Ricoh delivers winning combination

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,

do you?

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.


Ricoh MP9120A DVD/CD-RW combo drive

Score: A

Ricoh Co. Ltd.

(877) 742-6479

Price and availability: $279 list price.

Remarks: The MP9120A is an attractively priced combination CD/DVD drivethat also delivers CD authoring capabilities. The unit delivers impressiveperformance in each type of operation.

BY Patrick Marshall
November 15, 2000

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