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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD External

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Freecom FX-50

1. Package - Installation

FREECOM Fx-50 DVD+/-RW - Page 1

With the FX-50, Freecom increases the speed of its DVD-burners to 8x. The new Freecom FX-50 offers the ultimate solution for all applications: DVD±RW, CD-burner and DVD/CD-ROM drive, all in a single unit. With the Freecom Dual DVD drive you can copy DVD's and CDs or create back-ups on DVD, while with the comprehensive software supplied, you can professionally process and edit video, photo and music files. Both when writing and re-writing DVD's or CDs, the built-in buffer underrun prevention technology guarantees absolute reliability at all times.

- Features

The new Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-WR supports 8x maximum writing speed with the DVD+R format while with the -R format it is restricted to 4x. The 8x maximum writing speed of a single layer DVD+R disc means that the user is able to record a full 4.7Gb in approximately 8:30 minutes and that time, is currently the fastest time we have seen, even from IDE recorders. Besides the maximum available speed for writable media, the new Freecom FX-50 DVD+/-WR supports the current maximum available speed of 4x for the rewritable media with the plus format. With the CD formats, Freecom is fast enough, supporting 40x writing and 24x rewritable speeds.

- Specifications
DVD Family
DVD-R 1x, 2x, 4x max.
1x, 2x, 6x, 8x max.
Rewriting DVD-RW 2x ( 2700KB/sec ) CLV
4x (5400KB/sec) CLV
Reading Speed

DVD-ROM (Single layer )

12x (16200KB/sec) maximum CAV
max. 8x
Access Time 140 ms
Writing Formats DVD-ROM, DVD-Video
Writing Modes
DVD RW: Random Access Write, Sequential Write
DVD R: Sequential Write
Supported Media
CD Family
Writing Speed CD-R
16x, 24x, 32x, 40x max.
ReWriting speed CD-RW 4x, 10x, 16x, 24x max.
Reading CD-R/-ROM max. 40x, CD-RW max. 32x
Access Time 120 ms
Writing Modes
Disc at once, Session At Once, Track at once, Multi-Session, Packet Write
Writing Formats CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, MP3 CD's, Mixed ModeCD, VideoCD, CD TEXT , Bootable CD
Buffer Size 2MB


USB 2.0,( USB 2.0 and USB 1.1) and IEEE 1394 (FireWire /i.Link)
Dimensions 25.4x18.1x5.3 cm(L x W x H)
Supported Media CD-R, CD-RW (CD) CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, CD-I, Mixed-Mode CD, Video CD, Photo CD, CD-TEXT, Bootable CD, CD-R, CD-RW, Multi-Session

The drive uses a 2MB buffer memory store and supports RAW DAO 96 writing (CD). The drive does not support Mount Rainier, nor does it read or write DVD-RAM media.

The drive uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe).

- The drive

The freecom retail package was much larger than we had expected. This is not only because of the size of the drive (see specifications above), but also because of all the stuff the package includes. The drive is packaged well and stable while all the accessories are contained in a second colored box.

Inside are the AC connector, one USB and two IEEE 1394 cables, the Freecom Warranty with a preprinted envelope for mailing it, and finally a brochure with other Freecom products. The included software comes on two CD-ROM's, one for Windows PC and the other for Macs. Each cd contains manuals, drivers and the respective Roxio CD recording software, Easy CD Creator DVD Edition for PC and Toast for Mac. Also in the package is a floppy with updates for Easy CD Creator. Last but not least, the package also contains a CD-R and a DVD+R also from Freecom.

The drive's case is well designed with the Freecom logo on the top, and is housed in a plastic, outer casing.The tray door has the RW DVD+ReWritable, DVD R/RW, and Compact Disc ReWritable logos located left to right respectively. Under the RW logo are the headphones jack, volume control and power/activity led, while on the bottom right is the eject button. The emergency eject hole is located just above the volume control. The activity LED lights up green when busy and red when reading/writing is in progress.

On the rear panel there are two IEEE 1394 and one USB socket, while the AC connector jack is on the right. Note that there is no on/off power button.

The following picture shows the Freecom's top side.

As you can see in the following picture, from the inside label on the drive, the FX-50 is a based on the LiteOn LDW-811S.

- Installation

Freecom has two available output connections. In order to get the most stable and accurate results, mainly for the CD and DVD reading and writing tests, we connected the Freecom writer via Firewire instead of USB after an open discussion on the forum, although most believed that there would be no conceivable difference among the two connections. Freecom was identified as "FREECOM_DVD+/-RW8J" under WinXP Sp1 Professional. All tests were done with firmware revision v.HSR1.

The following pages include the test results for the Freecom drive in comparison with the LiteOn 811s and the Mitsumi DW7872TE.

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