IDE DVD+RW - Page 2
- What's New at the MP5120A series?
Pick-up module, that mounts LDs (Laser Diodes) for both CD and DVD, but only
1 lens (2LD-1Lens pick-up module), is upgraded for DVD writing.
- Newly developed analog front-end processor LSI, which controls
pickup, servomotor, and seeking, and a digital controller LSI for encoding/decoding
support DVD writing at 2.4x which requires highly accurate control.
- MP5120A is equipped with the 'radial tilt correction mechanism'
that uses a sensor to detect a camber or a tilt of the disc, and corrects the
laser angle so that laser light is always directed vertically to the disc surface.
(It functions only in DVD recording and playback)
- A high-precision stepping motor supports highly accurate seeking,
even for DVD+RW media which has narrow tracks. It also reduces noise during
- The drive
super DVD+RW combo recorder 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"
technology in order to avoid buffer underruns, for CD format. Its writing speeds
are: 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x (CLV) writing and 2x, 4x and 10x (CLV) re-writing.
writing speed for DVD+RW format is 2.4X CLV (X factor is now 1385Kb/s)
which is equivalent to 20x of CD-RW drives. Even the media support both CAV
and CLV writing modes, the drive incorporates the CLV recording. The differences
are the same as with CD writing in that the overall writing speed with CLV will
be quicker however random access with CAV is quicker. We don't have any information
if Ricoh will ever support CAV writing technology.
The attached 2MB of buffer may seem small when writing at 2.4X
DVD writing speed, but as we saw earlier buffer underruns are not present due
to 'Loss less linking'. The drive doesn't support writing at DVD-R, DVD-RW and
DVD-RAM media. DVD+RW group prepares its own recordable format (DVD+R) and will
try to compete the DVD-R!
There are some rumors that the existing DVD+RW drives would be
able to write future DVD+R media with a simple firmware upgrade but this hasn't
been totally confirmed from Ricoh :"...The present drive cannot support
DVD+R. The next generation drive will support DVD+RW and DVD+R, however whether
this can be done by firmware is still unknown..." The firmware
update would be the ideal case but we must wait. If DVD+R eventually does supported
it should be considered as an extra bonus. Last despite the fact that DVD+RW
supports Mt. Rainer format the drive doesn't! Probably the next generation of
DVD+RW drives will support it.
The following writing formats are supported:
1) DVD+RW: DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Random Access Write
2) CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, CD-I, Mixed-ModeCD, VideoCD,
PhotoCD, CD TEXT and Bootable CD.
- The media
among with other manufacturers (Optodisc,
and Philips), offers 4.7GB DVD+RW media. The quaternary Ag-In-Sb-Te phase change
recording material, previously developed by Ricoh has been customized for DVD.
"...Ricoh's DVD+RW discs hold 4.7GB, are rewritable with reliability
due to the defect management of the drive..." Ricoh says. However the
drive doesn't support the advertised DVD+RW defect management at all!
Ricoh's media can be written from 1X-2.4X and have a life of more
than 100 years. A DVD+RW disc can be re-written more than 1,000 times. The prices
of the DVD+RW media are expected to be around 15$, slightly less than the current
DVD-RW media cost.
The "official" DVD disc sizes are confusing because
they do not follow the conventions used for other digital media. In the DVD
world, 1 Gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 (109) bytes, whereas in the computer world,
1 Gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 (230) bytes. Therefore a 4.7-GB computer hard disk
contains more data than a 4.7-GB DVD. In other words you can only fit up
to 4.38GB of data, as with DVD-R/RW media.
are 2 DVD+RW media types: "For Data", can be used with drives that
support DVD+RW media and "For Video" for stand alone Video players/recorders
and drives. Both types include CSS written information in order to be compatible
with all standalone DVD players. That software on the market and broadcast programs
that have anti-copy signals can not be recorded due to integrated copy protection.
This refers mainly to consumer DVD+RW devices where TV broadcast, like Digital
CS or BS Digital broadcasting have some copy protection signals in their broadcasts
(in Japan). The European broadcaster may have other standards.
The DVD+RW format supports double-sided media specification that
boosts capacity up to 9.4GB! Philips recently made an announcement for such
product. The posted information about the new media is very limited and Ricoh
couldn't promise that the MP5120A will support it "...since this 9.4
GB is simply a double sided - single layer disc logically it should work..."
- The package
package supplied was the retail Europe version. This included: The drive itself,
a quick start instruction guide, 1 piece of Ricoh 74min CD-R media, 1 piece
of Ricoh DVD+RW media, 1 piece of Ricoh 74min High-Speed RW Blank, audio cables
and mounting screws. The attached software programs were: Bs Recorder GOLD v3.04,
BS Clip v3.04, Sonic MyDVD v3.0, WinProducer v1.00, WinCoder v1.50 and WinDVD
v3.0. Also there are 2 extra tools for setting up the drive's working mode (PIO
Mode4/UDMA33) and the region settings. Pricing for the drive is about 1500DM
($690) and about 35DM ($16) for the media.
zoom at something interesting from the retail box: Yes it's true! The Ricoh
DVD+RW MP5120A has 2 years of warranty, as the European laws order. Ricoh added
"...This warranty is only for the product purchased in Europe. The
warranty in other areas is the standard one year; however the 2 year warranty
will be honored outside of Europe so long as the customer can provide a proof
Ricoh dropped Nero as the main recording CD/DVD solution and offers
instead the BS Recorder Gold. Changes are always welcomed but at this case...don't
seem so succeful. Bs Recorder GOLD general interface is a bit harder to use
than Nero one and also many features are missing :-(. Latest Nero 188.8.131.52 worked
very well with Ricoh MP5120An so there are alternative solutions for the user
who will find BS Recorder GOLD not the best solution for his needs.
The front of the drive contains all the necessary logos to separate
it from normal CD-RW drives. The "Ricoh", "JustLink", "High-Speed
RW" and "DVD+RW" logos printed on it among with the drives codename
"MP5120A" makes the difference. There is also only one led, the eject
button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:
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):
Ricoh MP5120A 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 "Ricoh
DVD+RW MP5120". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked
DMA and rebooted.
drive was a 2001 model (not sure which month exactly), with an initial firmware
revision of v1.29. Ricoh released a newer firmware update to v1.30
which fixed some problems with reading/writing of DVD+RW media. We used the
latest version of Nero Burning ROM (184.108.40.206/220.127.116.11), Bs Recorder Gold (v3.04),
Bs Clip (v3.04) and CloneCD (18.104.22.168) for the recording tests. 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. However already there are
region free firmware available, even for the latest 1.30 :-)
- Test Machine:
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 v1.29