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Yamaha CRW2100E - CD-ROM Performance Results

  January 17, 2001 Author: Tim Zakharov  

For an overview on methodology, click here.

CD-ROM Performance Results

Low-Level Measurements

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In our sustained transfer rate (STR) measurements, the CRW2100E starts off at 18X at the inner tracks and finishes at 38X by the outer edge of our 74-minute test CD. This is a bit lower than Yamaha's 40X CAV claim (though the CRW2100E will reach 40X by the outer edge of our 80-minute test CD-R). This places the drive about 15% ahead of the 32X read speeds offered by the other burners in our comparison.

The Yamaha turns in a random access score of 130 ms. Not only is this 30 ms faster than specification, it's also the 3rd fastest access time we've yet measured for a CD-RW. Let's find out if these speedy access times and transfer rates aid the drive in our CD-ROM Winmark test.

CD-ROM Winmark 99

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The CRW2100E's score of 1135 places it firmly in 2nd place behind Ricoh's MP9120A. The Yamaha's low-level figures, though, teased with hints of better scores. Its results merely best Plextor's 12/10/32A (which has slower measured access times and transfer rates) by 2%.

File and Disc Copy

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In our file copy test, we eliminate random accesses from the mix by timing a copy of a single 634 MB file from CD to hard drive. Compared to the other burners in our comparison, the Yamaha shines due to its superior transfer rates. However, when compared to other 40X readers in our database, the Yamaha brings up the rear. This may be due to the underachieving 38X maximum STR we measured in our low-level tests. Regardless, when compared to its direct competition, the Yamaha does well here.

The story's a bit different in our disc copy test, which introduces random accesses to the mix. Despite a very respectable (for a burner) measured access time of 130 ms, the CRW2100E takes over 4 minutes to copy our test disc. This puts the Yamaha in last place with the Sony CRX160E in our comparison. We found that the Yamaha frequently spins up and down in the test, undoubtedly contributing to its slow copy time. A trial with our second sample yields nearly identical results. This leads us to believe that these results are typical for the CRW2100E and our test disc.

Digital Audio Extraction

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Yamaha advertises 40X Max DAE speeds for the CRW2100E. However, we were unable to achieve such speeds with our test CD-DA-Yes' "Union" (as a reminder, all optical drives are tested with this audio CD in our DAE tests to ensure valid cross-drive comparisons). The DAE transfer rate graph reveals some dips and valleys, which we investigated via CDDAE99, a program that extracts audio tracks to .wav files. We selected every track on the CD, pointed the extraction destination to our testbed's designated test partition, and then watched as each track was extracted to a .wav file at the drive's maximum speed. We were able to hear the CRW2100E drive motor spin down during the last few tracks and watched as extraction rates slowed down during this period. During CDDAE99's verification process, some errors were reported, which we focused our listening tests on. Although the percentage of errors was quantitatively near zero, we were able to hear an audible "tick" in two specific locations. Subsequent retries, though, showed inconsistent results. CDDAE99 reported errors occasionally, but we found no further audible anomalies.

We informally ran more CD-DAs of varying length and quality and found that we were able to get at or near Yamaha's advertised extraction speeds only with scratch-free discs. On these discs, extraction quality was perfect-no errors detected by the benchmark software and no quality issues uncovered while listening to the extracted .wav files. When there were visible surface scratches or other defects on the CD-DA, we sometimes were able to produce a small amount of errors during the extraction process. We never were able to detect any further audible "tick" sounds as in our first try, though.

For further analysis, we used our second review sample as a check. It behaved more or less like our first unit, reducing DAE speeds with scratched discs, yet producing no audible defects. Brand new CDs were extracted at full speed.

Overall, the Yamaha provides above-average DAE quality. The "tick" sound we originally found could never be reproduced despite numerous attempts. We've seen CDDAE99 show errors on other drives, but in nearly every case, there was no audible defect because error correction can usually fill in the missing information. However, be aware that the Yamaha may need to slow down when extracting from less-than-perfect CDs.

CD-R Media Compatibility and Performance

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The CRW2100E has no problem with a variety of CD-R discs, including 74-minute 12X TDK, 80-minute 12X Imation, and 80-minute 16X Verbatim. The 74-minute discs top out at 38X transfer rates while the 80-minute discs reach 40X at the outer edge.

CD-RW Media Compatibility and Performance

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Likewise, the Yamaha has no problems reading our CD-RW test media. We're mightily impressed with the 39X maximum transfer rates we measured-easily the fastest of any burner, and the 2nd fastest we've ever measured (only Pioneer's problem-plagued DVD-304S is faster). Read speeds are consistent with Sony, Memorex and Verbatim 4X media, as well as TDK 10X media.

The Yamaha CRW2100E offers a mixed bag performance-wise. The problem areas we noticed were in DAE, and read speeds during random accesses. Overall, though, it is the fastest (and loudest) CD-RW we've tested in our read tests. Let's now examine how the 16X write and 10X rewrite specs play out in our benchmarks.

 Write/ReWrite Performance Results...


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