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Appeared on: Wednesday, October 15, 2003
4x DVD+RW Roundup Vol.2 (AOpen DRW4410 & Ricoh MP5240A)


1. Package, Installation, Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 1

While the announcements for new dual-format DVD writers have whelmed our mail boxes, some traditionally hard-core manufacturers stand upon their position and keep launching either sole DVD-RW or DVD+RW drives. Their policy is completely respected, as long as they serve the general demand for quality products. In our case, Ricoh and AOpen have proven in the past that they follow the users needs with reliable and affordable products. We have in our labs the new AOpen DRW4410 and the Ricoh MP5240A-DP 4x DVD+R/+RW writers.

As a main member of the DVD+RW Alliance, Ricoh continues its DVD+RW recorder line with the MP5240A-DP. It is the first to support 4x writing for both DVD+R and DVD+RW formats.
- Ricoh MP5240A features

Ricoh MP5240A features the Lossless Linking Technology. Adding or editing data on a recorded DVD+R/+RW disc creates small gaps between the editable areas. Lossless Linking technology keeps this gap between data within 1 micron, so that data can be written contiguously, same as DVD-ROM. As a result, the discs are more compatible with DVD-ROM and DVD players.

JustLink is Ricoh's technology that prevents 'buffer underrun errors' which occur in CD- R/RW writing. It improves stability in fast writing, allows writing job while working with another application, and enables on-the-fly data writing on network.

In addition the drive automatically detects disc warpage and tilt to always ensure high-quality writing. During DVD writing and reading, MP5240A detects warpage and tilt of the disc, and it immediately adjusts the base of the pick-up module with tilt control cam using a teeter-totter principle. The laser light, therefore, always stays directed vertically to the disc surface, providing highly precise writing /reading capability.

- Specifications

Ricoh DVD+RW MP5240 supports 4x CLV maximum recording speed for DVD+R and DVD+RW media. The drive uses the 8x CAV speed for reading all single/dual layer DVD-ROM as well as DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The CD-RW characteristics of the drive include 24x Z-CLV writing for CD-R, 10x CLV for HS-RW and 40x CAV for reading.

The supported writing modes for DVD+R/RW is the sequential writing and also random access writing for DVD+RW, disc at once, multisession and packet writing for CD-R/RW. Mount Rainier is not supported.

The drive' s region can be changed 5 times in total, following the requirements of the RPCII region control.

Nero InfoTool summarizes the main specifications of Ricoh MP5240. Retrieving of C2 error information is also supported along with the RAO DAO 96 writing mode.

- European retail package

The European retail package includes the Ricoh drive and a complete set of blank media, manufactured by Ricoh: 1 4x DVD+RW , 1 4x DVD+R , 1 80min CD-RW High Speed and 1 650MB CD-R for 24x max recording.

The bundled software includes NeoDVD for DVD Authoring, NeoEdit for video editing, Roxio WinOnCD for CD/DVD mastering, Drag 2 Disc for directly read/ write access on CD/DVD disc (packet writing) and WinDVD for DVD video playback.

For all those who have compatibility problems with their recorded DVD+R media (DVD Video), Ricoh offers the "Compatibility Rescue" software. Running the application could improve the compatibility of the Ricoh MP5240A, in cases where the produced DVD movies cannot be playbacked in DVD-ROM or DVD players. Note that the setting is applied to the drive and cannot improve the compatibility of a recorded DVD+R.

In addition, the software CD-ROM includes a DVD region set utility for easy setting / changing the region of your drive, and the transfer mode utility, allowing you to change the transfer mode and the reading speed of your drive.

The drive's manual can be found in the same CD-ROM disc with the software. Of course, the usual analog audio cable and the mounting screws could not be missing from the retail package.

Let's take a look in the drive itself. The front panel of the drive has not changed over the previous Ricoh models. The various logos reveal the capabilities of the drive. On the left side of the panel there is the eject button, and the indicator LED is placed in the middle of the panel.

The indicator lights orange when a disc is mounted into the drive. When the disc is being accessed, it flashes or lights orange. If a disc is not mounted, the indicator does not light, and when an illegal disc is loaded or some hardware trouble occurs, the indicator blinks.

On the rear panel there are the analog and digital outputs, the IDE connector, the device jumper configuration pins and the power input.

After removing the screws we can see the drive's mainboard. A higher resolution picture is available by clicking the photo below.

The pick-up module of the drive mounts LDs (Laser Diodes) for both CD and DVD and only one lens (2LD-1 lens pick-up module), and has been tuned up to support DVD+R.

The analog front-end processor LSI and the digital controller support 4x DVD writing that requires control with high degree of accuracy.

- Installation

The Ricoh DVD+RW drive was plugged to the IDE 1 of our test PC as a 'Master" and worked under Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode.

The drive was identified as "RICOH DVD+RW MP5240" under Windows XP. The installed firmware is the version 1.11.


2. Package, Installation, AOpen DRW4410

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 2

 

The Taiwanese manufacturer has expanded its product line to motherboards, graphic cards, sound cards and other PC peripherals. In the optical storage part, the company is currently focused in the DVD recorders and its plans include the production of very fast DVD writers in the following year. The latest proposal for fast DVD writing on DVD+R/+RW is the AOpen DRW4410. Based on Ricoh MP5240A, the drive enters the market at an aggressive price combined with high performance.

- AOpen DRW4410 features

AOpen DRW4410 features the Just Link technology developed by Ricoh, to prevent buffer under-run errors on CD/DVD by predicting them before they happen.

The supported OPC system (Optimum Power Control) continually monitors signal levels during recording and adjusts laser power to compensate for a dirty disc. This feature ensures a flat signal, significantly enhancing reliability.

- Specifications

Aopen DRW 4410 can read CD data at 40x speed, write data at 24x speed , re-write data at 10x speed (High Speed CD-RW), and write data at 4x speed on DVD+RW/+R.

Nero Info Tool reports that the drive supports the RAO DAO 96 writing mode, retrieves C2 error information and has a 2MB cache. In addition, the drive support random UDF write in DVD+RW and CD-R/RW media. As in case of Ricoh MP5240, the AOpen drive does not support the Mount Rainier format.

- European retail package

In the European retail package you can find the AOpen DRW4410 drive, an AOpen DVD+RW (Ricoh JPN-W01-01), one 4x DVD+R, 1 CD-RW 80min 4x-12x, and one 700MB CD-R 52x (Ritek 97m15s17f).

The bundled software is available on a DVD-ROM. It includes VideoStudio7 and NeoDVD v4.5 standard for DVD/VCD authoring, PowerDVD XP for DVD video playback, Nero Burning Rom for data/audio pre-mastering and Ahead InCD for packet writing. In the same DVD-ROM there is a detailed instruction manual.

On the front panel of the drive the user can see the CD-RW and DVD+RW logos the AOpen logo and the just link logo. The eject button is on the right side of the tray next to the emergency eject hole while the orange color busy led indicator is set almost at the middle of the front tray.

On the rear panel there are the usual analog and digital outputs, the IDE connectors, the device jumper configuration pins and the power input.

Comparing the mainboard and main chipset of AOpen DRW4410 with those illustrated in the previous page (Ricoh MP5240) is unavoidable. Both drives share the same internal parts.

- Installation

The AOpen drive was connected to the IDE 1 port of our test PC as a "Master", and worked under Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode.

The drive was identified as "AOpen DRW4410" under Win XP. The July 2003 model had the firmware v1.11 installed.


3. Data CD Reading Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 3

Data CD Reading Tests

- Pressed CD results (CD Speed Graphs for Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410)

Both drives support the 40x CAV maximum reading speed with CD-R/ROM discs. In the beginning of the task the reading speed was less than 18x, and the outer tracks were read at a speed higher than 41x. Ricoh MP5240A-DP read the disc at an average speed of 31.44x and the AOpen drive was slightly slower with 31.29x.

On the seek times test of the pressed disc the results of Ricoh and AOpen are almost the same in the Random and 1/3 seek modes. The full seek test gave the AOpen drive a slight lead with 190 msec.

- CDR Media results (CD Speed Graphs Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410)

Both drives read the CD-R data disc fast and their performance is not much different than in the previous test.

- RW media (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410)

For this test we used a recorded HS-RW disc by Ricoh. Both drives read the disc at 40x CAV, and Ricoh MP5240A is a bit faster than AOpen DRW4410 with 31.35x average reading speed.


4. Error Correction Tests - Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 4

Error Correction Tests

Ricoh MP5240A

In the following tests we check the behavior of Ricoh MP5240A when it comes to reading scratched / defected discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1023864
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 51295
Avg: -73.5 dB(A)
Max: -8.9dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3339
Avg: 1.1 Samples
Max: 96 Samples
Skips Samples
Num:3
Avg: 6.0 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
70.9 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
66.9 %

The reported signal level (average) is only -73.5 dB(A). In addition, the amount of the reported errors is low, and no synchronization problems occurred, since only 3 errors were skipped. The performance is high, and the total score for this test is 70.9 points out of 100.

The reported C2 accuracy is not high, and according to EAC suite it is less than 67%.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 2946
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 180
Avg: -76.4dB(A)
Max: -53.0dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 54
Avg: 1.1Samples
Max: 4 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
86.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
66.9 %

The reported average error level is -76.4dB(A) and only a few errors were noted. Although the drive reported some errors earlier than expected, no skip errors occured, and the total score is 86.3 points out of 100.

- Summary

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
70.9
ABEX TCD-726
86.3
Average Score
78.6

Ricoh MP5240 got an overall score of 78.6 out of 100. The drive read the scratched TCD-721R disc at an adequate accuracy, and was better when it comes to the TCD-726 defected disc.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Each file was played 5 times. A 5/5 score donates that the file was played flawlessly without problems.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Ricoh MP5240A
5/5
5/5
5/5
4/5
0/5

Ricoh MP5240A successfully passed the first 3 Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals good sound reproduction and error correction. The fourth level includes an error size of 1.125mm, and the drive gave back audible clicks only once out of the 5 times we played the file. The fifth level could not be played correctly.


5. Error Correction Tests - AOpen DRW4410

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 4

Error Correction Tests

AOpen DRW4410

In the following tests we check the behavior of AOpen DRW4410 when it comes to reading scratched / defected discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.
- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1071367
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 52601
Avg: -73.5dB(A)
Max: -7.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3597
Avg:1.1 Samples
Max: 113 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 6
Avg: 6.0 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
69.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
66.9%

According to the graph, the average error level is low and the signal level (Loudness errors) is -73.5 dB(A). The difference over the Ricoh drive is very small, and the total score is adequate (69.3 points out of 100).

AOpen DRW4410 also reports C2 error information, but the accuracy seems to be low.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num:1094
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num:44
Avg:-71.2 dB(A)
Max:-53.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num:6
Avg:1.0 Samples
Max: 1 Samples
Skips Samples
Num:0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
90.2 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
67.1 %

The TCD- 726 test gave very good results. The total score of the drive is 90.2 points out of 100. Only 6 errors were muted and no errors were skipped. The average reported error loudness is -71.2dB(A), which is a very good result but the C2 accuracy is low (67.1%).

- Summary

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
69.3
ABEX TCD-726
90.2
Average Score
79.7

AOpen DRW4410 gets a very good score of 79.7 out of 100 at the reading error correction tests. The drive managed to hide / correct critical error samples, and is a reliable ripper with defected discs.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Each file was played 5 times. A 5/5 score donates that the file was played flawlessly without problems.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
AOpen
5/5
5/5
5/5
3/5
0/5

AOpen DRW 4410 passed the first 3 Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals good sound reproduction and error correction. The fourth level (.wav file) was played successfully 3 times out of 5 we tested. The fifth level includes an error size of 1.500mm, and the drive gave back audible clicks.


6. DVD Reading Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 6

DVD reading tests

- Single Layer DVD-ROM reading (CDSpeed results Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410 )

Ricoh and AOpen drives support the 8X CAV reading speed for single layer DVD-ROM discs. Both drives followed the same reading strategy, starting from 3.40x and reaching the 8x by the end of the process. The average reading speed was approximately 6.2x.

The seek times are not the lowest we have seen from a DVD writer but they are acceptable. Ricoh MP5240A is faster in the Random and 1/3 seek modes, and both drives need 210~215msec for the Full seek.

- Dual Layer PTP DVD-ROM (CDSpeed results Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410)

Dual layer DVD-ROM discs are read at 8X CAV. The drives performed well, and gave an average reading speed of 6x.

The seek times with dual layer DVD-ROM discs are increased over those measured with the single layer one. The differences are bigger in the 1/3 and Full seek modes. Both drives could improve their performance with dual layer discs.

- Dual Layer OTP DVD-ROM

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks toward the inner part of the disc.The performance is not different than in the previous test, with both drives to give a 6.01x average reading speed.

The seek times are increased again, and the drives took 245msec for the full seeking.

Not really much to add here, Ricoh MP5240 read the disc at 8X CAV, and the seek times were the same as with the PTP disc.

 

 

- DVD-Video ripping

We measured the DVD Ripping speed using the "Matrix" DVD Video title and the DVD Decrypter software.

An average ripping speed of 6.6x with DVD Video files is enough for your daily needs. Both drives read the disc using the 8x CAV strategy.

- DVD Recordable/Rewritable

The chart below shows the Nero CDSpeed results with the following media.

Ricoh MP5240A
AOpen DRW4410

For these tests we used 4x DVD-R and 2x DVD-RW media by Pioneer and 4x DVD+R/+RW discs by Ricoh. Both drives support 8x CAV reading for the recordable/rewritable DVD formats. Below are illustrated the average reading speeds.

Both drives had some problems with the DVD+R media, around the 4GB address mark of the test disc. The reading speed was lowered at 4x or even less, to resume reading immediately at a lower speed than the expected 8x. The AOpen drive had the same problems with the DVD+RW disc. The rest DVD-R/-RW disc were read at 8X CAV.


7. DVD Error Correction Tests - Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 7

DVD Error Correction Tests

Ricoh MP5240A

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of Ricoh MP5240A with scratched / defected DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media come from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media

ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

Ricoh MP5240 managed to read the contents of the scratched single layer DVD-ROM correctly, without any errors be occurred. According to the transfer diagram, the drive gave a smooth performance and the transfer rate was gradually increased to 8X towards the outer parts of the disc (8x CAV).

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but defected areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

As in the previous test, the drive ignored the defected areas and read the disc contents accurately, while the reading speed was 8x CAV, as it was expected.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is a 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, in both layers.

With the dual layer DVD-ROM, Ricoh DVD+RW MP5240 finished the test without reporting any read errors. The drive started reading each layer at 4.8x and reached the 8x at the end of each layer. Between the 3.300.000 and 3.500.000 sector of second layer, the drive needed to slow down momentarily in order to bypass the erroneous areas, without, however reporting any problem.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defected areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defected areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Once again, the Ricoh drive performed well and read the disc accurately.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

In this case the drive did not perform as we expected. Although the first layer was read at 8x CAV, the second layer was harder to be read and the drive slowed down to approximately 4x. The second layer was read at 4.5x~2x CAV (OTP).

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meters fingerprints.

This time the drive read both layers accurately, obtaining the maximum 8x CAV speed for both layers.


8. DVD Error Correction Tests - AOpen DRW4410

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 8

DVD Error Correction Tests

AOpen DRW4410

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of AOpen DRW 4410 drive with scratched / defected DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media come from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media

ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The scratched areas did not seems to be a problem for Aopen DRW 4410. The DVD-ROM disc was read at 8x CAV.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but defected areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

The AOpen drive finished the task fast without slowing down the speed. No errors were reported.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is a 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches with dimensions from 0.4 to 3.0mm, in both layers.

The differences between the Abex TDR-821 and the TDR-841 disc is that the last is a dual layer DVD-ROM. Following the good performance with the scratched single layer disc, the Aopen drive finished the test successfully and read both layers at the maximum 8x speed.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defected areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defected areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Continuing the good performance, the drive read the disc correctly.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

This time the drive refused to read the disc contents of the second layer.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meters fingerprints.

 

 

 


9. Data Protected Disc Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 9

Data Protected DiscTests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Both drives support the RAW DAO 96 writing mode, and reading of reading of subchannel data information from data/audio tracks. Below are summarized the capabilities of the drives, according to CloneCD software:

The game titles we used for each protection scheme are illustrated in the table below:
Game Title
Protection Scheme
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
VRally II
SecuROM v.2

- PSX Pressed Media

Both drives gave similar ripping times, with Ricoh to have a slight lead with 2:15 minutes.

- SafeDisc v.2

Both drives needed approximately 3 minutes to create the image of the game. The average reading speed for the Ricoh drive is 1888.69 sectors/sec, and the AOpen drive is slightly slower. The supported speed is high for this protection and very compatible to other CD-RW/DVD drives.

- SecuROM

The SecuROM protected title was read fast and the duration for each process was only 2:35 minutes for AOpen DRW4410 and almost the same for Ricoh MP5240A-DP.

- Writing Tests

The Alcohol software reports that both drives supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the EFM correction level, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions with the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles to the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120%. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

In the table below you can see whether the produced backups were working (game installed / played normally), or not.

Game Title
Burner
SD2 Build
Settings
ByPass EFM Error On
ByPass EFM Error Off
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
Ricoh MP5240A
v.2.60.052
OK
NO
Aopen DRW4410
OK
NO
The Sims - Unleashed
Ricoh MP5240A
v2.80.010
OK
NO
Aopen DRW4410
OK
NO
The Sims - Superstar
Ricoh MP5240A
v2.90
NO
NO
Aopen DRW4410
NO
NO

Both drives cannot create working backups of the latest SafeDisc protected titles, at least without the appropriate contribution from the burning software. The SafeDisc v2.60 & v2.80 builds were handled correctly as long as the "Bypass EFM error" feature is enabled. In other case, the backup does not work.


10. DAE Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 10

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The AOpen and Ricoh drives support 40x maximum DAE speed, under the CAV reading mode. Our 74min audioCDs were ripped at 26.4x average for AOpen and 26.2x for the Ricoh drive. Both drives were slower with the copied audio CD.

- Advanced DAE Quality
Ricoh MP5240A
 
Aopen DRW4410

Ricoh and Aopen gave back the same quality score 100 (Perfect) and almost the same average speed. The Nero CDSpeed advanced DAE reports that both drives cannot read data from the Lead-out area of a disc. On the other hand, they can read CD-Text , subchannel data, and can copy on the fly at 1-16x without problems.

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

Both drives refused to rip the contents whole of 90min and 99min audio CDs. In case of the 99min disc ripping was terminated at the 80% of the total process. The situation was the same with the 90min disc.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used two audio discs with different audio protections. The tasks we tested are both recognition and ripping to the hard disk. The software we used is the Exact Audio Copy.

* Pressed Audio disc protected by Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)

* Pressed Audio disc protected by Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
Ricoh MP5240A
Cannot recognize
OK
Aopen DRW4410
Cannot recognize
OK

Both drives seems to have problems with the Key2Audio protected disc. None of the drives managed to read the audio files, so we couldn't playback or rip them. No problem occurred with the CDS200 disc.


11. CD-R/RW Recording Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 11

CD-R/RW Recording Tests

- CD-R recording

Nero CDSpeed writing simulation task illustrates the way the 24x Z-CLV is achieved, with CD-R media. The average writing speed for both drives is 22.30x.

For our CD-R recording tests we used the latest version of Nero Burning Rom. Aopen and Ricoh drive support 24x maximum writing speed. Both drives also support 12x, 8x and 4x writing. Nero Burning Rom shows that the drives are capable of 16x writing also, but this is false. Burning at 16x with Nero will give the same writing times as when writing at 12x.

On the graph below you can see the best recording times (sec) we got for an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom.

As it was expected, the drives gave identical performance. The recording time for 24x is adequate although the Z-CLV writing strategy comes behind the CAV in terms of writing times.

- CD-RW recording

Both Ricoh and AOpen drive support the 2x , 4x and 10x (HS-RW media only) rewriting speeds. For the recording tests we used 10x HS-RW media by Verbatim. A 650MB data compilation was burned with Nero Burning Rom. Below you can see the writing times at 10x:

- Packet Writing Tests

We used InCD and Ricoh HS-RW media for CD Packet Writing tests. 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 explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

Both drives were slow in the writing part, with the AOpen DRW4410 drive to take a lead with 4.9x average speed. The reading task gave both drives exactly the same times (10.4x).

- Other features
Tested Drives
Ricoh MP5240A
AOpen DRW4410
Overburning
Up to 99min
Up to 99min
CD text reading/writing
Yes
Yes

12. Writing Quality Tests - Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 12

Writing Quality Tests

Ricoh MP5240A

We used 80min 48X CD-R media by Taiyo Yuden and burned the same AudioCD project at 8x, 12x and 24x. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

As you can see from the graph, the pit jitter is increasing in the outer addresses of the disc, as the writing speed goes higher. The problem is mainly located in the 24x speed, where the pit jitter values reached the 41nsec. The lower speeds also gave pit jitter higher than expected, but they probably cannot influence the overall quality.

Considering the high frequencies of the signal we measure, we could say that it is very sensitive to noise factors such as jitter. However, some manufacturers accept these values although they exceed the 35nsec standard (Red Book).

In the following graph you can see the average pit jitter values (nsec) for the supported writing speeds. Note that longer bars indicate higher values.

- 3T Land results

Measuring the 3T land jitter has the same importance as the 3T pit jitter. Below are the measurements for the same discs recorded at 8x, 12x and 24x.

This time the lower recording speeds gave the highest land jitter values. There are some other cases where the 3T Pit jitter is different than the 3T Land jitter values or vice versa, but usually recording speeds such as 8x and 12x give back better results. Contrary to the pit jitter, the land jitter for the 24x disc is low.

The average land jitter values are illustrated below.

- Summary of 3T jitter measurements
Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
8X
34.59
39.46
Yes
39 Pit ,41 Land
12X
33.68
38.88
Yes
38 Pit, 41 Land
24X
38.29
34.59
Yes
41 Pit, 39 Land

Things are kind of complicated here. Despite the selected recording speed, either pit or land jitter measurements were increased. Although we tried to isolate the better recording speed for quality results, both lower and higher speeds gave the same average performance. We proceeded with some C1 / C2 measurements on the same CD-R discs.

- CDSpeed CD Quality Check

CDSpeed v2.02.011 includes a built-in CD quality test, measuring C1 and C2 (only uncorrectable) errors on recorded CD-R media. The utility is available with Plextor Premium and LiteOn recorders as readers. In addition, CDSpeed gives back a total quality score for each disc, calculated by using the average and maximum values of both C1 and C2 errors.

For our tests we used Plextor Premium v1.02 CD-RW as a reader, and the reading speed was set to 8x, in order to have the maximum consistency in the evaluation results.

The error rate is low for all the recording speeds. The disc recorded at 8x got the highest score, followed by the 12x and the 24x discs. None of the discs gave back C2 errors.

Note that the CDSpeed will only report uncorrectable C2 errors. CD Speed can also show fatal read errors (sector(s) cannot be read) indicated in red color.


13. Writing Quality Tests - AOpen DRW4410

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 13

Writing Quality Tests

AOpen DRW4410

As in the case of the Ricoh drive, we used 48X CD-R (80min) media by Taiyo Yuden and burned the same AudioCD project at 8x, 12x and 24x. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

The higher 3T pit jitter is corresponds to the discs recorded at 24x and 8x (40~41nsec). Although the results are not the best we have experienced, the C1 and C2 measurements will show whether you should worry about these indications.

The chart below shows the average 3T pit jitter for the supported writing speeds (except 4x).

- 3T Land results

The situation is familiar from the results of Ricoh MP5240A (see previous page). The 3T land jitter values for 24x is lower than those measured for 8x and 12x.

- Summary of 3T jitter measurements
Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
8X
34.93
39.44
Yes
40 Pit, 42 Land
12X
33.61
38.78
Yes
38 Pit, 42 Land
24X
37.85
34.56
Yes
41 Pit, 39 Land

AOpen DRW4410 gave slightly increased 3T jitter for either the higher or the low writing speeds. Since jitter measurements are a good indication for possible errors, in the following lines we measured error rate of the same CD-R media.

- CDSpeed CD Quality Check

CDSpeed v2.02.011 includes a built-in CD quality test, measuring C1 and C2 (only uncorrectable) errors on recorded CD-R media. The utility is available with Plextor Premium and LiteOn recorders as readers. In addition, CDSpeed gives back a total quality score for each disc, calculated by using the average and maximum values of both C1 and C2 errors.

For our tests we used Plextor Premium v1.02 CD-RW as a reader, and the reading speed was set to 8x, in order to have the maximum consistency in the evaluation results.

The quality of the discs is high for all the recording speeds. This time the 24x speed gave better results and a higher quality score. No C2 errors were reported.


14. DVD Recording Tests

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 14

DVD Recording Tests

 

Ricoh MP5240 and AOpen DRW4410 support 4X recording speed for both DVD+R and DVD+RW formats. User is able to record at 4X only when the inserted disc is 4x certified. With different media, the drives are able to write at 2.4x.

Ricoh suggests its own 4x DVD+R/+RW media for writing at 4x (CLV). CDSpeed writing simulation test with DVD+R/+RW media was finished successfully, as you can see from the screenshot below. For these tests we used Ricoh DVD+RW discs.

We used Nero Burning Rom v6.0.0.19 and burned a 4.38GB DVD-Video file on various DVD+R and DVD+RW media. Below you can see the best recording times:

DVD Recording Tests (max speed)
Drives
DVD+R
DVD+RW
Ricoh MP5240A
15:16
13:44
AOpen DRW4410
15:15
13:46

Ricoh and AOpen had almost the same performance at the same writing speeds. In the following table you can see the maximum permitted writing speeds with various media, among with the writing times.

Ricoh MP5240A
Disc Label
Disc Information
Writing Speed
Recording Time (min)
Verbatim 4X DVD+R
MCC 002
4x
15:14
Maxell 4X DVD+R
MAXELL 001
4x
15:16
Ricoh 4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
4x
15:16
Ricoh 4X DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
4x
13:44
Memorex 4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
4x
15:17
Sentinel 2.4x DVD+RW
SENTINELW01
2.4x
23.38
Philips 2.4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR00
2.4x
24.06

AOpen DRW4410
Disc Label
Disc Information
Writing Speed
Recording Time (min)
Verbatim 4X DVD+R
MCC 002
4x
15:21
Ricoh DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
4x
15:15
Maxell 4X DVD+R
MAXELL 001
4x
15:19
Ricoh 4X DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
4x
13:46
Memorex 4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
4x
15:19
Philips 2.4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR00
2.4x
24.09
Sentinel 2.4X DVD+RW
SENTINELW01
2.4x
23:02
- DVD+RW Packet Writing

AOpen DRW4410 and Ricoh MP5240A support packet writing with DVD+RW . To test the performance in the DVD+RW format, we formatted some Ricoh 4x DVD+RW discs and started the drag'n drop process, using an 1GB file. With the background formatting in full progress, we wrote down the reading / writing performance.

The writing speeds are very good considering that we are talking about packet writing. The drives reached the 3.6~3.7x average. In the reading part the performance was higher but the background formatting did not allow the drive to reach its maximum reading speed.

 


15. PI/PO measurements - Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 15

KProbe PI/PO measurements

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PO scans for various DVD+R/+RW media, recorded with Ricoh MP5240A at the maximum allowed speed.

The software we used for the measurements is the KProbe v1.1.23, and the reader is LiteOn LDW-401S. The specific methodology is very depended on the drive we use as a reader, and the reliability of the PI/PO provided output is also not technically confirmed. As a result, we cannot safely come up with absolute results, but we are allowed to compare the behavior of the drive with various DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The recordable discs we used come from Hitachi-Maxell, Memorex, Philips, Sentinel, Verbatim and Ricoh. More information about each disc type is available in the bottom of the page.

 

 

Media
Code
Verbatim 4X DVD+R
MCC 002
Maxell 4X DVD+R
MAXELL 001
Ricoh DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
Ricoh DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
Memorex DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
Sentinel DVD+RW
SENTINELW01
Philips 2.4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR00

16. PI/PO measurements - AOpen DRW4410

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 16

KProbe PI/PO measurements

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PO scans for various 4X DVD+R/+RW media, recorded with AOpen DRW4410 at the maximum speed.

As previously, the software we used is the KProbe v1.1.23, and the reader is LiteOn LDW-401S.

 

Media
Code
Verbatim 4X DVD+R
MCC 002
Maxell 4X DVD+R
MAXELL 001
Ricoh 4X DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
Memorex 4X DVD+R
RICOHJPNR01
Sentinel 2.4X DVD+RW
SENTINELW01

17. Conclusion

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410- Page 17

Conclusion

Ricoh MP5240A / AOpen DRW4410

Pros

Cons

  • Complete retail package
  • Supports 4x DVD+R/+RW writing
  • JustLink Buffer Underun Protection
  • Fast CD-R/RW reading
  • Very good error correction / concealment with CD-R
  • Reliable reading with defected single-layer DVD-ROM media
  • Fast DVD-Video ripping
  • Supports RAW DAO writing
  • Supports Cactus Data Shield 200 audio protection
  • Good CD-R writing quality
  • Overburning up to 99min
  • Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
  • DVD-ROM reading speed could be higher
  • DVD seek times could be higher
  • Reading performance with DVD+R/+RW media could be higher
  • Weak error correction with defected dual-layer DVD-ROM/Video
  • Does not support Key2Audio protected discs
  • Z-CLV implementation for CD-R writing leads to increased recording times
  • Cannot create working SafeDisc v2.xx backups

Ricoh MP5240A-DP and AOpen DRW4410 share the same pros and cons, as it was expected. Both drives fulfill the general expectations of the mid-user, although we have spotted some minor issues that could be improved through firmware upgrades.

The retail packages are complete, containing software for CD/DVD authoring and playback, as well as some useful utilities. Blank DVD+R and DVD+RW discs are also available for burning at 4x. However, the DVD+RW media included in the AOpen package we received could not be burned at 4x.

Ricoh and AOpen drives recorded at the maximum supported 4x speed on all the DVD+R media we tested, providing writing times less than 15 min for 4.38GB. This is also applied to 4x DVD+RW writing. However, the supported 4x DVD+RW media list is currently limited to Ricoh media, and is expected to be longer soon.

In the reading part, the drives support the 8x reading speed for DVD-ROM and DVD+R/+RW/-R/-RW formats. Although 8x is enough for DVD-ROM, the competition offers higher speeds (12x). We should also note that both drives reduced their reading speed in the outer addresses of DVD+R and DVD+RW media. On the other hand, the drives keep the 8x CAV speed for DVD-Video ripping and this will satisfy most of the candidate users.

The seek times for the CD and DVD format are average, especially with dual layer DVD-ROM discs. In addition, the ability to correct possible faulty bits on defected and scratched DVD media (Almedio Abex) is high, with an exception of dual layer DVD-Video discs. Both drives had hard times to read the second layer of the scratched DVD-Video disc. Although the performance in this area should be improved, users should have in mind that the Abex test disc scratches the drive to its limits and no problems will occur when reading normal DVD-Video discs.

Ricoh and AOpen drives support the 24x Z-CLV maximum recording speed for the CD-R format. Our tests showed that the current implementation of the Z-CLV technology does not allow the drive to achieve the lowest writing times among the 24x category drives. However, the writing stability is very good and no writing problems occurred while writing on various media. In addition, the Jitter and C1 / C2 measurements on the recorded media showed a high writing quality. Overburning up to 99 min is included in the advantages of the drives.

The maximum supported DAE speed is 40x. The drives cannot handle Key2Audio protected audio discs but we did not face any problems with the Cactus Data Shield 200 protection. In addition, the drives lack to fully read / rip the contents of 90min and 99min media.

The ability to create working backups of the latest SafeDisc v.2 protected titles is limited for both AOpen and Ricoh drives.

Although dual DVD drives are currently widely available in the market, we should judge the Ricoh and AOpen for what they offer. Both drives are reliable DVD writers and deserve a decent position in the computer store shelves, and why not, in your PC. The AOpen DRW4410 is available in a very attractive price of 140~150 Euros, while the Ricoh drive is slightly more pricey.



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