Kenwood's 72X CD can't keep pace with 24X CD-RW

Kenwood's 72X CD can't keep pace with 24X CD-RW

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

It's twice the price of an average CD-ROM drive, but is it twice as fast?

No.

In GCN Lab tests, Kenwood Technologies USA Inc.'s 72X TrueX drive read more slowly than a 24X CD-rewritable drive, although it was much quieter in operation.

The Kenwood model's claim to fame is that it uses seven laser beams to read seven tracks at once on a CD. Most CD-ROM drives have only one beam.

In fact, the 72X also has only one laser beam, which breaks up into seven as it travels through a beam splitter. Two lenses then direct the beams to read seven consecutive tracks on a CD.

TrueX technology is Kenwood's name for reading multiple tracks concurrently. Even though TrueX has advantages, it makes the 72X drive slower than most 24X drives.

The 72X Kenwood drive moved 2,206 files in 142 folders totaling 779M onto my hard drive in 7 minutes, 35 seconds.

With a 24X CD-RW, I transferred the same data the same way in 6 minutes, 52 seconds.

The CD-RW drive had an Ultra SCSI-3 connection, however, for a faster bus transfer rate than the standard 33-MHz internal IDE bus in most computer systems today.







Box Score

Kenwood 72X TrueX

Fast CD-ROM drive



Kenwood Technologies USA Inc.;

San Jose, Calif.; tel. 408-467-7900

www.kenwood.com

Price: $115



+ Quiet, with low vibration

- Slower than claimed

- Expensive


Real-life requirements:

Win9x or Win 2000, 233-MHz or faster Pentium MMX processor, 32M of RAM, PCI slot




Why pay more?

If that's the standard, why even buy a 72X? If you can't use a CD-ROM at the fastest speed because of the transfer rate limitation, it would be better to buy a less expensive though noisier 24X drive, right?

I ran the comparison test again between an ordinary 24X CD-ROM drive and the 72X drive at similar transfer rates. Although the results were closer together, the 72X again came in second. The 24X drive transferred the same test data in 7 minutes flat, and the 72X again took 7 minutes, 35 seconds.

The $115 72X drive measured 5.9 inches by 1.7 inches by 7.9 inches and weighed 2 pounds.

Its constant-linear-velocity predecessor, nominally 52X, rotates a disk faster at the inner tracks and slower at the outer tracks, which causes loud, hot operation. The 72X uses partial constant angular velocity.

P-CAV differs from CLV by fluctuating less in rotational speed, which means smoother data transfer. P-CAV also improves durability because the drive doesn't undergo the constant stress of changing its speed.

Most other CD-ROM drives deliver their fastest transfer rates at high rotational speeds, but the Kenwood 72X drive transferred fastest at low speeds'6.8K to 1M of data at 2,700 revolutions per minute up to 5,100 RPM, compared with only 5K at 11,000 RPM.

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