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Reviews

Yamaha's Killer CRW8424 CD-RW Drive



$240 IDE or SCSI-3 internal version $340 external SCSI-3 version

In a Nutshell


Rating:5 Penguins


Pros:

* Manufacturer is the best supported in cdrecord 1.8

* Large 4 MB read buffer

* Upgradeable firmware

* Multi-function drive supports 8x record, 4x rewrite, and 24x data read


Con:

* No offical Linux support








Review/Yamaha CD-R
On a Silver Platter: Yamaha’s CRW8424 is flat out the best CD burner on the market.

Specifications

* Average access speed: 140ms

* Maximum data transfer rate: 3,600 KB/sec

* Loading mechanism: tray

Supported Formats

* CD-DA* CD-ROM
* CD-I*CD-Digital
*CD-Bridge*Audio CD
* CD-ROM XA (photo and video CD)
* CD-Extra and Video CD


Reviews/Empire Award Logo

While CD-Recording software packages under Linux still aren’t as user friendly and feature-packed as are their Windows equivalents, free software GUIs like X-CD-Roast have made CD creation under Linux a more enjoyable experience. The real question is which CD burner to buy, as not all of them are equally compatible with Linux out of the box.

Track 0

Since the inception of CD-R technology, one company has stood above the rest: Yamaha. It was one of the first companies to market a CD-R device, and it quickly built a reputation for fast, high-quality products. This explains why its drives are almost universally supported in CD-R software and PC operating systems. Unfortunately, Yamaha’s products have traditionally been more expensive than the alternatives, so they remained largely a professional solution.

Almost five years after the introduction of CD-R, it’s still safe to say that Yamaha is the drive to be compared to, even though other companies like Plextor and Smart & Friendly (who have both introduced 12x recorders) have repeatedly leapfrogged the company in recorder speed. Yamaha’s latest SCSI burner, the 8424SZ, isn’t the fastest drive you can get, but it should re-establish the notion that Yamaha is still the best-engineered drive available, and at a street price of $240. The drive features 8x write/4x rewrite/24x read capability, a 4 MB buffer, and software-upgradeable firmware — all ingredients of a top-notch CD recorder.

While Yamaha could not confirm that this drive was compatible with Linux, it was listed in the device- compatibility table of Joerg Schilling’s cdrecord layer (version 1.8), as were all of Yamaha’s previous drives.

Spinning Up

Using cdrecord layer 1.8 and the latest versions of X-CD-Roast, Gcombust, and KisoCD, we wrote CD-R disks at 8x and CD-RW disks at 4x via an Adaptec 2940AU SCSI host adapter. For our CD-R test, we burned a Linux-Mandrake ISO image on Ricoh Platinum 74min 8x certified media (silver phthalocyanine), as well as Ritek 80-minute 8x Platinum and Kodak Gold disks. For CD-RW tests at 4x, we used redbook audio tracks stripped from the Sounds of Slashdot audio CD distributed at LinuxWorld Expo. After two hours of continuous burning the drive exhibited no signs of overheating and was silent throughout our tests. Every CD-R we created was flawless, and we encountered no buffer underruns or read errors.

We also tested the drive’s performance as a CD reader. While not as fast as current 32x readers, it should serve quite well as a single reader/ writer solution. The drive consistently read data at 24x speeds and performed digital audio extraction at 16x, making it well suited for CD-ripping.

The CRW8424 comes in internal/ external SCSI and ATAPI/IDE versions. While we prefer SCSI burners for their overall superior reliability and data throughput, an IDE drive from Yamaha should be a good alternative for those who want to save the cost of a SCSI host adapter.

We were quite impressed with the Yamaha CRW8424 and found it to be a great drive for anyone interested in recording audio or data CDs on Linux or any other PC platform.

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