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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 24x CD-RW

Sunday, February 17, 2002
AOpen CRW2440 CD-RW

1. Introduction

AOpen CRW2440 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:

has shipped in 2001 many models, from the low end CRW1632 to the faster CRW2040, announced a new model with the fastest writing speed available. The CRW2440A has to compete the already established Sanyo based recorders, the PleXWriter PX-W2410A and the famous LiteOn LTR-24102B. The AOpen solution utilises 2 different technologies (JustSpeed/JustLink) the render the drive unique in that category. Is the AOpen proposal capable of taking on the challenge and win, even if it is a bit late for it? How strong is the retaliation from its competitor drives with their latest firmware updates installed?

- Features:
The drive supports 24x writing (Z-CLV) max speed among with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed".The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 20x, 24x (Z-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). Even AOpen specs state that the drive uses Z-CLV for 16x writing speed, our tests showed that its CLV.

In order to achieve the 20x/24x CD-R writing speeds AOpen chose the Z-CLV writing technology. When a recorder uses the Zone CLV recording method, the CD is divided into 3 zones from the inner to the outer side of the CD, and within each these zones the recording speed varies but it's always constant (CLV). The recording process starts at the beginning of the disc at a constant speed in the first zone. After a pre-defined time (when the next zone starts) the recording automatically elevates to a higher speed. At the speed switching point, the anti-buffer underrun technology (in our case JustLink) is used to assure the transition with no data loss or corruption.

AOpen's approach of 24x Z-CLV writing speed is different than what we had seen with other 24x recorders. The drive shifts writing speeds (20x) at 10 and 26minutes (24x). The average writing speed with an 80min CD is 22.03x making it slower than both Sanyo/Plextor and LiteOn based recorders. Most of our recording tests confirmed that claim. However that approach seems to produce very good quality CDs.

- The package:
The tested drive was an "engineer sample" with final hardware/firmware. The retail European package will look like the left picture and include: The drive, a printed manual in 6 languages, 1 piece (24x certified) of AOpen 74min CD-R blank, 1 piece of AOpen 74min 4-10x High-Speed RW Blank, audio cable and mounting screws. The attached software will be Nero Burning ROM v5.5x OEM and Ahead InCD v2.3x (for packet writing use) and a Mp3 encoder/player ["Gamut 2000"].

The front of the drive continues to be an AOpen typical. The drive doesn't have the AOpen logo printed on it. It does include though, the "High-Speed RW" and "JustLink" logos. User will understand directly the drive's specs from the "24x10x40x" logo. You will also find only one led, the eject button 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 2440 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 CRW2440". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was an August 2001 model with firmware revision v0.95 installed. We used the Nero (5.5.4.9), InCD (2.32), CloneCD (3.0.9.1) and Padus DJ (3.50.799) for the recording tests. Both LiteOn and PleXWriter have been re-measured with latest available firmware updates (LiteOn 24102B v5S07 and PleXWriter PX-W2410A v1.1).

- 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 CRW2440 firmware v0.95
LiteOn LTR-24102B firmware v5S07
PleXWriter PX-W2410A firmware v1.01
TDK CyClone 241010 firmware v6h.35




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