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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 32x CD-RW

Monday, April 15, 2002
Ricoh MP7320A

1. Introduction

Ricoh MP7320A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction

Click To Enlarge!Ricoh did not stay out of the 32x recording market and shipped a new drive with the code name "MP7320A". The drive is an internal ATAPI model and writes at 32x CD-R, as already mentioned, re-writes at 10x and reads at 40x. Ricoh has chosen the Z-CLV 32x writing strategy for this model and among the main features of the drive is the "JustSpeed" and "JustLink" technologies. We have already tested the most of the 32x recorders of the market and we expect to see whether Ricoh MP7320A will make the difference.

- Embedded technologies

During high-speed writing in the 32x speed range, the drive checks the type of disc in use and adjusts the writing speed to an optimal level between 16x and 32x; It reduces disc errors such as deficiency in writing power and servo follow error.

The mechanism controls the optimal writing speed by media type
(1) using the ATIP information (maker name, media type pre-recorded on disc),
(2) performing test writing to the OPC area at the inner circumference of the disc, and
(3) getting the status of the servo follow check of the outer circumference of the disc (checking of track shift due to lack of precision in cutting of the disc itself).

A combination of the above (1), (2), and (3) enables ensured high-speed writing, while offering support to discs for which maximum writing speed normally cannot be obtained from the ATIP information.

MP7320A provides 32x write speed with the ZCLV (Zoned Constant Linear Velocity) method where the write area of a disc is divided into several areas and each area is assigned a rotation speed.The speed to be assigned increases towards the outer area of the disc. This method enables the optimum write job at high speed without disturbing the drive's mechanisms.

Z-CLV Graph - Courtesy of Ricoh JapanDuring write operation using ZCLV, the speed switches from 16x to 20x, 24x,28x and 32x at designated speed switching points (referred to as T1 to T4) fixed on the disc. Those switching points are set flexible when JustSpeed is active, and during writing, each point is assigned in accordance with the condition of the disc. That is, the drive determines the positions of the switching points to specify areas suited for faster writing. This method provides MP7320A with both highly reliable and fast writing capabilities.

When using high-speed media with MP7320A, the speed switching point T1 will be located at the innermost periphery of the data area (at the end of the lead-in area). When JustSpeed is not active, the switching points T1 to T4 are fixed.

- Features

The new recorder supports 32x writing, 10x re-writing and 40x reading . MP7320A utilizes the already known techniques that were introduced by the MP7200A series: "Zone-CLV" recording mode and "JustSpeed" quality control mechanism.

The drive supports 4x, 8x,12x, 16x (CLV) and 16-24x, 16-32x (Z-CLV) writing speeds. The rewriting speeds are 4x and 10x and 40x maximum (CAV) reading speed. The cache buffer of the drive is 8MB and supports the "JustLink" buffer underun protection. Lastly, Ricoh MP7320A does not support the Mt Rainier format.

The drive comes with newly developed modules and mechanism to enable high-speed writing and reading.

- High-speed writing is handled by the newly developed pick-up module incorporating a high power laser and high precision pulse control.

- The newly developed digital controller LSI controls the width of pulse precisely,allowing for stable writing at high-speed.

- Incorporation of the high-speed rotation type spindle motor gives stable and precise rotation during high-speed writing.

- Addition of the high-precision stepping motor to the seek algorithm enables highly precise positioning and high speed access at 120 msec, while improving the noise level.

- Ricoh's 32x writing speed

Ricoh MP7320A supports 32x Zone-CLV writing speed.. We used Nero CD Speed 0.85 build-in writing test in order to test the drive's writing performance:

Press to see the complete graph!

As Nero CD Speed showed, the drive starts writing at 16x and after 2-4minutes it jumps up to 20x. The next jump to 24x comes after 10 min from the beginning of the disc, and after 22 min the drive increases the writing speed to 28x. The last speed shift is the 32X at 38min. The average writing speed is around 27.41x

- The package

The drive we have in our hands was not in the retail package, and the installed firmware revision was vBP06. The same drive will be shipped in the retail packages that will be sold in the European/Japanese/Asian/rest of the world markets. The package will include the MP7320A CD-RW drive(ATAPI Interface), Nero Burning Rom and InCD as attached software, 1 Ricoh High Speed CD-RW blank disc, 1 Ricoh CD-R blank disc, a Quick start Instruction, analogue audio cable, and mounting screws.

The front of the drive includes the "Ricoh", "JustLink", and the "32x10x40" logos printed on it. There is also only one led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector.

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select and the SPDIF output connector:

- Installation

Ricoh MP7320A 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 "Ricoh CD-RW MP7320A". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a February 2002 model with firmware revision vBP06 installed.

We used the latest version of Nero Burning ROM (5.5.8.0), InCD (3.24.3) and CloneCD (4.0.0.0 beta1) for the recording tests. As we can see from Nero's features screenshot we can select if "JustLink" and/or "JustSpeed" will be enabled or not by default.




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