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IDE CD-RW Drives Roundup (Part XV)

October 11, 2002





CD-RW drives are replacing usual CD-ROM devices in computers faster and faster. Well, quite speedy 16x models are already almost equal in prices to expensive CD-ROM drives. 

The market of recorders is getting tighter and less profitable. To get any profit from the sales the manufacturers have to produce new models, but they often are just accelerated versions of their predecessors. 

In these conditions only mighty engineering departments (RnD) can offer something innovative, not just X's. 

Hence the question - is it justified to buy a high-speed drive today? Well, it is if it possesses some unique qualities apart from high record speeds. Otherwise, you can save a lot with a 32x or 24x model with no performance losses. 

However that may be, today we are testing 40x-48x CD-RW drives which stand on the last but one stair of the evolution of CD-R write speeds. 

AOpen CRW4048

ASUSTeK CRW-4816A

Mitsumi CR-485CTE

NEC NR-9100

TDK CyClone 401248B

Yamaha CRW-F1

Test results

We don't involve the CD-ROM TEAC CD-540E for comparison as most modern CD-RW drives successfully replace any, even a very efficient, CD-ROM models in reading. 

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

The CD-RW drives from AOpen and ASUS have the top marks, the TDK is a little behind, and is follow by the Yamaha. The 40x NEC is slightly edged out by the 48x Mitsumi. 

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

The Mitsumi's drive proved its high access time. The CyClone scores a high result as well. The AOpen lags a little behind. The ASUSTeK and Yamaha take the last positions. 

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

The lowest CPU load is obtained with the Mitsumi's model. NEC is several hundredths behind. The rest have approximately equal scores. I must say that the load of 1.6% and 2.2% in the real tasks is not easy to notice... 

CD recording time

We excluded cyanine discs as they are not suitable for hgih-speed recording. But the phthalocyanine CD-R discs Philips Silverspeed by Ritek could be recorded at the highest speed not on all drives. For example, the Mitsumi CR-485CTE preferred to record at 40x only Imation discs (by CMC Magnetics), and the Philips media were recorded at 32x. We left in the tests Mirex media as an alternative phthalocyanine solution with an ATIP of a less famous manufacturer as compared with Rite, CMC, Mitsui and the like, as well as SKC media as cheap cyanine discs. 

Recording of CD-R Philips Silverspeed (phthalocyanine, 32x rated speed)


CD-RW drive Write speed Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 40x 3.26
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 40x 3.33
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A (Imation CD-R) 48x 3.12
Mitsumi CR-485CTE (Imation CD-R) 40x 4.01
NEC NR-9100 40x 3.18
TDK CyClone 401248B 40x 3.36
Yamaha CRW-F1 44x 3.08

The advatnage of the 48x ASUS's solution is quite conditional. The Yamaha F1 has outscored ASUSTeK, though its claimed speeds are lower. 

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


CD-RW drive Write speed Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 24x 4.38
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 32x 2.53
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 40x 3.24
NEC NR-9100 24x 4.34
TDK CyClone 401248B 40x 3.18
Yamaha CRW-F1 16x 3.41

The results show that the report of the program on finishing recoding at 40x doesn't let us claim that the media was recorded exactly at this speed. Some CD-RW drives don't tell the recording program that they enable speed and record power optimization. Just compare 40x CK-485CTE and 16x CRW-F1. Yamaha lets the program know that it changed the recording character and reduced the speed, and the Mitsumi's drive didn't do that. It results in such identical parameters for 16x and 40x recording. The ASUS's CD-RW device copes best of all with the task. 

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


CD-RW drive Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 (8x) 9.50
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 19.31
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 19.19
NEC NR-9100 19.22
TDK CyClone 401248B 19.46
Yamaha CRW-F1 18.25

If time is crucial for you but you can't afford recording at high-speeds (if you support bulk media of a noname Chinese company), the Yamaha's drive will be an optimal solution. It burns such discs quickly and quality is high enough. 

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

In this test we used three discs. Since the recorders are able to write and rewrite CD-RW media at the speeds over 10x, which earlier were standard for most drives, we included ASUS 16x and Yamaha 24x rewritable discs into this test. 

Philips CD-RW 4x


CD-RW drive Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 30.02
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 27.38
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 26.41
NEC NR-9100 27.04
TDK CyClone 401248B 26.25
Yamaha CRW-F1 24.41

Ricoh CD-RW 10x


CD-RW drive Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 -
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 13.55
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 13.06
NEC NR-9100 11.48
TDK CyClone 401248B 14.46
Yamaha CRW-F1 10.32

ASUS High Speed CD-RW 16x 
Yamaha Ultra Speed CD-RW 24x 


CD-RW drive Formatting speed Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 12x 13.42
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 16x 12.31
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 16x 14.01
TDK CyClone 401248B 12x 14.25
Yamaha CRW-F1 24x 7.17

CD-RW recording in UDF

Philips CD-RW 4x


CD-RW drive Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 18.20
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 19.00
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 19.20
NEC NR-9100 18.25
TDK CyClone 401248B 18.33
Yamaha CRW-F1 18.54

CD-RW Ricoh 10x


CD-RW drive Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 -
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 6.40
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 7.12
NEC NR-9100 7.35
TDK CyClone 401248B 7.37
Yamaha CRW-F1 7.16

ASUS CD-RW 16x


CD-RW drive Write speed Time (min.)
AOpen CRW4048 12x 6.22
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 32x 5.21
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 16x 6.27
TDK CyClone 401248B 12x 7.20
Yamaha CRW-F1 24x 4.31

If you are looking for a recorder which works with CD-RW discs best of all you should start with the Yamaha's drive. It shows the best scores even with standard 1x-4x and 4x-10x discs. 

It must be noted that at the time of testing Philips didn't have 10x and 16x discs standardized, and formally High Speed CD-RW media were recorded at 10x. Rewriting at 12x and 16x is acceleration to some degree even with discs similar to ASUS 16x. The results obtained wiht the Ricoh's media were often fairly good, especially in formatting operations. 

Transition to the Ultra Speed CD-RW can provide a definite gain. This standard is officially confirmed, and Yamaha was a pioneer in its utilization. However, Ultra Speed CD-RW media are still unavailable on the market, and the wonderful potential of the Yamaha CRW-F1 cannot be used made use of at the moment. 

Another appropriate solution meant for rewritable discs is the ASUS's drive. But remember that you should buy only quality 4x-10x CD-RW or 16x media to make use of the potential of this drive. 

BLER factor of the recorded CD-R


CD-R disc, write speed Mirex Philips Silverspeed
Ultra
"SKC", 4x
AOpen CRW4048 18-21 (24x) 18-22 124-147
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 12-14 (32x) 12-18 122-140
Mitsumi CR-485CTE Imation CD-R 19-28 (40x) 33-40 120-134
NEC NR-9100 6-10 (24x) 3-4 62-66
TDK CyClone 401248B 56-61 (40x) 35-46 96-102
Yamaha CRW-F1 10-16 (16x) 12-16 36-51

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

The results are obtained on the professional CDCATS SA3 test station provided by the Urals Electronic Plant.   


  Mirex SKC Philips Silverspeed
NEC NR-9100









ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A









Mitsumi
CR-485CTE









TDK CyClone 401248B









AOpen CRW4048









Nero CDSpeed

Reading of the CD-R Philips Silverspeed  
CD-RW drive Reading
AOpen CRW4048


ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A



Mitsumi
CR-485CTE
Imation CD-R



NEC NR-9100


TDK CyClone
401248B



Yamaha
CRW-F1



Reading of the CD-R Mirex   


CD-RW drive Reading
AOpen CRW4048


ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A



Mitsumi
CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100


TDK CyClone
401248B



Yamaha
CRW-F1



Reading of the CD-R SKC "bulk" (4x record speed)  


CD-RW drive Reading
AOpen CRW4048


ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A



Mitsumi
CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100


TDK CyClone
401248B



Yamaha
CRW-F1



All drives read all media types confidently, but for a small fault in reading of the recorded SKC by the ASUS drive. 

Reading of the CD-R Rostok Media 780 MB (90 min)  


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



All drives read 90-min discs flawlessly. 

Test results of the recorded CD-R Philips Silverspeed


  AOpen
CRW4048
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A Mitsumi
CR-485CTE
NEC
NR-9100
TDK CyClone 401248B Yamaha
CRW-F1
Average 37.11x 36.75x 29.77x 30.67x 30.55x 31.95x
Random Seek 100 ms 102 ms 58 ms 99 ms 131 ms 117 ms
SpinUp Time (sec) 1.57 2.81 3.08 2.76 0.76 1.56
SpinDown Time (sec) 5.30 5.14 2.89 3.43 3.31 4.23
Disc Eject Time (sec) 0.95 2.45 1.34 2.05 2.01 0.05
Disc Load Time (sec) 0.82 1.61 1.03 7.60 9.55 0.72
Disc Recognition Time (sec) 4.00 10.60 6.39 1.62 0.73 6.87

Test results of the recorded CD-R Mirex


  AOpen
CRW4048
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A Mitsumi
CR-485CTE
NEC
NR-9100
TDK CyClone 401248B Yamaha
CRW-F1
Average 36.22x 35.53x 30.18x 29.90x 30.30x 31.14x
Random Seek 94 ms 112 ms 60 ms 101 ms 127 ms 119 ms
SpinUp Time (sec) 1.59 2.84 3.41 2.71 1.06 1.57
SpinDown Time (sec) 5.26 5.11 3.05 3.35 3.85 4.28
Disc Eject Time (sec) 0.96 2.43 1.34 2.05 2.05 0.05
Disc Load Time (sec) 0.82 1.88 1.04 7.50 9.87 0.72
Disc Recognition Time (sec) 4.13 9.50 6.77 1.40 0.86 7.00

CDSpeed results of the recorded CD-R SKC "bulk"


  AOpen
CRW4048
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A Mitsumi
CR-485CTE
NEC
NR-9100
TDK CyClone 401248B Yamaha
CRW-F1
Average 37.33x 36.59x 29.99x 30.26x 30.83x 32.13x
Random Seek 93 ms 99 ms 59 ms 121 ms 100 ms 116 ms
SpinUp Time (sec) 1.58 2.84 3.09 1.13 2.69 1.53
SpinDown Time (sec) 5.28 4.69 2.82 3.84 3.31 4.25
Disc Eject Time (sec) 0.96 2.44 1.33  2.07 2.04 0.05
Disc Load Time (sec) 0.81 1.61 1.03 9.47 7.48 0.72
Disc Recognition Time (sec) 4.65 9.93 6.59 0.81 0.84 6.93

The read speed of the 48x AOpen and ASUS drives is expectedly higher than that of the other models. The ASUS takes the lead here, followed by the AOpen. The 44x Yamaha shows fairly good scores. The TDK's solution comes with surprisingly poor scores. 

CDSpeed results of the recorded CD-RW discs


  CD-RW UDF (4x) CD-RW UDF (10x) CD-RW ISO (4x)
AOpen CRW 4048 32.12x 31.66x 37.93x
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 21.12x 21.24x 22.01x
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 30.18x 30.47x 31.19x
NEC NR-9100 27.69x 27.55x 29.43x
TDK CyClone 401248B 30.20x 30.02x 31.85x
Yamaha CRW-F1 28.02x 28.00x 32.68x

The AOpen's solution comes out a winner. It easily reads rewritable discs of any format. The drives from Mitsumi and TDK read UDF and ISO CD-RW media equally well. The scores of the Yamaha are high as well. 

CD-RW reading (ISO)  


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



CD-ROM Drive Analyzer

Reading of the recorded CD-R Philips Silverspeed


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE Imation CD-R



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



Reading of the recorded CD-R Mirex


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



Reading of the recorded CD-R SKC "bulk"


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



Like in the CDSpeed, all the drives excellently read all media types. Only the AOpen's model demonstrates a saw-like diagram, though the CDSpeed program didn't reveal any considerable flaws in reading of the recorded discs. 

Sound track extraction from audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

AOpen CRW 4048  
  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 19.5x 15.5x 35.9x
Total errors 22.70% 0.00% 0.00%

ASUSTeK CRW-4816A  


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 30.1x 14.2x 34.5x
Total errors 0.01% 2.12% 0.00%

Mitsumi CR-485CTE  


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 7.0x 9.8x 29.5x
Total errors 0.01% 0.24% 0.00%

NEC NR-9100  


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 27.6x 18.6x 28.3x
Total errors 1.02% 4.13% 0.00%

TDK CyClone 401248B  


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 20.2x 11.8x 35.0x
Total errors 4.47% 3.48% 0.00%

Yamaha CRW-F1  


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
Average extraction speed 9.5x 10.0x 32.6x
Total errors 0.78% 0.00% 0.00%

According to the CDDAE 99 utility, the Yamaha and ASUSTeK drives extract data most accurately and fast of all. The Mitsumi CD-RW works with audio discs slower than the Yamaha and ASUS, but the amount of errors in the extracted WAV files is rather small. 

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

Support of backoff and processing of data on C2 errors
  AOpen
CRW4048
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A Mitsumi CR-485CTE NEC
NR-9100
TDK CyClone 401248B Yamaha
CRW-F1
C2  Yes No Yes No No No

Burst mode


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
AOpen CRW 4048 18.1x 12.8x 28.8x
ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A
28.9x 3.0x 35.5x
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 6.7x 10.0x 33.3x
NEC NR-9100 13.7x 2.4x 28.2x
TDK CyClone 401248B 18.8x 12.1x 33.7x
Yamaha CRW-F1 20.6x 13.8x 30.9x

Secure mode


  Piano Favorites Acoustic Planet vol.2 Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits"
AOpen CRW 4048 1.5x 4.9x 10.9x
ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A
2.5x 0.6x 8.8x
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 0.3x 2.3x 8.3x
NEC NR-9100 0.3x 1.5x 6.9x
TDK CyClone 401248B 1.4x 2.2x 2.7x
Yamaha CRW-F1 0.3x 2.5x 7.4x

Taking into account that the Mitsumi's recorder can report on C2 errors and its speed characteristics, this drive can be recommended for people who work much with audio content. The solutions from Yamaha and ASUS are a good match as well. The CRW-4816A will have a really striking speed in working with discs with no defects. The AOpen's model is a good alternative. 

Advanced DAE Test 


CD-RW AOpen CRW 4048ASUSTeK
CRW-4816A
Mitsumi CR-485CTENEC NR-9100STDK CyClone 401248BYamaha CRW-F1
Offset412 bytes
(103 samples)
24 bytes
(6 samples)
2956 bytes
(739 samples)
2764 bytes
(691 samples)
24 bytes
(6 samples)
2956 bytes
(739 samples)
Sequential Read TestAverage Speed: 35.15X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 31.98X
Data Errors: 19437928
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 28.55X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 27.95X
Data Errors: 968 
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 33.61X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Average Speed: 30.63X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read TestAverage Access Time: 131 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 145 ms
Data Errors: 285104
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 19723032 
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 65.9

Average Access Time: 108 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 123 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 968 
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0

Average Access Time: 137 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

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

Average Access Time: 163 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 0
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 75.0

On The Fly Copying SimulationCopying 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
too slow
Copying at 1 X
data errors
Data Errors: 2344
Copying at 2 X
OK
Copying at 4 X
data errors
Data Errors: 1406 
Copying at 6 X
data errors
Data Errors: 1439
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
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
CD TextDrive is capable of reading CD Text information
Subchannel DataTest 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
LeadinDrive cannot read data from the LeadinDrive can read max. 148 sectors (-00:01.73) from the LeadinDrive cannot read data from the LeadinDrive can read max. 148 sectors (-00:01.73) from the LeadinDrive can read max. 150 sectors (-00:02.00) from the Leadin
LeadoutDrive 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 magnificent scores of the Mitsumi's model in the previous test will get paler if you look closer at the Advanced DAE's results. The utility reports on errors in copying. In this respect, the drives from ASUS and Yamaha, which also support Leadin, look more attractive for operation with audio data. The AOpen CRW4048 shouldn't be disregarded either. 

Overburn


CD-R Philips Silver Premium 16x (TY) Mirex 650 MB Rostok 780 MB
AOpen CRW 4048 77:04.65 77:22.38 93:03.12
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 77:04.28 77:22.01 n/a
Mitsumi CR-485CTE 77:04.46 78:47.61 93:16.01
NEC NR-9100 n/a n/a n/a
TDK CyClone 401248B 77:02.13 77:18.36 93:02.35
Yamaha CRW-F1 77:04.60 77:22.33 93:09.52

The only unpleasant thing in this test is that the ASUSTeK's recorder can work with discs over 700 MB (such as Rostok Media 780 MB and SKC 800 MB). The Yamaha and Mitsumi devices got excellent marks in overburning the discs. 

Reading the damaged CD


AOpen CRW4048



ASUSTeK CRW-4816A



Mitsumi CR-485CTE



NEC NR-9100



TDK CyClone 401248B



Yamaha CRW-F1



The drives which are best adapted to reading damanged media come from Yamaha and ASUS. Each of them tries to speed up after a hard-to-read area. The NEC's solution shows an awful performance on finding errors. Sometimes the NR-9100 finds errors where they hadn't been before. 

Summary and conclusion

If you are looking for a speedy well-balanced device and you are ready to get high-quality media you should go with the ASUSTeK CRW-4816A. If noise is not the thing which can frighten you and you want a cheaper device, then take a look at the AOpen's model. Thanks to the excellent record quality and speed parameters the Mitsumi will find its place in budget PCs. ASUS won't let the CR-485CTE to take a stronger position in the Middle-End sector. 

The Yamaha CRW-F1 doens't break records, but the engineers weren't aimed at that. They created a modern device which incorporates all cutting-edge features of the industry of the data storage optical systems. Failed with the CRW2100E, the company now offers a forwarding technology. Of course, if you want to record  disc as fast as possible, the drives from ASUS or Mitsumi will suit better. Audiophiles will definitely like capabilities of the Quality Audio Master technology and 1x write speed of the CRW-F1. Disc T@2 is actually a useless feature, but it brings into the burning process the feeling which users had several years ago when they inserted a golden CD-R into the Yamaha CDR-100. 

The TDK CyClone 401248B offers no real surprises, and I can't think of what can attract users in this device. After the striking 12x recorder and the successful 16x model the company turned to more ordinary drives. To be afloat on the modern CD-RW market a famous name is not enough, but many not less famed companied failed to realize this in time. 

Test programs:

Alexander Vorobiev (vorobiev@ixbt.com)

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