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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Freecom FX-50


1. Package - Installation

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 1

With the FX-50, Freecom increases the speed of its DVD-burners to 8x. The new Freecom FX-50 offers the ultimate solution for all applications: DVD±RW, CD-burner and DVD/CD-ROM drive, all in a single unit. With the Freecom Dual DVD drive you can copy DVD's and CDs or create back-ups on DVD, while with the comprehensive software supplied, you can professionally process and edit video, photo and music files. Both when writing and re-writing DVD's or CDs, the built-in buffer underrun prevention technology guarantees absolute reliability at all times.

- Features

The new Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-WR supports 8x maximum writing speed with the DVD+R format while with the -R format it is restricted to 4x. The 8x maximum writing speed of a single layer DVD+R disc means that the user is able to record a full 4.7Gb in approximately 8:30 minutes and that time, is currently the fastest time we have seen, even from IDE recorders. Besides the maximum available speed for writable media, the new Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-WR supports the current maximum available speed of 4x for the rewritable media with the plus format. With the CD formats, Freecom is fast enough, supporting 40x writing and 24x rewritable speeds.

- Specifications
DVD Family
Writing
DVD-R 1x, 2x, 4x max.
DVD+R
1x, 2x, 6x, 8x max.
Rewriting DVD-RW 2x ( 2700KB/sec ) CLV
DVD+RW
4x (5400KB/sec) CLV
Reading Speed

DVD-ROM (Single layer )

12x (16200KB/sec) maximum CAV
DVD+R/-R, DVD-RW/+RW
max. 8x
Access Time 140 ms
Writing Formats DVD-ROM, DVD-Video
Writing Modes
DVD RW: Random Access Write, Sequential Write
DVD R: Sequential Write
Supported Media
DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW. DVD-RW
CD Family
Writing Speed CD-R
16x, 24x, 32x, 40x max.
ReWriting speed CD-RW 4x, 10x, 16x, 24x max.
Reading CD-R/-ROM max. 40x, CD-RW max. 32x
Access Time 120 ms
Writing Modes
Disc at once, Session At Once, Track at once, Multi-Session, Packet Write
Writing Formats CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, MP3 CD's, Mixed ModeCD, VideoCD, CD TEXT , Bootable CD
Buffer Size 2MB

Interface

USB 2.0,( USB 2.0 and USB 1.1) and IEEE 1394 (FireWire /i.Link)
Dimensions 25.4x18.1x5.3 cm(L x W x H)
Supported Media CD-R, CD-RW (CD) CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, CD-I, Mixed-Mode CD, Video CD, Photo CD, CD-TEXT, Bootable CD, CD-R, CD-RW, Multi-Session

The drive uses a 2MB buffer memory store and supports RAW DAO 96 writing (CD). The drive does not support Mount Rainier, nor does it read or write DVD-RAM media.

The drive uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe).

- The drive

The freecom retail package was much larger than we had expected. This is not only because of the size of the drive (see specifications above), but also because of all the stuff the package includes. The drive is packaged well and stable while all the accessories are contained in a second colored box.

Inside are the AC connector, one USB and two IEEE 1394 cables, the Freecom Warranty with a preprinted envelope for mailing it, and finally a brochure with other Freecom products. The included software comes on two CD-ROM's, one for Windows PC and the other for Macs. Each cd contains manuals, drivers and the respective Roxio CD recording software, Easy CD Creator DVD Edition for PC and Toast for Mac. Also in the package is a floppy with updates for Easy CD Creator. Last but not least, the package also contains a CD-R and a DVD+R also from Freecom.

The drive's case is well designed with the Freecom logo on the top, and is housed in a plastic, outer casing.The tray door has the RW DVD+ReWritable, DVD R/RW, and Compact Disc ReWritable logos located left to right respectively. Under the RW logo are the headphones jack, volume control and power/activity led, while on the bottom right is the eject button. The emergency eject hole is located just above the volume control. The activity LED lights up green when busy and red when reading/writing is in progress.

On the rear panel there are two IEEE 1394 and one USB socket, while the AC connector jack is on the right. Note that there is no on/off power button.

The following picture shows the Freecom's top side.

As you can see in the following picture, from the inside label on the drive, the FX-50 is a based on the LiteOn LDW-811S.

- Installation

Freecom has two available output connections. In order to get the most stable and accurate results, mainly for the CD and DVD reading and writing tests, we connected the Freecom writer via Firewire instead of USB after an open discussion on the forum, although most believed that there would be no conceivable difference among the two connections. Freecom was identified as "FREECOM_DVD+/-RW8J" under WinXP Sp1 Professional. All tests were done with firmware revision v.HSR1.

The following pages include the test results for the Freecom drive in comparison with the LiteOn 811s and the Mitsumi DW7872TE.


2. Data CD Reading Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW- Page 2

Data CD Reading Tests

- Pressed CD results (Click for CDSpeed results)

The drive confirms the 40x maximum reading speed stated in the manufacturer's specifications. NeroCDSpeed reported that the disc was read by the Freecom FX-50 at an average speed of 31.6x under CAV mode. That value, according to the above graph, is slightly higher than LiteOn but slower in comparison with Mitsumi.

The reported seek times are quite good. The drive returned the fastest Random and 1/3 seek mode times but was slightly slower than the Mitsumi drive for a Full seek, requiring 187ms.

- CD-R results (Click for CDSpeed results)

The tested CD-R media is a clone of the previous pressed test disc and the reading performance of the Freecom FX-50 was similar for both media types. Despite the fact that the Freecom drive started the reading process of the CD-R disc faster than with the pressed disc, the start speed was slowest amongst the three drives, as shown on the above graph. Just as with the pressed disc, the CD-R disc was read under CAV.

The best seek times for CD-R media, comes from the Mitsumi drive, while the Freecom and LiteOn drive had similar times. The reported seek times for all drives are acceptable, although slightly increased for Freecom and LiteOn, especially for the Full seek test.

- ReWritable Media (Click for CDSpeed results)

For the reading test we used 32x Ultra Speed rewritable media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

The Freecom drive started the reading process at a slightly slower speed than the other two drives. Despite this, the drive managed to bypass the manufacturer's stated maximum reading speed and the finished the test with a reported end speed of 33.52. The average reading speed with US-RW media was 25.29x but once again Mitsumi was fastest among the three.


3. CD Error Correction Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

The above picture shows the effected area on the Abex TCD-721R disc while the graph below shows the reported errors during the reading test. To measure this, we compare the reading errors of the defective disc against a disc without defects.

Errors total
Num: 893926
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 48295
Avg:-73.7 dB(A)
Max: -26.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 2975
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 11 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
76.9 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The performance with this disc was very good. Despite the total number of errors, the average error loudness is quite low, at-73.7 dB(A), while no skipped errors were reported.

- ABEX TCD-726

The above picture shows the effected area on the Abex TCD-726 disc while the graph below shows the reported errors during the reading test. To measure this, we compare the reading errors of the defective disc against one without defects.

 

Errors total
Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 0
Avg: -174.0 dB(A)
Max:-174.0dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
100 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. The Freecom drive's reading performance was perfect, so the testing software awards the drive with the perfect score of 100. During the test, no samples were skipped or muted, while an average level for loudness errors of -174.0dB(A) was reported.

- 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 more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced (played) through software multimedia players (Windows Media Player, Winamp and Power DVD). 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 drive.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Freecom FX-50
5/5
5/5
5/5
0/5
0/5

The drive's overall performance was a little lower than it could have been. The external writer managed to playback the first three tracks clearly but there were many audible clicks during the playback of the last two levels.

- Summary

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
76.9
ABEX TCD-726
100.0
Average Score
88.45

The Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-RW received an average score of 88.45 out of 100 for the two Abex test discs. This is a plus for the drive as the score is quite high.


4. DVD reading tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 4

DVD reading tests

- Single Layer DVD-ROM (Click for CDSpeed results)

All three drives support 12x maximum reading speed and use CAV reading strategy for the single layer DVD-Rom. It is therefore not surprising that the performance from all three drives was similar with the 820A Abex test DVD-ROM. The reported average reading speed of each drives is about 9.3x

The seek times for the Freecom and LiteOn dirves are similar for single layer DVD-Rom, while the results for Mitsumi are slightly higher.

- Dual Layer PTP DVD-ROM (Click for CDSpeed results)

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting the read process from the inner tracks on the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, and progressing outwards towards to the outer tracks for each layer.

The dual layer PTP DVD-Rom was read steadily, under CAV mode from Freecom RW8J, and the test ended with very acceptable results. The reading process started at 3.53x and at the end of each layer reached 8.34x. On this test the Mitsumi drive returned the slowest results.

The above graph shows that the seek times for the Freecom drive are very fast although not the fastest in this comparison. The LiteOn drive was the fastest while the Freecom drive needed 91ms for Random seek and 173ms for Full seek. The Mitsumi drive had the slowest seek times.

- Dual Layer OTP DVD-ROM

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer on 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 inwards towards the inner tracks of the disc.

 

All tested media up to now was read under CAV mode by the Freecom RW8J drive, and the OTP DVD-ROM was no exception. The screenshot below shows that the drive momentarily had to slow down speed at the end of the first layer when switching over to the second layer, while the screenshot on the left, shows low seek times and a good average speed.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD-Video ripping speed for the Freecom drive using the latest version of DVD Decrypter. The DVD Video title is the "Matrix" pressed DVD-Video.

DVD Decrypter reported that in order to use the Freecom RW8J for ripping, we hade to set the region, and so we used Region 2. We ripped the movie on the DVD-ROM to our hard disk. The above graph shows that Freecom and LiteOn finished the process faster than Mitsumi. According to DVD Decrypter, Freecom needed 12:53 minutes to finish the test resulting in an average speed of 6.6x

- DVD Recordable / Rewritable reading Tests

The chart below shows the Nero CDSpeed average reading speed results with the following media:

The above graphs shows the average reading speed of the three drives with all four media types, both writable and rewritable. The end speed for the Freecom drive was slower than the manufacturers specifications for 8x maximum reading speed and its average speed was restricted to 4.65x for both DVD-R and DVD+R. LiteOn showed similar performance to the Freecom drive while the Mitsumi returned the fastest speed.

With the rewritable media, the Freecom drive returned the fastest reading speed with DVD+RW media, while the DVD-RW media was read at exactly the same speed with all drives.


5. DVD Error Correction Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW- Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the external Freecom drive with scratched / defective 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 drive read the contents of the 821 test disc without reporting any reading error. There were no speed deviations throughout the reading process.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 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 the surface and instead defective areas ranging in dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints with height between 65 and 75 micrometers.

The 825 test disc was more difficult for the Freecom drive to read. The drive had to slow down speed from 9x to 5x, a little before the second defective area on the disc. Once again the test ended successfully.

- Dual Layer media
ABEX TDR-841

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

No problems during the reading process of the 841 dual layer DVD-ROM. The drive read both layers accurately under CAV reading strategy and finished the test with an end speed at 9x

ABEX TDR-845

This disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes both defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints have height sized from 65 to 75 microns (micrometers).

The drive needed momentarily to slow down during the reading process just before the artificial fingerprints on the first layer, but the test continued normally and finished without reading errors.

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 on the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches sized from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

 

 

 

 

 

Nero CDSpeed shows that the Freecom Fx-50 found it difficult to finish the 541 test disc. The problem for the drive occurred after the layer switch operation where the drive needed about 700mb of the disc reading surface to regain a constant reading speed.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer Video/S-2 disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the disc's surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer high fingerprints

 

 

 

 

 

Same performance as with the previous tested media for the Freecom drive, where again it needed some time after the layer switch to regain its feet.


6. Protected Disc Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 6

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create an image of the various protected titles onto a hard disk, we used CloneCD v.4.3.2.2 software and the appropriate settings, depending on the protection type of the inserted discs. Below are summarized the capabilities of the Freecom drive, according to CloneCD software. As you can see the drive supports writing of CD+G under RAW DAO:

The game titles we used for each protection scheme are given 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
Fifa 2004
SafeDisc v3.10
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
PSX Pressed Media

SafeDisc v.2

SecuROM v.2

The Freecom drive proved to be faster than the other two drives in the ripping process of the PSX game and the safedisc2 protected disc while Mitsumi was the slowest. Mitsumi was faster than the other two ripping VRally 2 where the Freecom drive needed 2:33min.

- Writing Tests

The Freecom drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 4 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 CloneCD. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Amplify Weak Sectors" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they ran (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive
Game Title
SD2 Build
Settings
Amplify Weak Sectors On
Amplify Weak Sectors Off
Freecom FX-50
Max Payne
v2.51.020
Yes
Yes
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
v.2.60.052
Yes
Yes
The Sims Unleashed
v.2.8
Yes*
No
The Sims Superstar
v2.9
Yes*
No
Fifa 2004
v3.1
No
No
The drive had a strange behavior in this test. It managed to make working backups of SafeDisc protection up to version v.2.9. However the backups of v.2.8 and v.2.9 were not playable in the same drive but in others such as Teac CD-540E.


7. DAE Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 7

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

Freecom uses 40x CAV reading strategy for CD-DA. Below is the resultant output from the CDSpeed transfer rate test with a pressed audio CD:

According to Nero CDSpeed, the average reading speed was 30.91x, while at the end of the reading process, the speed reached 40.82 x. The seek times were good.

 

 

 

To test the ripping speed and the quality of the Freecom drive with Audio discs, we used a pressed disc and a its clone, and we ripped their contents to our HD with EAC (burst mode). The following graphs show the results of each process.

LiteOn was faster than the other two drives, with an average ripping speed of 39.9. Mitsumi's reported average speed was 29.6x while Freecom proved to be the slowest with an average ripping speed of 28.3x.

The CD-R media returned similar results to the pressed disc. The average speed for all drives is a bit slower in comparison with the reported speed during the ripping of the pressed media.

- Advanced DAE Quality

Nero CDSpeed Advanced Dae Quality test awards the drive with a quality score 100.0 and reports that during the test there were no Sync. or Data Errors. The drive can safely be used for on the Fly Copying up to 16x. On the Advanced features the software confirms that the drive is able to Read Leadin, Leadout Cd Text and subchannel Data information.

- Support of 90/99mins AudioCDs

The drive managed to playback both 90min and 99min test discs.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For this test procedure we used two audio discs with different audio protection schemes. We tested for both recognition and ripping to the hard disk. The software used was Exact Audio Copy.

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

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

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
Freecom FX-50
No
OK
Mitsumi DW-7872TE
OK
Recognize the disc but cannot rip or play the contents
LiteOn LDW-811S
OK
OK

The Freecom drive managed successfully to playback and rip the contents of the CDS protected disc. However this didn't repeat with the Key2Audio disc.


8. CD Recording Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Writing Tests

The Freecom drive supports 16x, 24x, 32x and 40x writing speeds for the CD-R media. Just like with the reading processes the drive used CAV strategy for the writing process.

To simulate the writing process we used the latest version of NeroCDSpeed and a blank 48x media from TY. The test confirmed the manufacturer's specifications for 40x recording which is under CAV. The average speed was at 31.41x.

 

 

 

- Recording Times

To compare the recording times of the three drives, we used NeroBurning Rom. We created an 80min data compilation and recorded it on a 700MB disc.The above graph shows the time that each drive needed to record that compilation at the maximum available writing speed. All drives support the 40x maximum writing speed and use CAV writing strategy, therefore their results are almost identical.

Below is the writing time that each drive needed to complete the same recording project at all available writing speeds. The comparison shows that the Freecom drive was the fastest at all four speeds.

In the following graph you can see the recording times with various media brands.

Also, the Freecom drive proved to have stable performance on the writing times with different media brands.

- CD-RW Writing Tests

The Freecom drive supports 24x P-CAV maximum rewriting speed, with Ultra Speed rewritable media. Below are the results from the CDSpeed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Accurate process with maximum writing speed of 23.99x, a speed that was reached a little after the first 100mb of the writing process.

 

 

 

 

We also used Nero Burning Rom software to burn a data disc using 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals again. The data compilation, which we burned, had a size of 651 MB. Same writing strategy and same maximum writing speed resulted in similar burning times from all drives.

- Packet Writing Tests

Using InCD and Mitsubishi Chemicals 24x US-RW media for all Packet Writing tests, quick format took 37sec. The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (412.822 KB) from Hard Disk (on the same PC as the recorder) to the formatted RW media through Windows explorer (drag and drop).

Operation
Duration
Average speed
Read
2:27 min
18.27x
Write
2:21 min
19.5x

- Other features

Overburning
up to 99min
CD text reading/writing
Yes


9. Writing quality - 3T Jitter Tests

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

To test the writing quality of the Freecom drive we burned the same Nero compilation on six different media and then measured their Pit and Land Jitter. The 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs are presented here.

- 3T Pit results

Here, we have to mention that one of our written discs(AM), was not readable by the Pit-Land measurement drive although it was fully readable by all other drives on which we tested it. The C1C2 measurements of that disc reported errors much higher than the acceptable level and that confirms the inability to read the disc.

All written media returned high Pit values. The above graph shows that the Pit values of Professional and Intenso media were higher than the 35ns Red Book limitation at almost all measurements. On the other hand, CMC and Samsung media returned the best quality and the most stable values.

 

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

The graph shows that the average Pit Jitter of Professional media is 37.34ns, a value over the 35ns Red Book limitation indicating that it is not a safe solution for quality writing. The lowest average measurement comes from the CMC media while Samsung is also quite acceptable.

 

- 3T Land results

The Land Jitter graph shows that most problems for the Freecom drive are located at the end of the writing task. All previous reported media increased the Land values after the 70min mark where these values are much higher than the 35ns Red Book limitation. Once again CMC proved to be a safe buy for quality writing.

The following average values graph confirms the very good burning quality of the Freecom recorder.

The average Land Jitter graph shows that only the Intenso media exceeds the 35ns Red book limitation and that is the worst quality written disc. Professional media seems to have low average Land Jitter but as we show on the previous graph, there are areas that the Land Jitter values are much higher than the acceptable limit.

Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max 3T jitter values (ns)
Professional 48x
25.12
26.34
Yes
41 Pit, 42 Land
Samsung 48x
26.95
28.41
Yes
34 Pit, 42 Land
Maxell 48x
29.93
29.27
No
31 Pit, 35 Land
CMC 48x
32.95
31.34
No
32 Pit, 32Land
Intenso 52x
32.88
31.71
Yes
44 Pit, 48 Land
- Summary

The Freecom FX-50 did not meet our expectations for quality writing with CD-R media. One media brand was written at such low quality level that we were not able to include it on the above graphs. Three of the other five media gave back values over the 35ns Red Book limitation while the remaining two returned marginal results.


10. C1 / C2 Error Measurements

FREECOM DVD+/-RW8J - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

The C1 / C2 error rate was measured for the recorded discs burned during the previous writing tests (jitter). The software used was UMDoctor Pro II, and the reader was the Optorite DD0203 drive.

  • CMC Magnetics 48x recorded at 40x

  • Intenso 52x recorded at 40x

  • Samsung 48x recorded at 40x

Below is presented information on the CD-R media used in this test.

Disc
ID Code
Capacity
Professional 48X
TaiyoYuden 97m24s01f
79:59:72
AM 48x
Plasmon 97m27s18f
79:59:74
CMC Magnetics 48x
CMC Magnetics 97m26s66f
79:59:71
Intenso
Uknown 97m17s06f
79:59:73
Maxell 48X
Ritek 97m15s17f
79:59:70
Samsung 48x
Plasmon 97m27s18f
79:59:74
- Summary

Umdoctor's C1C2 measurements confirm the bad results seen in the Pit and Land Jitter measurements for the Freecom writer. All Professional written media gave back many C1 errors mainly at the outer region. Umdoctor was not able to report all errors for the AM media and the test ended at about the 70min of the disc.


11. DVD Recording Tests

FREECOM DVD+/-RW8J - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The Freecom drive supports both plus and minus formats. According to the specifications the drive writes a DVD+R media at approximately 8:30 minutes while it needs double the time for -R discs. With the rewritable format, 4x and 2x are the supported writing speeds for +RW and -RW respectively.

Mitsubishi Kagaku 8x DVD+R

The writing process started at 3.95x but the drive soon increased the speed after only the first 300Mb of the writing process. The second step speed increase occurred after 1Gb where the drive reached the maximum writing speed of 8x. The task ends with end speed at 8.27 and an average speed of 7.43x

 

 

 

CMC 4x DVD-R

CLV writing strategy for the -R format and average speed of 3.97x reported from NeroCDSpeed after the end of the writing simulation.

 

 

 

 

 

CMC 4x DVD+RW

The certified 4x rewritable media from CMC recorded at 4x writing speed where the process ended with an average speed 4.01x

 

 

 

 

CMC 2x DVD-RW

The -RW disc was written at 2x under CLV with average writing speed 1.98x

 

 

 

 

- Burning Tests

The best recording times are illustrated in the following table after burning 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media, using the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc.

The graphs above show the difference in times that each drive needed to write both writable and rewritable media. The Freecom drive was fast with the +R and +RW format while it needed more time than the other two drives for the -R and -RW format writing tasks.

- Packet Writing Tests

For this test we copied a 403 MB file (412.822 KB) from the hard disk (on the same PC as the recorder) to the formatted RW media through Windows explorer (drag and drop).

DVD-RW
Duration
Average speed
Read
1:46 min
2.88x
Write
2:28 min
2.07x

DVD+RW
Duration
Average speed
Read
1:47 min
2.86x
Write
1:17 min

3.97x


12. KProbe PI/PO quality tests

FREECOM DVD+/-RW8J - Page 12

PI/PO quality results

The following screenshots show the PI/PO results for various DVD-/+R and DVD-/+RW media, recorded with the Freecom drive at the maximum allowed speed.

The software used for the measurements was KProbe v1.1.28, the ECC was set to 8 and the reading drive was the LiteOn LDW-811S. The specific methodology is very dependent on the drive used as a reader, while the reliability of the PI/PO provided output is also not technically confirmed. Hence as a result, we cannot safely come up with conclusive results, although we do make a comparison of the drive's behavior when using various DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The recording discs used came from Mitsubishi Chemicals, CMC Magnetics, Taiyo Yuden, Maxell, Pioneer and Ritek. Further details about each disc type are presented at the bottom of this page.

Media
Code
Mitsubishi Kagaku 8x DVD+R
MCC 003
Philips 8x DVD+R
Philips C08
That's 4x DVD+R
YUDEN000T01
MCC 4x DVD+R
MCC 002
Maxell 4x DVD+R
YUDEN000T01
Mam 4x DVD-R
MCI4XG01
Taiyo Yuden 4x DVD-R
TYG01
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
CMC Magnetics 4x DVD-R
CMC MAG AF1
Ritek 4x DVD-R
RITEK G04
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+RW
MKM A02
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-RW
MCC 01RW4X

The K-Probe test, showed that Freecom is a quality writer with the DVD+R format. All PI/PO measurements are at a very acceptable level. On the other hand, the DVD-R written media gave back high PI/PO levels while the writing quality test of the MAM DVD-R, didn't end and moreover the disc was not readable. Maybe with a firmware upgrade this issue be fixed.


13. Conclusion

Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 13

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

  • Dual external DVD/CD writer
  • 8x DVD+R writing
  • Wide DVD+R compatibility
  • 40/24/40 CD-RW
  • Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
  • Supports 40x DAE
  • Fast DVD ripping
  • Full retail package
  • Compatible with Mac and Pc
  • USB2.0 and IEEE 1394 connections
  • CD Error Correction
  • Overburning
  • Reads 6x DVD+/-R, RW
  • CD-R writing quality
  • No Power-Off Button
  • Does not support Key2Audio protected Audio discs
  • DVD-R writing quality

The retail version is very well packaged while the installation of the drive was very easy under WinXP, being easily recognized after we plugged the firewire connector.

The Freecom FX-50 external writer is the first dual DVD writer we have had the chance to test, that supports 8x writing. Despite the fact that the writer supports only the +R for 8x maximum writing, most of the tested +R media were written at 8x, which means very good media compatibility. On the DVD-R part the drive needs improvement, since almost all the discs we burned gave back high PI/PO values. Maybe a firmware upgrade improve the DVD-R writing quality.

With CDs, the external Freecom drive seemed to have problems with quality with many media we burned especially towards the end of the writing process. We expect to see some improvement on this part when the new firmware will be released. Despite this, all discs we tested were written at the maximum available speed and each process finished at about the same time.

The CD error correction capabilities of the drive are very good, while the DVD error correction tests showed that the drive had average performance mainly with ABEX TDV-541 and 545 test discs, where in both cases the drive slows down in order to read the defective areas.

With DVD media, the Freecom drive was restricted to about 6x with DVD±RW media while it proved to be fast on the DVD-ROM reading/ripping tests.

The backup process of the protected games we tested reveal a strange behavior. Although the FX-50 is capable of SafeDisc v2.9 backup, the latest versions of 2.8 and 2.9 were not playable in the same drive. The previous didn't had any problem.

Summing up, the Freecom drive is an average performer and could be a good choice for users who need to use an external drive either on a Mac or on a PC and prefer the +R instead of -R format for DVD writing tasks. Freecom FX-50 is available online for €180-200.



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