CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page
- Freecom 32A
drive supports 32x writing (Z-CLV), 10x re-writing, 4MB Buffer and "BurnProof"
as the main anti-buffer underrun technology. The maximum reading speed of the
drive is 40x (CAV). The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12, 16x, 20x (CLV)
and 32x (20x-32x). The re-writing speeds are 4x, 8x and 10x. The drive doesn't
support Mt. Rainier format. The drive includes a C2 error reporting and supports
all known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW). Note that with the initial
firmware revision this is done at only 16x (CLV) speed.
The drive also supports "FlexSS-BP" which is the generic name for
"Flexible Speed" and "Flexible Strategy". The "FlexSS-BP"
works in 2 ways. When the drive judges that it can hardly trace the inserted
disc correctly -because a variation of media might include some serpentine tracks
and off centred discs- and that the placed disc cannot stand a high power laser
at high-speed recording, the drive selects the suitable recording speed for
the disc and continues the recording. Thus it monitors the physical condition
of the disc in real time during recording, and it flexibly switches recording
speeds in order to maintain the optimum recording condition. In addition, the
Flexible Strategy measures and evaluates the recording condition of a recorded
area at switching zones. Previously, the recording condition could not be checked
until the recording had been completed, but a Flexible Strategy drive can restart
the recording after the check of pit condition at the recording stop position
and optimise the recording parameters.
- Freecom's 32x writing speed
The Freecom 32A supports 32x writing speed with the use of the Z-CLV writing
technology. Below it's the Nero CD Speed writing graph that illustrates the
use of Zone-CLV writing technology:
The 32x writing speed range is divided in 3 zones: The drive starts writing
at 20x from the lead-in area till 12mins, shifts up to 24x at 16mins and lastly
shifts to 32x at 40mins and stays there until the end. The average recording
speed is 26.86X, which makes it the faster 32x recorder. Despite the
use of FlexSS-BP, the drive keeps the shifting points same in all cases. That
means, that even low quality media can be written up to 32x but with a major
cost. The readability of the written disc.
As our tests showed the FleSS-BP probably is not working correctly (or at
all) since we had C2 errors at the last minutes of each disc, especially at
the 20x (CLV) writing speed. That was noticed in almost all media (even with
Taiyo Yuden 24x certified). Similar problems were also noticed at the 32x writing
speed, which made us worried about the writing credibility of the drive. We
hope that a newer firmware revision will fix this...
- The package
package supplied was an "early" retail European version. This included:
the drive itself, an installation guide, a warranty registration form, IDE cable,
audio cable, a CD-R pen, 1 piece of Freecom 80min CD-R blank (actual manufacturer
Ritek) and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Ez CD Creator
v5.1/DirectCD v5.1 and a diskette with updated drivers. There is an additional
CD with manuals for both Windows/MAC OS operating systems. The drive has 2 years
of warranty (only in Europe). The drive's price is estimated to be 175 Euro
The front panel of the drive includes 2 leds (busy, write), the manual eject
hole, the headphone jack/volume control and the logos of "Freecom",
"BPRec" and the "High-Speed Recording":
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
and the analog / digital output connectors. There are 3 jumpers at the left
of the back. The 2 jumpers on the left are not used (factory reserved), and
the third is being used for making the drive working at UDMA33 mode. If you
remove the third jumper, the drive works at PIO-Mode4 mode -suggested only for
any major in-compatibility:
Freecom 32A was installed as a Master/Slave in the secondary IDE Bus. The drive
worked in UDMA33 mode with the default jumper setting and after booting, identified
itself as a "Generic Freecom32A".
We used only WinME for our recording/reading tests since under WinXP it was
impossible to force DMA for the drive. We don't know if this major problem has
anything to do with the Via's BustMaster drivers (4.37 installed) or firmware
needs upgrade to support WinXP.
The drive was a December 2001 model with firmware revision v2.40 installed.
We used Nero (126.96.36.199), DirectCD (5.1), CloneCD (188.8.131.52) and Padus DJ (3.50.826)
for the recording tests.