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.
of the Kenwood
72X True X CD-ROM Drive
and the art of speed
Mode 1 and Mode 2
CD (Single- and Multi-Session)
to 10,800 KB/sec. (typical*)
Data Transfer Rate
MB/sec. (PIO Mode 4 and DMA Mode 2)
MB/sec. (Ultra DMA)
Time (1/3 Stroke)
than 100ms (typical)
7 Track Band
Slave, CSEL Jumper Settable
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.
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
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.
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.