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IDE CD-RW Drives Roundup (Part XIII)

January 19, 2002



24x models

Today almost every vendor has a 24x CD-RW drive in its line. 32x recorders are also just around the corner.

Today we are going to study the following 5 models:

NEC NR-7900

ASUSTeK CRW-2410S

TEAC CD-W524E

Mutsumi CR-4809TE

Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Test results

For the performance estimation in reading operations we chose the CD-ROM TEAC 540E.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

All modern 40x CD-RW drives easily outscore the CD-540E in reading. The leader in the CD-ROM Transfer Rate test is the CD-RW from ASUSTeK. The TEAC and the Yamaha have a bit worse results. The NR-7900, being the last in the internal data rate test, is the second in the external speed test. The Mitsumi has average results in this subtest.

CPU utilization in CD-ROM Transfer Rate tests:

The NEC and the Mitsumi have the lowest CPU utilization. The ASUS and the TEAC, which had high results in reading, require high processor resources as well.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

The TEAC is a champion in data access speed - 75 ms! The Yamaha and the NEC also show quite good results, while the ASUS turns out to be the last.

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

The total CPU utilization of the tested CD-RW drives is almost the same, though the Mitsumi and the NEC have a bit better results.

CD recording time

Recording of TDK Reflex Ultra CD-R (cyanine, 24x rated speed),
24x recording speed

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 3.47
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 4.12
TEAC CD-W524E 4.08
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 4.00
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 3.44

The Yamaha CRW-3200E-VK is the best in recording of cyanine discs. The slowest in this is the ASUS which falls behind the leader by half a minute.

Recording of the Mirex CD-R (phthalocyanine, 24x rated speed),
24x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 3.45
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 4.07
TEAC CD-W524E 3.58
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 5.14
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 3.40

The Yamaha is again ahead, with the NEC being close to it. The low scores of the Mitsumi are caused by the fact that the recorder supports the Optimum Write Speed Control which can't be disabled. The Yamaha also considers that the Mirex CD should be recorded at not over 16x, but it makes possible to disable this technology.

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

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 19.21
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 19.18
TEAC CD-W524E 19.27
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 19.20
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 19.09

At 4x all recorders show similar results. It is only the Yamaha which outruns others by 10 sec.

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

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 24.58
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 29.15
TEAC CD-W524E 24.22
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 26.34
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 24.09

Ricoh CD-RW 10x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 12.27
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 18.20
TEAC CD-W524E 12.24
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 12.43
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 11.41

The results of the ASUSTeK drive are quite strange. The most optimal discs for this drive are a CD-RW TDK from Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp. The Yamaha demonstrates rather high scores. The new drive from Yamaha supports 12x formatting if High-Speed CD-RW media are used.

Recording of a CD-RW disc (UDF)

Philips CD-RW 4x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 18.29
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 18.25
TEAC CD-W524E 18.34
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 18.28
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 18.42

CD-RW Ricoh 10x

CD-RW drive Time (min.)
NEC NR-7900 7.32
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 7.22
TEAC CD-W524E 8.03
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 6.34 (12x)
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 7.52

Unfortunately, the Yamaha doesn't shine in this test at all. While all drives had almost equal results in operation with low-speed CD-RW discs, 12x rewriting allowed the Mitsumi to outscore others.

BLER factor of recorded CD-R discs

CD-R disc, recording speed Mirex, 24x TDK Reflex
Ultra, 24x
"noname", 4x
NEC NR-7900 6..8 11..18 30..40
(SKC Media)
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 3..6 26..33 380..440
TEAC CD-W524E 4..8 15..20 410..450
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 2..6 10..15 400..460
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 12..18
3..6 (OWSC)
23..28 390..460

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

The Mitsumi recorder provides very high quality. But as you remember the CR-4809TE recorded the Mirex disc not at the highest possible speed but at 16x. At the same time the cyanine CD-R from TDK was recorded by Mitsumi better than by the others. The Optimum Write Speed Control activation for the Yamaha made it possible to achieve better results, but a recording time was also higher. The NEC works better with cyanine discs, the recording quality of the CD-R Reflex Ultra is a little worse of this drive than of the Mitsumi. Recording of the MIrex phthalocyanine media by the NR-7900 is less successful as compared with the rest of the drives. The TEAC keeps a middle position.

Here are the results obtained on the CDCATS SA3 test station.

Mirex, 24x "noname", 4x TDK Reflex Ultra, 24x
NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE

Although the graph of the "noname" CD-R recorded by the Mitsumi looks awful, it is one of the best results for this type of media. All other results coincide with the BLER ones. The ASUS performs worse in recording than the Mitsumi. The NEC provides magnificent quality.

Nero CDSpeed

Graph of reading of the TDK Reflex Ultra CD-R (24x writing speed)

CD-RW drive Graph of reading
NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Graph of reading of the Mirex CD-R (24x writing speed)

CD-RW drive Graph of reading
NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Graph of reading of the CD-R "noname" CD-R (4x writing speed)

Note that the NEC NR-7900 was tested with the recorded SKC discs.

CD-RW drive Graph of reading
NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

All drives read all types of media very good.

Test results of the recorded TDK Reflex Ultra CD-Rs (24x)

NEC
NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S TEAC
CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK
Average 30.77x 30.36x 30.05x 30.51x 30.16x
Random Seek 109 ms 127 ms 72 ms 110 ms 86 ms
SpinUp Time 2.67 sec 1.35 sec 2.47 sec 3.43 sec 1.30 sec
SpinDown Time 3.42 sec 4.44 sec 3.60 sec 3.64 sec 4.15 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.03 sec 3.36 sec 2.27 sec 1.37 sec 1.74 sec
Disc Load Time 5.77 sec 12.73 sec 9.56 sec 1.12 sec 1.82 sec
Disc Recognition Time 0.01 sec 0.81 sec 0.01 sec 6.67 sec 9.76 sec

Test results of the recorded Mirex CD-R (24x)

NEC
NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S TEAC
CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK
Average 29.81x 29.40x 30.59x 29.98x 29.38x
Random Seek 106 ms 130 ms 73 ms 115 ms 88 ms
SpinUp Time 2.61 sec 1.40 sec 2.68 sec 3.47 sec 1.34 sec
SpinDown Time 3.69 sec 4.44 sec 3.60 sec 3.60 sec 4.24 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.02 sec 3.35 sec 2.28 sec 1.34 sec 1.73 sec
Disc Load Time 5.69 sec 12.19 sec 10.15 sec 1.11 sec 1.82 sec
Disc Recognition Time 0.01 sec 0.88 sec 0.02 sec 6.77 sec 9.78 sec

CDSpeed Test results of the recorded "noname" CD-R

NEC
NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S TEAC
CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK
Average 30.73x 30.23x 30.04x 29.85x 30.24x
Random Seek 100 ms 120 ms 71 ms 114 ms 89 ms
SpinUp Time 2.62 sec 1.32 sec 2.52 sec 3.41 sec 1.28 sec
SpinDown Time 3.37 sec 4.44 sec 3.54 sec 3.44 sec 4.09 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.02 sec 3.37 sec 2.27 sec 1.39 sec 1.74 sec
Disc Load Time 5.72 sec 12.58 sec 10.04 sec 1.15 sec 1.83 sec
Disc Recognition Time 0.01 sec 1.02 sec 0.00 sec 6.95 sec 10.47 sec

The fastest recorders are TEAC and Yamaha which have the balanced results of the random access time, spinup time and spindown time. However, the CRW3200E-VK has quite a big disc recognition time.

CDSpeed test results of the recorded CD-RW discs

CD-RW UDF (4x) CD-RW UDF (10x) CD-RW ISO (4x)
NEC NR-7900 19.16x 19.22x 22.26x
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
22.10x 22.04x 26.68x
TEAC CD-W524E 14.18x 12.34x 28.62x
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 28.64x 28.88x 30.78x
Yamaha CRW3200E 29.05x 29.04x 30.83x

High efficiency in operation with CD-RW discs of any format is shown by the Yamaha and the Mitsumi drives. They read re-recorded discs as fast as usual CD-R or CD-ROM media. The TEAC doesn't shine in this test. While it excellently copes with CD-RW discs (with the ISO CD-W524E data), a read speed of the UDF discs has a long way to go.

CD-ROM Drive Analyzer

Graph of reading of the recorded TDK Reflex Ultra CD-R (24x)

NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Graph of reading of the recorded Mirex CD-R (24x)

NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Graph of reading of the recorded "noname" CD-R (4x)

NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Like in the CDSpeed, all drives read excellently all types of media.

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

NEC NR-7900

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 26.8x 24.6x 27.4x
Total errors 0.01% 6.10% 0.00%

ASUSTeK CRW-2410S

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 11.9x 25.4x 28.7x
Total errors 0.05% 6.02% 0.00%

TEAC CD-W524E

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 27.8x 9.7x 29.0x
Total errors 1.12% 0.00% 0.00%

Mitsumi CR-4809TE

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 20.8x 16.7x 27.9x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%

Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 20.5x 14.0x 28.9x
Total errors 0.00% 0.01% 0.00%

The recorder which has the highest record speed and which extracts audio data the best is the Mitsumi CR-4809TE. The Yamaha and the TEAC do well as well.

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (EAC 0.9 prebeta 11)

Support of backoff and processing of data on C2 errors

NEC
NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S TEAC
CD-W524E
Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK
C2 No No Yes No No

Burst mode

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
NEC NR-7900 13.2x 8.7x 10.3x
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
12.7x 10.8x 22.4x
TEAC W524E 11.1x 9.0x 11.4x
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 18.9x 10.8x 24.6x
Yamaha
CRW3200E-VK
13.6x 12.1x 12.2x

Secure mode

Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
NEC NR-7900 0.7x 1.1x 6.6x
ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
0.3x 1.9x 6.9x
TEAC W524E 0.8x 1.6x 2.8x
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 1.7x 2.8x 6.8x
Yamaha
CRW3200E-VK
4.7x 5.1x 8.4x

The TEAC's results are not impressive, but it is the only drive which supports backoff and processing of data on C2 errors. However, if quality is not so important for you you should go with the Mitsumi. If you primarily work in the Secure Mode, the Yamaha CRW3200E-VK will let you save a lot of time.

Advanced DAE Test

CD-RW drive NEC NR-7900 ASUSTeK
CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E Mitsumi
CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK
Offset 2620 bytes
(655 samples)
2632 bytes
(658 samples)
2764 bytes
(691 samples)
2812 bytes
(703 samples)
2956 bytes
(739 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 26.33X
Data Errors: 928
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 28.02X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 28.62X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 28.17X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 28.39X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 118 ms
Data Errors: 928
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 928
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0

Average Access Time: 276 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 107 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 146 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 129 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
OK
Copying at 1 X
OK
Copying at 2 X
OK
Copying at 4 X
OK
Copying at 6 X
too slow
Copying at 8 X
too slow
Copying at 10 X
too slow
Copying at 12 X
too slow
Copying at 16 X
too slow
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
OK
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
OK
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
OK
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 Drive can read max. 145 sectors
(-00:01.70) from the Leadin
Drive cannot read data from the Leadin
Leadout Drive cannot read data from the Leadout
The detailed information on the tested parameters is given in the help file to the CDSpeed99 test program. If you don't want to download the utility, then here you can find the HTMl help file.

The TEAC is also the only drive which can read data from LeadIn. A high speed of the Yamaha and a good random data access speed makes this drive a good choice for operation with audio data.

Overburn

CD-R Philips Silver Premium 16x (TY) Mirex 650 MBytes Rostok 780 MBytes
NEC NR-7900 n/a n/a n/a
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S 77:04.14 77:24.26 93:09.01
TEAC CD-W524E 77:03.37 77:23.49 89:47.04
Mitsumi CR-4809TE 77:03.58 77:24.12 92:43.28
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK 77:03.26 77:21.26 91:33.64

If you need the highest overburn for all types of media take the ASUS drive. The Mistumi is also a good choice. The worst results in this are shown by the TEAC and Yamaha drives.

Reading of a damaged CD

NEC NR-7900
ASUSTeK CRW-2410S
TEAC CD-W524E
Mitsumi CR-4809TE
Yamaha CRW3200E-VK

The TEAC, NEC and Mitsumi drives are the best in reading damaged CDs as they tried to restore their speed after bad areas. The ASUS and the Yamaha do not try to speed up after such parts at all.

Conclusion and summary

16x recorders won't leave the scene very fast, but they will soon be replaced by speedier drives entirely. When choosing a modern high-speed CD-RW drive you should remember that you have to use high-quality media. Besides, if you don't like recording of audio discs at higher than 2x the range of such recorders will be quite narrow. The Yamaha is the best drive among all tested today for people with ears for music. Although the CRW3200E-VK costs a little more than the others, you won't be disappointed in this drive.

If you are looking for a reliable, fast, high-quality drive at a moderate price the CD-W524E is the best choice.

The Mitsumi CR-4809TE is a good budget solution. High quality of recorded discs, excellent operation with audio CDs, quiet working, 12x operation with CD-RW media, a sizeable buffer will help this drive become popular.

The NEC NR-7900 will suit those who don't want to buy too expensive drives from other companies and who don't trust Mitsumi.

The ASUS has a moderate price, good characteristics, high efficiency and excellent reliability.

Test programs:


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