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Appeared on: Tuesday, February 19, 2002
TDK CyClone 241040 CD-RW

1. Installation

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- Introduction:

decided to enter the world of CD-Recording competition on the year 2000 with a 12x writer (TDK CyClone 121032). From that time on TDK keeps shipping the fastest CD-RW products earlier than all other companies in the retail market. This was accomplished through strategic alliances with Plextor and Sanyo manufacturers. The CyClone series of recorders are designed for delivering the maximum performance at an affordable price for the novice as well as the power user. The new TDK CyClone 241040 also promises to be the fastest CD-RW drive ever! Is it able to accomplish this? Does it perform better than our initial BP1500P drive review?

- Features:

The CyClone 241040 supports 24x writing, 10x re-writing and 40x reading speeds. With 24x writing speed you can have a full 74min CD under 4mins! That is the fastest current recording speed you can get, but for getting that level of performance you will have to use very good quality media! The drive is also equipped with "BURN-Proof" technology and has all the goodies which the "BP1500P" also has: "Zone-CLV" recording mode and "FlexSS-BP" quality control mechanism. Read more about those 2 technologies over here.

- The package:
The package supplied was the retail European version. This included: The drive itself, a detailed manual (in 6 languages), a quick installation guide, one TDK 24x CD-R blank, 1 TDK High-Speed RW Blank, Audio cables, mounting screws and a CD-R pen. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.1.9 and Ahead InCD v2.12 (for packet writing use). The labeling on the included CD says that the InCD version is 2.14, but the real content was different. That is not a serious flaw, but it is something that TDK should look into more carefully.

The retail package as we said earlier contains one TDK "Ultra-Reflex" 24x certified media. The actual manufacturer for the media is Taiyo Yuden as CDR Identifier reports:
ATIP: 97m 24s 01f
Disc Manufacturer: Taiyo Yuden Company Ltd.
Assumed Dye type: Cyanine (Type 1)
Media type: CD-Recordable
Recording Speeds: min. unknown - max. unknown
nominal Capacity: 656.40MB (74m 43s 01f / LBA: 336076)

The front of the drive is exactly the same as the previous CyClone models. It displays the High Speed Logo on the left hand side of the front tray along with the "24/10/40" logo. The tray has a fluorescent blue color adding a special hue to the drive. There are also 2 leds (read, write) and the BURN-Proof logo above it, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume potentiometer:

On the back of the drive we find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave and the SPDIF (analog/digital) output connectors. The drive is also equipped with a slot for an extra cooling fan but it is empty:

- Installation:
The TDK CyClone 241040 was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in PIO MODE-4 mode and after booting it identified itself as the "TDK CDRW241040X". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a May 2001 model with firmware revision v6.34 installed. We used the Nero (, InCD (2.13), CloneCD ( and Padus DJ (3.00.780) for the recording tests.

The package also contains TDK Digital MixMaster which offers many interesting features such as:
1) Turn your hard drive into a computer jukebox, with easy-to-create music playlists.
2) On-the-fly decoding converts your computer music files and playlists into play-anywhere CDs quickly and easily.
3) Automatic CD track labeling (Internet access required).
4) Convert your LPs and tapes into great-sounding CDs.
5) Built-in 20-band graphic equalizer lets you customize your sound.
6) See your music with 3D visualization technology.
7) Superior CD Duplication
8) Copy virtually all types of CD Audio and CD-ROM discs.
9) One-drive dupe mode lets you copy your music CDs in half the time of most two-drive CD-ROM/CD burner setups ( up to 700 MB free hard drive space required).

The software is very fun to play with and has a fantastic 3D visualization engine (more or less like the one found in NeroMIX).

- 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 2200E firmware v1.0C
Ricoh MP7200A firmware v1.10
Sanyo BP1500P firmware vHg.35
TDK CyClone 241040 firmware v6.34

2. Data Tests

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Data Tests

Test Method:
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x: This was used to compare the TDK's  I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.08 for all of the tests.
- CD Speed 99 v0.82b also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test, we used PlexTools v1.08 pressed CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results:

The TDK CyClone 241040 shows about the same performance as the Sanyo CRD-BP1500P. In the "Average Random I/O" test it gave around 630Kb/s, while the Sanyo drive had slight higher (640kb/s).. The TDK drive also gave the same result in the "Average Sequential I/O", 4464Kb/s just like the Sanyo drive.. Lastly in the "Same Sector I/O" test it gave around 1792Kb/s, while the Sanyo drive had 1793kb/s. Both TDK and Sanyo drive seem faster than the Yamaha 2200E but slower than the Ricoh 7200A.

- CD Speed 99 v0.82b results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)

Using CD Speed 0.80 we confirmed the SCSI Mechanic results. Both TDK and Sanyo drives seem to have the exact same performance, as you might expect, and get the second place behind Ricoh 7200A.

In the "Seek Times" test, again both TDK and Sanyo drives have the same level of performance. Of course they cannot compete with Ricoh 7200, which shows an access time of under 100ms, and come second with 124ms average random time.

- CDR Media: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)

Again with CDR media, both Sanyo and TDK drives have the same performance. The Ricoh 7200A seems faster and the Yamaha 2200E gets the last position, due to its slowdown after the 65mins limit.

3. RW reading tests
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RW reading tests

- CD Speed 99 v0.8 Test: (Click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)

For the RW tests, we used TDK's HS-RW media. The TDK CyClone 241040 gave the worst average reading test result (25.35x) among the 4 tested drives. The Sanyo BP1500P performs slightly better (25.43x):

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure:
We used CloneCD (v3.0.0.20) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading time of TDK CyClone 241040. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. For comparison reasons we added the results of the already tested Ricoh MP7200, Yamaha 2200E and Sanyo BP1500P. The following picture shows the drive's reading/writing capabilities:

- SafeDisc 1/2 Results:

The TDK CyClone 241040 has a really hard time with protected SafeDisc 1.0 CDs. The drive needs around one hour to complete the task, which is more or less the same as with the Sanyo drive. The Yamaha 2200E is the faster among the 4 tested drives and Ricoh 7200 follows in the second place with average reading performance.

The TDK drive continues to perform very bad with SafeDisc v2 protected CDs. Again the Yamaha 2200E drive leads the race and Ricoh 7200A follows.

LaserLock 1/2 Results:

In the LaserLock protected CDs test, the TDK drive showed an unusual bad performance. The drive read the CD at a terribly slow rate and needs a HUGE amount of time to complete the task...

The LaserLock 2 protection seems good enough to make all 4 tested drives have a hard time. Both Sanyo and TDK drives gave the same mark with Original CD but very different with the backup CD.

SecuROM Results

The TDK drive had the third best performance among its competitors. The Ricoh 7200A simply knocks the competition out since its performance is superb! The Sanyo BP1500P comes last and as for the Yamaha 2200E the second place is what it deserves.

4. DAE Tests

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DAE Tests

Test Method:
We used CD DAE 99 v0.21 beta and EAC v0.9 prebeta 9 software in order to check the DAE performance of the TDK CyClone 241040 with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). The posted DAE results are the average of both applications, but the CPU usage was only taken from CD DAE 99, since EAC occupies the system a lot more. As a last note, we used the "BURST" reading mode of EAC. We made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The Average DAE reported speed along with the CPU Usage is displayed in the test graphs.

- DAE features:
We used EAC v0.9 prebeta 9 to examine the drive's features. As the program reported, the drive doesn't "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and doesn't support "C2 Error info". All 4 tested drives support up to 40x DAE.

- Pressed AudioCD results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)
The TDK CyClone 241040 performed well with Pressed AudioCDs and it's average ripping speed (DAE) was 27.7x. The Ricoh 7200A holds the first place and Sanyo BP1500P comes third with 28.9X. Yamaha 2200E comes last since the drive slowdowns a lot after 65mins:

- CDR AudioCD Results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)
In this test, both TDK and Sanyo drives showed some problems with CDR media. We faced a problem: "...Both drives denied ripping/playback a Taiyo Yuden 80min AudioCD (+CD-Text) disc. The same disc had been used to perform DAE ripping tests with other CD-RW drives and worked fine. Note that both drives did recognize the audio cd (and its tracks) but they refused to playback/rip it..."

We used another CDR media (from Verbatim) for the test result. Its performance was good and got the second place with 26.9X average DAE:

- Advanced DAE Quality:

The TDK drive got a perfect 100 score in the CD Speed 99 Advanced DAE test. The drive produced 0 sync/data errors, and finished the test with 29.29X average speed. The drive can also read CD-Text and SubChannel Data as the CD Speed 99 reports:

- Bad CDR Media results: (click here to see the CD Speed 99 graph)

Despite the fact that CD Speed 99 Advanced DAE test stretches drive's mechanism to the max, we decided to do real life tests with a scratched disc. The disc was dirty, and with some light scratches, enough in order cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results are interesting:

Average Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Ricoh MP7200A
Yamaha 2200E
Sanyo CRD-BP1500P
almost 0
TDK CyClone 241040

As the tests showed, both TDK and Sanyo drives worked very well with the bad CDR media and gave almost 0 errors. However, there was a strange behavior since sometimes the drives produced 0 errors and at some other times they did produce errors (using the same disc). The Ricoh reads it but returns a lot of errors and the Yamaha 2200E comes third showing much fewer errors than the Ricoh drive.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs:

As we can see from the above graphs, the TDK CyClone 241040 doesn't have any problems when ripping 90min CDs, and refused to recognize written 99min CDs.

5. CDR Tests

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CDR Tests

The TDK CyClone 241040 supports up to 24x (Z-CLV) writing speed. We used CD Speed 99 build-in writing test in order to test the drive's writing performance. The drive's average writing speed is 22.56X as CD Speed 99 showed:

Press to see the complete graph!

- Procedure:

We tested the TDK CyClone 241040 with Nero v5.5.2.4, CloneCD v3.0.0.20 and Padus DJ v3.00.780 software.

For the CDR tests we used: Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Taiyo Yuden 74 & 80min (24x), Mitsui 74min (24x), and Ricoh/Verbatim/TDK 74min HS-RW media.

- CD-R Tests:
We created "DataCD" job with data slight higher than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same job with all 4 CDR-W drives:

The TDK drive had the lower burning time, among with Ricoh and Sanyo drives. The drive supports 16x CLV writing and as for the Yamaha 2200E, it stays behind due to P-CAV writing technology, which is around 7secs slower.

- 80min CDs:
As with the previous test, we created a DataCD (80:01:47) and used the same media for all burns:

This time the TDK drive gave the second higher burning time with 339secs. The champion is Ricoh (with 336) and Sanyo follows right after it. The Yamaha 2200E is again slower but this time the time difference is higher (12secs).

- Comparison Chart:

Let's see how the 24x Z-CLV writing technology compares against 20x Z-CLV and 20x P-CAV:

Ricoh MP7200A - Supports 20x Zone-CLV
Yamaha 2200E - supports 20x P-CAV
TDK and Sanyo drives - support 24x Zone-CLV

For a full comparion with several different media brands follow this link

CDR-W drives
Average Writing Speed (X) with 80min CD
Yamaha CRW2200
Ricoh 7200
Sanyo/TDK 24x

As the following chart shows, the differences between various recording technologies and the times they need to complete a full burn are low but they do exist. The TDK and Sanyo drives are 25secs faster than Ricoh 7200A and 40secs than Yamaha 2200E (with 74min CDs). If we look at the 80min CD project, the time differences are much higher - 28 secs from Ricoh and 50secs than Yamaha 2200E:

There are differences between the TDK/Sanyo drives, especially in the 80min CDs. The time difference can be explained since the drives had different firmware revisions (TDK v6.34, Sanyo vHg.35). The Sanyo drive showed better behavior with non-certified 24x CDR media than the TDK one.

- Overburning Tests:
The TDK CyClone 241040 drive supports overburning up to 93minutes. The exact burning limit seems to be at 93:48:24 min with 99minute CDs.

- CD-Text Results:
We created several AudioCDs with CD-Text enabled. The TDK drive burned and read them back without any problems whatsoever.

- CloneCD Tests:
CloneCD v3.0.0.20 reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW writing feature. The drive also supports BURN-Proof. From our tests results DAO-RAW writing works without any problem for the SafeDisc 1, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 protections. Note that the recording speed in DAO-RAW is limited to 16x CLV (max)!

- SD2 Support:
For the SD2 test we used the "No One Lives For Ever" CD title. We used the TDK CyClone 241040 both as reader/writer. The produced backup didn't play using the same drive or any drive we tested. Therefore the TDK drive cannot produce SD2 working backups.

- 8cm mini CDs:
The TDK CyClone 241040 supports reading/writing of 8cm CDs. Our simulation tests with CD Speed 99 showed a possible problem since the drive halted by the end of the test. However we also used the Feurio and this time the tests completed without any problem. So we can say that TDK CyClone 241040 works with 8cm CDs...

- Buffer Underrun tests:
The TDK CyClone 241040 supports "BURN-Proof" anti-coaster technology. The drive worked perfectly under all heavy duty cycle attacks attempted by us, and it continued writing even after we tried to stop it (with ctrl+shift+del) several times.

6. RW Writing Tests

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RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. All drives fully support the HS-RW writing standard:

The TDK and Sanyo drives needed more time to finish the task. The Yamaha 2200E is definitely the winner with only 476secs burning time, and Ricoh 7200A comes third with 485secs. The erase time for TDK is the lower among the 4 tested drives with only 41secs.

- Packet Writing Tests:
We used Ahead InCD v2.13 for all Packet Writing tests. We used Ricoh HS RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. After formatting, we tested all four drives on their packet writing performance.

The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using explorer (we dragged and dropped) and we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

The results show that both the TDK/Sanyo drives have a very good packet writing performance with 7.16X, while the best was 7.34X (coming from Yamaha 2200E). The Ricoh 7200 comes second with 7.18x, with a very small performance difference from the TDK/Sanyo drives. However those two needs to improve their reading time since the competition is about 270% faster!

7. Conclusion

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Positive (+) :

Negative (-) :

- Supports 24x (Z-CLV) writing speed
- "BURN-Proof" anti-coaster technology
- "FlexSS-BP" quality protection system
- Very Good data reading performance with pressed/cdr media
- Good Seek times
- Good DAE ripping performance
- Very good DAE ripping quality!
- Very good packet writing performance
- Supports HS-RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text (read/write)
- Supports Overburning (up to 93minutes)
- Very good behavior even with non-24x certified media
- Retail package contains Nero 5.5/TDK MixMaster

- Failed to recognize written 99min CDs
- Very bad CloneCD reading performance
- DAO-RAW writing speed is limited to 16x(CLV)
- Failed to backup SD2 protected CDs
- No UDMA-33 support
- High price (300$)
- Possible coasters with low quality media
- For best results you must use 20/24x certified CDs

TDK's latest CyClone 241040 model is the fastest drive, at least according to its specifications. The 24x Zone-CLV writing speed is the fastest you can get nowadays, and can write a full 74min CD in 4mins. The drive's overall performance with CDR media was very good, even when using non-certified media. The drive's price (around 300$) might be an issue for the possible buyer but the retail package is pretty much full of goodies.

Getting into details about the drive's overall performance we can say that it is a very good CDR drive and the only point that will disappoint the user is the bad reading performance with protected CDs. We think that this should be a high priority matter for the manufacturers when they will be investigating future improvement. On the other hand the drive does support reading of SubChannel data (from both data/audio tracks) but as you might expected it failed to produce working SD2 protected backups.

How does the competition from Ricoh and Yamaha stands? It depends on the point you look at it. The Ricoh 7200A has been in the market for over one month and it is the second faster recorder you can buy. The Yamaha 2200E is, due to P-CAV writing technology, the slowest ultra high speed recorder and it hasn't started selling in many countries yet. The TDK CyClone 241040 has just started selling itself around Europe/USA, so the choice is very difficult…

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