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Appeared on: Sunday, June 22, 2003
Mitsumi CR-485FTE CD-RW

1. Introduction

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 1

Mitsumi is the first manufacturer that decided to support the 54x CAV writing speed. In a time frame where all the optical storage manufacturers announced their 52x writers, Mitsumi made a step forward by demonstrating the Mitsumi CR-485FTE at CeBIT, Hanover 2003.

The specifications of the drive are impressive and include 32X Ultra High Speed Reading and 54X CAV reading.

- Features

Mitsumi CR-485FTE features the ExacLink buffer underun protection, patented by Oak Technologies.


As most Mitsumi CD-RW writers, the CR-485FTE also supports the Aegis Write™ Shield.

This is a technology is developed by Mitsumi for optimizing and improving the writing quality on a disc. In particular, this feature checks the quality of the inserted media and automatically sets an upper writing speed limit, to maintain a high writing quality.

In addition, it automatically optimizes the Optical Power Calibration (OPC) method and chooses the perfect writing strategy based on a comprehensive data base. During writing, the Aegis Write monitors the process and automatically optimizes it by setting the most appropriate speed. The laser power is also adjusted accordingly, in order to offer the best possible results.

Mitsumi CR485FTE also features the SSW(PAT) (Super Speed Write(PAT)) technology, which allows burning blank CD-RW's at high speeds.

- Specifications

As we already mentioned, the Mitsumi CR-485FTE drive offers 54x CAV CD-R writing, 32x P-CAV US-RW rewriting and 54x CAV reading. The drive has a 2MB buffer which, combined with the ExacLink technology, helps a user to avoid buffer underun problems.

The following pictures show all the supported writing / reading speeds by this recorder:

The supported recording methods are the Track at Once (TAO), Disc at Once (DAO), Raw DAO 96, multisession and packet writing. The support of recording in the RAW mode with 96 out of 98 writable subchannel data, makes this drive a good prospective protection copier.

The Mitsumi CR-485FTE is able to read CD-R/RW, Video CD, CD, CD-text and is Mount Rainier compliant. Notice that the drive is not able to retrieve C2 error information, or at least not by using any of the known to us MMC (Multimedia Command Set).

Below you can see the CAV writing strategy of the Mitsumi CR-485FTE, when using 80min blank CD-R media:

The drive starts writing rather fast, at 24.69x and accelerates up to 54.07x, giving an impressive average writing speed of 41.22x. The 54x CAV speed is achieved at the address 80:00:00 (exact end of disc).

- The package

The retail package includes the Mitsumi CD-RW drive, a multilingual quick start manual, and an application software CD-ROM.

This CD-ROM includes Nero Burning Rom as the main CD recording/authoring software and InCD for random access rewrite on CD-RW media (UDF packet writing ) and reading /writing under the Mount Rainier format.

In addition, it includes some arcade games for your spare time and the MP3 JukeBox software, along with manuals and drivers for many Mitsumi products.

Last, in the retail package you can find the usual internal audio cable, an IDE cable and mounting screws.

The front panel of the drive looks rather simple. On the disc loading tray you can see the "HSRW" logos. The eject button is placed below the tray, on the right side of the front panel, as usual.

The indication LED lights up orange, when a CD is loaded in the drive. It blinks green, as long as the CD is being read. If there is no CD in the drive, the LED does not light up, even if the device has been switched on. The LED lights up red during writing. In case an unsuitable CD has been inserted in the drive, or a hardware or other error has occurred, the LED starts to blink.

The drive has also a headphone socket where headphones or mini loudspeakers can be connected here to play audio CD's. A volume control button, for adjusting the volume for audio CD's, is also available.

On the rear of the drive you have the usual IDE interface, power connection and analogue audio output connectors.


Let's have a look at the internal of the drive. Please avoid opening your Mitsumi, since it will make the drive's warranty invalid. After removing the screws at the bottom we can see the drive's internal design. The basic chipset is developed by OAK Technologies.

Click for large view!

- Installation

The Mitsumi drive was identified as "MITSUMI CR-48XFTE" 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 model came with firmware version 4.0c installed, but the tests were done with a newer 7.0c version we flashed ourselves.

In order to have a better picture of the drive's performance, in the following pages we include the benchmark results of both Optorite CW5201 and Plextor Premium, both obtained during our latest hardware review.

2. Data CD Reading Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 2

Data CD Tests

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

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE showed a very unstable behavior when it came to reading pressed or CD-R discs. The drive even read the disc (CAV) without reaching the maximum 54x speed (see the 74min CDSpeed graph), or it lowered the reading speed by the end of the disc. However, we managed to get the results illustrated in the chart by using an 80min CD-R disc. In this case, the Mitsumi CR-48XFTE performed very well and reached the 55.12x in the outer tracks of the CD, resulting to an impressive average speed of 41.48x.

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE gave some of the best seek times we have ever experienced from a CDRW drive. The drive gave a 58msec result for the Random stroke, 69msec for the 1/3 and 183msec for the Full seek test.
- CDR Media results
(74min and 80min CDSpeed graphs)

As in the case of pressed media, Mitsumi CR-48XFTE lowered the reading speed by the end of the disc, as you can see on the 80min CDSpeed graph link above. The drive finished reading at an average speed of 37.45x. However, reading of the 74min test disc offered better results, with the drive being able to reach the 53.4x maximum speed.

Again, Mitsumi CR-48XFTE offered very low seek times, as low as 118msec for the case of full seek mode.

- RW media

CDSpeed graph

For the RW reading tests we used Mitsubishi Chemicals 24x US-RW and 32x US-RW media (Mitsubishi Chemicals 97m34s25f, 74:43:00). However, the drive was not able to recognize the 32x US-RW media. Consequently, we had to run the tests by using the 24x discs only.

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE did not read the disc at the maximum 54x speed. The drive started reading at 18.2x and finished the task at 41.15x, resulting to an average speed of 31.16x. In the same test, the Premium drive was faster (SpeedRead enabled), while Optorite CW5201 performed in a way similar to the Mitsumi drive.

3. Error Correction Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

This part of our review is devoted to all those of our readers interested in finding tough reader, able to read dirty, scratched of other physically damaged media. In the following tests we examined the error correcting capabilities of the Mitsumi drive, when reading an artificially damaged CD-R. For the test we used the Almedio ABEX pressed discs.


Errors total
Num: 11720934
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 122568
Avg: -55.7 dB(A)
Max: -7.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 29647
Avg: 1.9 Samples
Max: 3147 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 61
Avg: 405.7 Samples
Max: 1764 Samples
Total Test Result
53.1 points (of 100.0 maximum)

As we have mentioned before, it is normal to get read errors in this test, since the ABEX disc is artificially scratched. The average level of the reported errors is -55.7dB(A), which is an average rate. On the other hand many samples were muted and some other were skipped, resulting to an average score of 53.1 points out of 100. The performance can not be considered as a high one.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 24
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 10
Avg: -39.3 dB(A)
Max: -20.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
94.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The total amount of errors is smaller in the case of the TCD-726 disc. The scratches on the disc are not as deep and wide as in the TCD-721 case, and the rest defects and fingerprints seem not to produce many errors while reading. Although the average level of the errors was -39.3(A), the performance is high, since the total number reported is only 10. The score for this test is very good. (94 points).

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

The Mitsumi CR48XFTE gets a good score of 73.55 points out of 100 at our CD error correction tests. The drive can be a reliable reader with heavily defected discs, as we saw in the ABEX-726 test, but fails to adequately correct severe errors coming out from wide scratches.

CDSpeed Advanced DAE quality test
- ABEX 721R

The Nero CDSpeed showed that the drive cannot retrieve C2 error information. As a result, the drive did not give good results in this particular test, since the CDSpeed algorithm makes use of the C2 retrieved information for evaluating the performance of a drive.

4. Protected Data Disc Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 4

Protected Data Disc Tests

This is the part of our review that we expect it will be of most interest to hard core gamers, in a need to find a good recorder able to offer working copies of their copy protected CD's (for back-up purposes).
CloneCD reports the following device capabilities for the Mitsumi CR-48XFTE recorder:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme', in order to rip the image to the HD using CloneCD. The Mitsumi drive was not very fast and finished the disk image creation in 271sec. Plextor and Optorite drives finished the task faster, with the Plextor drive to have the best performance.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The game title we used for this test is "Serious Sam - The second Encounter". Mitsumi CR-X48FTE finished the task in 8:30 min, while the Plextor drive was faster and finished at about 5min.

- SecuROM Results

Mitsumi can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The duration of the process was 2:40 minutes. This time the Optorite drive was slightly faster by consuming only 2:30min.

- Protected Disc Writing Tests

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 at the maximum reading/recording speed. Two discs were burned for each game with CloneCD. The first disc was burned with the "Amplify Weak Sectors" feature enabled and the second with the feature disabled. The results are posted in the following table.

Game Title
SD2 Build
Amplify Weak Sectors
No Amplify
Mitsumi CR-X48FTE
Max Payne v1.05
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
The Sims - Unleashed

The Mitsumi CR-XFTE is very strong when it comes to protected discs with the various Safedisc2 builds. The drive is able to produce working backups without any software help, and this includes even the latest SD2 2.80+ builds.

5. DAE Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 5

DAE Tests

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the DAE speed of Mitsumi CR-48XFTE. The drive ripped the audio files at a 33.8x average (pressed disc). The Plextor and Optorite drives were faster in the same task reaching 36.8x.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC "secure extract" ripping-mode ensures maximum quality produced WAV's. The software reports that Mitsumi CR-48XFTE supports "Accurate Stream", "caching" but it is not able to retrieve C2 error information.

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Mitsumi CR-48XFTE
Plextor Premium
Optorite CW5201

Under the EAC Secure Ripping Mode, Mitsumi CR-48XFTE is slow due to the supported "caching" we mentioned above. The Optorite is faster with 14x for the pressed and 15.2x for the CD-R disc.

- Advanced DAE Quality

Below you can see the CDSpeed Advanced DAE test result for the Mitsumi drive. The average reading speed is 33.76x, and the quality score is 100 (perfect). In addition, the drive is able to read CD-Text, and information from the Subchannel data:

- Ripping of 99mins AudioCD's

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Mitsumi CR-48XFTE
Plextor Premium
Optorite CW5201

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCD's

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

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE
Plextor Premium
OK, with few errors
Optorite CW5201

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE can handle "Key2Audio" and "Cactus Data Shield 200" protected titles. The produced audio files were accurate and no audible errors were reported during playback.

6. Recording Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 6

CDR Tests

We tested the drive with latest version of Nero Burning Rom. The supported writing speeds for Mitsumi CR-48XFTE are illustrated below:

The drive reduces the writing speed in case it is necessary to maintain high writing quality. Our tests showed that the Mitsumi drive accepts a limited number of media for writing at 54x. The screenshot below is the Nero CDSpeed writing test with blank CD-R media by Samsung:

The average writing speed is 41.22x. The drive uses the CAV writing strategy, starting from a 24.69x speed in the beginning of the disc and reaching the 54.07x in the outer tracks of it.

- Supported media

In the following chart you can see the maximum allowed writing speeds according to the inserted disc type:

ID Code
Recording time (700MB)
Reported Speed
Plextor 48X
TaiyoYuden 97m24s01f
Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X
Imation 48X
CMC Magnetics 97m26s66f
Fuji 40X
Prodisc 40x
FujiFilm 48x
Taiyo Yuden 97m29s01f
Ciba Plasmon 48x
Samsung 48x
(Plasmon) 975728
Mitsui 48X

As you can see, the Mitsumi CR-48XFTE reduced the writing speed by the end of the writing process, with most of the media we tested. This can be also confirmed by the increased recording times. Writing at 54x was achieved only by using Samsung 48x, Ciba Plasmon 48x and SKC 48x CD-R media. Among them, the lowest writing time was achieved when using Samsung media (2:42min).

The supported media list for writing at 54x is limited and this can certainly be improved with a future firmware upgrade. Moreover, the recording times are also not the best we have ever experienced, and some 52x writers could easily compete Mitsumi in this area.

Below you can see a Nero screenshot after a successful burning at 54x:

Mitsumi reduces the writing speed in case the media cannot handle it. The following screen shot comes from Nero Burning Rom after a successful burning at 54x, while the writing time shows that the actual speed was reduced during recording:

- Other features

Below are tabulated the maximum overburning capabilities, along with the ability of all the writers compared in this review to read and write CD Text.

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE
Plextor Premium
Optorite CW5201
CD Text read/write

7. Writing Quality Tests - Page 1

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 7

Writing Quality Tests

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

- 3T Pit results

According to the measurements, the jitter values are low for all the writing speeds throughout the range of 8-32x speeds.

The 48x recording speed introduced higher jitter values after the 60min of the disc, where the writing speed was approximately 44x (CAV). The jitter reached the 42msec in the outer parts of the disc.

The specific media could not be burned at 54x. The drive reduced the writing speed as soon as it reached the 48x, and this is confirmed by the duration of the writing process. Thus, the 3T Pit jitter reached the 42msc limit by the 60min address of the disc (48x), and was decreased to lower values as soon as the drive slowed down to finish the writing task at a lower speed. As a result, we cannot make out the drive's behavior at 54x writing speed, with this particular media. The following page includes jitter measurements with various media and there you can come up with more conclusions.

In the above graph you can see the average 3T Pit jitter values for all the recording writing speeds, with Taiyo Yuden 48x media. Note that the average values can hide any possible problems caused by high jitter peaks in specific areas of the discs. However, we get an overall idea of the drive's performance.

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results are almost the same as in the previous measurements of the 3T Pit Jitter. Again the drive gave higher jitter at 48x and 54x (which was actually only a 48x recording speed).

Below you can see the average 3T Land jitter values for all the supported writing speeds:

- Summary
Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
28 Pit, 29 Land
31 Pit, 29 Land
33 Pit, 33 Land
30 Pit, 28 Land
42 Pit, 40 Land
40 Pit, 44 Land

To sum up, the Mitsumi CR-48XFTE gave very low jitter for the writing speeds up to 40X. Writing at 48X produced higher values that reached 42msec, but in any case the overall performance with the Taiyo Yuden 48x media is adequate. On the other hand, notice that these results are not applied to the 54x writing speed, since the drive did not write at this speed with the particular media.

8. Writing Quality Tests - Page 2

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 8

Writing Quality Tests

We used various CD-R media and burned the same AudioCD project (with CD-Text) at the maximum allowed recording speeds. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs. Notice that the speeds included in the graphs are the nominal ones for each media and not the actual burning speeds. You can check the actual writing speeds in the CD-R Tests page.

- 3T Pit results

As you can see the 3T Pit jitter is low for the most part of the written media. However, the results are as expected since the actual writing speed for most of them was less than 48x. A pleasant exception is the case of Samsung 48x, Ciba Plasmon 48x and SKC 48x discs, which were burned at 54x. These discs gave very good results and low jitter.

On the other hand, the TDK 48x media showed very high jitter that reached 53msec. The burning speed was set to 54x but it was reduced to 48x by the drive itself.

Below you can see the average 3T Pit jitter values for all the media we used in this test:

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results are almost the same as in the previous measurements of the 3T Pit Jitter. Again the drive gave a very good performance with all the media except the TDK 48x.

- Summary
Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
Plasmon 48X
32 Pit, 29 Land
Prodisc 40X
31 Pit, 31 Land
32 Pit, 31 Land
MC 48X
30 Pit, 29 Land
Imation 48X
30 Pit, 32 Land
Fuji 40X
35 Pit, 34 Land
52 Pit, 49 Land
Samsung 48X
33 Pit, 30 Land
Mitsui 48X
31 Pit, 28 Land
Emtec 48X
29 Pit, 30 Land

The Mitsumi CR-48XFTE gave very low jitter with the most of the CD-R media we burned, in the maximum allowed speed. However, since the writing speed was reduced during recording, the jitter was kept at lower levels than expected.

TDK 48x discs seems to not work very well with Mitsumi CR-48XFTE. They gave the lowest performance among the discs we tested with jitter values that reached 52msec.

Apart from the fact that Mitsumi CR-48XFTE recorded the most of the discs at a lower speed than the maximum, the behavior of the drive regarding the jitter introduced is very good.

- C1 / C2 Tests

Below you can see some C1 / C2 error graphs for the TDK 48x, Fuji 40x, Taiyo Yuden 48x and SKC 48x media.

According to the measurements, none of the discs gave C2 errors, and the average C1 rate is generally low. In case of TDK 48x media, where it had introduced the highest jitter values, the C1/C2 test showed that the disc gave the highest average C1 error rate but not any uncorrectable error.

As long a the discs recorded at 54x are concerned, again the performance seems to be adequate judging from the graph of the SKC 48x media.

9. Rewriting Tests

Mitsumi CR-485FTE - Page 9

RW Writing Tests

The drive supports the 10x CLV recording method when using HS-RW media and is able to rewrite at 24x P-CAV and 32x US-RW speeds. We used new 32x US-RW media by Mitsubishi Chemicals. Unfortunately the drive could not recognize them and we used for writing 24x US-RW media. With these particular discs, a user can record at 12x and 24x.

As you can see from the CDSpeed writing simulation graph, Mitsumi CR-48XFTE started writing at 19.15x and reached the 24x by the 12min address of the disc, keeping it fixed until the end of the writing process. The average writing speed is 23.79x.

For the recording 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.

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE finished the task in 3:41min (24x). The Plextor drive gave the same writing time while the Optorite CW5201 was faster due to the 32x rewriting speed. The Mitsumi drive needed 23sec to perform a "quick erase" task.

Below you can see a screenshot from Nero Burning Rom after a successful writing at 24x.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD for the packet writing tests. The formatted disc had 534 MB of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 KB) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media using Windows Explorer (we dragged and dropped). The following charts illustrated the results with 24x US-RW media.

In the following table there are the packet writing results using US-RW media

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE
- Mt. Rainier Tests

For testing the Mt. Rainier performance we used InCD UDF writing /reading software by Ahead Software. After the format process, we immediately started the recording process (drag & drop). The opposite process gave us the reading speed.

Average Writing Speed (X)
Average Reading Speed (X)
Mitsumi CR-48XFTE

While the background formatting process was in progress, the drive recorded the file to the 24x CD-RW at only 5.42x. At the same time, the reading speed was 15.53x. The same slow writing speed was also noticed when using the 10x CD-RW disc, while reading was again faster.

10. Conclusion

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE - Page 10




  • Very low seek times
  • Average Error Correction
  • High DAE Speed
  • Supports Audio Protected discs
  • Produces working SafeDisc v2.x backups
  • Adequate writing quality
  • Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
  • Supports reading up to 99min discs
  • Overburning up to 99min
  • Low Price
  • Unstable reading behavior
  • Weak error correction with heavily scratched discs
  • Failed to rewrite at 32x
  • Does not retrieve C2 error information
  • Reading of US-RW media at 40x
  • Limited CD-R media compatible with 54x writing

Summarizing the benchmarking results, we start with the reading performance. In this part, the Mitsumi CR-48XFTE showed a very unstable behavior. In some cases the drive either read the inserted disc at a lower speed than 54x (i.e. 48x CAV), or even dropped dramatically the reading speed in the outer parts of the disc. This occurred with half of the CD-R or pressed discs we tested. Mitsumi might probably be able to improve this behavior by offering a firmware upgrade. On the other hand, in cases where the drive read the discs at 54x CAV, the average reading speed was impressive. In addition, the drive gave very low seek times.

Ripping of audio discs is supported at the maximum speed. The Mitsumi CR-X48FTE gave a high performance in the ripping test with the ABEX-726 (defected, fingerprints) disc but gave back more read errors with the TCD-721R (scratched). In addition, the drive does not retrieve C2 error information, so we could not evaluate correctly the error correcting capabilities of the drive by using the CDSpeed test.

Audio protected discs were easily read by the drive. The contents of both Cactus Data Shield 200 and Key2Audio protected discs were accurately transferred to the hard disk.

In the writing part, we should mention that the drive supports 54x writing in a limited number of CD-R discs. Most of the times, the featured writing control mechanism dropped the writing speed by the end of the disc resulting to increased writing times. Thus, the writing quality of the produced discs was not negatively influenced by the high writing speeds. The jitter measurements gave very good results, with some noticeable exceptions. Generally, the C1 /C2 measurements were adequate and none of the discs gave uncorrectable errors.

Rewriting at 32x was not possible with the Mitsubishi Chemicals US-RW discs. The drive could not recognize them, so we used 24x US-RW discs for the rewriting tests. A possible firmware upgrade could easily solve this issue, since it is mostly an on-chip logic matter than a media problem.

Mitsumi CR-48XFTE easily surpassed data protections. The drive was impressive since it produced working backups of SafeDisc v2.80 protected discs without any additional help by the CloneCD software (i.e. amplify weak sectors).

The Mitsumi CR-48XFTE is a very optimistic recording solution for all those who always hunt impressive specifications. Although the drive could easily make the difference in the benchmarks, it did not prove us that it deserves the top, over the competitive 52x writers. The overall impression we got is that the drive needs some extra fine-tuning through firmware upgrades in order to offer better performance. However, candidate buyers have always the last word and they always balance the positive and negative options and judge according to their needs. The Mitsumi CR-X48FTE is available in the retail the market at attractive prices between $45 and $55.

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