iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Philips PCRW3210

Specification of the Philips PCRW3210:
Firmware version 3.41
Recording modes Disc-At-Once, Track-At-Once, Session-At-Once, MultiSession, Packet Writing
Recording formats CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, CD-Text, CD+G, CD-I, CD-Extra, Video CD
Read/write support in Raw-mode RAW-DAO - supported
RAW-DAO Write Simulation - supported
CD+G RAW-DAO - supported
RAW-SAO - supported
RAW-SAO Write Simulation - supported
Average access time 130 ms
CD-R recording 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x (CLV)
32x (20x-32x) (Zone-CLV)
CD-RW recording 4x, 8x, 10x
Buffer underrun error prevention technology Seamless Link
Interface PIO Mode4 (default),
UltraDMA 33
Reading 40x max (6000 KBytes/s)
Buffer size 4096 KBytes
Production date December 2001
Manufacturer China
Price as tested up to $130

The drive ships in a Retail package.

The box contains:

  • Leaflet with Philips acoustic systems
  • Installation Guide for internal CD-RW and DVD+RW drives from Philips
  • CD with Nero Burning Rom, InCD 3.14 from Ahead Software
  • CD-R Philips 1x-32x and High Speed CD-RW 4x-10x
  • 4 screws
  • Analog cable for connecting the drive to a sound card.

ATIP: 97m 15s 19f
Disc Manufacturer: Ritek Co.
Reflective layer: Dye (Short strategy; e.g. Phthalocyanine)
Media type: CD-Recordable
Recording Speeds: min. unknown - max. unknown
nominal Capacity: 702.83 MBytes (79m 59s 74f / LBA: 359849)

ATIP: 97m 27s 00f
Disc Manufacturer: Disc ID not allowed
Reflective layer: Phase change
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. 8X
nominal Capacity: 651.86 MBytes (74m 12s 00f / LBA: 333750)

Character and method of recording:

The CD contains a good video clip with detailed comments on installation of the internal IDE drive.

Remember that there is no an IDE cable, which looks strange as the instructions recommend to connect the recoder with a separate cable.

We received the 32x CD-RW drives from Philips and TDK at the same time. We got used to the fact that TDK uses a Sanyo's chipset, while other companies use LiteOn or Ricoh solutions. But it's the first time when Philips uses a Sanyo's model. Moreover, the CyClone and PCRW3210 are similar not only in the appearance but also inside.

The thorough tests showed that the results are almost identical. That is why everything we say about the Philips solution also refers to the TDK's one.

For the testes we had to set the drive as Slave. However, the PCRW3210 (as well as the TDK CyClone) refused to work when set as secondary IDE on the VIA KT133/KT133A mainboards (the tests were carried out on the Soltek 75KAV, ASUSTeK A7V and MSI K7T Turbo Limited Edition under the Windows 98SE, Windows ME and Windows 2000). There were errors in reading, the recording was unstable and reached only 20x.

Here is a diagram of recording speed obtained with the Nero CDSpeed utillity:

The diagrams of reading of the recorded CDs also show that the drive has a low performance level:

Look at the diagram of the same disc when the PCRW3210 is set as Master.

When we took the Soltek Sl-65EP-T mainboard and the Celeron 733 processor such problems weren't noticed, whether drive was set as Slave or Master.

The drive isn't very stable in recording. The buffer memory load hovers around 89-91%.

Besides, I didn't like the absense of the intermediate speeds in the range of 20x-32x.

Here is what the Nero says you about the drive:

The new recorder from Philips is based on the Sanyo's chipset LC-898094.

This recorders whistles the loudest although it is not the fastest drive in our tests.

The appearance is impeccable: a silvery tray and a nonstandard button make the drive look elegant.

In all other respects, it has a standard headphones jack, a mechanical volume control, a roundish tray button, two LEDs and an emergency ejection hole. There is a working digital-out on the rear panel.

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