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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 52x CD-RW

Thursday, October 31, 2002
52X CD-RW Roundup Vol1

2. Introduction - Sony CRX220E1

52X Roundup Vol.1 - Page 2


This may surprise several users, but this model actually doesn't exist yet. SONY currently sells CRX215E1 that supports 48X/24/48X re-writing speeds and the upcoming CRX220 series are not yet announced. However with the use of special firmware we (and you) could turn either a CRX210E1 (48/12/48) or a CRX215E1 (48/24/48) into a CRX220 (52/24/52) drive.

The benefit from this upgrade, beside the increased writing/re-writing/reading speeds, is the fact that with this firmware the drive works at max speed. The CRX210E1 and CRX215E working default at 40X and with the use of 'Turbo' mode are reaching the 48X writing/reading speeds. The negative with this is that user has to turn on the 'Turbo' mode every time inserts a disc, which is at least annoying...

- The drive

The SONY CRX220E1 supports CAV recording technology for reading/re-writing and recording. The drive's features as Nero Info Tool reports are:

The drive supports 52X maximum reading / writing and 24X re-writing speeds. PowerBurn and SmartBurn technologies are present to prevent the buffer underrun problems and ensure the burning quality. The buffer is only 2MB and reading of CD-Text, CD+G is supported. Nero Info Tool reports that C2 error information is also supported but its accuracy would be examined later. Lastly Mt. Rainier is present.

The following pictures show the drive's supported reading/writing speeds:

- Recording/Re-writing speeds

The SONY CRX220E1 supports 52X writing with the use of CAV recording technology. As Nero CD Speed unveiled, the drive starts writing at 23.30X and gradually ends at the 52.54X speed, giving an average of 39.77X.

When using a US-RW media, the CRX220E1 will start burning at 10.70X and gradually end at 23.99X. That gives an average of 18.19X that is much lower than what both Plextor PX-W4824A and YAMAHA CRW-F1 series gave in previous tests (23.78X average!).

- The package

After removing the screws on the button we can easily see the drive's internal design (attention this voids your warranty!).

Noticed anything in the above picture? Lets zoom at the bottom. Something interesting seems to be there.

The "LTR-32123S-A Rev: 01" words are printed in the circuit. Its not a secret that SONY and many other manufacturers use LiteOn OEM drives. As it seems the 48X recorders are based in the same circuits with the 32X series, not in the exact same design (we confirmed that after opening a LTR-32123S) The drive is build around MediaTek series chipsets (MT1518E and MT1516E).

- Installation

The SONY CRX220E1 was installed as a Master in the primary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-33 mode. After booting, it identified itself as a "SONY CD-RW CRX220E1". We used Nero v5.5.9.14, CloneCD v4.0.1.10 and Ahead InCD v3.5.16 for the recording tests.

The firmware version installed was v6S.02. Nero Burning Rom reports that the drive also supports the "SmartBurn" feature, for accurate burnings to various media. When you un-tick the "SmartBurn" box, a warning message comes up with information about the usability of this option. In short words, you can write every media at 48X when "SmartBurn" is disabled!

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