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

Monday, February 18, 2002
Ricoh MP7163A CD-RW

1. Features

Ricoh MP7163A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:
The MP7163A series came in the time period that both 20x and 24x are hot selling and its "reduced" writing/reading specs might be sound too slow for the power user. The middle/lower end user might find the solution interesting since the price of the drive is low. The only company that has offered something similar, at least in the specs, is AOpen with their CRW1632. How the two drives can be compared? Which one is better? Let's find out...

- Features:
The drive supports 16x writing (CLV) max speed among with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed" technologies. The exact writing speeds are 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

As Ricoh states: "...The drive comes with newly developed modules and mechanism to enable high-speed writing and reading. High-speed writing is handled by the pick-up module incorporating a high power laser and high precision pulse control. The newly developed digital control LSI controls the pulse width with precision boasting 1.5 times of the traditional mechanism, thus allowing for stable writing at high-speed.

Incorporation of the high-speed rotation type spindle motor gives stable and precise rotation during high-speed writing. The adoption of the high-precision stepping motor for the seeking mechanism enables determination of access position at high precision and high speed access at 120 msec., while improving the noise level. Improvement in wide band and low noise in the pickup's amplifier unit ensures high-speed reading..."

The drive includes "JustSpeed" and "JustLink" technologies to reduce writing problems with un-certified media and avoid buffer underrun errors.

- The package:
The package supplied was the OEM version (bare drive). The retail European version will include: 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 drive would be Nero 5.5.x and Ahead InCD v2.2x (for packet writing use).

The front of the drive reminds a typical Ricoh CDR-W drive. It includes the drive model code (MP7163A) along with the "JustLink" and "High-Speed RW" logo and the drive features (16/10/32). You will also find only one led, the eject button, 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 and the analog/SPDIF output connectors:

- Installation:
The Ricoh MP7163A was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "Ricoh CD-R/RW MP7163A". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a May 2001 model with firmware revision vBR.08 installed. We used the Nero (5.5.3.0), InCD (2.26), CloneCD (3.0.8.2) 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
Ricoh MP7163A firmware vBR.08




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