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IDE CD-RW Drives Roundup
(Part X)

August 10, 2001



Acer CRW 1208A and Sony CRX160E-RP

"It's high time to think about beauty", - I thought when choosing CD-RW drives for testing. At last, my attention was drawn by recorders Sony CRX 160E and Acer 1208. Of course, the Acer has no extraordinary novations in the design, but at the same time the drive looks more advantageous as compared with the Ricoh MP7200 or any other model from the TEAC series. The CRX 160E drive doesn't, in fact, differ from its brothers, except its black color. Any attempt of drive makers to bring into the design of CD recorders something unique should be welcome. It's important, though, that such imperfections of the design won't distract users from low performance or defects of the device. So far I haven't seen a successful combination of the performance, quality and design, except TDK drives. But let's look at the newcomers...

Acer CRW 1208A

Sony CRX160E-RP

Test results

For the performance comparison in reading operations, apart from the CD-ROM Teac 540E, we have chosen TEAC CD-W58E and TEAC CD-W512EB recorders.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

The lead is taken by the Sony, with the Acer showing the worst result (but it falls not too far behind).

The situation has changed: the Acer is on the heels of the leading CD-W512EB. The Sony broke away from its competitors lagged far behind its persecutors.

The CPU utilization was:

Despite relatively average results of the CRW-1208A, the Acer has loaded the CPU to the greatest degree in the CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate. The CRX-160E-RP has taken a middle position while the TEAC recorders showed the lowest CPU utilization.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

The Sony comes the last to the finish. Nobody, though, declared a high speed (125 ms against 80-85 of the TEAC and 100 of the Acer), but a bit faster access would have made the CRX160E-RP far not the last...

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

Despite a high CPU utilization in the CD-ROM Transfer Rate test the overall load of the CPU in reading operations is rather low. The Acer happened to be a leader here.

Time taken for CD recording

Recording of the CD-R Philips Silver (cyanine /TY/, 16x rated record speed) 12X

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E*
10.33
TEAC CD-W512EB
8.19
Acer CRW 1208A
8.08
Sony CRX160E-RP
8.21

* the TEAC CD-W58E has the highest writing speed - 8x

The Acer excels in this test outscoring the TEAC by 11 sec. The Sony recorder loses to the TEAC by only 2 sec (but this can be just inaccuracy of measurements).

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

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
Acer CRW 1208A
7.57
Sony CRX160E-RP
8.28

The Acer is just shining here reaching the finish half a minute earlier than the CRX160E-RP.

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

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E
20.49
Acer CRW 1208A
20.35
Sony CRX160E-RP
21.02

4x writing speed on a cyanine disc hasn't changed the alignment of forces. The Acer is still the first.

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

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E
29.46
TEAC CD-W512EB
26.08
Acer CRW 1208A
35.36
Sony CRX160E-RP
26.33

Ricoh CD-RW 8x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E
17.22
TEAC CD-W512EB*
13.59
Acer CRW 1208A
20.43
Sony CRX160E-RP
16.10

* The TEAC CD-W512EB formatted the CD-RW disc at 10x speed.

Here the Acer lost its position when formatting rewritable discs. I tried to replace the DirectCD with the InCD from Ahead. Well, the Acer has managed to save 2 minutes, but other recorders have done it as well! If we exclude the TEAC CD-W512EB as a recorder of a higher level, the leader is the CRX160E.

Recording of a CD-RW disc (UDF)

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E
19.49
TEAC CD-W512EB
19.45
Acer CRW 1208A
19.36
Sony CRX160E-RP
19.02

CD-RW Ricoh 8x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
TEAC CD-W58E
11.03
TEAC CD-W512EB
8.57
Acer CRW 1208A
10.22
Sony CRX160E-RP
10.07

Among the devices with the highest rewriting speed of 8X the Sony turned to be the best, falling behind only the W512EB in the High Speed CD-RW test by a little margin.

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

CD-R disc, record speed Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Philips Silver, 12x
10-14
6-12
Mirex, 12x
19-31
4-7
"noname", 4x
610-730
430-550

When comparing the results obtained with the TEAC W58E drive,

CD-R disc, record speed Philips Silver Premium, 8x Mirex, 8x "noname", 4x
BLER
8-13
5-11
36-42

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

it's clear that the Sony CRX-160E-RP records the discs slower. But at the same time it shows brilliant quality. The champion Acer showed a bit worse results. That is why if you have decided to take it as a home or office recorder, then you should buy only high-quality CD-R media or be careful when setting 12X when using noname discs. While the CRX160E-RP shows expected results, the average quality of recording of the phthalocyanine Mirex and noname cyanine discs by Acer seems unusual, and I decided test the recorded discs additionally with the test station CDCATS.

Mirex,12x

"noname",4x

On the graph you can see a vivid fall on the second half of the disc. The BLERometer has also demonstrated higher values on the indicator panel of the frequency meter after about 30 minutes.

CDSpeed 99

Graph of reading of the Philips Silver Premium (12x record speed)

Acer CRW 1208A

Sony CRX160E-RP

Graph of reading of the Mirex (12x record speed)

Acer CRW 1208A

Sony CRX160E-RP

Graph of reading of the "noname" (4x record speed)

Acer CRW 1208A

Sony CRX160E-RP

Both drives have excellent graphs of reading typical of normal 32x models. The reading part of the CRX-160E-RP doesn't seem to differ from the previous model - CRX-145E, and you can see a typical Sony's vague fall on the graphs.

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded CD-R Philips Silver.

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Average
24.72x
24.12x
Random Seek
94 ms
122 ms
SpinUp Time
3.21 sec
3.10 sec
SpinDown Time
3.44 sec
3.44 sec
Disc Eject Time
1.17 sec
1.69 sec
Disc Load Time
1.33 sec
8.16 sec
Disc Recognition Time
5.82 sec
0.04 sec

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded Mirex CD-R discs.

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Average
23.54x
24.07x
Random Seek
80 ms
120 ms
SpinUp Time
3.24 sec
3.12 sec
SpinDown Time
3.58 sec
3.42 sec
Disc Eject Time
1.17 sec
1.72 sec
Disc Load Time
1.34 sec
8.17 sec
Disc Recognition Time
5.58 sec
0.03 sec

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

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Average
24.21x
23.48x
Random Seek
79 ms
129 ms
SpinUp Time
3.31 sec
3.02 sec
SpinDown Time
3.50 sec
3.48 sec
Disc Eject Time
1.16 sec
1.65 sec
Disc Load Time
1.33 sec
8.29 sec
Disc Recognition Time
6.21 sec
0.03 sec

This test hasn't revealed an unequalled leader in reading operations. It's only the CRW 1208A who can boast of its highest access speed. The Sony is the fastest in recognition of a disc in a drive.

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

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
18.45x*
13.13x

CD Quality Check test results of the CD-RW (UDF) discs recorded at 8X.

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
18.22x*
13.38

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

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
21.04x*
19.66

* The quality and the reading speed of the CD-RW media by the Acer CRW 1208A was estimated with the general test of the CDSpeed99 utility according to the results obtained in the Average Speed test since the recorder fails to pass the CD Quality Check test.

The Acer reads CD-RW media very good. Far not everyone CD-ROM drive can read CD-RW discs recorded in UDF format at 18X. The Sony has average results, not brilliant but not bad either.

Read speed of the recorded CD-R Philips Silver /CD Quality Check/

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
n/a
22.88
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.68
18.71

Read speed of the recorded CD-R Mirex /CD Quality Check/

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
n/a
23.26
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.74
18.72

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

  Acer CRW 1208A Sony CRX160E-RP
Read speed
n/a
12.86
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.65
18.69

Quality of the recorded CD-R Philips Silver /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

Acer CRW 1208A

TEAC CD-540E

Sony CRX160E-RP

TEAC CD-540E

Quality of the recorded CD-R Mirex /CD-ROM Drive Analyzer/

Acer CRW 1208A

TEAC CD-540E

Sony CRX160E-RP

TEAC CD-540E

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

Acer CRW 1208A

TEAC CD-540E

Sony CRX160E-RP

TEAC CD-540E

Having looked at the results of the CD-ROM Drive Analyzer test it may seem that the utility works incorrectly with the Sony recorders of the CRX series. Undoubtedly, stable reading at 8X is often more preferable than unstable one at 24-40X. But the results of the CDSpeed and WinBench tests show that the reading is stable and proceeds at decent speed, unlike the Drive Analyzer. The Acer recorder's results are rather good: stable reading at high speed without falls and splashes.

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

Acer CRW 1208A

  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed
11.0X
8.3X
14.0X
Total errors*
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

Sony CRX160E-RP

  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed
12.0X
11.9X
12.0X
Total errors*
7.37%
6.22%
0.00%

* - 7.46% means that the drive extracted 7.46% of the CD with errors.

The extraction speed of the Sony recorder never exceeded 12x speed. At the same time, the drive made a lot of errors. I can't say that the CRW 1208A extracted audio data at once, but it implemented its work skilfully.

Advanced DAE Quality

Acer CRW 1208A

Offset 2648 bytes (662 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 8.51 X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 449 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
too slow
Copying at 10 X
too slow
Copying at 12 X
too slow
Copying at 16 X
too slow
CD Text Drive is capable of reading CD Text information
Subchannel Data Drive cannot read Subchannel Data directly
Leadin Drive can read max. 1 sectors (-00:00.01) from the Leadin
Leadout Drive can read max. 6750 sectors (01:30.00) from the Leadout

Sony CRX160E-RP

Offset 2264 bytes (566 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 12.07 X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 187 ms
Data Errors: 384
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 384
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 cannot read 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