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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 24x CD-RW

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

1. Introduction

TEAC CD-W524E IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction

is introducing the CD-W524E, as an alternative solution for users who wish something extra from their recorder. TEAC has a long tradition of making quality drives but never had the lead in the writing race. TEAC is shipping a 24x CD-RW drive many months later than Plextor, Sanyo and LiteOn and promises 'superior data-recording quality' among with a very affordable price. Will TEAC's expectations turn out to be real?

- What's New

According to TEAC there are several new improvements over previous models:

* New advanced servo circuit to make the accurate track positioning.
* Well-tuned writing strategy for most of the CD-R/RW media sold in the market
* High speed ROPC (Running Optimum Power Control) based on the sampling at approx. 4,800 times per second. It enables the optimal recording not only from the most inner track to the outer most track, but also for any portion on each track.
* Rugged mechanical chassis using 1.2mm thick of metal-sheet. It minimize the vibration which affects the recording quality.

- New Features

The most interesting new feature is the "Advanced Servo Circuit". TEAC explains: "...The power of laser diode is very high at data recording mode, but it is lower at the read mode. The power difference is getting bigger as the recording speed is getting faster. TEAC found the light-emission point of the LED used for higher CD-RW drive moved slightly at the write-mode and at the read-mode. Because all CD-RW drives are adjusted and inspected by using read mode on production lines (it is true not only for TEAC but also other manufacturers), the gap of the light-emission point makes the de-track, and affects the recording quality.

The special servo designed by TEAC minimizes the gap automatically, and it is the one of the key technology to realize the high recording quality of TEAC drive. The technology is applied for CD-W516EB as well, but that for CD-W524E is much improved and the operation time for it is much shorten..."

The drive is also prepared for Mt. Rainier format support, at least in the hardware part. TEAC will support it with firmware update release, planned by the end of November. Mt. Rainier is a kind of defect managing technology for CD-RW media containing bad quality recorded data.

- Other Features

The TEAC CD-W524E supports 4X, 8X, 12X, 16X (CLV) and 16x-24x (Z-CLV) writing speeds. The re-writing speeds are limited to 4x & 10x. TEAC's maximum reading speed is 40x (CAV) for CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM XA Mode 2 Form 1 formats. For the "CD-RW, CD-ROM XA Mode 2 Form 2" formats, maximum speed is reduced to 17x-32x (Z-CAV).

There will be 2 versions of TEAC's CD-W524E available to users:
a) the retail (b.02) version which we tested
b) the OEM version with reduced DAE down to 32x.

TEAC continues to reduce seek time standards and this time specifications give an average seek time lower than 80ms. Also the huge MTBF (>100.000) gives users another point to think about. Lastly, the TEAC CD-W524E comes with 2MB of buffer and supports "Write-Proof" technology (based upon Sanyo's BURN-Proof technology). Nero reports that the drive has only 1404KB of buffer and this is an old issue, also found in previous models.

- The package

The supplied package is the retail Europe version and contains: the drive itself, 1 TEAC CD-R 74min 24x blank (real manufacturer Taiyo Yuden), 1 TEAC 74min HS-RW Blank, an operation manual, audio and the necessary IDE cables. The main software is Nero, and InCD v2.31. The TEAC CD-W524E European version has a 2 year warranty and currently we don't have any information is this will be valid for the rest of the world.

The front of the drive looks like as all previous TEAC CD-RW drives. You can see the usual eject button, the headphone input jack/volume selector and two leds:

At the back of the drive you will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive to Master/Slave option, the analogue and the digital audio output connectors and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved).

- Installation

The TEAC CD-W524E was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "TEAC CD-W524E". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted. The drive was a September 2001 model with firmware revision v1.0A installed. For most of our tests we used the Nero v5.5.5.6 among with Ahead InCD v3.12b (for packet writing tests), CloneCD and Padus DJ 3.50.799.

- Test Machine
WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
TEAC CD-W524E firmware v1.0A
PleXWriter PX-W2410A firmware v1.02
LiteOn LTR-24102B firmware v5S0F
AOpen CRW2440 firmwre v0.95

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