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Sony CRX160E-A1 12x/8x/32x CD-RW





Author: Fido
Posted on: 2/15/2001
Sponsor: Sony
Discuss: In the forums




Introduction
When you hear the word Sony, the first thing that probably comes to mind is PS2 right? Well, they are also involved in many other aspects of our life - including; motion pictures, music, and electronics. The later being what we really care about here at LWD. In this review we are going to take a look at the Sony Spressa CRX160E by comparing it to a very similar drive, the HP 9500i. Both drives bring to the table 12X/8X/32X speeds, but which one is faster - or do they have the same guts just wrapped in different plastic?

Specifications & Features
Lets get started by taking a look at the specifications and features of each drive. As you can see the drives are quite similar. In fact the most notable difference from the start is the software that is included with each drive.


Sony CRX160E-A1
12x/8x/32x CD-RW


HP C4502A
cd-writer 9500i
Interface
  EIDE (ATAPI)

Loading Mechanism
  Tray loader

Buffer Size
  4 MB

Writing Methods
  Track at Once
  Disc at Once
  Multisession
  Incremental (packet)

Media & Modes Supported
  CD REWRITABLE (CD-RW)
  CD RECORDABLE (CD-R)
  CD-Digital Audio, CD Extra, CD-ROM (Mode 1)
  CD-ROM XA (Mode 2 Form 1 & Mode 2 Form 2)
  CD-I (Mode 2 Form 1 & Mode 2 Form 2)
  CD-I Ready
  CD-Bridge & Photo CD (single & multi-session)
  Video CD
  CD-TEXT

Software
CD Extreme  
Sony abCD Packet Writing  
Spressa Play & Record  
Mixman Studio  
Retrospect Express  

Price
  $168.00 USD
Interface
  EIDE (ATAPI)

Loading Mechanism
  Tray loader

Buffer Size
  4 MB

Writing Methods
  Track at once
  Disc at once
  Multisession
  Incremental (packet)

Media & Modes Supported
  CD REWRITABLE (CD-RW)
  CD RECORDABLE (CD-R)
  CD-Digital Audio, CD Extra, CD-ROM (Mode 1)
  CD-ROM XA (Mode 2 Form 1 & Mode 2 Form 2)
  CD-I (Mode 2 Form 1 & Mode 2 Form 2)
  CD-I Ready
  CD-Bridge & Photo CD (single & multi-session)
  Video CD
  CD-TEXT

Software
HP MyCD  
MusicMatch Jukebox  
CD Labeler  
HP Simple Backup  

Price
  $177.00 USD


The same, but different
You're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking at this point - the HP and Sony drive are the same drive, internally. The specifications are the same, the features are the same, and even the price for each drive is comparable with only about a $10 USD difference between the two. Since "technically" both drives appear to be the same, let's take a look at the differences in software and get that out of the way.
Sony Software
Several packages are included in the bundle from Sony. Let's start with CD Extreme, which is the primary burning application for this drive. While is does contain most of the features and options you could want from a package, it is a bit clunky and difficult to use at times. Spressa Liquid Player is essentially a Windows Media Player type application that you can use to download songs, compile playlists of MP3 and WAV files, and then burn them to CD. abCD is Sony's version of a Packet Writing application. It allows you to format your CD-RW and then copy files to it, like you would a floppy diskette. MixMan Studio - I don't really care, I've never mixed music before and I'm not going to start just because Sony has given me some software to do it. Finally we have Retrospect Expresss, which is probably one of the friendliest "personal backup" software packages I have seen in a long time - very nice!

HP Software
HP has decided to stop bundling their drives with Easy CD Creator in lieu of a product called HP MyCD, a software package made by Veritas. MyCD has to be one of the simplest to use software packages available for burning CD's. There are four primary buttons which correspond to the task you wish to perform such as disc-to-disc copy, audio CD copy, etc. Unfortunately, there are no advanced options available; so good luck trying to overburn a CD or make a copy of your favorite game. In addition you cannot Create Disc Images, nor can you burn a CD from an existing image. Music Match Jukebox is a nice touch, but as for the CD Labeler package - in my book "Who really cares!" It's clear to see at this point, that HP has found their target audience - SOHO based users and neophytes.

Read tests / Write tests
The test machine used was an ABIT BE6-II board, with an Intel P3 600e relying on 396 megs of PC100 ram. The operating system, Windows2000 Professional, found its home on an IBM 7200 RPM drive alone on the ATA-66 HighPoint controller. Burners were each hung independently from the ATA-33 controller with DMA enabled on both drives. The CD Reader used for Disc-To-Disc copy operations was a Memorex CD-482E 48X drive.

Third party software packages were used for both the read and write tests performed. We didn't want to use only the included software as it tends to be biased and limitations may exist which are independent of the hardware involved. Read tests and audio extraction (DAE) tests were performed using SiSoft Sandra and WinDAC 1.52 respectively. Real world burn tests were done using the latest version of NERO - 5.0.3.9. Scores in Bold indicate best result.





The SiSoft Sandra test clearly reveals each drive's strengths, and weaknesses. The most notable differences occurred in Buffered Read Speed, and Average Access Time.

The tests that follow, Audio Extraction using WinDAC and the CD Copy using NERO, yielded nearly identical results on both drives. While the Audio Extraction Rate (DAE) for these drives is very "sluggish", the amount of time to perform the CD copies were as expected. Again, please keep in mind we are using 3rd party software for these tests.





Conclusion
The technical specifications, features, and benchmarking results are so close, determining which drive is right for you, should be based on how you plan to use your drive. If you're new to the world of burning CD's, or you're buying a burner for your grandmother - go with the HP. The software is so plain and simple you can burn a disc in about 2 mouse clicks, but copying games and overburning discs will be limited by the included software.

If you're a hardcore computer user who wants to copy game CD's (legally of course), rip audio CD's, or create / burn from ISO images - snag yourself the Sony drive. The software package should be able to do everything you need, albeit a bit on the clunky side. Then again, if you're truly a hardcore computer user, the CD that comes with the drive will probably never even be removed from it's shrink wrap in lieu of an alternate burning application such as Nero or CDR-Win.

So there you have it - the Sony drive and the HP drive. From a purely technical view, both drives are drives a good choice. You now know the specs, software, features, and have seen the benchmarks for both drives. Simply factor in your specific needs and you will know which drive is right for you.









Copyright © by LWD All Rights Reserved.

Published on: 2004-09-07 (32021 reads)

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