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Kenwood's 72X True X CDROM Drive
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Storage
Author: HH Editor
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Kenwood's 72X True X CDROM Drive - Page 1

Kenwood's 72X True X CD-ROM Drive
No "specsmanship" just performance!

     

Once in a blue moon, we get a product in here at Hot Hardware that absolutely knocks our socks off. It doesn't happen very often and we test a lot of product every month. This is one of those times. For many of us, CD-ROM drive technology has matured to the extent where we are beginning to reach diminishing returns on our investment in next generation technology. Today's 48X and 52X drives are hardly faster than there 32X siblings from days gone by. DVD ROMs and Re-Writable Drives are still making good strides in performance but the standard CD-ROM is somewhat lack luster.

Now I am going to ask you to throw that notion out the window and forget you ever thought that way. Or should I say, Kenwood is trying to change your mind in this respect? The outside of the box for the Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM says this "the worlds fastest CD-ROM drive". Guess what? They are dead-on right.

Specifications of the Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM Drive
Zen and the art of speed

 

    Drive Interface

  • EIDE/ATAPI

    Disc Loading

  • Motorized Tray

    Disc Readable Formats

  • CD-ROM Mode 1 and Mode 2
  • CD-R
  • CD-RW
  • CD-Extra
  • CD-DA Audio
  • Photo CD (Single- and Multi-Session)
  • CD-I/FMV
  • Video CD
  • CD-ROM-XA

    Disc Diameter

  • 8cm and 12cm

    Optical Beam Reader

  • Kenwood 7-Beam Pickup

    Data Transfer Rate

  • 6,750 to 10,800 KB/sec. (typical*)

    Burst Data Transfer Rate

  • 16.6 MB/sec. (PIO Mode 4 and DMA Mode 2)
  • 33 MB/sec. (Ultra DMA)


    Access Time (1/3 Stroke)

  • Less than 100ms (typical)

    Within 7 Track Band

  • 5ms

    Data Buffer

  • 2,048KB

    Eject Button

  • Motorized Eject Button
  • Emergency Hole

    LED

  • Access LED

    Headphone Jack

  • 3.5mm Stereo Mini-Jack

    Volume Control

  • Wheel Knob

    Interface Connector

  • 40-pin EIDE Header

    CD-Audio Analog Out

  • Supported

    EIDE Settings

  • Master, Slave, CSEL Jumper Settable

     

Beam me up Scotty.   There is too much intelligent life here...

With specs like this, it has to be the fastest there is, right? Well, as we all know CD-ROM drive manufacturers play a huge game of "specsmanship" when it comes to rating their products. One 48X drive can perform close to 28X levels and another can perform like a 12X drive with both products having the same numbers boasting performance levels far different than reality. Kenwood uses the word "True" in their product for a reason. Here is the technology behind the performance numbers and why the drive speaks the truth.

Click for a closer look...


 

Being from the Semiconductor Industry, I spend time with a lot of Electrical Engineers every day. Most are fairly intelligent folks. When I have the occasion to meet with Optical Engineers, I am usually blown away by their brilliance. These folks deal in almost a sort of "black magic". It is truly "deep" stuff. We'll spare you the physics here folks and keep things crisp. In short, what you see in the above diagram is the way the 72X True X CD-ROM Drive's Lasers are split into to seven discrete beams and track across the disk. This allows for 7 parallel reads on a rotation and thus incremental gains in throughput.

The "7 beam pick-up" as Kenwood calls it, is a patented technological marvel.

Click for a closer look...

It also allows for lower disk rotation speeds as a result. This drive is one of the quietest drives I have ever tested, period. It is as quiet as most 4X drives so long as you have it mounted correctly so there is no rattle in the case around it.  

 
So far so good. As we all know however, the proof is in the benchmarks. All of these wonderful features wouldn't mean much if the drive couldn't live up to its claims in performance. 
 

 Get the Kenwood 72X True X Drive


 Spin for me baby! Benchmarks
 

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Kenwood's 72X True X CDROM Drive - Page 2

Kenwood's 72X True X CD-ROM Drive
No "specsmanship" just performance!

     
     

There is no need to ramble on about this drive anymore.  Its performance will speak volumes.

 
Test System 
Our setup

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, AMD Athlon K7-600, MSI MS-6167 Motherboard, 128MB PC133 HSDRAM from EMS, WD Expert AC418000 7200 RPM ATA66 Hard Drive, Matrox G400MAX 32MB w/ TurboGL Drivers, Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM and Memorex 48X CD-ROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7

 

Benchmarks With The Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM
You won't find a faster CD-ROM

We pitted the Kenwood up against a Memorex 48X EIDE CD-ROM just for comparison. It wasn't much of a match-up but what do you expect when there isn't anything that comes close to the TrueX Kenwood.

     

SiSoft Sandra CD/DVD Benchmark

(Click images)

Memorex 48X


Kenwood 72X True X


 

This just about says it all. Consistent 66X performance across the disk at a 10MB per second transfer rate. The Memorex drive looks pitiful. Is it dead or is it Memorex?! :-)

There was something interesting to note here. The access times for the drives seem to be flip flopped. The Kenwood shows 120ms. and the Memorex shows 68ms. I was suspect of these numbers so we fired up a more robust benchmark.
 


Ziff Davis CD Winbench 99

ZD has an excellent benchmark package for CD and DVD ROMs. It tests everything including CPU utilization.

(click for larger view)

     
Since the Athlon based systems are not as mainstream yet, we also set the drive up in a BX chipset based board with a Pentium!!! 600. The motherboard used was the Soyo SY-6BA+IV. We set it up on the standard DMA33 controller that comes on the board. As a side note, it is amazing to see the differences between the disk performance of the Athlon vrs. a P3 of the same clock speed.

As we saw in the Sandra benchmarks, the Kenwood drive is like a Jet Fuel Injected Funny Car when compared to a 48X drive. Once again, the Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM shows it lives up to its 10MB/sec. claimed performance. Also, the access times are a little more in line with what we expected from both drives, sub 100ms.

CD Speed 99

CD Speed does a nice job of reporting performance across the entire disc and gives you worst case, best and average performance numbers.

This is fantastic performance and the drive easily beats anything we have tested to date.  Also note the perfect DAE quality score.  The True X 72 should rip audio CD like a walk in the park and with perfect quality.


One final note, these numbers are nice to look at but the experience when using this drive for a large program install is nothing short of amazing. We install many instances of Microsoft Windows 98SE around here these days. Never in my life has an installation gone so quickly than when using this CD-ROM drive. It literally cut the load time easily in half, maybe even less. There is a very prominent speed gain you will notice when you fire this drive up for the first time. You'll be spoiled from that point forward.

     
 

The Spin Cycle

Simply put, this is one great CD-ROM drive. The Kenwood 72X TrueX lives up to it claims of "the fastest CD-ROM Drive on earth". It is also one of the quietest. It is absolutely flawless.

The Editor Choice Award is a "no-brainer" on this one folks!

We give the Kenwood 72X True X CD-ROM Drive a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter Rating of...

 

     

 Get the Kenwood 72X True X Drive at...

 



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