The TEAC's vitals, according to their website:
- 12X Write; 10X Rewrite; 32X maximum read
- 14X-20X maximum digital audio extraction
- 85 ms access times
- 4 MB buffer
- 1-year warranty
To view the rest of the specs, download their .pdf file through the link above.
In addition, a fully functional digital audio-out resides next to the analog out on the back of the unit.
Interestingly, our benchmark software detects only 2976 KB of buffer on the CD-W512E. Both Adaptec Easy CD Creator and CDSpeed99 report this figure. We asked TEAC about this; their response was that the CD-W512E has a 4096 KB buffer, but uses a portion (4096 - 2976 = 1120 KB) for "internal commands." TEAC confirmed that only 2976 KB is available for the burning software to use.
The drive arrived with firmware revision 1.0A. We found no firmware updates on TEAC's U.S. site, but did find one on their Japan site. You can download this firmware here. Please note that there is a CD-W512EB as well, which includes BURN-Proof technology. Our CD-W512E evaluation sample does not include any buffer underrun protection, but is otherwise, according to specs, identical to the CD-W512EB.
When downloading the firmware, take care to select the correct version according to the drive's model number. Note that the CD-W512E's firmware features 1.0x version numbers, while the CD-W512EB updates are revision 2.0x.
Our review sample is an OEM unit provided by Hyper Microsystems. All we received was the bare drive. A description of TEAC's retail package may be found here.
In areas of heat and noise, the CD-W512E is one of the best drives we've yet experienced. It even remains cool during repeated runs of our access time test, and ranks right up with the Plextor 12/10/32S and Sony CRX160E. Full-rpm hums are barely audible and random accesses (which generally get louder as access times get faster) are nearly silent-truly commendable considering the 85 ms spec.
Current online pricing for the retail version is about $197 plus tax and shipping. Hyper Microsystems sells the bare drive for $169. By comparison, Plextor's 12/10/32A goes for about $218 for the retail version.
Continue along with us as we examine this drive's read performance.
CD-ROM Performance Results...