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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 16x CD-RW

Sunday, February 17, 2002
AOpen CRW1632 CD-RW

1. Introduction

AOpen CRW1632 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:

is a company that ships products for the entire PC platform, including optical storage devices. AOpen products may not be the leaders of the CD-authoring race but are surely popular among the users for their good performance and nice price. Recently, AOpen entered the 16x writing race with the "CRW1632" model. Can the new proposal from AOpen compete and win the already known Plextor, LiteOn and Teac recorders? Let's find out...

- Features:
The drive supports 16x writing (CLV) max speed among with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed" technologies. The exact writing speeds are 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV) and re-writing speeds 2x, 4x, 10 (CLV). The drive also includes 2MB of buffer and supports all available writing modes (TAO, SAO, DAO, Multisession and Packet Writing).

- The New features:

The Ricoh MP7200A was the first recorder that supported "Just Speed" technology. The AOpen CRW1632 also supports "JustSpeed" which ensures that a high speed burning suitability check -of the CD medium- is made, when the CD is loaded into the device. If the check is successful, the burner automatically adjusts the medium's optimal burning speed between 12x and 16x for the high-speed process. The Just Speed technology avoids disc errors and slow writing speeds. The mechanism controls the maximum writing speed by:

(1) using the ATIP information (maker name, model number, etc. pre-recorded on disc),

(2) performing test writing to the OPC area at the inner circumference of the disc. This write test defines the basic speed information for the burning operation.

(3) making another test that makes sure that the blank CD has no manufacturing flaws. This test decides if the whole CD can be written at the speed selected in step 2 or if further adjustment is needed.

After running these 3 tests in the background, the AOpen CRW1632 starts burning automatically at optimal speed.

- The package:
The package supplied was the retail European version. This included: The drive itself, a printed manual in 6 languages, 1 piece (16x certified) of AOpen 74min CD-R blank (actual manufacturer Ritek), 1 piece of AOpen 74min 4-10x High-Speed RW Blank (actual manufacturer Plasmon Data), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.3.0 OEM and Ahead InCD v2.2.3 (for packet writing use). There is also an Mp3 encoder/player ["Gamut 2000" v1.20], which some users, may find useful.

The front of the drive is what we can call "generic". The drive doesn't have the AOpen logo printed on it. It does include though, the "High-Speed RW", "JustLink" logos. User will understand directly the drive's specs from the "16x10x32x" logo. You will also find only one led, the eject button (the smallest we ever saw in recorder) and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

At the backside of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, the analog/digital output connectors and 3 jumpers which are used to setup the drive's working mode, PIOMode4 (default) or UDMA33. For setting up the UDMA33 mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:

- Installation:
The AOpen 1632 was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "AOpen CD-RW CRW1632". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a July 2001 model with firmware revision v1.03 installed. We used the Nero (5.5.3.5), InCD (2.26), CloneCD (3.0.5.1) and Padus DJ (3.50.799) for the recording tests.

- Test Machine:
WinMe OS
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
AOpen CRW1632 firmware v1.03
PleXWriter PX-W1610A firmware v1.03
TEAC CD-516EB firmware v1.0A
Lite-On LTR-16101B firmware vTS0N




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