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Ricoh MP7200A - Write/ReWrite Performance Results

  July 5, 2001 Author: Tim Zakharov  

Write/ReWrite Tests

JustSpeed Tests

To test Ricoh's JustSpeed technology, we conduct write tests using our data CD (619 MB) and four different brands of media of varying speeds. Tests were conducted with JustSpeed enabled and disabled (Nero Burning ROM has a checkbox on the CD-Recorder selection page).

CD-R Media Performance
CD-R Media Dye Color Just Speed - ON Just Speed - OFF
Attempted Write Speed Actual Write Speed Attempted Write Speed Actual Write Speed
PNY 24X/Firmware 1.10 gold 12X 12X 20X 20X
PNY 24X/Firmware 1.30 gold  12X 12X 20X 20X
Verbatim 16X/Firmware 1.10 blue 16X 12X 20X 20X
Verbatim 16X/Firmware 1.30 blue 16X 16X 20X 20X
TDK 12X/Firmware 1.10 green 16X 12X 20X 20X
TDK 12X/Firmware 1.30 green 20X 12X 20X 20X
Ricoh Platinum 12X/Firmware 1.10 green/gold 20X 20X 20X 20X
Ricoh Platinum 12X/Firmware 1.30 green/gold 20X 20X 20X 20X

The only media tested that is capable of burning at 20X with JustSpeed enabled is Ricoh's 12X Platinum media.

Interestingly, with firmware 1.10 the TDK media is detected as 16X but during the burn process, JustSpeed lowers the write speed to 12X and the burn times reflect this. With firmware 1.30, the TDK media is detected as 20X, but again JustSpeed lowers writes to 12X speeds.

The Verbatim media was correctly detected as 16X with the 1.10 firmware while burn times indicated only 12X performance. After upgrading to the 1.30 firmware, JustSpeed again correctly detects the Verbatim media as 16X but this time burn times reflect this speed.

However, PNY's 24X-rated media is detected as only 12X by JustSpeed (with both firmware revisions). We believe that either the Ricoh's media table in its firmware doesn't have the PNY info, or the PNY media itself is missing ATIP information needed by JustSpeed.

With JustSpeed disabled, all four brands write successfully at 20X.

With JustSpeed disabled, though, is write quality affected? To determine, we first access each disc in Windows Explorer to make sure they read back what is written to them. Then, we run each disc through transfer rate tests to see if they read at full speed.

The results? All discs are detected normally by Windows Explorer and complete transfer rate measures at full speed.

Based on this, JustSpeed may be a bit conservative when identifying safe media speeds. With JustSpeed disabled, the Ricoh can write to a variety of name-brand media at 20X with no discernible consequences. Our advice: if unsure about your existing media, try a burn at 20X with JustSpeed disabled and see if it's successful. If so, there likely will be no issues with writing to that media.

Note: We asked Ricoh how they would implement JustSpeed to account for CD-R media produced after the drive's release. They informed us that firmware updates would be used for this purpose. As we've shown with the Verbatim 16X media, they've already begun updating their JustSpeed detection algorithms.

CD-R Based Duplication

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Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM measures how long each tested drive takes to duplicate audio and data test discs when burning at maximum speeds. All drives are tested as "source" and "destination," creating results for "imaging" as well as "writing."

Note: All write tests were conducted on PNY 24X media with JustSpeed disabled in Nero.

On the audio CD, the MP7200A possesses both the quickest image and burn times. Its burn time of 4:18 is 13% quicker than the 16X Plextor. Though this isn't quite the 25% difference between 20X and 16X, nonetheless there's a new speed champion. Total duplication times clock in at 8:35.

With the data CD, we see very similar results. This time the burn completes in 4:26 - 16% quicker than the Plextor. Total duplication time is 7:02.

CD-RW Based Duplication

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Here the pressed data disk is duplicated to CD-RW media at the drive's fastest rewrite speeds. At present, 10X is the quickest rewrite speed available, and all drives in the comparison are 10X rewriters. It's no surprise, therefore, that all burn times are tightly grouped with less than 5% difference between the top and bottom drives. With an average burn time of 7:54, the MP7200A fits in at second place behind another Ricoh: the MP9120A. Because of the MP7200A's quick image speeds, however, it's able to complete the duplication process in 10:30 to edge out the Plextor.

CD-R Based Stress Tests

During the course of testing, when we create an ISO burn, the drive performs as expected. The drive's buffer never comes close to lowering due to Nero's dual RAM and hard disk buffers. Only freezing the system with a CTRL-ALT-DEL will force a JustLink activation. After this is done, the burn resumes normally and the resulting data is fully readable from the CD-R.

However, after duplicating the data CD with Nero's CD Copy utility and after the source is imaged, the following burn occasionally results in at least one JustLink activation. This only occurs with the data disc, not with the audio disc. And it only occurs with Nero's CD Copy, not with its ISO application. In addition, burn speed of 16X or slower keep software and hardware buffers full- JustLink is not activated. In some cases we're forced to raise Nero's RAM buffer and Disc Cache levels to their maximum values to prevent this. We've reported the findings to Ahead Software, but at present are uncertain if it is a hardware or software issue.

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InCD Formatting

Ahead's InCD formats CD-RW media. The MP7200A proves to be the quickest at formatting a high speed CD-RW with an average time of 11:27. With the exception of Ricoh's MP9120A, all drives group tightly.

InCD Packet-Writing Performance

Timing how long it takes to copy a 195 MB folder from the hard drive to a freshly formatted CD-RW via Windows Explorer tests each drive's packet-writing abilities. The MP7200A leads the way with an average time of 2:36. Teac's CD-W516EB virtually ties the Ricoh, and all drives finish within 1% of each other.

Nero CD-RW Erasing

Finally, Nero's CD-RW eraser utility times how long it takes to return a formatted CD-RW to a blank state. Once again, all drives perform similarly, with a 3% difference between fastest and slowest. The MP7200A comes in at the middle of the pack with a full erase time of 8:04.



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