainier capable drive. The tests consist of two parts

- To check the Mt Rainier drive functionality using good media
- A reliability / robustness check with emphasis on defect management using test media with defects

The available tools and services are the Mount Rainier Test Suite, the logical verification tool and the discs with standardized defects.

The purpose of functionality test available in the Mount Rainier Test Suite are to assure the capability of the drive to handle Mt Rainier specific functionality like early eject, correct de-icing, format resume etc…

The Test Suite and the test discs are available from Philips only companies that related with either the hardware or software development of Mt. Rainier.

- The Test Discs

The media used for the tests are both normal blank HS-RW media among with pressed artificial defected Mt Rainier discs. Since an important part of the Mt Rainier functionality is related to defect management, the Mt rainier compatible drives should be able to handle discs with spots, scratches, and heavy fingerprints.

Philips provides such defected discs with the following artificial made problems:

- 1. Heavy fingerprint
- 2. Black dot (2 mm)
- 3. Scratch (1.5 x 1.5 mm)

For each drive, Philips suggests the use of a package that contains 5 blank HS-RW and 5 blank HS-RW media with defects. Both the Mount Rainier Test suite and the test discs are available from Philips (http://www.licensing.philips.com). The price for a Mount Rainier Test Disc set is Euro 100.

In future, the defects upon the test discs are expected to change in order to discourage manufacturers who will possibly design their drives just to pass the current test disc. Lastly, note that the current Mt. Rainier verification test suite checks only a part of the whole Mt. Rainier format commands. It is expected that Philips will release new scripts (Part B) in the near future.


4. Software Suite

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 4

- Software Test Suite

The Mount Rainier Test Suite uses pre-defined templates (scripts). A set of three templates is delivered included with the Test Suite. The pre-defined scripts are locked, which means no one can edit the source code. The test suite includes instructions to create your own new scripts that can be used for extensive testing… Each script is a set of commands, according to the MMC 2 specification. After each script command set finishes, it creates a log file with the test results.
Currently, the three available scripts are:

- MRW Part A v1.6
- RnR Heavy v1.1
- RnR Light v1.1

Command set compliance is an embedded part of this test. The script checks the specific MRW commands. All the major functions are addressed at least once.

The MRW Part A test could be defined as early eject generation commands. The test checks for the:

- Mount Rainier mandatory basic start-up command set
- Sends format unit command and check
- GAA addressing by writing test information to a GAA sector
- Capability of the drive to write and read back in ice
- Remaining commands that need written data on the disc
- Correct command sequence of close session and start / stop unit
- Makes an early eject (early enough to still have ice on the disc and format not completed)

The RnR Heavy script verifies the drive's functionality over a longer time. The drive is tested on "format", "write" (random blocks), "read", early eject. Below are the script details, as mentioned in the final test report:

Eject Action: Once Every 500 Actions Write Action: 38 percent of all actions
Read Action: 56 percent of all actions
Pause Action: 6 percent of all actions
Read/Write Addressing: 70 Block Increments + Random offset (0 to 1023)
A Read/Write Action can consist of multiple Read/Write Commands
Read/Write Action Data Size: Pseudo Random 1 to 3104 Blocks
Blocks Per Single Read/Write Command: Random 1 to 32 Blocks

The RnR Light script tests the drive in a similar way as in the RnR Heavy script. Below are the script details:

Eject Action: Once Every 500 Actions Write Action: 38 percent of all actions
Read Action: 56 percent of all actions
Pause Action: 6 percent of all actions
Read/Write Addressing: 350 Block Increments + Random offset (0 to 1023)
A Read/Write Action can consist of multiple Read/Write Commands
Read/Write Action Data Size: Pseudo Random 1 to 3104 Blocks
Blocks Per Single Read/Write Command: Random 1 to 32 Blocks

The difference between the Heavy and the Light tests is the size and number of blocks that are written.

Heavy RnR Light RnR
Light RnR
Size
random
Fixed
Address
random
Incremental
Number
random
Random


5. Test Methodology

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 5

- Test Methodology

For testing the Mt. Rainier standard implementation from each manufacturer, we used the EasyWrite Test Suite and test discs. After registering the software, we tested all current drives that support, or at least claim to, the Mt. Rainier format. Our purpose was to check which drives have better Mt. Rainier implementation and which one can pass the "EasyWrite" standard. All drive were flashed with their latest available firmware:

Tested Drives Firmware Revision

ASUS CRW4816A v1.00
LiteOn LTR-40125S vZS.0J
LiteOn LTR-48125W vVS.06
MITSUMI CR-480ATE v1.0E
MITSUMI CR-485CTE v1.0C
PHILIPS RWDVD1610 vP2.2
TDK CyClone 401248B vZ7.S4
TEAC CD-W540E v1.0C
YAMAHA CRW3200E v1.0d

After loading the MRW Part A v1.6 script in the Philips Suite software, we select the tested drive. We press the "Start", and the software prompts for entering the name that will save the test report. The drive starts the testing procedure and shortly asks to enter a blank disc.

The testing continues and the available log file is updated in real time, showing the command set executed and the test result for each test. The log file indicates which commands are PASSED or FAILLED by the drive. In some cases a failure in a specific command does not affect the test procedure. If the failure is severe, then a fatal error occurs and the test is terminated.

The Heavy and Light R&R scripts run in a similar way, producing successful or failure results.

The three scripts (MRW Part A, Light/Heavy RnR) are executed with blank and only the Light/Heavy RnR scripts with defected media.


6. Tests with blank HS-RW media

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 6

- Tests with Blank HS-RW media

Below are the test results for all tested drives with the use of blank HS-RW media

Tests
ASUS CRW4816A
LiteOn LTR-40125S
LiteOn LTR-48125W
Mitsumi CR-480ATE
Mitsumi CR-485CTE
Philips RWDVD1610
TDK CyClone 401248B
TEAC CD-W540E
YAMAHA CRW3200E
Mandatory Startup Basic Command Set
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
Background Format
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
FE
Test GAA Addressing
FE
0
0
0
0
0
0
FE
N/A
Read/Write in Ice
N/A
0
0
0
0
0
0
N/A
N/A
Early Eject
N/A
0
0
0
0
0
0
N/A
N/A
Heavy R&R
FE
FE
FE
FE
FE
0
FE
0
FE
Light R&R
FE
FE
FE
FE
FE
0
FE
0
FE

Remarks:

0 = success, any number above shows failure in particular test
N/A = Could not be tested
FE = Fatal Error

- Test Analysis

The test results showed that only Philips RWDVD1610 managed to fully pass the "EasyWrite" standard. The drive didn't have any problems with the MRW Part A and Light/Heavy RnR testing.

TEAC CD-W540E managed to finish, without errors, the Heavy & Light RnR scripts but it doesn't support the "Early Eject" and "Read/Write in Ice" commands, while "Test GAA Addressing" couldn't be tested.

Mitsumi was among the first manufacturers that heavily advertised the CR-480A TE and CR-485C TE as the only EasyWrite compliant drives. However, the test showed the opposite behavior. Both drives passed the MRW Part A script (basic commands) but not the Light & Heavy RnR scripts. The drives locked after the end of each test, and a reboot was necessary to manually eject the test media. This was noticed with both normal and defect media.

LiteOn LTR-40125S, LTR-48125W and TDK CyClone 401248B passed the MRW Part A script, however they failed to complete the Heavy RnR and Light RnR scripts.

ASUS CRW4816A had probably the worst Mt. Rainier implementation from all tested drives. With firmware v1.00, it only executed the first 3 commands, and then locked. Reboot was necessary to eject the used test disc. This behavior was noticed also when we used either InCD or Write CD-RW! Software in our Mt Rainier application tests.

Lastly, the Yamaha CRW3200E didn't accept the script commands, failing to complete any test. Possibly the drive does not follow the MMC standard for the Mt. Rainier format, the way it should be…


7. Tests with defect blank HS-RW media

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 7

- Tests with defect blank HS-RW media

Below are the test results for all tested drives with the use of blank defect HS-RW media

Tests
LiteOn LTR-40125S
LiteOn LTR-48125W
Mitsumi CR-480ATE
Mitsumi CR-485CTE
Philips RWDVD1610
TEAC CD-W540E
Light R&R
FE
FE
FE
FE
0
FE
Light R&R Test Duration
0 hours 21 mins 50 sec 470msecs
0 hours 24 mins 51 secs 830msecs
0 hours 17mins 49sec 180msecs
0 hours 11mins 13sec 610msecs
4 hours 49mins 37sec 330msecs
0 hours 7mins 57secs 300msecs
Heavy R&R
FE
FE
FE
FE
0
FE
Heavy R&R Test Duration
0hours 00mins 55secs 140msecs
0hours 17mins 14secs 680msecs
0hours 20mins 27sec 150msecs
0hours 18mins 20secs 440msecs
5hours 20mins 31secs 440msecs
0 hours 33mins 08secs 740msecs

Remarks:
Time: hours:mins:secs:msecs
N/A = Could not be tested
FE = Fatal Error

We didn't test ASUS CRW4816A and YAMAHA CRW3200E due to its failure with normal discs. The TDK CyClone 401248B was also not tested since it's a LiteOn LTR-40125S clone.

- Test Analysis

The test results with defect media reviled a rather disappointing implementation of Mt. Rainier from various manufacturers.

Philips, as being a leading member of the Mt. Rainier format, manages to pass both Light & Heavy RnR without producing any error. Under the Light RnR, the drive worked for almost 5hours, while with Heavy RnR worked for 5 hours and 20minus.

TEAC CD-W540E was the second drive that passed all tests with normal media; however with the defect media returns fatal errors. Under the Light RnR script, the drive worked for only 7mins without producing an error, while lasted longer (33mins) under Heavy RnR script.

The Mitsumi CR-480ATE and CR-485C TE drives failed to complete the test without producing fatal errors. After the end of each test, both drives locked and reboot was necessary to remove the test disc.

Lastly, both LiteOn drives again failed to complete the tests and produced fatal error after working for 20+mins under Light RnR and 21mins/55mins for the LTR-40125S and LTR-48125W respectively.


8. Conclusion

Philips Mt Rainier Rewritable Validation Suite - Page 8

Conclusion

As the test results showed, it's very easy to announce a feature but hard to make it work properly. The announce of Mt. Rainier format, made many users happy since packet writing wouldn't anymore need an external software solution, and data safety is present with build-in defect management.

So far, both features are not properly implemented.

In order to use Mt. Rainier, you still need an external software solution, while only one tested drive can manage defect discs without any issues. Although the most tested drives support the Mt. Rainier in theory, they cannot properly handle defect discs as it was supposed.

The only drive that passed all tests comes from Philips (RWDVD1610), which shouldn't surprise us since Philips is one of the original founders of the Mt. Rainier format.

The next drive that can work correctly with normal HS-RW media comes from TEAC, while Mitsumi, LiteOn and TDK drives need much improvement in firmware to work adequately. The ASUS drive was the one with the worst Mt. Rainier implementation, while the Yamaha drive didn't accept the test suite commands at all.

The importance of Mt. Rainier is high, since in one year from now, diskette is supposed to be replaced from Mt. Rainier enabled CD-RW drives. Mt. Rainier is planned to be supported by the DVD format and particularly by the DVD+RW consortium, however, no information is yet available from the DVD Forum about this subject.

As it currently stands, if your PC has been bulked with a Philips RWDVD1610 drive, you can save your valuable data under Mt. Rainier formatted discs, else you should wait. None of the other tested drives can handle defects, which means that even light scratches can produce the possible written discs un-readable… We plan to test all future Mt. Rainier enabled drives and possible firmware updates that will improve the current situation. After all what matters is our written data, don't you agree?



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