Testbed and Methods
For our tests we used two kinds of programs: informational and benchmarking utilities. The first type of software was used to uncover technical specification of the drives. That is very important as many manufacturers don’t provide full info about their products. These programs can also confirm or refute the information provided by the manufacturer. Among these diagnostic-informational utilities we used:
- Nero Info Tool version 1.03.2;
- CD/DVD Device Capabilities Viewer 1.0.002;
- EAC version 0.95 prebeta 3;
- HWINFO32 version 1.30;
The second group of programs serves to check the performance level and other parameters of the drives when working with CD and DVD discs:
- CD WinBench 99 version 1.1.1;
- Nero CD Speed version 1.02e;
- Nero CD DAE version 0.4 Beta;
- Nero Burning Rom version 188.8.131.52;
- Nero DVD Speed version 0.53;
- CDVD Benchmark 1.2;
- Sandra Standard 2003 3.9.44.
All the drives were attached to the second IDE channel as “Master” devices and worked in UDMA mode.
Our testbed was configured as follows:
- AMD Athlon 700MHz CPU;
- Elitegroup K7S5A mainboard;
- 128MB SDRAM:
- ATI RADEON 8500 64MB graphics card;
- IBM DTLA 307015 15GB UDMA/5;
- Windows XP with Service Pack 1 and DirectX 9.0 installed.
If you see some test results missing in the tables, diagrams or screenshots, it means the drive didn’t pass this particular test and the results couldn’t be taken.
So, we used four informational utilities to check the features of the reviewed drives more exactly. Three of them (Nero Info Tool, CD/DVD Device Capabilities Viewer and HWINFO32) are shown in the screenshots below, while the last one, EAC, was used to check the availability of hardware functions required for correct work with Audio CDs. The new version of this utility includes an option to check the support of C2 error returns by using a deliberately bad compact disc. The results of EAC are included into the table (see below).