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Appeared on: Friday, November 22, 2002

1. Introduction/Installation

Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 1

- Introduction

For all those who still consider a good CD-ROM drive as a "desktop essential", Teac offers a new solution for reading at a high speed of 52X. Although the in our latest hardware reviews we had to do with high-end CD-R/RW and DVD recorders, we could not resist testing the new CD-ROM drive from Teac. The performance of the drive is compared with the already tested CD-ROM solutions from Samsung, MSI and CyberDrive.

- Drive features

The Teac CD-552E is a 52X ATAPI CD-ROM drive. The current firmware revision installed is v1.00 and the supported cache buffer is 128 KB.

In the following picture you can see the detailed specifications of the drive.

- The package

The retail kit contains the drive itself, a quick installation guide, an IDE cable and mounting screws. A multimedia CD-ROM is also bundled with information and specifications about the Teac products. Teac offers a 2-year warranty for the CD-552E. The retail price of the drive is 30~50 Euro, including tax.

The front panel of the drive looks generic and on the disc loading tray there is the "Compact Disc" logo. The eject/stop button among with the fast/forward button is placed below the tray on the right side of the front panel, as usually. The operation LED indicates the drive's status and is active while reading. Last, the available headphone jack and the volume control knob let you use the drive as an audio playback device.

On the rear panel there are the usual connectors, such as the DC input, the ATAPI interface, the device configuration jumper, and the analog/digital audio outputs.

After removing the screws on the bottom we can see the drive's internal design (click for a high-res).

Click To Enlarge!

- Installation

The Teac drive was identified as "Teac CD-552E" under WinXP. The drive was installed to the secondary IDE channel of our test PC as a "Master" and worked in Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode. The drive was a 2002 model came with firmware version v1.00 installed.

For all the tests we used the latest versions of CloneCD, CDDAE, CDSpeed and EAC. We compare the performance of the Teac drive with three other CD-ROM drives, the Cyberdrive 52X, the MSI MS-8152 and the Samsung SC-152L (52X).

2. Data Reading Tests

Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 2

Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results ( Click to see the 74min & 80min graphs)

The Teac CD-552E supports 52X CAV CD-R reading speed. The drive started reading at 23.1X and reached 52.32X at the end of the disc, resulting to an average reading speed of 39.71X. In the same test, the CyberDrive 52X was faster with 40.06X.

The seek times of Teac CD-552E were low in all the stroke modes, and agree with the drive's specifications. The Samsung SC-152L has the lowest Random seek times, while the TEAC and CyberDrive 52X drives have the exact same seek times in all three tests.

- CDR Media results ( Click to see the 74min & 80min graphs)

All the drives read faster the CD-R test disc than the pressed one. The TEAC CD-552E gave a 39.75X average reading speed, while the CyberDrive 52X was again the faster with 40.9X.

The seek times with CD-R media are different than with the pressed test disc. The MSI MS-8152 is the faster drive, while the TEAC CD-552E follows closely.

- HS-RW media (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

The Teac CD-552E read the HS-RW test disc quite slowly, starting at 10.41X and ending at 24X. That gives an average of 18.17X.

3. CD Error Correction
Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the error correction capabilities of TEAC CD-552E.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Test Results (Max Reading)

The errors within the black triangle defect reached the -24dB in specific areas and gave an average of -24.3dB(A). The five scratches produced high error spikes and after the fifth scratch the drive seems to loose control. The score is only 52.8 out of 100 (max), which is considered as low for a CD-ROM drive.

Errors total
Num: 115230115
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 581862
Avg: -29.0 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 76648
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 622 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 353
Avg: 44.2 Samples
Max: 2934 Samples
Total Test Result
52.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)


- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 1276251
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 51386
Avg: -72.0 dB(A)
Max: -5.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 5664
Avg: 13.4 Samples
Max: 574 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
73.6 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The score for TEAC CD-552E is 73.6 points out of 100. The error spikes reached several times the -5.1 dB(A).

- ABEX TCD-726

- Test Results (Max Speed)

The TEAC CD-552E performed well with the ABEX TCD-726 test disc. The drive at 16mins produced a high spike that reached -5.9 dB(A) and the total score is 77.5 points out of 100 (average).

Errors total
Num: 2140
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 61
Avg: -46.9 dB(A)
Max: -5.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 27
Avg: 5.9 Samples
Max: 43Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 1
Avg: 494Samples
Max: 494 Samples
Total Test Result
77.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

Teac CD-552E gets an average score of 67.97 out of 100 in the reading error correction tests.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Tests Results (Max Speed)

CD Speed reported many compare errors and (165) sync errors for TEAC CD-552E. As a result, the quality score for the drive is 82.6 points out of 100, and is considered as good. The C2 accuracy is calculated at 93.57%, while the EAC results are the same (with the ABEX TCD-721R)

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score (%)
Average Score

4. CloneCD Reading Tests

Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 4

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 time of the drives. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities 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. TEAC CD-552E finished the task at 205 seconds, which is the second worst performance. The best performance comes from CyberDrive 52X with 110 seconds.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The TEAC CD-552E is not the best reader for SafeDisc v.2 discs. The drive is extremely slow with the pressed disc (over 2hours) and needs 1h:20 min to finish the backup disc task. The fastest reader in this test was the Samsung SC-152L.

- SecuROM Results

All the drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The MSI MS-8152 was the fastest drive either with pressed/backup discs. The TEAC CD-552E gets the second place in the test.

5. DAE Tests

Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 5

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 reports that Teac CD-552E does not support caching of data, but gives "Accurate Stream" and retrieves "C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the speed of the DAE of the drive. TEAC CD-552E supports the 40X (max) DAE speed. The drive finished first with a 28.5X score, while the MSI MS-8152 comes second with 28.0X.

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping speed is slightly slower. The MSI drive gets the second place with a 27.9X.

- 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 build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Teac CD-552E

- Advanced DAE Quality

TEAC CD-552E got a 100 score (out of 100) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for the drive is 28.94X. The drive cannot read data from SubChannel but supports CD Text.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

Error Level
Teac CD-552E

The Toshiba drive showed average error correction / concealment abilities with the CD-Check audio test disc. The first three audio tracks were playbacked correctly without any error noises. The rest tracks produced audible errors.

- Bad CDR Media results

Unfortunately, the drive did not recognize the test disc and the test PC was locked.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

The drive recognizes the contents of 90/99 min discs and can rip them without any problems.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

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

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

Teac CD-552E
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes disc contents can rip but with very low speed (~1X)

The drive cannot handle the "Key2Audio" protected discs. The disc contents were not recognized and ripping was impossible. On the other hand, the drive recognizes the "Cactus Data Shield 200" protected discs, but ripping is too slow at ~1X.

6. Conclusion

Teac CD-552E IDE CD-ROM - Page 6


Positive (+)
Negative (-)
- Good seek times with CD-R/pressed media
- Supports up to 40X DAE reading speed
- Can read 90, 99min discs
- Can read CD-Text
- C2 error information is present with accuracy when the disc doesn't contain many errors
- Average CD error correction capabilities
- Cannot "handle" Key2Audio protected discs
- Handles "Cactus Data Shield 200" audio protected discs but with some problems
- Very slow reader with protected discs
- C2 error information accuracy is low when the disc contains many errors

The basic requirements of a candidate user from a CD-ROM drive are generally the reading reliability and of course a reasonable reading speed. TEAC CD-552E is a competitive reader among the other CD-ROM drives in the market, at least in terms of speed. The drive reads an inserted CD-ROM/CD-R disc at 40X average, provides low seek times and rips an audio CD to the hard disk fast enough for its category, at a speed of 29X (average). This result is expected when the inserted audio CD is in a good physical condition, with no scratches or defects.

Otherwise, Teac CD-552E will slow down the ripping speed in order to maintain quality reading and extraction. However, with heavily scratched/defected discs such as the Abex test discs we used in the DAE error correction test, besides the increased duration of the test, the drive did not give the most accurate results. The test reported many uncorrectable read errors among with sync errors, resulting to a low overall score in the test. In the same test, we examined the reliability of the retrieving of C2 error information of the drive, which turned out to be not very high.

The drive will read written HS-RW media, but at a low speed (10-24X), while it will read protected discs very slowly. It will partially read Cactus Data Shield 200 audio protected discs, but cannot handle the Key2Audio ones. Audiophiles will be satisfied with the support of CD-Text reading, the reading of 99min Audio discs and may find the high C2 % accuracy useful, when the disc doesn't contain many errors.

To sum up, we could say that the overall performance of TEAC CD-552E was higher than an average CD-ROM drive. Future firmware may also improve the performance at specific areas to give the ultimate performance. Of course now days where DVD became a must have, the TEAC DV-516E could be a more balanced solution than the CD-552E. As always the choice is yours. TEAC offers a 2-year warranty for the drive and its price is expected to be around Euro 30~50.

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