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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders 1-4x

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
4x DVD+RW Roundup Vol.2 (AOpen DRW4410 & Ricoh MP5240A)

1. Package, Installation, Ricoh MP5240A

Ricoh MP5240A Vs AOpen DRW4410 - Page 1

While the announcements for new dual-format DVD writers have whelmed our mail boxes, some traditionally hard-core manufacturers stand upon their position and keep launching either sole DVD-RW or DVD+RW drives. Their policy is completely respected, as long as they serve the general demand for quality products. In our case, Ricoh and AOpen have proven in the past that they follow the users needs with reliable and affordable products. We have in our labs the new AOpen DRW4410 and the Ricoh MP5240A-DP 4x DVD+R/+RW writers.

As a main member of the DVD+RW Alliance, Ricoh continues its DVD+RW recorder line with the MP5240A-DP. It is the first to support 4x writing for both DVD+R and DVD+RW formats.
- Ricoh MP5240A features

Ricoh MP5240A features the Lossless Linking Technology. Adding or editing data on a recorded DVD+R/+RW disc creates small gaps between the editable areas. Lossless Linking technology keeps this gap between data within 1 micron, so that data can be written contiguously, same as DVD-ROM. As a result, the discs are more compatible with DVD-ROM and DVD players.

JustLink is Ricoh's technology that prevents 'buffer underrun errors' which occur in CD- R/RW writing. It improves stability in fast writing, allows writing job while working with another application, and enables on-the-fly data writing on network.

In addition the drive automatically detects disc warpage and tilt to always ensure high-quality writing. During DVD writing and reading, MP5240A detects warpage and tilt of the disc, and it immediately adjusts the base of the pick-up module with tilt control cam using a teeter-totter principle. The laser light, therefore, always stays directed vertically to the disc surface, providing highly precise writing /reading capability.

- Specifications

Ricoh DVD+RW MP5240 supports 4x CLV maximum recording speed for DVD+R and DVD+RW media. The drive uses the 8x CAV speed for reading all single/dual layer DVD-ROM as well as DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The CD-RW characteristics of the drive include 24x Z-CLV writing for CD-R, 10x CLV for HS-RW and 40x CAV for reading.

The supported writing modes for DVD+R/RW is the sequential writing and also random access writing for DVD+RW, disc at once, multisession and packet writing for CD-R/RW. Mount Rainier is not supported.

The drive' s region can be changed 5 times in total, following the requirements of the RPCII region control.

Nero InfoTool summarizes the main specifications of Ricoh MP5240. Retrieving of C2 error information is also supported along with the RAO DAO 96 writing mode.

- European retail package

The European retail package includes the Ricoh drive and a complete set of blank media, manufactured by Ricoh: 1 4x DVD+RW , 1 4x DVD+R , 1 80min CD-RW High Speed and 1 650MB CD-R for 24x max recording.

The bundled software includes NeoDVD for DVD Authoring, NeoEdit for video editing, Roxio WinOnCD for CD/DVD mastering, Drag 2 Disc for directly read/ write access on CD/DVD disc (packet writing) and WinDVD for DVD video playback.

For all those who have compatibility problems with their recorded DVD+R media (DVD Video), Ricoh offers the "Compatibility Rescue" software. Running the application could improve the compatibility of the Ricoh MP5240A, in cases where the produced DVD movies cannot be playbacked in DVD-ROM or DVD players. Note that the setting is applied to the drive and cannot improve the compatibility of a recorded DVD+R.

In addition, the software CD-ROM includes a DVD region set utility for easy setting / changing the region of your drive, and the transfer mode utility, allowing you to change the transfer mode and the reading speed of your drive.

The drive's manual can be found in the same CD-ROM disc with the software. Of course, the usual analog audio cable and the mounting screws could not be missing from the retail package.

Let's take a look in the drive itself. The front panel of the drive has not changed over the previous Ricoh models. The various logos reveal the capabilities of the drive. On the left side of the panel there is the eject button, and the indicator LED is placed in the middle of the panel.

The indicator lights orange when a disc is mounted into the drive. When the disc is being accessed, it flashes or lights orange. If a disc is not mounted, the indicator does not light, and when an illegal disc is loaded or some hardware trouble occurs, the indicator blinks.

On the rear panel there are the analog and digital outputs, the IDE connector, the device jumper configuration pins and the power input.

After removing the screws we can see the drive's mainboard. A higher resolution picture is available by clicking the photo below.

The pick-up module of the drive mounts LDs (Laser Diodes) for both CD and DVD and only one lens (2LD-1 lens pick-up module), and has been tuned up to support DVD+R.

The analog front-end processor LSI and the digital controller support 4x DVD writing that requires control with high degree of accuracy.

- Installation

The Ricoh DVD+RW drive was plugged to the IDE 1 of our test PC as a 'Master" and worked under Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode.

The drive was identified as "RICOH DVD+RW MP5240" under Windows XP. The installed firmware is the version 1.11.

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