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

Monday, February 18, 2002
Ricoh MP7200A CD-RW

1. Ricoh ships the first 20x recorder!

Ricoh MP7200A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

Ricoh ships the first 20x recorder!

- Introduction:
Ricoh has been a big competitor for Sanyo and Yamaha in the race for the fastest recorder. They followed very quick Sanyo at 12x writing speed recorders but stayed back in the 16x writing race. Ricoh had to do something to get back the lost ground and in March of 2001 announced the "MP7200A" series model. Yamaha and Sanyo at the same time announced their 20x and 24x writing solutions. After being the first ever website who tested Sanyo's 24x writing recorder we are testing the first ever 20x writing CDR-W drive.

The new recorder supported 20x writing, 10x re-writing and 40x reading speed, making it a great performer, at least in the specs. The MP7200A contains 2 new techniques: "Zone-CLV" recording mode and "JustSpeed" quality control mechanism. According to Ricoh there are several other improvements over the previous Ricoh CDR-W drives:

- New developed digital control LSI controls the pulse width with precision boasting 1.5 times of the traditional mechanism, thus allowing for stable write at high-speed.
- Improved dust prevention
- Power consumption at standby reduced to less than 1W. In addition, the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) algorithm used at the spindle motor driver enables low heat emission design.
- Supports Ultra-DMA33 connection interface

- The New features:

The Ricoh MP7200A is the first recorder that supports "Just Speed" technology. This new technology ensures that a high speed burning suitability check of the CD medium made when the CD is loaded for burning. If the check is successful, the burner automatically adjusts the medium's optimal burning speed between 12x and 20x for the high-speed process. The Just Speed technology avoids disc errors and slow writing speed. The mechanism controls the maximum writing speed by:

(1) using the ATIP information (maker name, model number, etc. pre-recorded on disc),

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

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

After running these 3 tests in the background, the MP7200A-DP starts burning automatically at optimal speed.

(Constant Linear Velocity) is the recording technology that Ricoh MP7200A uses in order to achieve a higher recording speed (20x). The same technique used from Sanyo's CRD-BP5/1500P models (24/10/40) but in a different materialization. When a recorder uses the Zone CLV recording method, the CD is divided in 3 zones from the inner to the outer parts of the CD, in which the recording speed varies:

As we can see from the above graph, the CD divided in 3 zones, which are separated from T1 and T2 time spaces. In each zone the writing speed is CLV (Constant Linear Velocity) making the rpm at the inside perimeter low which is useful for the lasting long time of the mechanism. The actual recording speed is adjusted from the "JustSpeed" (Optimum Write Speed Control). Depending on the ON/OFF setting of this function, the write speed is controlled as specified below:

- When the speed control is ON: Writing is performed at the speed of 12X in the lead-in area, at 16X from the 0-minute position up to around the 5-minute position, and then accelerating up to 20X approximately from the 5-minute position to the 15-minute position.

- When the speed control is OFF: Writing is performed at the speed of 12X in the lead-in area, at 16X from the 0-minute position up to around the 10-minute position, and 20X from around the 10-minute position and after.

- The package:
The package supplied was the retail Europe version. This included: The drive itself, a set-up guide, 1 piece (24x certified) of Ricoh 80min CD-R blank, 1 piece of Ricoh 74min High-Speed RW Blank, audio cables and mounting screws. The software supplied with the MP7200A was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.1.1 and Ahead InCD v1.90 (for packet writing use). There is not any printed manual included - just an electronic PDF file, which must be read especially from the novice users. After checking the drive's features we saw that it cannot playback AudioCDs with "CD-Text" and cannot write 8cm CDs (only read them in horizontal position) :(

The front of the drive will remind us a typical Ricoh CDR-W drive. It includes the model's code (MP7200A) along with the "JustLink", "HighSpeed" logo and of course the drive features (20x/10x/40x). You will also find only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

At the back of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved).

- Installation:
The Ricoh MP7200A was installed as Master in the primary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "Ricoh CD-R/RW MP7200A". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was an April 2001 model with firmware revision v1.02. We used the latest version for Nero (, InCD (2.11), CloneCD ( and Padus DJ (3.00.780) for the recording tests. As we can see from Nero's features picture we can select if "JustLink" and/or "JustSpeed" would be enabled/or not by default.

- 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
Yamaha 2100E firmware v1.0n
PleXWriter PX-W1610A firmware v1.01
Ricoh MP7200A firmware v1.02
Sanyo CRD-BP1500P firmware vV.vz32

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