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IDE CD-RW drives roundup (part III)

October 16, 2000



In this review we will consider some CD-RWs which have recently appeared on sale. As they are new, they are not so popular as the old ones, but they are also worth to pay attention to.

The conditions and the testing technology remain the same (see part I).

Testing samples

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F

Acer CRW-8432IA

Creative CD-RW Blaster CD-Studio 8x4x32 (CRW8432E)

Philips PCRW 804K

Yamaha CRW8824E-NB

NEC NR-7500A

Testing technology

The technology and conditions are the same but for one thing. Here we have got a CD-RW with 8x record of CD-RW. Unfortunately, it's quite difficult to find CDs of this kind in Russia. Several Yamaha models have this kind of discs in the complete set. They are of high quality and manufactured by CMC Magnetics Corp. Although we've found such discs thanks to our friends from Singapore.

Below you can see Ricoh disc. All important information are on the backside.

ATIP: 97 m 27 s 00f
Disc Manufacturer: Disc ID not allowed
Assumed Dye type: Disc ID not allowed (Type 0)
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. unknown.
nominal Capacity: 651.86 MBytes (74 m 12 s 00 f / LBA: 333750)

The matrix is new, that's why even CDRIdentifier 1.60 can't define the manufacturer and maximum recording speed.

Please, notice, that the following results mustn't be considered as only that can proceed.

Testing results

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

The leader is undoubtedly CD-ROM Teac. NEC and then ASUS follow the leader. Philips and Acer show appr. equal results. Yamaha and Creative are at the bottom of the table. As for Yamaha, it's only 24x CD-RW. But as for Creative, it's a shame for him.

In this test, Teac CD-ROM fell behind and the first one was NEC NR-7500A. Philips and ASUS are again the second. Acer CRW-8432IA lagged behind and Creative became ahead of it. Creative is another story: we have run it 5 times and all the time it showed different results, too different. For example, first time results were: 2300 - Inside Transfer Rate, 2850 - Outside Transfer Rate and CPU Utilization - 0,0178. In the second case: 2300 - Inside Transfer Rate, 4500 - Outside Transfer Rate and CPU Utilization - 0,233. Third results were the same as the second. The fourth case was identical to the first. And in the fifth case we have got the same results as in the second. It's quite bad of this device.

The CPU utilization was

The results are quite logic. The recorder NEC NR-7500A showed the highest CPU utilization due to the high result in the previous test. CD-ROM Teac follows it with Philips and Creative a little behind. The smallest CPU "utilizers" were Yamaha and Acer. ASUS showed moderate results and this is well enough together with good results in the previous tests.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

All results confirm the claimed figures. Sometimes they are even higher. For example, ASUSTeK CRW-0804F showed 96.6 ms instead of claimed 125 ms. Philips PCRW804K has the same difference. The slowest is Creative, though it showed higher results than claimed as well. NEC has quite low access time, and it's excellent together with high transfer rate.

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

NEC has excellent results again. Unexpectedly high results of Creative. Philips is a little behind NEC. ASUS and Acer are at the bottom with ASUS being the last. The recorder Yamaha has moderate results.

Recording Time

CD of normal quality

Creative has shown the best results in the recording of the normal quality CD, though it hasn't done it in the reading. Yamaha CRW8824E-NB is 23 second later with NEC a little behind. Philips PCRW804K is right after the leading group.

CD of low quality(4x)

Acer, unfortunately, happened to be the last in recording of the technological CD. Philips looks a little better. ASUS is 2 seconds faster, then - Yamaha. Creative is again the best. The second is NEC with 10 s difference.

Recording of CD-RW (UDF)

Acer is still amazing CD-RW: being the last in the previous test, it takes the first place here. 1 minute later comes NEC. Creative fails here (3.5 m later than the leader). Yamaha shows moderate results; however if there were a CD for 8x, the recorder would use all its potential.

Here Acer doesn't shine;)

Formatting time for CD-RW (UDF-format)

Acer unexpectedly fails here completely. Philips PCRW804K is the quickest at formatting, NEC recorder keeps the second place, ASUS is the third one with 1 minute difference. Unfortunately, Yamaha remains last but one despite its excellent 8x recording.

Graphs of reading of recorded CD (normal quality). (CDTest 99)

Drive
Graph of reading
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A

Graphs of reading of recorded CD (low quality). (CDTest 99)

Drive
Graph of reading
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A

The green line is a reading speed (left scale), the yellow one is a disc rotation speed, rpm x1000 (right scale).

CD-ROM TEAC CD-540E shows similar graphs (alike the previous reviews). Each CD was read without any faults. To study the graphs of reading, refer to the first part.

NEC shows the maximum reading speed higher then the claimed, it constitutes 34x. And the most interesting is the fact, that the maximum reading speed was achieved earlier, when reading the CD of low quality than that of normal quality.

CD Speed 99 testing results of the recorded CDs (normal quality)

Drive
Average
Random Seek
SpinUp Time
SpinDown Time
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
22.86x
88 ms
3.78 sec
3.71 sec
Acer CRW-8432IA
17.68x
77 ms
3.86 sec
0.94 sec
Creative CRW8432E
24.62x
153 ms
2.86 sec
3.04 sec
Philips PCRW804K
24.76x
91 ms
5.11 sec
3.52 sec
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
17.10x
121 ms
2.31 sec
3.16 sec
NEC NR-7500A
25.80x
98 ms
3.91 sec
4.36 sec

CD Speed 99 testing results of the recorded CDs (low quality)

Drive
Average
Random Seek
SpinUp Time
SpinDown Time
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
21.14x
88 ms
3.96 sec
3.56 sec
Acer CRW-8432IA
17.88x
78 ms
3.85 sec
0.98 sec
Creative CRW8432E
22.33x
162 ms
2.86 sec
2.45 sec
Philips PCRW804K
24.89x
89 ms
5.07 sec
3.56 sec
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
17.15x
121 ms
2.32 sec
2.97 sec
NEC NR-7500A
26.07x
111 ms
4.24 sec
4.41 sec

Like in the previous testing, the most straight graphs for the normal quality CDs were achieved practically by all drives but Yamaha. As for low quality discs, almost all drives managed to read them smoothly. ASUS has got little difficulty in reading, Creative has got a little uneven graph, CD-ROM Teac has read it without problems. Acer decreased its claimed reading speed: instead of 32x it has achieved only 24x.

CD Quality Check testing results of the recorded CD-RW (UDF)

Drive
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A
Reading speed
5.12
6.94
6.58
n/a*
6.43
6.76

CD Quality Check testing results of the recorded CD-RW (ISO)

Drive
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A
Reading speed
14.21
17.31
15.73
n/a*
16.24
18.54

In this test NEC and Acer are superb. Yamaha shows good performance when working with CD-RW in ISO format, but only moderate speed when working with discs in UDF format.

Quality of the recorded CDs of normal quality (CD Quality Check)

Drive
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A
Reading speed
16.07
17.96
23.28
n/a*
16.12
7.98
Reading speed(TEAC CD-540E)
18.60
18.82
18.93
18.73
18.77
18.71

Quality of the recorded CDs of low quality (CD Quality Check)

Drive
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Acer CRW-8432IA
Creative CRW8432E
Philips PCRW804K
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
NEC NR-7500A
Reading speed
16.11
17.83
23.25
n/a*
16.14
7.98
Reading speed(TEAC CD-540E)
18.62
18.79
18.88
18.78
18.76
18.70
*n/a - the measuring failed.

Unexpectedly low results are not usual for NEC NR-7500A.

Quality of the recorded CDs of normal quality (CD-ROM Drive Analyzer)

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Acer CRW-8432IA
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Creative CRW8432E
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Philips PCRW804K
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
NEC NR-7500A
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E

Quality of the recorded CDs of low quality (CD-ROM Drive Analyzer)

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Acer CRW-8432IA
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Creative CRW8432E
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Philips PCRW804K
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E
NEC NR-7500A
Graph of reading
Graph of reading of TEAC CD-540E

The most stable graphs were achieved by ASUSTeK and Philips, the reading speed was 10-12x at that. NEC shows quite good results for normal quality CD. As for low quality one, the graph is quite uneven in the first part. Yamaha CRW8824 has got quite similar graphs: both are saw-shape, alike Yamaha CRW8824 graphs. Acer CRW-8432IA, as we can judge, has got completely different graphs: they differ both in speed characteristics and in reading method. We should notice, that we neither reboot the computer nor change the data transfer protocol DMA/PIO between those two tests.

CD-ROM TEAC CD-540E showed quite stable graphs but for a little speed decreasing to the end of the graphs.

Extraction of Audio tracks from Audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

Piano Favorites

Drive
Average extraction speed
Error percentage*
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
7.6
0.00%
Acer CRW-8432IA
7.2
24.67%
Creative CRW8432E
14.5
7.37%
Philips PCRW804K
9.6
26.44%
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
14.2
0.71%
Nec NR-7500A
16.3
10.39%

Acoustic Planet vol.2

Drive
Average extraction speed
Error percentage*
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
7.8
3.04%
Acer CRW-8432IA
8.0
9.40%
Creative CRW8432E
15.9
11.03%
Philips PCRW804K
8.8
9.23%
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
14.7
3.24%
Nec NR-7500A
16.8
4.56%

Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"

Drive
Average extraction speed
Error percentage*
ASUSTeK CRW-0804F
8.6
0.00%
Acer CRW-8432IA
8.1
19.14%
Creative CRW8432E
15.7
0.00%
Philips PCRW804K
8.5
0.00%
Yamaha CRW8824E-NB
12.6
0.05%
Nec NR-7500A
15.0
0.00%
* - 3.08% means that the drive extracted 3.08% of the CD with errors

ASUSTeK, as you can see, deserves praising with its low error percentage and high average extraction speed 8x. Although, the obvious leader is Yamaha: with its 12-14x speed and error percentage just a little higher than ASUS has. The highest speed belongs to NEC NR-7500A, but the high speed caused great amount of errors. A little slower is Creative, with similar error percentage. Philips and Acer both have many errors and low speed. They have similar results for all discs but for Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits".

Copying from recorded CDs to the hard drive

Since the disc structure is nonuniform and compound, the results were low even for 32x devices.

Copying of normal quality CD

NEC is a leader with 2 minutes difference from the next sample, which is Acer. It was followed by Philips, Creative and Asus. Yamaha, being the 24x device, fell behind from the main group with the result 2.5 times more.

Copying of low quality CD

NEC has granted the first place to Acer CRW-8432IA. The latter is followed by Philips, Creative and then NEC. ASUSTeK has passed ahead only the Yamaha which failed in this test. Notice: Philips keeps the second place, and the performance decrease is only 0.01 s as compared to the CD of normal quality.

Reading of damaged CD

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

Both discs were read without much problem. "Saw-shape" part of the graph to the end is quite normal, as there are usually many error tracks. The speed is moderate - 10x.

65% of the damaged disc were read.

Acer CRW-8432IA

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

Reading of the "golden" disc is not perfect at all. The scratched disc was read much better: first, it kept 12x speed, then, on the error track it decreased the speed down to 8x and went on working on this speed till the end.

60% of the damaged CD were read.

Creative CD-RW Blaster CD-Studio 8x4x32 (CRW8432E)

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

Quality of reading of the both discs is one of the best. The graphs are even, the speed was stable until the error tracks. There it fell down from 12x to 8x and remained 8x till the end.

75% of the damaged CD were read.

Philips PCRW 804K

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

Quite even and stable graphs. The speed is moderate, 10-11x, but without any variations.

70% of the damaged CD were read.

Yamaha CRW8824E-NB

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

The graphs of Yamaha has a strong saw-shape. The speed varies much: from 6x to 10x. On the error tracks the speed was appr. 4 - 8x .

55% of the damaged CD were read.

NEC NR-7500A

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

The graphs are not bad. Little saw, relatively high speed give an advantage to this device.

70% of the damaged CD were read.

Resume

All drives recorded the data on 700 MBytes CDs easily. Some manuals of the drives mark this possibility separately.

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F

It's always in the middle. It's ahead only as a CD-ROM drive. It should be more stable: the buffer load varies from 80 to 99. The extraction speed is not high but this is balanced by low error percentage. However, the other drives at 8x speed would show similar results.

Acer CRW-8432IA

It's not the best recorder we have seen. On the one hand - good quality as a CD-ROM device, high access speed; on the other hand - moderate work with CD-RW in UDF format, low results of working with CD-R, high percentage of errors when extracting sound-tracks. The buffer performed not very good: with Corel Draw running simultaneously the buffer load fell down to 20%.

Creative CD-RW Blaster CD-Studio 8x4x32 (CRW8432E)

The recorder manages both reading of CD-ROM and writing of CD-R excellently. Creative CRW8432E becomes a leader in recording speed of CD-R. And the high speed didn't effect the quality of the discs (the graphs resulting from CD-ROM Drive Analyzer have proved it. However, the working with CD-RW is not that perfect. The recording on CD-RW (UDF) was 2 minutes longer than that of the other drives. Formatting of CD-RW is moderate. The extraction speed is not high, as well as error percentage. But the buffer performs good, despite just 2 MBytes. Even when running Corel Draw the load was not lower than 50%.

Philips PCRW 804K

Since the box version of this recorder includes the software for recording CDs from Adaptec, we tested it with EasyCD Creator 4.02. The speed is not considerably low. Philips PCRW 804K works with CD-RW sometimes better than some other expensive drives of this class. The test on formatting speed proves this. When extracting tracks, it works different: with Piano Favorites it has made errors most of all, but with Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits" it hasn't made any. The buffer is less stable then that of Creative.

Yamaha CRW8824E-NB

This recorder was the first that could rewrite the CD at 8x speed. That's why it won the respective test. But today there are not too much 8x CD-RW on sale, so, you can't benefit much from this drive nowadays. As for 4x CD-RW, Yamaha CRW8824E-NB doesn't shine here. With CD-ROM Yamaha works at the level of good 24x drive. The extraction speed together with low error percentage when working with soundtracks makes the drive irreplaceable! The 4 MBytes buffer works quite stable, and it won't damage your disc because of data lack in it.

NEC NR-7500A

NEC NR-7500A combines high speed together with quality of recording. In our tests it didn't fall lower the third place. When extracting the soundtracks it was the first with the lower percentage of errors than its competitors had. At 12x it worked with no errors practically. The buffer works superb: it seems that it has got 8 MBytes instead of 2 MBytes.

Conclusion

ASUSTeK CRW-0804F

We think that it costs too much for the quality it has. The tray isn't snug against the case properly, that's why there is some noise, whistle and vibration when playing.

Acer CRW-8432IA

Its features are very much similar to that of Samsung which was tested last time: 8x CD-ROM with functions of CD-RW-device;) But this case even worse - it has some difficulty in reading discs.

Creative CD-RW Blaster CD-Studio 8x4x32 (CRW8432E)

On the one hand it's quite good: the price is acceptable, excellent work with CD-R and CD-ROM, high extraction speed. But on the other hand, the lowest access speed and just moderate work with CD-RW. Besides, CDs got "hot" after working inside the drive.

Creative CRW8432E is appropriate for that who buys the CD-RW drive for a first time. The included software allows to start immediately (after setup) recording CDs. Although in our testing it had some problems when reading a CD that had been formatted in Hewlett Packard 7570i.

Philips PCRW 804K

The drive makes practically no noise, do not get warm strong. It has got high speed characteristics. But think a little when buying it: it has a golden sporty design, but you have to pay!

While testing it damaged one Philips CD ;)

Yamaha CRW8824E-NB

It's for those of you, who want a clear fast record on CD-RWs. The example is frequent BackUp of large data. Those who code soundtracks in WAV/MP3/LQT and similar formats very often, should pay special attention to this drive, the extraction speed is very high.

NEC NR-7500A

This newcomer will be a nice choice for professionals and for those who decided to buy a drive first time but you should have some knowledge in it (it's delivered OEM, that is with no manual). Taking into account the price, we'd call it a leader in out testing. We can't tell definitely how reliable it is, since it's still new on sale.

Programs used for testing:


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