We are not going to not fight for the crop :). So you should not be frightened of the review's title. Slowly but orderly DVD-ROM drives displace CD-ROM drives in the market of computer technologies. The complete replacement CD on DVD won't be done soon. Though all premises for such step have existed. Multimedia technologies interfering the sphere of information represented before by strict lines of digits and a text demand for the storage incomparably much more place on media. The DVD-ROM drives cost in comparison with CD-ROM twice or three times more, and the media approximately 10-12 times more. It does not promote fast DVD propagation, too. Nevertheless the equipment manufacturers do not despond because DVD-ROM disk drives provide complete match with CD-ROM and in accordance with perfecting production technology and production price reduction will allow systematically substitute CD-ROM disk drives.
However equipment manufacturers don't stop. One of the main CD technologies advantages is the possibility of a cheap information storage on singly recorded CD-Rs or multiply re-recorded CD-RWs disk drives. The similar possibilities certainly exist for DVD technology but the cost as always is some times higher than for CD. The leading DVD (CD) manufacturers have offered the buyers the new interesting novelty DVD-ROM/CD-RW combine. In this article the disk drives RICOH MP9060A-DP and AOpen DRW4624 will be examined. Probably the users of old CD-Rs remember that it was necessary to purchase additional CD-ROM for disk reading. CD-R disk drive didn't suit the role of standard CD-ROM because at active using it as usual CD-ROM it could quickly become out of operation.
Now we can see the opposite effect. Corporations - manufacturers
of similar devices offer you to save a place in the computer and to equip
the computer with all necessary optical technologies at the same time.
The test utilities which were used:
RICOH MP9060A-DP ATAPI (CDR-6/CDRW-4/CDROM-24/DVDROM-4)
The specification MP9060A-DP:
The device is delivered in the retail variant. The set contains the installation guide, one CD-R disk, one CD-RW, a set of bolts for installation, the cable for the analogue output CD connection to the voice card, CD with the software AHEAD nero BURNING ROM 4.0 (PreMastering/Audio/Backup software) and AHEAD InCD 1.3 (UDF Drag and Drop software).
Let's look at the device. The form is extremely ascetic. On the front panel there is only the tray open/close button. On the back panel we can see nothing unusual: ATAPI / DIGITAL CD-AUDIO / ANALOG CD-AUDIO / IDE MASTER-SLAVE connector. The tray construction is like in CD-ROM operating with caddy. The external tray door is made separately from the tray. Due to this at closed tray and CD reading on high speeds there is no singing air effect. To achieve the best tightness the door is supplied with a flexible film from the back which overlaps the air access at closing the door.
It is also important that this way of tray closing reduce the probability of dust penetration inside the device. The installation of CD/DVD is possible horizontally and upright, for this purpose there are special latches on the tray.
It was always curious for me to look at the optical part of CD-R drives. And here the temptation is resistless. It is such an exotic device:). Probably the corporation RICOH has forecasted similar attempts and has placed on their own site the photo of the optical part with the description of its advantages. The optical module contains two laser diodes: one for provision of CD-R/RW operation and the other for provision of DVD operation. One diode with the wave length 780 nm provides CD part operation , and the second diode with the wave length 650 nm provides DVD part operation.
In my opinion it is necessary to mention the most problematic part of all CD-R/RW devices operation - the temperature mode. As it is known very often laser diodes early become out of operation because of the device overheat at operating time. In some CD-R devices even small-sized ventilators for normal temperature provision mode at operating time are used. The corporation RICOH has reported that due to the usage of special design providing the reduced power consumption at operating time and preventing overheat of the combine RICOH MP9060A-DP in CD-R/RW mode this device does not require additional or forced cooling.
AOpen DRW4624 ATAPI (CDR-6/CDRW-4/CDROM-24/DVDROM-4)
The data sheet DRW4624:
The device is delivered in the retail variant. The set contains the installation guide, one CD-R disk and one CD-RW disk, a package of bolts for installation, the cable for the analogue output CD connection to the voice card, CD disks with the software: AHEAD nero BURNING ROM 4.0 (PreMastering/Audio/Backup software) and AHEAD InCD 1.3 (UDF Drag and Drop software), Norton Ghost 5.1d (hard disks cloning utility), Gamut 98 (the set of programs for creation and recording MP3 files), WinDVD 1.3.4 (soft player for DVD films review).
Let's look at the device. As well as for the previous device the form is extremely ascetic. From control buttons on the front panel there is only the open/close tray button. On the back panel there is nothing unusual either: ATAPI / DIGITAL CD-AUDIO / ANALOG CD-AUDIO / IDE MASTER-SLAVE connector.
The tray construction is like in the previous combine. The external tray door is made separately from the tray. Due to this at closed tray and reading CD at high speeds there should not be the effect of singing of air, but in my opinion in this device the door is arranged not so successfully as in the previous one. It may be badly customised or the construction may be unperfect. So there is some effect from flowing away air. As it was already said above the similar way of tray closing reduces the probability of dust penetration inside the device. The installation of CD / DVD is possible as horizontally and upright. Here are special latches on the tray for this purpose.
Now a few words about the temperature mode. As well as for the previous device the corporation AOpen has reported that due to the application of special design preventing overheat at operating time additional or forced cooling is not required for this device. Also in the device the technology Optimum Power Control expressed in the constant control of the record process and the increase of laser power to compensate for example fouled disk surface (sic!).
CD part operation
The results of testing were joined to make the result review convenience. The separate items contain negative effects. For each combine there is its own item.
To begin with I tested CD-R/RW operation. It is difficult to invent any stress test here. Several CD-R records were made by different ways. After that the recorded disks were read by CD-ROM TEAC 532EB (32x) and in turn on both combines. The reading was effected by the program CDSpeed99 but to be exact by one of its utilities CD quality check. All disks were read confidently without errors.
CD-RW disks record was successful both in usual and in the batch mode. All disks were read confidently without errors.
Then disk test reading with the purpose to clarify temporary parameters and CD read rate. The reading was effected 5 times and the average result was taken. The special quality test Audio CD from PolyGram was used to get the results on DAE (Digital Audio Extraction).
According to the results of testing it is possible to see that the devices successfully work with CD disks both in write mode and read mode. When the result of Dae quality test is 10, it means that at the extract of audio track from CD the distortions were not noticed. The fragments read out some times do not differ from each other.
Now there is some sad information. This is about voice characteristics of combines.
First that I did not like is rather noisy optical head motion. It works approximately twice more loudly than on TEAC 532EB (32x). Now about audibility of disks rotation - as it is known this is the most widespread disadvantage of all high-speed CD-ROM above 24x. Due to well closed tray nothing is audible from CD at Combine RICOH operation... But if the combine does not like the disk, very strong vibration with appropriate voice effects starts. The combine in my opinion is too sensitive to disks quality and balance.
It would be desirable to note that at operation with CD-R/RW disks I have never faced with such problem. But the combine reacted negatively at the attempt to insert a piracy disk into it (this is a kind of protection against the pirates:)). However inspite of frightening audio effects all disks were read successfully. At first similar disks were read by the combine on the reduced rate. It is a pity that the sensor of vibration determination and adequate rate reduction is not built in. The thermal characteristics of the combine after 6 disks record remained at the tolerant level. The tray and the tank were hardly warm.
Here we have the same problem as in the combine RICOH and this is a voice characteristic. The noises at motion of the optical head are practically identical to the combine RICOH as I have already marked in the Combine description.
The tray cover is constructed not so successfully as for the combine RICOH. Therefore the sound of airstream is audible like the unpleasant whistling. However this combine has its positive sides. It is less sensitive to disks quality and balance. The disks read by the combine RICOH with great vibration were taken by the combine from Aopen rather quietly. It is necessary to say that some vibration certainly was felt but it was much less weak than for the combine RICOH. The thermal characteristics of the combine after 6 disks record the contract remained at the tolerant level. The tray and the tank were hardly warm.
DVD part operation
The program DVD Speed 99 was used for testing. The disk test reading was effected to clarify the temporary parameters and read rate from DVD. The reading was effected 5 times and the average result was taken.
The program PowerDVD 2.55 was used to test DVD video playing. Frankly speaking the results of DVD film review were rather satisfactory. Having 2 MBytes cache against 512 KBytes for usual DVD-ROMs both combines have played back a film without any artefacts. Both combines are not multizoned also admit the area variation up to 5 times. The noise effects at operation with DVD were minimum. The thermal mode after 2 hours film review remained in norm.
The appearance of similar combines is a quite natural process. It is impossible to put at once all three devices into the computer! It Can lead to the load on the power supply unit and temperature rise inside the tank to say nothing of the problem of free space. The addition of the possibility to work with DVD was a quite good additive to standard CD recorder as the purchase of separate DVD would be much more expensive. If at mass production the price falls down, it is possible to expect that the similar devices will capture a significant part of CD-DVD drives market.
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