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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 32x CD-RW

Monday, December 24, 2001
32x CD-RW Roundup Vol1

1. Introduction

32x CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page 1

The battle of the Titans begin!

- Introduction

The 'need for speed' has been forcing manufacturers to produce faster and faster CD-RW drives. Most users noticed a dramatic reduction of the writing time when the first 4x, 12x, 16x models produced. The writing time was shortening even further with the arrival of 24x recorders, while that was more or less the start of the end of Zone-CLV writing technology. At the begging of 2002 year, the 32x recorders arrive and promises even shorten writing time.

After our first preview of the 32x writing proposal of Mitsumi (model CR-480ATE), LiteOn and Freecom ship their first retail 32x recorders. Both drives have the same writing speed (32x) but follow different implementations. We compare side to side the three 32x recorders among with the faster 24x recorder (Yamaha 3200E). How faster 32x recorders really are, compared to the 24x models? What about the recording quality at the highest recording speed ever available? Continue reading...

- LiteOn LTR-32123S

The drive supports 32x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, 2MB Buffer and "SmartBurn" as the main anti-buffer under run technology. The maximum reading speed of the drive is 40x (CAV). The exact writing speeds are 8x, 12, 16x (CLV), 20x (16-20x), 24x (16-24x) and 32x (16-32x) (Z-CLV). The re-writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive doesn't seem to support Mt. Rainier format as LiteOn had promised in the press release (maybe this will come later with a newer firmware update). What we have noticed is the addition of C2 error reporting which previous the 24x model missed. Ending, the drive supports all known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW).

means Smart Monitoring & Adapting Recording Technology for Burning. To get the best burning quality & reliability with smart burning strategy such as media condition check, vari-speed burning, running OPC & buffer under run free technology. The basic philosophy can be concluded in the following picture:

As happened with the previous LTR-24102B series, the LTR-32123S drive contains a predefined list of good quality media. When the CD is in that list, the drive burns at a pre-specified speed with pre-defined writing strategy and you have the maximum writing speed. When an unknown disc is inserted the drive will burn it with specified speed, default strategy and running OPC at the same time. Last, when a bad quality disc is inserted, LiteOn 24x will burn at vari-speed in order to produce the maximum quality result. LiteOn continues to use Mediatek's chipsets which are: ........ Last the "Smart-X" means Smart Monitoring & Adjusting Read-speed Technology -for- eXtraction. CD-DAE/VCD data extraction speed will increase or decrease by host system demand (lower for playback or higher for copy) & media quality condition.

- LiteOn's 32x writing speed

The LiteOn LTR-32123S supports 32x writing speed with the use of the Z-CLV writing technology. LiteOn will use P-CAV for higher recording speeds (40x/48x). Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV writing technology:

The 32x writing speed range is divided into 4 zones: The drive starts writing at 16x from lead-in till the 2mins, shifts up to 20x at 6mins, shifts up to 24x at 16mins and lastly shifts to 32x at 42mins and stays there until the end. The average recording speed is 26.23X. From what we have noticed the shift points are fixed in all cases. The LiteOn drive has the exact shift points with Mitsumi's CR-480ATE but the Mitsumi 32x drive is slightly faster.

- The package

The package supplied was the retail version. This included: the drive itself, a quick set-up guide, 1 piece of LiteOn 80min CD-R blank (actual manufacturer Ritek), 1 piece of LiteOn 80min 4-12x High-Speed RW blank (actual manufacturer NAN-YA Plastics), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.5.6 and Ahead InCD v3.1.2 (for packet writing use).

There is not any printed manual included - just an electronic PDF file. It's nice to see at last a bulked 80min HS-RW media. We don't know yet if the LiteOn LTR-32123S has 2 years of warranty (only in Europe) or not. Last as the package says the drive is "XP" compatible which was confirmed from our test results.

The front of the drive is exactly the same as with the 24102B series. The drive includes the LiteOn's website url and the, the HS-RW logo and the drive's features (32x12x40x). You will also find only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

At the back of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved) and the analog/digital output connectors.

- Installation

TThe LiteOn LTR-32123S was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "LITE-ON LTR-32123S". We used both WinXP and WinME for the recording/reading tests. Both OS's enabled DMA automatically.

The drive was a December 2001 model with firmware revision vXS05 installed. We used a newer build of Nero (, InCD (3.19), CloneCD ( and Padus DJ (3.50.826) for our recording tests.

If we use low quality media, the drive automatically lowers its recording speed down to (16x/24x) before it starts writing. During our tests, the drive lowered the maximum recording speed down to 16x when Mitsubishi Chemical's 80min 32x certified (prototype) media was used. As it seems the media code (97 34 23) wasn't yet added in supported media list. The drive lowered maximum recording speed down to 24x ,when media based upon Plasmon/Maxell chemicals inserted. There isn't any way to force drive writing at 32x with low quality media, which many users might won't like, but its the only safe way to go :-)

LiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 16xLiteOn LTR-32123S lowers recording speed down to 24x

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