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Appeared on: Wednesday, February 05, 2003
BTC 5224IM


1. Introduction

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 1

- Introduction

Behavior Tech Computer Corporation was established in 1982 in Taiwan. The company is mainly engaged in optical storage solutions and optical electronics such as CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives but lately has expanded the product range to digital cameras, GPS systems and desktop accessories. The latest CD-RW drive from BTC is the BTC 5224IM 52/24/52 IDE recorder. The drive is manufactured in December 2002 and challenges a part of the 52X recording market.

- Specifications

The official specifications of the drive are illustrated below.

The 52X CAV CD-R and 24X RW writing speeds among with the 52X CAV reading speeds are possibly the most interesting features of the drive. The maximum audio extraction speed is set to 40X and the supported cache buffer is 2MBNero Info Tool confirms the specifications above among with some more detailed information:

The installed firmware version is v0012. BTC 5224IM supports the SuperLink Buffer Underun Protection, (based upon MediaTek chipsets), and the Mount Rainier format. The drive can also retrieve C2 error information. The following pictures show the available reading/writing speeds:

- Recording Technology

The drive supports the 52X recording speed with the use of CAV recording technology. As Nero CD Speed graph shows, the drive starts writing at 23.24X and accelerates to 52.24X by the end of the disc. That gives an average theoretical writing speed of 39.58X with 80min CD-R media.

- The package

We got the European retail package an application software disc, containing Nero Burning Rom v5.5.9.1.6, Nero InCD and manuals for various BTC drives. The package does not include any CD-R or HS-RW media. The drive is priced at only Euro60-70. The latest firmware is 0012 and can be downloaded at http://www.btcusa.com/cdrw.html

 

- Looking at the drive

On the front panel of the drive there are the eject/stop and play/skip buttons used for audio CD playback. The volume selector and the headphone jack are placed on the left side of the front panel. In the picture below you can also see the "52x24x52" logo and the operation status LED.

On the rear panel of the drive you will find the IDE connector, the configuration jumpers, the analogue and the digital audio output connectors and of course the power connector.

- Inside the drive

After removing the bottom screws we can see the internal of the drive. Note that by doing this the warranty becomes invalid. The drive uses Mediatek chipsets as well as many other 52X writers (ASUS, CyberDrive).

Click for large view

- Installation

The BTC 5224IM was installed as a Master device in the secondary IDE channel of our test PC, and worked at Ultra DMA mode. After booting, it identified itself as a "CDWRITER IDE5224". We used Nero v5.5.10, CloneCD v4.2.0.2 and Ahead InCD v3.51.91 for the recording tests. In the test sections the BTC drive is compared to three other 52X writers from Aopen, CyberDrive and Asus.

In the test sections the BTC drive is compared to three other 52X writers from Aopen, CyberDrive and Asus.


2. Data Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 2

Data Tests

- Pressed CD results (74min and 80min CDSpeed graphs)

All the drives support the 52X CAV reading speed. As you can see there is not any clear lead but speaking with numbers, the BTC drive is the fastest in the test with 39.92X average reading speed.

BTC 5224IM and CyberDrive CW099D gave almost the same seek times with pressed discs, and seems to be the fastest in this test. The Asus CRW5224 is slightly slower while the Aopen CRW5224 follows.

- CD-R results (74min and 80min CDSpeed graphs)

With CD-R media, the BTC drive keeps up the good performance and finishes with a 39.34X average reading speed. All the drives finished the test in a faster speed than with pressed media.

The seek times with CD-R media are slightly lower than in the previous test with the pressed discs. The BTC and Asus drives lead the race giving less than 80msec for the Random seek mode.

- RW media (Press for CDSpeed graph)

BTC 5224IM supports the 32X CAV reading speed for the HS-RW format. The drive started reading at 14X and gradually accelerated to 32.39X by the end of the disc. However, the compatible drives were faster and the Aopen drive is finished the same task with an average speed of 37.61X. The CyberDrive and Asus drives follow with 31.78X and 31.15X respectively.


3. Error Correction Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 115275129
Errors (Loudness) dB (A)
Num: 588893
Avg: -29.6 dB (A)
Max: -7.2 dB (A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 76981
Avg: 1.1 Samples
Max: 622 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 363
Avg: 43.2 Samples
Max: 2934 Samples
Total Test Result
52.7 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The drive didn't perform very well and produced a high amount of errors, as you can see from with high spikes in the graph. After the fifth scratch area the drive seems to loose control and produces a constant error level of -7.2dB (A). Also the black defect triangle seems to cause problems resulting to an overall score of 52.7 points out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-721R

- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 1317826
Errors (Loudness) dB (A)
Num: 154860
Avg: -79.2 dB (A)
Max: -31.3 dB (A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 4757
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 8 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 1
Avg: 6.0 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
71.6 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The drive performed better with ABEX 721R test disc. The average level is -79.2dB(A), while the max spike reached -31.35 dB (A). The score is 71.6 points out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-726

- Test Results (Max Speed)

Errors total
Num: 242
Errors (Loudness) dB (A)
Num: 447
Avg: -74.6 dB (A)
Max: -54.1 dB (A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Avg: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Avg: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
52.7 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The ABEX 726 test disc was easier to read for the BTC 5224IM. Only a few errors were reported resulting to a good score of 89.6 points out of 100.

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
BTC 5224IM
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
52.7
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
71.6
ABEX TCD-726
Max
89.6
Average Score
71.3

The BTC 5224IM gave an average performance with a 71.3 score out of 100. However, as we have mentioned the EAC Test results-percentages do not denote any absolute and standard units. We run these tests in order to have an idea of the overall error correction performance of a drive.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Test Results (MAX Speed)

Below is the CDSpeed DAE quality test result of the drive with the ABEX TCD-721R test disc. The amount of compare errors seems to be less than the real errors on the defected disc. In addition, no Sync errors were reported and no C2 errors were missed, resulting to a quality score of 85.6 points out of 100. The retrieved C2 info is also very accurate:

Below are the C2 % accuracy results as the EAC software reports. Considering the results with the ABEX test discs, CDSpeed confirmed the 100% result in the previous test.

Test Disc
Reading Speed
BTC 5224IM
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
50.00
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
99.7
ABEX TCD-726
Max
100
Average Score
83.23

4. CloneCD Reading Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 4

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 3 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 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 shows the drive(s) reading/writing features as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

We ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD using the default settings. The drive needs only 52secs to finish the task, but the CyberDrive and Asus drives are faster by a few seconds.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

BTC 5224IM finished the pressed disc reading in 14 minutes and the backup one in 16 minutes. The performance is average since the CyberDrive and Asus drives were significantly faster in the same tasks.

- SecuROM v.2 Results

All drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The duration of the process for the BTC drive was only 2:30 minutes, but again, the Asus and CyberDrive drives are faster.


5. DAE Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 5

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC reports that BTC5224E retrieves C2 error information, as we already confirmed in the previous tests, support "caching" and give "accurate stream".

- Pressed AudioCD

According to the official specifications, the BTC5224E supports 40X maximum audio extraction speed. However, our test showed that the drive ripped the audio files to the hard disk at 29.7X average.

- Audio CD-R media

With CD-R media, the performance of the BTC drive was not improved.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode ensures the maximum quality of the produced WAV:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
BTC 5224IM
10.5
10.5
AOpen CRW5224
26.4
26.4
CyberDrive CW099D
13.3
13.2
Asus CRW5224
17.8
13.2

- Advanced DAE test

All the drives got a "100" score. The DAE speed for the BTC 5224IM is 27.78X. The drive can also read CD-text and Subchannel data.

- Bad CDR Media results

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

Tested Drives
Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
BTC 5224IM
Read error at 2%
AOpen CRW5224
8.3
177229355
23.43
CyberDrive CW099D
Read error at 88%
Asus CRW5224
Recognizes the disc contents, cannot rip

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 zero read errors, but to estimate the capabilities of the drive. The drive returned a reading error in the 2% of the total disc.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
BTC 5224IM
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)

Tested Drives
Key2Audio
CDS200
BTC 5224IM
Cannot recognize disc
Recognizes disc but cannot rip
AOpen CRW5224
Rips disc contents but with errors under burst mode
CyberDrive CW099D
Recognizes disc but cannot rip
Asus CRW5224
Cannot recognize disc

The BTC 5224IM cannot handle any audio protection. The CDS200 protected disc was recognized but ripping was not possible.


6. CDR Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 6

CDR Tests

- Recording Technology

The drive supports the 52X recording speed with the use of CAV recording technology. As Nero CD Speed graph shows, the drive starts writing at 23.24X and accelerates to 52.24X by the end of the disc. That gives an average theoretical writing speed of 39.58X with 80min CD-R media.

The drive also supports the 8X, 16X, 20X (CLV), 24X, 32X (P-CAV), 40X, 48X and 52X (CAV) writing speeds.

The drive automatically reduces the maximum writing speed (52x) when it detects lower quality media for burning. The pictures below come from Nero when non-52X certified blank media was inserted.

- Recording Tests

If you like numbers then yes, you can say that the BTC 5224IM is the leader in the 52X recording speed. The drive is only one second faster than the Aopen drive and four seconds faster than the Asus CRW5224. The specific result came with "That's CD-R" 48X media from Taiyo Yuden. The below graph shows the recording times for all the supported recording speeds above with Taiyo Yuden 80min 48X media:

- Supported media

From our tests, we saw that Taiyo Yuden 40X, Taiyo Yuden 48X Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X, Fuji 40X, Imation 48X and SCK 48X media could be burned at 52X.
In the following chart you can see the maximum allowed writing speeds according to the inserted disc type:

Disc
ID Code
Capacity
Max allowed recording speed
TaiyoYuden 40X
972401
79:59:72
52X
Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X
973423
79:59:73
SKC 48X
972626
79:59:73
Imation 48X
CMC 972666
79:59:71
Prodisc 40X
972319
79:59:72
48X
Prodisc Printable 40X
973219
79:59:74
40X
Fuji 40X
972954
79:59:73
Ciba Plasmon 48X
972718
79:59:74
TDK 48X
972319
79:59:72
Mitsui 48X
972758
79:59:72
24X

- Overburning Tests

The drive can overburn up to 99mins.

- CD-Text Results

The drive is able to 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 at 52X.

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 the drive as reader/writer in the maximum reading/recording speed. Two discs were burned for each game. The first disc was burned with PadusDJ and the other with CloneCD (Amplify Weak Sectors On). The results are posted in the following table.

Game Title
Tested Drive
SD2 Build
Settings
CloneCD (Amplify Weak Sectors On
PadusDJ
Max Payne v1.05
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v.2.50.020
Ok
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v.2.60.052
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM
The Sims - Unleashed
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v2.80.010
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM

The BTC 5224IM, as well as the rest 52X recorders, can backup SafeDisc v2.5x.xx ~ 2.80.xx builds without any problems.


7. Writing Quality Tests - Page 1

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 7

Writing Quality Tests - Page 1

We used Taiyo Yuden 80min 48X CD-R media and burned the same AudioCD project (with CD-Text) at all recording speeds from 8X-52X. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

As we can see from the above graphs, the 3T Pit Jitter stays below the 35ns RED book limit at 4X ~ 32X recording speeds. In the 40X recording speed the drive produced higher jitter values after the 59min until the end of the disc. The situation is the same in the 48X speed, where the jitter value overcomes the 35ns after the 59 min again, but it reaches to 41nsec by the end of the disc. In the maximum speed the jitter is increased from the 40 min. By the 59min the value is kept at 38nsec, but just before the end of the disc jitter climbs up to 41nsec for some minutes. In this area the drive's reading speed is approximately 48X and accelerates to 52X. Hopefully, jitter is decreased to 36nsec by the 76-80min.

The average 3T Jitter values for all recording speeds are illustrated in the following table.

The average value of jitter is less than 35nsec for all the recording speeds. However, in the maximum 52X writing speed the drive is very close to that limit. The lowest jitter was measured for the 16X speed.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land results are almost the same as the in the previous measurements of the 3T Pit Jitter. For the 48X the jitter is increased after the 59min and reaches the 40nsec in the last minutes. In the 52X there is a 39nsec peak after the 70min of the disc but again the jitter is decreased to normal levels by the end of the disc.

- Conclusion

Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
8X
28
32.12
No
28
16X
27.15
33.78
No
28
20X
30.71
31.88
No
32
24X
28.02
28.61
No
30
32X
32.93
29.12
No
33
40X
33.71
29.80
Yes after 70mins
37
48X
28.39
31.34
Yes after 58mins
41
52X
34.78
35.49
Yes after 58mins
41

The average 3T Pit and Land jitter values are below the 25nsec standard for all the recording speeds. However, it seems that recording at speeds higher than 40X could possibly lead to higher jitter, especially by the end of the recorded disc. This does not always mean that read errors will occur in those areas. The final audio output is depends on many parameters such as the abilities of the playback device. Of course these results show the behaviour of the drive with the specific media from Taiyo Yuden.


8. Writing Quality Tests - Page 2

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 8

Writing Quality Tests - Page 2

We tested the drive with a variety of other media in order to check the writing quality performance.

- 3T Pit results

As we can see from the above graphs, the 3T Pit Jitter exceeds 35ns RED book limit in some areas for almost all media. The Intenso seems to produce the worst results, while the SKC 48X media will perform well until the 45min, where the drive accelerated to 40X. Note that the speed was internally set to 32X for the rest of the burning process with the SKC media. The Mitsubishi Chemicals media also performed well until the 76min, where jitter reached the 42ns. Below are posted the average values for all tested media.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land Jitter values seem to agree with the corresponding values of the 3T Pit test. The Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X produced the best results, while the SKC 48X the worst. Below are posted the average values for all tested media.

- Conclusion

Media
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
SKC 48X
37.41
38.71
Yes at 41mins
44Pit, 60Land
Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X
31.44
34.24
Yes at 40mins
42Pit, 48Land
Intenso 48X
33.71
38.88
Yes
56Pit, 60Land

The results with various 48X media are at least interesting. The media that worked best with the BTC 5224IM comes from TaiyoYuden and is rated at 48X. The specific media produced the lowest 3T Pit&Land values and didn't exceed the 35ns limit. The Intenso 48X doesn't seem to perform well giving the worst results. The Mitsubishi Chemicals was a good performer until 78mins, where the jitter value reached the 41ns.


9. RW Writing Tests

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 9

RW Writing Tests

The drive supports the 12X, 16X and 24X US-RW and the 4X, 8X, 10X for the HS-RW format.

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

Although the BTC 5224IM supports 24X rewriting, the drive did not work with Mitsubishi Chemicals US-RW (24X) based media. It only allowed rewriting at 16X, hence the increased writing times in the above graph (299 seconds). The CyberDrive and Asus drives are faster with 219 seconds (24X).

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.51.91 for the packet writing tests. 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.

Again, the BTC drive behaved as a 16X recorder and gets the last place with a 10.85X average writing speed. In the reading part, the performance was not higher compared to the other drives.

- Mt. Rainier Tests

For testing the Mt. Rainier performance, we used was InCD v3.51.91 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 PX-W4012TS performed well without any problems. The drive's reading/writing performance was lower than in the normal Packet writing mode.

Drive
Average Writing Speed (X)
Average Reading Speed (X)
BTC 5224IM
24X US-RW
10X
10.13X
HS-RW
8.26
8.35

- EasyWrite tests

The Philips Easy Write test checks the quality level of the Mt Rainier implementation. Although the drive accepted the EasyWrite test suite commands it didn't fulfil the basic PartA v1.60 tests, so we didn't proceed with the rest tests.


10. Conclusion

BTC 5224IM IDE CD-RW RECORDER - Page 10

Conclusion

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 52X, 24X writing/re-writing speeds
- Supports SuperLink anti-coaster technology
- Very fast 52X CD-R reader
- Low seek times
- Supports Mt. Rainier format
- Supports hardware EFM correction
- Supports DAO-RAW writing mode
- Reads/writes SubChannel Data from Audio/Data tracks
- Supports reading/writing of 99min CDs
- Supports CD-Text (read/write)
- Supports C2 error information with high accuracy (100%) according to the Nero CDSpeed tests
- Low Price (Euro 60)

- Writing above 48X produces high 3T Pit/Land Jitter
- CD Error correction could be better
- DAE is lower compared with other drives (40X max)
- Didn't recognize Mitsubishi Chemicals US-RW as 24X compatible, only 16X
- Cannot handle any Audio protected discs
- Retail package doesn't include any CD-R, US-RW media!

Fast reading and writing is definitely the strong feature of the new BTC5224IE. The drive not only competes the other 52X CAV recorders in the market, but also takes a slight lead in terms of speed. The new 52X writing record is 2:27 minutes with Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X media. Reading is also combined with low seek times.

But is the absolute speed the panacea? The answer is no, for the most of the experienced users. We are talking about writing quality and reading accuracy. The jitter measurements showed that the writing strategy of BTC 5214IE could possibly lead to increased jitter in audio CDs, especially in the high writing speeds. Although the average 3T Pit and Land jitter values did not exceed the Red Book standard, the recorded audio discs gave some high jitter peaks by the end of the disc, where the writing speed was more than 40X and acceleration to 52X (CAV) was in full progress. This behaviour was noticed with all the media we tested, especially with SKC 48X and Intenso 48X. On the other hand, the situation was much better with Mitsubishi Chemicals and Taiyo Yuden media. Note that the jitter values are measured during reading. High jitter may produce errors during playback (skipping, noise) especially with portable/car cd players.

In the error correction tests with audio CDs the drive performed averagely, but the retrieved C2 error information was accurate (100% according to the Nero CD Speed results). Speaking for audio we should note that the drive gave a 30X DAE speed (average), which is slower than other competitor drives. Audio protected discs are also not supported by BTC 5224IE.

In addition, the drive did not manage to rewrite in the maximum supported 24 X speed, at least with Mitsubishi Chemicals US-RW media. It only supported them at 16X writing speed. We are not aware of the type of US-RW media the BTC supports since no media were included in the retail package. A future firmware upgrade is expected improve the US-RW media compatibility.

On the other hand, the BTC 5224IM is a very good solution for CloneCD users. The drive is not the fastest reader but it produces working backups of SafeDisc v.2 protected discs (hardware EFM correction), reads/writes SubChannel Data from Audio/Data tracks and supports RAW DAO writing. In addition, overburning, CD-Text reading/writing and 99min audioCDs are included in the supported features.

Price is sometimes a strong parameter someone has in mind before buying a product. The BTC 5214IM is priced at Euro 60-70 and it is possibly the cheapest 52X recorder in the market. Thus, with the proper firmware tunings the drive could become a very good solution for the entry-level user.



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