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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Thursday, October 31, 2002
52X CD-RW Roundup Vol1


1. Introduction - AOpen CRW5224

52X Roundup Vol.1 - Page 1

- Introduction

Many manufacturers currently ship 48X-recording solutions, while the next generation of 52X recorders make its appearance in the market. Users are wondering about the need of such high recording speeds, while its already hard enough to find high recording speed certified CD-R media. The writing quality and the wide media compatibility is probably one of the most important features of the upcoming 52X recorders. The adoption of US-RW (24X) format will please many users that use re-writeable media for their daily use. In this roundup, we (p-) review two 52X recorders from AOpen and Sony in our usual exhausting tests. How faster the 52 X recording can be than the existing 48X recorders?

- AOpen CRW5224

The CRW5224 would be the flagship for AOpen in the coming months. Currently the CRW4850 is sold at a low price and the CRW5224 plans to increase both the writing/re-writing and reading speeds to give the ultimate recording machine. AOpen as with previou models, still use RICOH chipsets. The new (RL5E945 and RL3E804) supports up to 52X recording/reading speeds and the new US-RW (UltraSpeed Re-Writeable) format. The tested drive is an engineering sample (final hardware) and the posted results should be looked with interest since firmware is still under development and performance would be optimised till the drive hit the market.

- Specifications

The AOpen CRW5224 supports CAV recording technology for reading/re-writing and recording. The drive's features as Nero Info Tool reports are:

The drive supports 52X maximum reading / writing and 24X re-writing speeds. JustLink and JustSpeed technologies are present to prevent the buffer underrun problems and ensure the burning quality. The buffer is only 2MB and reading of CD-Text, CD+G is supported. Nero Info Tool reports that C2 error information is also supported but its accuracy would be examined later. Lastly Mt. Rainier is present, for the first time in an AOpen recorder.

The following pictures show the drive's supported reading/writing speeds:

As with previous AOpen drives, the default read speed is 40x, when pushing Eject button for 5 sec will change the max read speed to 52x. At that time LED will brink 2 times slowly. When 52x max read speed mode, ejecting a disc will result the max read speed to 40x mode from 52x mode. With the beta firmware, the drive worked always at the maximum speed (52X) without the special 'Turbo' mode…

LED behavior

1. LED blinking - during track at once, disc at once, format, erase recording, the blinking interval is 2 second including ON is 1 sec. and OFF is 1 sec..
2. LED ON - when device is busy status such as seek, audio play, read, packet write,
load/eject TOC/PMA read and etc.
3. LED OFF - except for above status, led light is always off.

- Recording/Re-writing speeds

The AOpen CRW5224 supports 52X with the use of CAV recording technology. Almost all manufacturers, except TEAC, using CAV for the 48X recorders. We were curious to see how the new AOpen drive would perform compared with other 48X drives. As Nero CD Speed reviled, the drive starts writing at 23.10X and gradually ends at the 52.23X speed, giving an average of 39.52X. This result was the best we had using various media with Prodisc 40X certified media. With other media the average writing speed were from 39.08X~39.39X.

When using a US-RW media, the CRW5224 will start burning at 11.31X and gradually ends at 24.94X. That gives an average of 18.91X, which is much lower than what Plextor PX-W4824A and YAMAHA CRW-F1 series gave (23-24X P-CAV). We have noticed the same performance also with CD-R media. We don't know if the retail drive will have the same performance, but 18.91X is slight higher than 16X...

- The package

We got the bare drive without any software/media attached. The retail package will include the recording software from Ahead (Nero, InCD), 52X CD-R and 24X US-RW media, IDE cable, mounting screws etc... The drive expected to hit the market around middle of November.

On the front panel we see the "JustLink", "US-RW" and "AOpen" logos. The eject/next buttons, volume selector, and the headphone jack are also present, as usual in the E-IDE models.

When the disc tray or disc is being accessed, the green light shines. Even when a disc is loaded or a disc is not being accessed, the light goes out. When audio playing is in progress, the indicator blinks. When an illegal disc is loaded or some hardware trouble occurs, the indicator blinks quickly. When writing CDs the led will blink orange. We did noticed a delay with the response of the eject button but then again could be a problem of the engineering sample.

On the rear panel will find the power connector, the IDE cable connector, jumpers for setting up the MASTER/SLAVE/CABLE select status and, the analog/SPDIF connectors. The three jumpers on the right are used to set the drive's ATA working mode setting. The drive is set on "DMA mode" by default; you can set your drive on "UDMA" mode by removing the jumper.

On the top of the drive we can see the model's codename "CRW5224" and the "Engineering Sample" unit.

After removing the screws on the button we can easily see the drive's internal design (attention this voids your warranty!).

The drive is build around two new RICOH chipsets (RL5E945 and RL3E804)

- Installation

The AOpen CRW5224 was installed as a Master in the primary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-33 mode. After booting, it identified itself as an "AOPEN CD-RW CRW5224". We used Nero v5.5.9.14, CloneCD v4.0.1.10 and Ahead InCD v3.5.16 for the recording tests. Within Nero, under drive properties you can disable "JustSpeed" to enable the maximum burning speed (52X) with all CD-R media.

The drive came with v0.88 installed firmware. We got a newer revision (v0.91) that was installed and used for all the tests.

After all tests finished, a newer (v0.95) firmware arrived, that was used to re-test mostly the data/cd-r/hs-rw reading tests and also to check the negative findings of the already finished tests (with v0.91). There was a performance drawback with the latest v0.95 and some changes in the writing strategy of the drive and probably the final firmware will fine tune better the drive.


2. Introduction - Sony CRX220E1

52X Roundup Vol.1 - Page 2

- SONY CRX220E1

This may surprise several users, but this model actually doesn't exist yet. SONY currently sells CRX215E1 that supports 48X/24/48X re-writing speeds and the upcoming CRX220 series are not yet announced. However with the use of special firmware we (and you) could turn either a CRX210E1 (48/12/48) or a CRX215E1 (48/24/48) into a CRX220 (52/24/52) drive.

The benefit from this upgrade, beside the increased writing/re-writing/reading speeds, is the fact that with this firmware the drive works at max speed. The CRX210E1 and CRX215E working default at 40X and with the use of 'Turbo' mode are reaching the 48X writing/reading speeds. The negative with this is that user has to turn on the 'Turbo' mode every time inserts a disc, which is at least annoying...

- The drive

The SONY CRX220E1 supports CAV recording technology for reading/re-writing and recording. The drive's features as Nero Info Tool reports are:

The drive supports 52X maximum reading / writing and 24X re-writing speeds. PowerBurn and SmartBurn technologies are present to prevent the buffer underrun problems and ensure the burning quality. The buffer is only 2MB and reading of CD-Text, CD+G is supported. Nero Info Tool reports that C2 error information is also supported but its accuracy would be examined later. Lastly Mt. Rainier is present.

The following pictures show the drive's supported reading/writing speeds:

- Recording/Re-writing speeds

The SONY CRX220E1 supports 52X writing with the use of CAV recording technology. As Nero CD Speed unveiled, the drive starts writing at 23.30X and gradually ends at the 52.54X speed, giving an average of 39.77X.

When using a US-RW media, the CRX220E1 will start burning at 10.70X and gradually end at 23.99X. That gives an average of 18.19X that is much lower than what both Plextor PX-W4824A and YAMAHA CRW-F1 series gave in previous tests (23.78X average!).

- The package

After removing the screws on the button we can easily see the drive's internal design (attention this voids your warranty!).

Noticed anything in the above picture? Lets zoom at the bottom. Something interesting seems to be there.

The "LTR-32123S-A Rev: 01" words are printed in the circuit. Its not a secret that SONY and many other manufacturers use LiteOn OEM drives. As it seems the 48X recorders are based in the same circuits with the 32X series, not in the exact same design (we confirmed that after opening a LTR-32123S) The drive is build around MediaTek series chipsets (MT1518E and MT1516E).

- Installation

The SONY CRX220E1 was installed as a Master in the primary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-33 mode. After booting, it identified itself as a "SONY CD-RW CRX220E1". We used Nero v5.5.9.14, CloneCD v4.0.1.10 and Ahead InCD v3.5.16 for the recording tests.

The firmware version installed was v6S.02. Nero Burning Rom reports that the drive also supports the "SmartBurn" feature, for accurate burnings to various media. When you un-tick the "SmartBurn" box, a warning message comes up with information about the usability of this option. In short words, you can write every media at 48X when "SmartBurn" is disabled!


3. Data Reading Tests
52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 3

Data Tests

- Pressed CD results: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph for SONY & AOPEN)

The faster drive comes from SONY. The CRX220E1 had an average reading speed of 38.25X, while the CRW5224 was slight slower with 38.05X. The SONY CRX210E1 stays behind with 36.89X, due to lower maximum reading speed (48X).

The seek times of the two Sony drives are almost identical, while the AOpen drive seems improvement to reach them. Both Sony drives have 84msec for the Random seek mode, and 141msec for the Full mode. The AOpen drive has almost double seek times.

- CDR Media: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph for SONY & AOPEN)

With CD-R media, the SONY CRX220E1 gets the first place with 39.33X, AOpen comes second with 38.36X and the CRX210E comes third with 36.99X.

Again both Sony drives have exact seek times, improved compared with the pressed test disc. The AOpen drive has improved its seek times but still needs improvement.

- RW media: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph for SONY & AOPEN)

The AOpen drive is the faster drive with 37.61X average reading speed, while both Sony drive have similar performance with 31.87X.


4. Error Correction Tests
52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 4

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the reading error correction capabilities of the SONY CRX-220E1 and AOpen CRW5224.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Introduction

We used the testing methodology as described in EAC website. The CD-R test disc includes 5 scratches and a black triangle defect. Using the "c2extract.exe" build-in software and with the max reading speed of each drive we ripped the disc. The attached analyse.exe software used to get the necessary results.

The graph tells a lot about the abilities of the drive. The quality of the optical system (and the error correction capabilities of the firmware) can be estimated by checking the time positions the errors start, during reading. Higher wedges mean lower error correction capabilities.

The grid of the graph has the following means:

- Explanation

After the analyze.exe software finishes, we get a detailed report about various errors:

- Errors total tells about the total number of wrong stereo samples. This includes areas of wrong samples that may include some correct samples.

- Errors Loudness is the number of FFT analysis done. For that the average and maximum value tells the power difference of the two signals. No acoustic model is used for this calculation, so the audible error may differ from these values.

- Error Muting gives information about error hiding. On bad errors (or bad error hiding techniques), the last error free sample is held for some time until a new valid sample is found. The number of these mutings is given as first result, following the average and maximum sample length of these mutings.

- Skips are occurring when the sync was lost and the drive had to reposition again (and start on a slightly different position). Non-accurate stream devices would loose the sync very often and smaller and bigger skips occur (thus samples are missing or extraneous). The average and maximum values denote the length in samples of such skips.

- Total Score is calculated according to the previous errors. The higher score a drive gets the better!

The C2 error graphs of EAC measure three C2 results:

As EAC author mentions "…This third one is the most interesting figure, it will show how much blocks are going unreported by C2 error correction...The 16 bit blocks (instead of 8-bit, the native format of C2) was because of some drives interpolate a (mono) sample, etc. but only flag the part with the read error on it (but changed both parts). Thus only 16 bit blocks are checked for consistency. It is enough if one of the two bits is flagged to accept that any of the two bytes are wrong..."

- Test Results (Max Reading)

Errors total
Num: 30743
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 9687
Avg:-83.9 dB(A)
Max: -33.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 86
Avg:1.6 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max:0 Samples
Total Test Result
81.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)

In the maximum ripping speed, the AOpen CRW5224 drive showed a good behaviour and got a score of 81.5 out of 100 (perfect).

Errors total
Num: 599
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 823
Avg:-86.2 dB(A)
Max: -63.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max:0 Samples
Total Test Result
88.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)

In the maximum ripping speed, the SONY CRX-220E1 performed better and corrected the five scratches while corrected some of the data in the black triangle. It gets a score 88.8 out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-721R

- Introduction

This test disc includes artificial scratches with lengths from 1.8 mm to 3.0 mm.

Using the ABEX TCD-714 as the reference disc, we created the reference.wav file that is needed for the comparison. Using the c2extract.exe software and by setting the maximum reading speed with Nero Drive speed we ripped the disc. The attached analyse.exe software gave the comparison results.

- Test Results (Max speed)

The ABEX 721R test disc is very hard for almost all drives and the AOpen CRW5224 couldn't be an exception. The error spikes reached -11.7 dB(a) at several points, while we have an average 6.8 skipped samples. Not a good performance and a low 63.1 score.

Errors total
Num: 1189862
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 62372
Avg:-73.4 dB(A)
Max: -11.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 7364
Avg: 2.0 Samples
Max: 297 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 6.8 Samples
Max: 24 Samples
Total Test Result
63.1 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Errors total
Num: 1440376
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 139172
Avg:-78.7 dB(A)
Max: -35.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num:4908
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 9 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: .0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
75.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The SONY drive kept the error spikes lower than the AOpen and got a score of 75.3 out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-726

- Introduction

The ABEX TCD-726 includes three kinds of defects, interruption, black dots and fingerprints. The interruption defects are sized from 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm. The black dots are from 0.4 mm to 1.0 mm and the fingerprints range from 65 to 75 micrometers.

- Test Results (Max Speed)

The AOpen drive performed quite well and gave few errors getting an 87.6 score.

Errors total
Num: 1338
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 349
Avg:-90.4 dB(A)
Max: -46.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 4
Avg: 2 Samples
Max: 5
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
87.6 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Errors total
Num: 146
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 281
Avg:-73.1 dB(A)
Max: -24.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0
Skips Samples
Num: 2
Avg: 480 Samples
Max: 480 Samples
Total Test Result
78.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)

In the maximum ripping speed, the SONY CRX220E1 got a score of 76.3 due to high number of skipped samples.

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
SONY CRX-220E1
AOpen CRW5224
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
88.8
81.5
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
75.3
63.1
ABEX TCD-726
Max
76.3
87.6
Average Score
80.23
77.40

The SONY CRX220E1 got a higher overall score of 80.23, while the AOpen CRW5224 got 77.40. The EAC results are much different from the CDSpeed results due to different way of calculated errors.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Introduction

The Advanced DAE Error Correction tests are available in the latest version of Nero CD Speed. With the A-BEX TCD-721R disc, we can test the drive's C2 error information accuracy. First we created the image with the A-BEX TCD-714 test disc. Then we tested with the Advanced DAE Error Correction test, the C2 error information accuracy.

Note that the C2 accuracy test works only with drive that can report C2 errors according to the MMC standard. If the drive doesn't report C2 errors according to the MMC, but does support C2 errors, the software will give a 0 score, which is not correct, but also users couldn't use the C2 error information with any public available software (like DAE rippers).

According to the CD Speed author, the C2 accuracy should be very high (99%) to be useful. An explanation of the reported C2 errors follows:

The "Quality" test score table is shown below:

- Test Results (MAX Speed)

The C2 accuracy of the AOpen CRW5224 was very bad since the drive got a 26.38% score. The quality score was also very bad with 0 score due to high sync error number (22506!). While the drive got a 0 score with the CDSpeed, the EAC results are much different. This happens since according to the CDSpeed when so many sync errors occur, C2 accuracy cannot be measured.

The C2 accuracy of the SONY CRX-220E1 was perfect since the drive got a 100% score. The quality score was very good with 84.3.

A newer version of EAC's analyser software also offers C2 accuracy %. Both results are posted below. The SONY CRX220E1 got a 99.99% C2 accuracy, while the AOpen CRW5224 got only 66.87%. The different results in C2% accuracy between the CDSpeed and EAC are

Test Disc
Reading Speed
SONY CRX-220E1
AOpen CRW5224
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
100
66.9
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
99.8
67.0
ABEX TCD-726
Max
100
66.7
Average Score
99.9%
66.87


5. CloneCD Reading Tests

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 5

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading times of the drive. 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 show the drive(s) reading/writing features as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD. The Sony CRX220E1 seems improved over the CRX210E1 drive by cutting down 20secs. The AOpen CRW5224 is the slowest drive with 176secs.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

All drives performed low with SafeDisc 2 discs. The faster drive was Sony CRX210E1 and the lowest AOpen CRX5224. Note that when using other software ,like Alcohol 120%, the same task will be performed at almost full speed (with the AOpen drive) as the following performance graph shows!

With the Sony drive, the speed graph is somewhat slower, since the drive doesn't skip bad sector so fast...

- LaserLock v.2 Results

The SONY CRX220E1 is improved over the SONY CRX220E1. The AOpen CRW5224 still performs low...

- SecuROM v.2 Results

All drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The two SONY drives got the first two places, while the AOpen 5224 comes last.


6. DAE Tests

52x Roundup Vol. 1- Page 6

DAE Tests

- DAE features

AOpen CRW5224

SONY CRX220E1

- Pressed AudioCD

The AOpen drive got the first place with 35.5X. The DAE reading speeds reached 52X, while the SONY CRX220E1 got the last place with 34.2X. The CRX210E1 was faster by 0.6X.

- Audio CD-R media

With CD-R media, the AOpen 5224 had the same performance (35.5X), while the SONY CRX220E1 stayed in the second place with 32.9X.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that for each drive we used the built-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
Sony CRX210E1
10.4
10.3
Sony CRX220E1
10.9
10.5
AOpen CRW5224
26.4
26.4

- Advanced DAE test

All the drives got a "100" score. The DAE speed for the SONY CRX220E1 is 34.2X , while the AOpen CRW5224 gets the first place with 35.5X.

- AOpen CRW5224

- SONY CRX220E1

- Bad CDR Media results

We used CD DAE software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) to the hard disk.

Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Sony CRX210E1
Read error at 88% of total disc
Sony CRX220E1
Read error at 0.2% of total disc
AOpen CRW5224
8.3
177229355
23.43

The condition of the disc can be considered as very bad, so the purpose of this test is not to get the best results with any read errors, but to estimate the capabilities of the drive. The SONY CRX-220E1 stops reading few seconds after start reading (0.2%)! The AOpen CRW5224 locked its reading speed at 8.3X and ends the test with a high error rate (23.43%), but it managed to end the process, unlike the SONY drive.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Sony CRX210E1
Can read up to 98 minutes
Sony CRX220E1
Can read up to 98 minutes
AOpen CRW5224
Can read up to 99 minutes

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC BURST mode) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
Sony CRX210E1
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes disc contents but cannot rip
Sony CRX220E1
AOpen CRW5224

Rips entire disc but under burst mode several tracks reported with errors

The AOpen CRW5224 was able to rip CDS200 protected Audio discs, while none of the tested drive could even recognize Key2Audio protected discs...


7. CDR Tests

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 7

CDR Tests

Both the SONY CRX220E1 and AOpen CRW5224 support 52X-writing speed. The SONY CRX-220E1 supports 4X, 8X, 12X, 16X (CLV), 24X (P-CAV), 32X (P-CAV), 40X (P-CAV), 48X (CAV) and 23-52X (CAV) writing speeds.

The Sony CRX-220E1 uses the "SmartBurn" feature in order to maintain the best writing quality for the inserted media. The maximum allowed writing speed is adjusted according to the disc specifications. Nero Burning Rom allows user to enable/disable the feature in the "choose drive" tab.

The AOpen CRW5224 supports 8X, 12X, 16X (CLV), 24X, 32X, 40X and 52X (CAV) writing speeds.

When JustSpeed is activated and inserted media is not supported for writing at the maximum speed, the drive will lower the maximum speed down to 24X. De-activating JustSpeed will enable writing at the maximum speed.

- Recording Tests

The amount of the data we burned was 704MB (80:01:26), for all the drives. The SONY CRX220E1 finishes the task first with 149secs (2:29mins) and the AOpen CRW5224 comes second with 151secs (2:31mins). The Sony CRX-210E1 is slower by only 7secs!

The above graph shows the recording performance differences of the three tested drives in all supported speeds. The results are the best we had for each speed. As we can see the AOpen CRW5224 was the slower drive in almost all-recording speed except the maximum (52X). Remember that the drive is still under development and changes will happened towards the retail version. We noticed that the drive took enough time during the PCA calibration that adds few seconds, else would probably had even lower recording time(s).

Its interesting that at the 24X writing speed the AOpen uses not P-CAV (23-24X) but CAV (11-24X) making the drive very slow, slight faster than a 16X CLV drive. The two SONY drives compete each other and in two recording speeds (16X, 24X) have the exact same results, while at 32X, 40X, 48X the SONY CRX-210E is faster!


Below is a table that shows the time differences compared to the 16X (CLV) recording speed for each drive. We also calculated the % difference for each recording speed (gain in recording time by %).

Recording Speeds
SONY CRX-220E1
AOpen CRW5224
Time difference
% difference
Time difference
% difference
52X
176
54.15
201
57.10
48X
162
49.84
-
-
40X
141
43.38
163
46.31
32X
131
40.31
125
35.51
24X
96
29.54
50
14.20

With an AOpen CRW5224 at 52X (CAV), users will notice the higher difference compared to the 16X (CLV) since the drive at 16X took extra time to finish the task. The drive would be 57.10% faster. The SONY CRX-220E1 users will see slight lower gains, not only in the maximum speed (54.15%) but also in the rest recording speeds.

- AOpen CRW5224 recording results

JustLink Enabled

JustLink Disabled

- SONY CRX220E1 recording results

The SONY CRX220E1 showed a strange behaviour with several media and only with one type of media had the best performance (2:29mins)

With several media, the drive when reached 51X (at 97-99%), dropped the writing speed at either 40X, 32X or even 16X as the following screen shot from Nero shows. Of course this increases the total recording time up to 2:36-2:45 (depending the drop of the writing speed). The same effect noticed at also the 48X writing speed. This shows the interference of SmartBurn in order to protect user from a bad burn...

- Overburning Tests

The AOpen drive can overburn up to 95 mins, while the SONY drive up to 99mins without any problems.

- CD-Text Results

Both drives can read/write CD-Text without any problems.

- CloneCD Writing Tests

The CloneCD software reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature. With the use of proper media, DAO-RAW writing can be performed up to 52X (CAV). For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions with the latest software patches installed. We used each drive as reader/writer at maximum reading/recording speed. Two discs were burned for each game (Amplify Weak Sectors On/Off). Note that for the "Sims - Unleashed game title we used PadusDJ as the reading/recording software, since CloneCD has some problems with the latest SafeDisc builds. The results are posted in the below table:

Game Title
Tested Drive
SD2 Build
Amplify Weak Sectors On
Amplify Weak Sectors Off
AOpen CRW5224
SONY CRX220E1
AOpen CRW5224
SONY CRX220E1
Max Payne v1.05
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v.2.50.020
Ok
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v.2.60.052
Ok
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM
The Sims - Unleashed
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v2.80.010
Ok
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM

As you can see, both the Sony and the AOpen drives didn't have any problems backup SafeDisc v2.5x.xx ~ 2.8x.xx builds. The Amplify Weak Sector function will not make any difference in that case. It is very interesting that finally an AOpen drive, that uses RICOH chipsets, can backup the SD2 patterns without the help of software patch (like the AWS setting)...


8. Writing Quality of AOpen CRW5224

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 8

Writing Quality Tests of AOpen CRW5224

We used various media and burn them at the maximum writing speed of 52X, with JustSpeed On/Off. The writing quality scores are in the following table:

- Firmware 0.91

Brand
JustSpeed Status
C1 Errors
Average Burning Time (mins)
Comments
Max
Average
Prodisc 80min 40X
On
21
0.7
2:34
Off
41
1.6
2:37
SKC 80min 16X
On
25
3.2
2:36
Off
29
4.3
Mitsubishi Chemicals
80min 48X
On
....
....
2:32
C2 errors disc un-readable
Off
....
....
2:29
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
On
33
1.5
2:30
Off
29
1.8
2:29
Plextor 80min 48X
On
455
12.9
2:32
Off
504
30.7
2:44
Imation 80min 32X
On
342
24.3
2:32
Off
425
38.3
2:32
Octron 80min 24X
On
55
7.4
2:36
Off
33
3.2
2:31

The AOpen CRW5224 writing quality cannot be judged at this point due to beta firmware revision (0.91). The above-posted results give a first look. The drive seems to like most the Prodisc, Ciba Plasmon and partially the Octron (Ritek) media.

We did notice a bad behaviour with TaiyoYuden and especially with Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X certified media. The recording times vary according to if JustSpeed is enabled or disabled. With the Ciba Plasmon 48X media, we had the best results of 2:29mins.

- C1/C2 Error rate from CibaPlasmon 80min 48X @ 52X (JustSpeed On)

- C1/C2 Error rate from Taiyo Yuden 80min 32X @ 24X (JustSpeed On)

- Firmware 0.95
Brand
JustSpeed Status
C1 Errors
Average Burning Time (mins)
Comments
Max
Average
Prodisc 80min 40X
On
34
1.4
2:32
C2 errors at the end
Off
31
1.4
2:31
SKC 80min 24X
On
19
1.2
2:51
Off
16
1.4
2:34
Mitsubishi Chemicals
80min 48X
On
28
1.5
2:32
Off
27
1.3
2:31
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
On
Writing only at 24X
Off
23
1.5
2:31
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32X
On
Writing only at 24X
Off
246
40.1
2:32
RITEK 80min 48X
On
44
1.1
2:36
Off
29
1.1
2:32

The AOpen CRW5224 writing quality was improved with many media, while became more strict with the inserted media. Now the Ciba Plasmon 48X and TY 32X (and 48X) media cannot be written at 52X with JustSpeed On. The best improvement is the writing with Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X media. The drive seems not to handle Prodisc media very well at the last minutes where 50X~51X reached.

- C1/C2 Error rate from Prodisc 80min 40X @ 52X (JustSpeed On)

- C1/C2 Error rate from Prodisc 80min 40X @ 52X (JustSpeed Off)

- C1/C2 Error rate from Taiyo Yuden 80min 32X @ 52X (JustSpeed Off)

We also noted some problems with specific media. In those cases the drive will stop burning when writing speed exceeds one specific limit as the following Nero screenshots show

- Imation 48X media

- TDK D-View 24X media

In the following table you can see the manufacturing details of the media we used for our tests.

Name
Real Manufacturer
ID Code
Capacity
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 48x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.73
Prodisc 80min 32x
Prodisc
97m32s19f
79:59.74
SanyoDigital 80min 24x
Plasmon
97m27s19f
79:59.74
Octron 80min 24x
Ritek
97m15s17f
79:59.73
Mitsui 80min 40X
Mitsui
97m27s58f
79:59.74
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 40x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.74
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32X
Taiyo Yuden
97m24s01f
79:59.73
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
Plasmon
97m27s18f
79:59.74
Imation 80min 32X
CMC Mangetics
97m26s66f
79:59:74
Plextor 80min 48X
Taiyo Yuden
97m24s01f
79:59.72


9. Writing Quality of SONY CRX220E1

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests of SONY CRX220E1

We used various media and burn them at the maximum writing speed of 52X, only with SmartBurn enabled. The writing quality scores are in the following table:

Brand
JustSpeed Status
C1 Errors
Average Burning Time (mins)
Comments
Max
Average
Prodisc 80min 40X
On
36
1.3
2:34
C2 errors disc
Mitsui SG Ultra 40X
On
18
0.8
2:43
SKC 80min 16X
On
41
7.0
2:39
Mitsubishi Chemicals
80min 48X
On
12
0.5
2:34
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
On
40
2.4
2:29
Plextor 80min 48X
On
48
1.9
2:41
Imation 80min 48X
On
32
4.6
2:39
TDK D-VIEW
On
24
1.6
2:38

The SONY CRX-220E1 writing quality with several media can be judged as good. With specific media the drive performed very well, but with some media caused C2 errors. The best quality results came from with Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X certified media (finally a good result from a LiteOn based drive!) while the best burning results (2:29mins) from Ciba Plasmon 48X media.

- C1/C2 Error rate from SKC 80min 16X @ 52X (SmartBurn On)

- C1/C2 Error rate from CibaPlasmon Yuden 80min 48X @ 52X (SmartBurn On)

- C1/C2 Error rate from Prodisc 80min 40X @ 52X (SmartBurn On)

- C1/C2 Error rate from SanyoDigital 80min 32X @ 40X (SmartBurn On)

In the following table you can see the manufacturing details of the media we used for our tests.

Name
Real Manufacturer
ID Code
Capacity
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 48x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.73
Prodisc 80min 40x
Prodisc
97m32s19f
79:59.74
SanyoDigital 80min 24x
Plasmon
97m27s19f
79:59.74
TDK D-VIEW 80min 24x
Ritek
97m15s17f
79:59.73
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 40x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.74
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
Plasmon
97m27s18f
79:59.74
Imation 80min 48X
CMC Mangetics
97m26s66f
79:59:74
Plextor 80min 48X
Taiyo Yuden
97m24s01f
79:59.72


10. RW-Packet Writing Tests

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 8

RW Writing Tests

Both SONY and the AOpen drive support the new 24X US-RW (CAV) recording technology. At that US-RW format, the SONY drive supports 10X (CLV), 16X (CLV?) and 24X (CAV) while the AOpen only 24X (CAV) writing speeds (even specs mention 16X CAV also). The Plextor PX-W4824A and YAMAHA CRW-F1E support 24X (P-CAV) and have higher average writing speeds.

With HS-RW media, the Sony CRX-220E1 supports 4X, 8X, 10X and 12X CLV, while the AOpen CRW5224 4X, 10X and 12X CLV re-writing speeds.

For the burning tests, we burned a full 74mins disc with all the drives. The results are showed in the following chart, in the maximum supported speed for each drive.

The faster re-writer comes from YAMAHA with only 221secs. The PleXWriter PX-W4824A follows with 224secs; the AOpen CRW5224 comes third with 290secs and the SONY CRX-220E1 last with 305secs. In comparison with a HS-RW 12X re-writer (SONY CRX-210E1) that needs 401secs to end the same task, we can see major performance difference, especially with the Plextor and Yamaha drives.

Under HS-RW media, we had the following results:

Drive
Writing Time
SONY CRX220E1
402
AOpen CRW5224
409

- 24X US-RW writing results

AOpen CRW5224

SONY CRX220E1

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.5.16 for the packet writing tests. The new design of InCD seems interesting:

The formatted disc had 534 MB 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 more than once, to eliminate any possible time measurement faults and user errors.

As was expected the YAMAHA and Plextor drive leads the packet writing tests. The AOpen drive comes third and the SONY drive forth at the writing part. At the reading part, there is a change since the AOpen and SONY drives get the first two places. With HS-RW media, the AOpen is faster than the Sony drive as the following results show:

Drive
Average Writing Speed (X)
Average Reading Speed (X)
SONY CRX220E1
8.58
20.45
AOpen CRW5224
8.67
24.37

11. Mt. Rainier Tests

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 11

Mt. Rainier Tests

- InCD Tests

For testing the Mt. Rainier performance, we used was InCD v3.15.16 by Ahead Software. After the format process, we immediately started the recording process (drag & drop). When the drive finished, we started the reading process back to the HD. The AOpen CRW5224 performed very low since the writing taken up to 28mins, while the reading performed at full speed...

Drive
Average Writing Speed (X)
Average Reading Speed (X)
YAMAHA
CRW-F1DX
12X HS-RW
7.08
20.31
24X US-RW
12.7
20.89
PleXWriter PX-W4824A
10X HS-RW
6.36
16.60
24X US-RW
12.80
16.13
SONY CRX220E1
12X HS-RW
8.27
19.75
24X US-RW
10.61
19.75
AOpen CRW5224
12X HS-RW
1.35
22.46
24X US-RW
2.25
23.14

- EasyWrite tests

- Introduction

The Philips Easy Write tests checks the quality level of the Mt Rainier implementation. Both drives did accept the EasyWrite test suite commands so we had the chance to test their performance.

- Basic Command Test Results

Below are the test results using MRW PartA v1.60 validation script.

Tests
AOpen CRW5224
SONY CRX-220E1
Mandatory Startup Basic Command Set
MRW Feature
Passed
Passed
SMART Feature
Supported Profiles
Mode Sense Pages
Background Format
Minimal Blank
Check Format Capacity for Mode 24 Hex
Format Unit
Read Disc Information
FAILED : Disc Type is Mode 2 Form 1 XA Disc : Failed
Check Write Mode Page
Not Yet Implemented !
Set Write Mode Page Parameters
Passed
Passed
Test GAA Addressing
Set GAA Area Addressing
Passed
Passed
Write Data Outside GAA Area
Write Data Inside GAA Area
Synchronize Cache
Read Data Inside GAA Area
Verify Data Inside GAA Area
Set DMA Area Addressing
Read/Write in Ice
Read Track Info
Passed
Passed
Write in Iced Area (Address = 128205 - Blocks = 236)
Synchronize Cache
Read & Verify Iced Area (Address = 128205 - Blocks = 236)
Early Eject
Eject Disc with Background Format in Progress
Passed
Passed
Close Track/Session
Eject Disc
Script Validation Time
00 Hours 06 Minutes 00 Seconds 749 MSec
00 Hours 04 Minutes 46 Seconds 041 MSec

Both the AOpen CRW5224 and the SONY CRX-220E1 passed the "Basic Command Test". The AOpen CRW5224 did failed in a subtest (Background Format->Read Disc Information: FAILED : Disc Type is Mode 2 Form 1 XA Disc), however the test suite said the drive succefuly passed it.

- Light/Heavy Rock'N'Roll Tests (Normal HS-RW Media)

Below are the test results using the Light & Heavy Rock'N'Roll validation scripts. The AOpen CRW5224 completed the Light RnR script while failed at the Heavy RnR. The SONY CRX-220E1 failed to complete the Light R&R while passes the Heavy R&R.

Tests
AOpen CRW5224
SONY CRX-220E1
Light R&R
Ok!
FE
Light R&R Test Duration
02 Hours 54 Minutes 31 Seconds 522 MSec
00 Hours 17 Minutes 29 Seconds 429 MSec
Heavy R&R
FE
Ok!
Heavy R&R Test Duration
00 Hours 47 Minutes 12 Seconds 216 MSec
02 Hours 20 Minutes 13 Seconds 849 MSec

Remarks:
Time: hours:mins:secs:msecs
FE = Fatal Error

- Light/Heavy Rock'N'Roll Tests (Defect HS-RW Media)

Below are the test results using the Light & Heavy Rock'N'Roll validation scripts. The SONY CRX-220E1 failed to complete the Light R&R while passes the Heavy R&R. The AOpen CRW5224 on the other hand, passes the Light RnR while fails at the Heavy RnR script.

Tests
AOpen CRW5224
SONY CRX-220E1
Notes
Light R&R
Ok!
FE
WARNING : Read10 Command Exceeded 10 Seconds Timeout
FAILED : Read10 Command : Failed (Sense Code 03/0C/00)
Light R&R Test Duration
02 Hours 10 Minutes 28 Seconds 178 MSec
00 Hours 29 Minutes 36 Seconds 815 MSec
Heavy R&R
FE
Ok!
(WARNING : Read10 Command Exceeded 10 Seconds Timeout)
Heavy R&R Test Duration
00 Hours 47 Minutes 11 Seconds 152 MSec
03 Hours 41 Minutes 53 Seconds 354 MSec

Remarks:
Time: hours:mins:secs:msecs
FE = Fatal Error


12. Conclusion

52x Roundup Vol. 1 - Page 12

Conclusion

While most users now have the chance to buy a 48X recorder, the need for faster recording may change their mind to wait until the next generation of 52X recorders arrive. Certainly we can say that the 52X recording platform has not much to offer compared with the existing 48X recorders, only few lesser seconds with the use of specific media. As the test showed, in most cases even 32X media cannot be used for 48X/52X recording, but shortly expected most media manufacturers to ship 52X media to the market. In our tests, we used mostly 48X media, since till today, no 52X media exists or sold, at least to our knowledge...

On the other hand, the 24X US-RW format has something to offer mainly to users that use re-writeable media to everyday storage. The increased re-writing speed will lower the burning time. However the implementation of US-RW that both drives follow, doesn't offer much higher performance than existing 16X CLV re-writers (CyberDrive CW088D, ASUS CRW4816A). The Plextor PX-W4824A and Yamaha CRW-F1 series are the only two tested drives that offer near to 24X CLV re-writing speeds due to their 24X P-CAV recording technology.

Lastly, the 52X reading speed, may give faster results but also produces high noise and vibrations compared with the 40X reading speed that may trouble user. Both the AOpen and SONY 52X drive face that problem by offering the 52X reading speed only under the 'Turbo' mode.

We hoped this (p)-review showed users what should expect from two 52X upcoming drives. As soon as, the retail versions arrive, we plan to re-test and post our final thoughts. Stay tuned for more 52X reviews in the near future. Who ever thinks his recorder is the fast, may reconsider it. 52X recorders are just around the corner... :)



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