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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 20x CD-RW

Sunday, February 17, 2002
AOpen CRW2040 CD-RW

1. Introduction

AOpen CRW2040 IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:

is a company that ships many different types of peripherals devices designed for the PC platform, including optical storage devices. AOpen products may not always be the leaders of the CD-authoring race, but they are surely popular among the users for their good performance and nice prices. Recently, AOpen shipped another ultra fast recorder with the codename "CRW2040". The drive enters the 20x writing category and will have to face several other competitors from Ricoh, Yamaha, LiteOn, and Plextor's 20x writing speeds. How does this new drive perform? Is AOpen introducing another winner here?

- Features:
The drive supports 20x writing (Z-CLV) max speed together with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed" technologies. The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 20x (Z-CLV) and re-writing speeds of 2x, 4x, 10x (CLV). The drive also features 2MB of buffer and supports all available writing modes (TAO, SAO, DAO, Multisession and Packet Writing).

- The technologies:

ensures that a high speed burning suitability check -of the CD medium- is performed, right after 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 helps avoiding 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 the disc),

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

(3) Doing another test that makes sure that the blank CD has no manufacturing flaws. This test determines if the whole CD can be written at the speed selected in step 2 or if further adjustments are needed.

After running these 3 tests in the background, the AOpen CRW2040 starts burning at optimal speed automatically. Note that JustSpeed can be turned off from within the CDR software in order to use even lower quality media in 20x speeds.

- 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 a "generic" one. The drive doesn't have the AOpen logo printed on it. It does include the "High-Speed RW" and "JustLink" logos, though. Users will be able to tell the drive's specs by a quick glance at the "20x10x40x" logo. There is also only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

On the back side of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master or 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 drive in UDMA33 mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:

- Installation:
The AOpen 2040 was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in PIOMode4 and during the boot process it identified itself as the "AOpen CD-RW CRW2040". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was an August 2001 model with firmware revision v1.01 installed. We used Nero (, InCD (2.26), CloneCD ( 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
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
AOpen CRW2040 firmware v1.01
Ricoh MP7200A firmware v1.30
Ricoh MP9200A firmware v1.00

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