The number of companies producing combo drives keeps on growing. In many respects the interest toward such devices is explained by wide spreading of cases of the MicroATX and FlexATX standards and respective mini standards. Such cases have space for just one drive, and mostly it is a combo drive. In the notebook market the number of such drives is much greater than that in desktop PCs. Today we will review only standard PC drives. On the whole, the tendency of development of such drives remains the same. Their speed modes are still lower as compared with modern CD-R/RW drives. However, their prices keep on falling down.
Recording of CD-R and CD-RW media
CD recording time
As some drives have a lower maximum write speed, the tests were carried out at several speeds so that to compare difference devices.
Recording of CD-R SKC (cyanine, 16x rated write speed)
The RICOH works the fastest with cyanine discs. Although the Philips drive uses a Ricoh's pickup it falls behind its brother.
Recording of CD-R Philips Silver Premium (phthalocyanine, 16x rated write speed)
Here the Philips solution is the fastest. The Toshiba's model is still the last.
As you can see, recording at 20x is sometimes slower than that at 16x. It can be so because the Safe Recording Technology integrated into both drives (Philips - Thermo Balanced Writing, Ricoh - Just Speed ) brings in its corrections. Although this technology can be disabled, the recording time doesn't increase much.
Time spent for full formatting of CD-RW disc in UDF with the InCD ver. 3.24.3. CD-RW recording in UDF, 650 MBytes test packet in 6500 files
Philips CD-RW74 4x disc
Verbatim DataLifePlus 10x disc
The TOSHIBA's drive copes excellently with formatting of the 4x disc, but at the same time it falls behind by the same margin in operation with the high-speed media. The PHILIPS is still leading in operation with RW media. In recording the competition is carried out mainly between the PHILIPS and RICOH drives.
Operation with 80mm CD media (by the example of a CD-RW disc), formatting and recording in UDF
Formatting and recording of 80mm CD-RW media in UDF. 4x write speed.
All the drives read and record the 80mm discs excellently, though the specifications of the RICOH says that the drive can only read 80mm discs. The same thing could be expected from the PHILIPS solution. But both drives didn't fail.
BLER factor of recorded CD-R.
For these tests we used a device described in this review.
The Toshiba's drive has the most stable results in recording on different media types. The PHILIPS copes excellently with phthalocyanine discs but fails in operation with the cyanine ones. The RICOH has turned out to be the worst, although the Just Speed was enabled. Maybe it's because of peculiarities of the certain sample.
It looks like that the highest Overburn is provided by the RICOH drive.
Tests of main parameters of CD reading
CDWinBench 99 results
There is no any considerable difference in performance between the drives. The TOSHIBA drive is just a little ahead in the read speed.
NERO CD Speed results
Diagrams of reading of the test CD.
Well, the TOSHIBA is again a little ahead in the read speed. Unfortunately, it's impossible to measure an access time of Toshiba's solutions. Besides, the TOSHIBA implements operation of audio track capture incorrectly. Later we will take a closer look at it.
CD-ROM Drive Analyzer
The TOSHIBA is still leading in the read speed. The diagrams show that the PHILIPS and RICOH drives are really cousins :).
In this test the model of Toshiba lags behind its competitors. It should be noted that a low speed of CD-RW reading is typical of TOSHIBA drives.
Low-quality CD reading
All the drives read the low-quality CDs perfectly. There were no uncorrectable errors.
Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)
In these operations the TOSHIBA falls much behind the other drives, besides it had some errors here. The RICOH takes the lead.
Advanced DAE Quality(Nero CD-Speed)
As you can see, the TOSHIBA's drive is not good at extraction of audio tracks. It has errors almost in every test section. The PHILIPS shows the best scores, it even bested its relative from RICOH.
The detailed information on the tested parameters is given in the help file to the Nero CDSpeed test program. If you don't want to download the utility, then here you can find the HTMl help file.
Tests of main parameters of DVD reading.
NERO DVD Speed results
Diagrams of the test DVD reading.
As usual, the TOSHIBA is the best in the reading operations.
Reading of the recordable DVD discs
Development of recordable DVD discs resulted in one severe problem - the war of standards. At present, there are two camps - DVD-R/RW and DVD+RW. There are a lot of vague aspects concerning the DVD+R, that is why we don't use such discs in the tests. So, it is very important that a drive can work with all existing standards.
Well, all the drives are able to read this standard. The RICOH has defined the size a little incorrectly but it has read the contents flawlessly. The PHILIPS has taken the palm here.
Well, the TOSHIBA's solution is the only that is able to read discs of such type.
Again the TOSHIBA is the only model able to work with such media. As you can see, a low speed of reading of all DVD discs is typical of this drive. The RICOH and PHILIPS made some attempts to read the DVD-RW media, but they failed after the contents directory.
DVD-Video playback with the Cyberlink PowerDVD 4.0
The DVD-Video playback was flawless. No artifacts were noticed.
Physical characteristics of the drives
All the drives are quite noisy at the maximum speeds. The TOSHIBA is the quietest. Nevertheless, all of them are able to reduce the maximum speed with the help of external programs, and the overall noise level can be reduced to the acceptable one.
The thermal conditions are normal; nevertheless, you shouldn't install any devices close to the drives, to avoid their overheating.
Vibration in operation with badly balanced CDs
The TOSHIBA works worst of all with such disc. The drive vibrated strongly and loudly. The RICOH did it a little better. The PHILIPS turned out to be the best.
Well, the combo drives have found their niche on the modern computer market
and have been developing quite successfully in it. All the drives we have
examined today have both advantages and disadvantages. For example, the
Toshiba's model will be a good choice for those who are not going to extract
audio tracks and for whom quality of recording of CD-R/RW and support of
all new DVD formats are very important. The Ricoh and Philips are for those
who need high quality of operation with audio CDs but who don't really
need much support of all latest formats.
Write a comment below. No registration needed!