Ricoh delivers winning combination
- By Patrick Marshall
- Nov 14, 2000
Before installing Ricoh's new combination DVD/CD-RW drive, you'd better
swear off installing the WinDVD 2000 playback software. After all, you don't
really want to be tempted to watch movies when you're supposed to be working,
In truth, there are a number of reasons to opt for a combo CD/DVD drive — besides the ability to watch movies. There's a trend toward large applications
being delivered on the higher-capacity DVDs, but at the same time, users
don't want to give up backward compatibility with CD formats.
Ricoh's new MP9120A drive delivers CD and DVD playback capabilities
as well as some of the fastest CD authoring times we've seen. The unit reads
CDs at 32X, reads DVDs at 8X and writes CDs at 12X. The MP9120A's sprightly
authoring speed may not matter much to users who are only occasionally burning
CDs, but if you find yourself frequently burning several CDs, the shorter
wait times can make a welcome difference.
We weren't blown away by the software that's bundled with the MP9120A,
but it is certainly up to basic chores of CD authoring and DVD playback.
The software includes:
* Prassi Software USA Inc.'s PrimoCD Plus authoring package. This offers
straightforward controls over creating data and audio CDs, although it doesn't
make it as easy as it could for the user to specify files for inclusion
on the disc, nor does it allow you to save file sets for subsequent printings.
* Prassi's abCD. This enables users of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95
and Windows 98 to directly save files to CD from Windows Explorer just as
if the disc were a hard drive.
* InterVideo Inc's WinDVD 2000. This package does a good job of buffering
movie playback. The only times we found any choppiness in playback were
when we first started the movie and when we resumed playback after pausing.
Controls are generally intuitive, though it took quite a while to find a
way to bring the display back out of full-screen mode. And WinDVD 2000 offers
good controls for display scaling and adjustments of brightness and color.
With a list price of $279, the MP9120A understandably carries a higher
price than you'd expect on a noncombo CD or DVD drive. But the convenience
of having both capabilities without skimping on performance is well worth
the price. If you need a combo CD/DVD drive, with CD authoring capabilities,
the Ricoh MP9120A is a very attractive buy.