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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 12x CD-RW

Monday, February 18, 2002
Ricoh MP7120A CD-RW

1. Introduction

Ricoh MP7120A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

Thanks Mike for this help!

Ricoh is well known to users from their CD and CDR-W drives. The MP7120A is the first model, which includes 12x write speed and 10x HS RW writing capabilities. The Ricoh 12/10/32 comes in 2 versions ATAPI (7120A) and SCSI (7120S). However, the drive is not supplied with any technology similar to BURN-Proof, which is what the competition supports. How can this drive compete in a tough market without any extra features? We have already previously tested the Plextor PX-W1210A and the Sanyo CRD-BP3, which have the same exact spec (read/writing features) but also have BURN-Proof. We have benchmarked the three drives and the results may well surprise you!

- Enhanced laser power and high-precision pulse
- Newly developed pick up module enabling stable data writing
- Newly developed high-speed-processing LSIs allow fast use of buffer memory for easy packet writing
- Features "Running OPC" (Optimum Power Control) to maintain optimal laser power while writing
- Low energy consumption and low heat generation
- Comprehensive anti-dust measures, including a pick up shield to enhance long-term stability.

Supplied Package:
The package supplied was the retail United States version. This included: The drive itself, a set-up guide, 1 CD-R blank, 1 High Speed RW Blank, Audio cables and mounting screws. The software supplied with the MP7120A was: Prassi PrimoCD Plus and Prassi abCD (packet writing software):

The drive also displays the High Speed Logo on the front tray as stipulated by the High Speed RW recording standard (we shall refer to this as HS RW from now on). Using CDR Identifier we were able to determine the manufacturer for the CDR and RW included media:

Ricoh HS RW Media:

ATIP: 97m 26s 65f
Disc Manufacturer: CMC Magnetics Corp.
Assumed Dye type: Phthalocyanine (Type 5)
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds:  min. 4X - max. 10X
nominal Capacity: 651.86MB (74m 12s 00f / LBA: 333750)

Ricoh CDR Media:

ATIP: 97m 27s 66f
Disc Manufacturer: Ricoh Company Ltd.
Assumed Dye type: Phthalocyanine (Type 6)
Media type: CD-Recordable
Recording Speeds: min. 1x - max. 12x
nominal Capacity:  651.86MB (74m 12s 00f / LBA: 333750)

Noticed something weird here? Ricoh HS RW media manufactured from CMC Magnetics? Hmm...We also used Plextor CDRINFO (nice name ;) v1.1 utility which showed "UnKnown Manufacturer". Ricoh's answer was that: "...Ricoh is the only manufacture to our RW media. Ricoh as a fact is owning the technology for it. We are checking the issue with our QA how CMC ID got on the stamper. Ricoh engineer and produced it own RW high speed media to comply with the Orange Book part III Volume 2 V1.0 standarization. The dye type you are mentioning is for CDR Media only. The recording layer on the media made from Ag-In-Sb-Te (refer to periodic table for full description)..."


ATAPI CDR-W drives are simple to install. Just decide what the drive should be, master or slave, set the appropriate jumper and start! After booting, the CDR-W identified itself as the Ricoh CD-R/RW MP7120A. We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was a July 2000 model with firmware revision v1.10. After this review was written, Ricoh released new firmware revision v1.20. This improved reading/writing of CD-R media but did not solve all of our problems..

We also installed both Prassi abCD v1.3.161 (+ update to v1.5.169) and Prassi PrimoCD Plus v1.1.372. Most of our tests done with Nero Even though Prassi PrimoCD Plus is very good CDR software, we find the user interface clumsy and difficult when you have lot of files to add/remove. Again it's our personal opinion..

Test Machine:
Celeron 300A over clocked to 450 MHz
164 MB SDRAM PC 100
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.04
PlexWriter PX-W1210A firmware v1.04
Sanyo CRD-BP3 firmware v1.03
Ricoh MP7120A firmware v1.20

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