52X IDE CD-RW Recorder Roundup - Page 1
The 52X-recording race is already in full progress. Someone might say that
this is a chipset competition, meaning that the manufacturers have to choose
between the Ricoh or Mediatek solution for their 52X recorders. We have already
tested the proposals of BTC, Asus, CyberDrive (Mediatek) and this time we present
a huge-sized roundup, with four new drives from Aopen, Mitsumi, Teac and Waitec.
Both Aopen CRW5224 and Waitec STORM 52/2 use Ricoh chipset while the Teac CD-W552E
and Mitsumi CR-487ETE are based on Mediatek chipsets. Which recorder is the
fastest and which produced the best writing quality/media compatibility?
- AOpen CRW5224
CRW5224 is the fastest available recorder from AOpen. Some time ago we had the
chance to take a first look to the drive while it was an engineering sample.
Since the firmware was not finalized, we re-test the drive with the latest v1.06
firmware installed. Below you can see the drive's official specifications:
The 52X CAV CD-R and 24X RW CAV writing speeds among with the 52X CAV reading
speeds are possibly the most interesting features of the drive. Since AOpen
choosen the CAV technology for the 24X US-RW format, we can expect the drive
to give highest recording times in the corresponding tests. The maximum audio
extraction speed is not limited to a lower speed and the supported cache buffer
is 2MB. Nero Info Tool confirms the specifications above among with some more
The drive also supports the JustLink Buffer Underun Protection, and the Mount
Rainier format. The drive can also retrieve C2 error information. As with previous
AOpen drives, the default read speed is 40X, and pushing Eject button for 5
sec will change the maximum reading speed to 52X. At that time operation LED
blinks 2 times slowly. In order to change back to the 40X mode, you have to
reboot the PC. The following pictures show the available reading/writing speeds
for the 52X mode:
The JustSpeed function prevents writing error when high writing speed (24X
or faster) is selected. When "Just Speed" is ON, the drive decides
the most appropriate writing speed according to the result of medium calibration
and writes with the speed. This function is changeable in "mode select
command", and the default setting is "Just Speed" is ON. In the
following screenshot you can see that the drive has reduced the maximum allowed
writing speed to 40X, with non-certified 52X media inserted.
- Recording Technology
The drive supports the 52X recording speed with the use of CAV recording technology.
As Nero CD Speed graph shows, the drive starts writing at 23.29X and accelerates
to 52.81X by the end of the disc. That gives an average theoretical writing
speed of 39.90X with 80min CD-R media.
- The package
got the European retail package containing an application software disc with
Nero Burning Rom and Nero InCD, an application manual and the usual audio cable
and mounting screws. The package also includes one AOpen 52X CD-R and one 24X
US-RW disc. The drive is priced around 90 Euro making it a cheap drive.
- Looking at the drive
On the front panel of the drive there are the eject/stop and play/skip buttons
used for audio CD playback. The volume selector and the headphone jack are placed
on the left side of the front panel. The AOpen drive is easily recognized from
the logos on the disc tray. The operation LED behavior is explained below:
1. LED blinking - during track at once, disc at once, format, erase recording,
the blinking interval is 2 second including ON is 1 sec. and OFF is 1 sec..
2. LED ON - when device is busy status such as seek, audio play, read, packet
load/eject TOC/PMA read and etc.
3. LED OFF - except for above status, led light is always off.
On the rear panel of the drive you will find the IDE connector, the configuration
jumpers, the analogue and the digital audio output connectors and of course
the power connector.
- Inside the drive
After removing the bottom screws we can see the internal of the drive. Note
that by doing this the warranty becomes invalid. The drive uses Ricoh chipsets
as well as the previous AOpen drives.
The AOpen CRW5224 was installed as a Master device in the secondary IDE channel
of our test PC, and worked at Ultra DMA mode. After booting, it identified itself
as a "AOPEN CD-RW CRW5224". We used Nero v5.5.10, CloneCD v184.108.40.206
and Ahead InCD v3.51.91 for the recording tests. Within Nero, under drive properties
you can disable "JustSpeed" to enable the maximum burning speed (52X)
with all CD-R media.