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IDE CD-RW drives roundup: AOpen CRW-1232A (12/10/32)

June 16, 2001



For many of you AOpen is known as a mainboard and video card manufacturer. Nevertheless, AOpen produces quite a wide range of computer equipment, which apart from the above mentioned items includes also sound cards, modems, network cards and cases. According to the AOpen representatives, their policy is based on development and promotion of as wide spectrum of products as possible. In particular, in August the company is going to launch three models of CD-RW drives, each is aimed at the definite market sector.


The CRW-1232A drive that we have today in our lab is the first model among them. (Further, the CRW-1232A recorder will be replaced with the CRW-1232Pro, that will feature the ATA-33 interface support.)

AOpen CRW-1232A

Test results

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

For estimation of the performance in reading operations we have chosen the TEAC CD-W512EB and Yamaha CRW2100E drives (apart from CD-ROM Teac 540E), as the nearest competitors of the model in question.

The AOpen CD-RW has shown the lowest result, falling behind the TEAC CD-W512EB by a little margin and giving a way to the Yamaha recorder and the CD-ROM TEAC.

The CD-W512EB performs not very well as well. But this time it has taken the second position after the TEAC, leaving far behind the CD-ROM TEAC.

The CPU utilization was:

Showing an average performance, the CRW-1232A drive takes more resources of the CPU than its competitors.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

In this, average access time test the AOpen can successfully compete only against the Yamaha 2100E. But you should remember that the specified access time of the TEAC CD-W512EB is 85 ms, and in case of the CRW-1232A it is 120 ms.

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

And the total CPU utilization in case of reading operations was minimal with the AOpen drive.

Time taken for CD recording

Recording of the CD-R Sony CDQ-74N1 (cyanine, 16x rated record speed) 12X

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
8.19
Yamaha CRW2100E
6.53 (16X)
AOpen CRW-1232A
7.37

The AOpen easily beats the TEAC and comes very close to the 16x Yamaha.

Recording of the CD-R Mirex (phthalocyanine, 12x rated record speed) 12X

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
Yamaha CRW2100E
8.16
AOpen CRW-1232A
7.41

Having the same record speed, the CRW-1232A was first to reach the finish, outscoring the Yamaha 2100E by 35 sec.

Recording of the CD-R "noname" (cyanine, the rated record speed is unknown) 4X

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
20.52
Yamaha CRW2100E
20.58
AOpen CRW-1232A
20.20

The AOpen is again ahead. But we should check the quality of such fast burning process.

Time spent for full formatting of a CD-RW disc in UDF format

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
26.08
Yamaha CRW2100E
29.48
AOpen CRW-1232A
24.26

Ricoh CD-RW 10x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
13.59
Yamaha CRW2100E
29.31
AOpen CRW-1232A
13.00

A fast operation with CD-RW discs is peculiar to all recorders based on the Ricoh pickup. And the AOpen CRW-1232A is not an exception.

Recording of a CD-RW (UDF)

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
19.45
Yamaha CRW2100E
21.38
AOpen CRW-1232A
18.48

CD-RW Ricoh 10x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
8.57
Yamaha CRW2100E
11.22
AOpen CRW-1232A
8.21

The results are excellent. The advantage of the CRW-1232A is especially well noticeable at low formatting speeds, while at the maximum possible speed of 10X the difference between the TEAC and AOpen is just a bit more than 30 sec.

BLER factor of CD-R discs recorded with the Ricoh drive.

CD-R disc, record speed Sony CDQ-74N1, 12x Mirex, 12x "noname", 4x
BLER
78-86
8-11
780-890

Let me remind you the Plextor PX-W1610A results.

CD-R disc, record speed Philips Silver Premium, 16x Mirex, 12x Mirex, 16x
BLER
10-12
1-3
2-5

(for these tests we used a device described in the fifth part of our review)

Now let's see what the CDCATS "thinks" about it.
Sony CDQ-74N1, 12x

Mirex, 12x

Mirex, 12x (single artificial activation of the JustLink)

"noname", 4x

We can see the average record quality both of the CD-R Sony and of the CD-R Mirex. But the cyanine Sony is best suitable for the AOpen. The record quality of the "noname" CD-R is no good at all. Look at the BLER factor on the graph. The dots in the upper part of the graph mean that the CDCATS station can't test discs with so high BLER (higher than 450). There are even E32 errors. The most interesting thing is that the disc will read quite decently for some time, though it won't live more than 2-3 months. Now let's turn to the graph during the recording of which the JustLink technology was enabled. Note that when testing such parameters as BLER, BERL, CRC, and fixing E31 and E12 errors we discovered a splash on the 38th minute. This is a meeting-point of the parts of interruption of recording and its recovery. But there is nothing to worry about. E12 errors are usually well corrected in the vast majority of CD-ROM drives and audio centers. You won't hear a strong click when listening audio CDs as well (it can often be heard on discs recorded with the BURN-Proof enabled).

CDSpeed 99

The graph of reading of the Sony CDQ-74N1 (12x record speed)

The graph of reading of the Mirex (12x record speed)

The graph of reading of the "noname" disc (4x record speed)

The graphs of reading are nearly ideal, but for one strange feature which is caused by the firmware. The drive periodically read the discs at 10X and raised its speed not higher than 20x closer to the outer tracks. And it didn't depend on the type of a disc. But I should note that this effect didn't take place in case of the cyanine "noname" CD-R discs.

The graph of reading of the Sony CDQ-74N1 (12x record speed)

The graph of reading of the Mirex (12x record speed)

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded CD-R Sony CDQ-74N1 discs (12X)

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Average
24.49x
21.78x
24.80x
Random Seek
80 ms
128 ms
101 ms
SpinUp Time
3.66 sec
3.78 sec
2.53sec
SpinDown Time
6.01 sec
3.77 sec
3.81 sec
Disc Eject Time
2.31 sec
1.84 sec
1.60 sec
Disc Load Time
14.39 sec
1.74 sec
7.26 sec
Disc Recognition Time
1.00 sec
6.36 sec
0.01 sec

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded CD-R "noname".

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Average
24.46x
21.84x
24.31x
Random Seek
77 ms
129 ms
122 ms
SpinUp Time
3.76 sec
3.74 sec
2.47 sec
SpinDown Time
5.82 sec
3.71 sec
1.50 sec
Disc Eject Time
2.31 sec
1.80 sec
1.60 sec
Disc Load Time
14.32 sec
1.75 sec
7.37 sec
Disc Recognition Time
1.02 sec
6.40 sec
0.04 sec

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded CD-R Mirex (12x).

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Average 24.53x 21.84x 23.64x
Random Seek 82 ms 128 ms 115 ms
SpinUp Time 3.43 sec 3.75 sec 2.44sec
SpinDown Time 6.12 sec 3.73 sec 3.64 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.31 sec 1.84 sec 1.62 sec
Disc Load Time 13.81 sec 1.73sec 7.17 sec
Disc Recognition Time 1.12 sec 6.43 sec 0.04 sec

* The data for the CD-RW drives from TEAC and Yamaha are given for Philips Silver and Mirex discs. On the Yamaha the discs were recorded at 16X.

The results are very close to the figures obtained in the tests with the WinBench utility. The AOpen and TEAC recorders have almost the same average reading speed. The W512EB has a little bit better average access time than the CRW-1232A does, but the AOpen shines in spin-up and spin-down factors.

CD Quality Check test results of the CD-RW (UDF) discs recorded at 4X.

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
19.32
15.47
16.03

CD Quality Check test results of the CD-RW (UDF) discs recorded at 10X.

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
18.21
15.66
16.07

CD Quality Check test results of the recorded CD-RW (ISO) discs.

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
20.65
19.12
21.16

The AOpen reads the CD-RW discs in the UDF format a bit slower than its main competitor - the TEAC CD-W512EB, while reading of rewritable discs in the ISO format is an advantage of the CRW-1232A.

Read speed of the recorded CD-R Sony CDQ-74N1 /CD Quality Check/

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
19.56
20.21
23.58
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.69
18.42
18.55

Read speed of the recorded "noname" /CD Quality Check/

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
18.59
20.46
22.67
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.59
18.55
18.38

Read speed of the recorded CD-R Mirex (12x) /CD Quality Check/

TEAC CD-W512EB* Yamaha CDRW2100E* AOpen CRW-1232A
Read speed
19.78
20.49
22.48
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.72
18.63
18.62

*The data for the CD-RW drives from TEAC and Yamaha are given for Philips Silver and Mirex discs. On the Yamaha the discs were recorded at 16X.

The AOpen performed much better in the CD Quality Check test than its contestants.

Quality of the recorded CD-R Sony CDQ-74N1 /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

AOpen CRW-1232A

TEAC CD-540E

Quality of the recorded CD-R "noname"/CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

AOpen CRW-1232A

TEAC CD-540E

Quality of the recorded CD-R Mirex (12x) /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

AOpen CRW-1232A

TEAC CD-540E

The graphs are typical of the Ricoh recorders. The noname's saw started earlier than usual. The CD-ROM Drive Analyzer fixed periodical changes in the character of reading. And in this case the graphs looked like this:

Quality of the recorded CD-R Sony CDQ-74N1 /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

AOpen CRW-1232A

Quality of the recorded CD-R Mirex (12x) /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

AOpen CRW-1232A

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed
24.1X
18.6X
22.9X
Total errors*
7,84%
2.16%
0.00%

* - 7.84% means that the drive extracted 7.84% of the CD with errors.

The track extraction speed is very good. The error percentage is average, and with the artificial restriction of the extraction speed at the level of 16X the results can be excellent.

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (EAC 0.9 prebeta 9)

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed
18.4X
14.4X
22.0X
Total errors*
00:04:32
00:04:02
00:03:56

Overburn

CD-R Additional disc length obtained Total length of the recorded data
Philips Silver Premium 16x (TY)
2 min. 22 sec.
77:05.22
Mirex 650 MBytes
2 min. 51 sec.
77:21.37

With the 780 MBytes (90 min.) CD-R Rostok Media and the Nero Burning Rom 5.5.1.8. program we managed to achieve 91 min. 48 sec. per disc. On the whole, the CD-RW drives based on the Ricoh pickup perform excellent overburning and give the best results than the drives on the pickup on Sanyo or Oak Technology.

Direct copying from recorded CDs to a hard disc

Copying of the recorded CD-R Sony CDQ-74CN1

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB*
5.12
Yamaha CRW2100E*
6.19
AOpen CRW-1232A
6.12

Copying of the recorded CD-R Mirex

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
5.28
Yamaha CRW2100E
6.11
AOpen CRW-1232A
6.36

Copying of the recorded CD-R "noname"

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W512EB
5.22
AOpen CRW-1232A
16.18

*The data for the CD-RW drives from TEAC and Yamaha are given for Philips Silver and Mirex discs. On the Yamaha the discs were recorded at 16X.

Advanced DAE Quality

Offset 268 bytes (67 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 22.60 X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 141 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 0
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0

On The Fly Copying Simulation Copying at 1 X
OK
Copying at 2 X
OK
Copying at 4 X
OK
Copying at 6 X
OK
Copying at 8 X
OK
Copying at 10 X
OK
Copying at 12 X
OK
Copying at 16 X
too slow
CD Text Drive is capable of reading CD Text information
Subchannel Data Test 1
Track (01): 01
Relative position (01:05.00): 01:05.00
Absolute position (01:07.00): 01:07.00
Index (5): 5
Test 2
Track (17): 17
Relative position (01:33.00): 01:33.00
Absolute position (33:35.00): 33:35.00
Index (1): 1
Test 3
Track (36): 36
Relative position (00:00.00): 00:00.00
Absolute position (70:02.00): 70:02.00
Index (1): 1
Leadin Drive cannot read data from the Leadin
Leadout Drive cannot read data from the Leadout

The offset value is absolutely the same as of the CD-RW Ricoh MP7200A drive, which is, by the way, not very large.

Reading of damaged CDs

"Golden" CD

Scratched disc

The saw of the scratched disc has too sharp and deep teeth. At the same time, the recorder recovers itself quite fast and lifts its speed up to the initial level. As for reading of the golden disc, the speed is not very stable. The damaged disc was read at 80%.

Conclusion and summary.

The AOpen CRW-1232A will be worth purchasing only if its price won't differ much from similar models from Ricoh, TEAC or NEC. If you a beginner, then don't hope to find a weighty installation manual for this drive. However, it contains all necessary instructions.

The recorder will suit those who appreciate a fast operation with CD-RW discs, high results of track extraction from audio CDs, and a possibility to record data up to the very end on any type of a disc, with low CPU utilization. But at the same time you should take only high-quality discs, and if you haven't got thick purses then you should decrease a record speed down to 8X to prevent data losses.

Test programs:


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