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Yamaha CRW2100S - CD-ROM Performance Results

  February 20, 2001 Author: Tim Zakharov  

For an overview on methodology, click here.

CD-ROM Performance Results

Low-Level Measurements

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CD Winbench 99 transfer rate measurements peg the Yamaha's sequential transfers at 18X on the innermost tracks and at 37X on the outer edge of our test CD. The CRW2100S comes in a hair slower than its ATAPI brother here. Both are under Yamaha's 40X spec, but as we learned in our CRW2100E review, the Yamaha does not reach its spec until the outer edge of a completely filled 700 MB disc. The transfer rate graph reveals no problem areas, save for a small dip at around 300 MB. This is normal... most drives we've tested exhibit such minor dips.

In CD Winbench 99's access time test, the CRW2100S yields a 137 ms average. That's a bit quicker than Yamaha's 160 ms spec, but 7 ms slower than the CRW2100E. This, though keeps the SCSI Yamaha slightly ahead of the Plextors. We're pleased to see most CD-RW access times improving over time.

CD-ROM Winmark 99

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CD Winbench 99's CD-ROM Winmark test runs through a timed script of routines ripped from a variety of popular software programs. The score presented here is an average drawn from four different test discs.

The CRW2100S comes in at 1002 KB/sec, 12% slower than the ATAPI Yamaha. This places the SCSI Yamaha last in our comparison. It appears like the slower measured access times contribute to this 12% difference. In addition, both Yamahas exhibit lower-than-expected scores compared to the competition. With 40X reads and access times in the 130 ms range, Yamaha Winmark scores should be significantly higher. The Yamahas are prone to spinning down during this test (it happens with both Yamahas and with all four of our test discs)... most likely a cause of the low scores. We'll revisit this shortly.

File and Disc Copy

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Our file copy test emphasizes sequential transfer rates by copying a single 634 MB file. The Yamaha's 40X read specs help it garner times significantly lower than the 32X competition from Plextor, Sony and Ricoh. The CRW2100S clocks in a hair faster than the ATAPI Yamaha.

The disc copy test introduces random accesses due to the multiple files and folders on our test CD. The CRW2100S finishes a bit slower than the CRW2100E... what one would expect from the low-level access time results. We're not certain why the Yamahas lag in these tests; based on their low-levels, they should be near the top of the list rather than the bottom. What we do know is that both Yamahas spin down a lot during this test, undoubtedly slowing copy times.

Combined with the Winmark scores presented above, these results raise questions on the CRW2100 series' ability to read at full speed during random accesses. In two separate benchmarks, with two separate sets of discs, we've encountered the same random-access problems.

Digital Audio Extraction

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The ATA CRW2100E had problems extracting smoothly from our test CD-DA. The SCSI CRW2100S has very similar problems. Brand-new discs extract at or close to Yamaha's 40X Max spec, while even slightly scratched discs lead to inconsistent DAE speeds - lots of spinning down mid-extraction and dips and valleys in the DAE graph. CDSpeed99 measures minimum extraction rates of just under 17X while average DAE across the disc is about 25X. Because of all the spinning down at the outer edge of our CD-DA, we could not measure consistent DAE speeds towards the end of the disc. The presented DAE graph is the one most typical out of the various runs performed.

CDDAE99 is an audio ripping program that doubles as a benchmark. The program extracts audio tracks to .wav files one at a time or the whole disc at once. CDDAE99 extracts each track twice; the second verifies the original (verification can be disabled for faster rips). Differences are noted as errors. Tests with CDDAE99 show an average extraction rate of about 24X across the entire disc. Again, the drive spins down when faced with any sort of scratched CDs. This typically occurs near the outer region of the disc. Fortunately, no errors were detected, either in CDDAE99 or in CDSpeed99: We listened to selected .wav files extracted with CDDAE99 and found no audible defects. Thus, it appears that extraction quality is not affected by the spindowns...only speed. Even so, the CRW2100S averages 24X-25X - slightly faster than comparison drives.

CD-R Media Compatibility and Performance

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Like the CRW2100E, the SCSI Yamaha displays excellent sequential read performance with CD-R and -RW media. Read speeds with TDK 12X CD-Rs top out at 38X, equal to pressed CD read speeds. Speeds remain in the same range with Verbatim 16X and Imation 12X media. The Imation is a 700 MB disc filled to capacity. The Yamaha can read the outer edge of this disc at 40X - fulfilling manufacturer claims that this drive features 40X Max reads.

CD-RW Media Compatibility and Performance

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Yamaha's CRW2100 series continues to be one of the fastest CD-RW readers around. The SCSI unit reaches nearly 39X on the outer edge of our test disc - slightly faster than it reads pressed CDs. We measure similar performance with Verbatim, Memorex, and Sony CD-RWs.

However, when testing with our high speed TDK CD-RW, CDSpeed99 errors out every time. To find the source of this error, we first created a 2nd copy of our test disc on a physically different TDK high speed CD-RW. The error persisted. Next, we used Explorer to copy the contents of these discs to the hard drive. We had no problems copying the contents of both discs to hard disk, though the spin downs we previously noted continued. In fact, copy times were a bit slower than the pressed CD results presented in our File and Disc Copy section above. Our best guess is that CDSpeed99 forces the drive to read at the fastest speed possible, whereas actual copies through Windows Explorer allows the Yamaha's firmware to slow reads down if impending read errors are detected. Other possibilities, of course, are bugs and compatibility issues with CDSpeed99.

 Write/ReWrite Performance Results...


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