Ricoh MP9060a - DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive

The MP9060a ($699) is an enticing upgrade option; before now, you needed separate drives to watch DVD movies and to burn audio or data CDs. And the drive largely lives up to its promise: except for a glitch with the bundled DVD movie player, the drive easily passed muster, though it's not the fastest at CD-RW or DVD operations.

The physical setup of the MP9060a on our 400MHz Celeron test system went as smoothly as that of any internal ATAPI drive; the unit was set as the master drive on our secondary IDE channel.

Bundled with the drive is Adaptec's Easy CD Creator 4.0, DirectCD 3.0, and Cyberlink's PowerDVD, which let the MP9060a play movies smoothly, with no dropped frames or hesitation between chapters.

As so often is the case with devices that carry out multiple functions, the MP9060a trades off performance to provide the convenience of combined CD-RW and DVD capabilities. In most of our performance tests, the MP9060a scored below average, although it was still within acceptable limits for comparable CD-RW drives.

Testa Labs' CD Tach 98 rated the drive's CD-ROM read performance at 15.4x. The drive wrote our 430MB test image to CD-R in 9 minutes and 17 seconds. Using Testa Labs' DVD Tach 2.52 program, the MP9060a scored a DVD-ROM read performance of just 2.1x; however, that sluggish DVD speed will have no effect on playing DVD movies, which run at 1x.

The MP9060a's sole average test result was in packet writing: it wrote 100MB to CD-RW in 3 minutes and 31 seconds, right on target for a 4x-rated drive. More importantly, the MP9060a wrote no bad discs, and flawlessly read numerous CD-R, CD-audio, CD-RW, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs.

The one-drive-plays-all convenience of the MP9060a will be worth $699 to many users, especially those with limited expansion room for internal drives. However, for maximum performance at the best price, you'll want to buy separately an 8x/4x/32x CD-RW drive and at least a 4x DVD-ROM drive - the two drives can be purchased for slightly more than the cost as the MP9060a.

Ricoh MP9060a

Price: $699

Distributor: Protac International ComputersPhone: (02) 9637 8999URL: www.protac.com.au

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