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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders 1-4x

Sunday, January 20, 2002
AOpen RW5120 IDE DVD+RW

1. Introduction

Aopen RW5120A DVD+RW - Page 1

- Introduction

AOpen at June of 2001 announced : "...a leading edge product DVD+RW, which not only writes CD-R/RW medium, but also writes the high-density DVD+RW media (4.7Gbyte). It offers 2.5x DVD+RW writing, 12x CD-R writing, 10x CD-RW rewriting, 8x DVD and 32x CD reading. Five functions in one drive: DVD+RW, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, CD-R and CD-ROM. It is simply a convergence device, so-called Super Combo Drive. DVD+RW technology provides a unique advantage: Recorded discs can be played back on existing DVD Video players and DVD-ROM drives that are currently in use and will reach some 160 million by the end of 2001. With DVD+RW it is possible to perform Lossless Linking, i.e. to suspend and continue the writing process without linking loss..."

We compare side to side Ricoh/Philips and AOpen DVD+RW drives. How similar those three drives are? Are there any major performance differences? What about the price?

- The drive

Aopen RW5120A supports 12x (CD) and 2.4x DVD+RW writing, 10x re-writing, 32x (CD) and 8x (DVD-ROM/+RW) reading. The drive also supports "JustLink" in order to avoid buffer underruns for CD format and 'LooseLess Link' technology for the DVD+RW format. Its writing speeds are: 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x (CLV) writing and 2x, 4x and 10x (CLV) re-writing.

The writing speed for DVD+RW format is 2.4X CLV (X factor is now 1385Kb/s) which is equivalent to the 20x CD-RW drives. The drive doesn't support CAV writing technology. Among with the attached 2MB of buffer, the drive includes buffer underrun protection for DVD+RW format with the name 'Loss-less linking'. The drive doesn't support writing to DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW and of course to DVD-RAM media.

- The package

The supplied package included the AOpen RW5120A drive among with: one piece of AOpen's 80mins 24x CD-R media, one piece of AOpen's 4-10x HS-RW media, one piece of Ricoh's DVD+RW media and the necessary software: Nero v5.5.5.6, InCD 3.12, PowerDVD v3.0 and CyberLink's Power Director v1.1 for the video playback/editing solution.

The front of the drive contains the "DVD+RW", "Aopen", "High-Speed RW", "DVD+RW" and the "Just Link" logos . The drive has only a reading/writing operating led.

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select, the SPDIF output connector and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved):

- Installation

The Aopen RW5120A was installed as "master" in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "DVD+RW RW5120". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was an November 2001 model with an initial firmware revision of v1.37. The drive is RPC2, which means that you can change its DVD region only 4 times. The DVD Region Info software gives the needed RPC2 confirmation (check right picture). We have no information if any region free firmware will be available, from third parties in the near future :-)

- Test Machine

WinMe/XP OSs
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
ATI AIW 128
Ricoh MP5120 firmware v1.30
Philips DVDRW208 firmware v1.35
AOpen RW5120 firmware v1.37




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