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Yamaha CRW2200EZ 20x/10x/40x EIDE review:

Yamaha CRW2200EZ 20x/10x/40x EIDE

  • 1
MSRP: $279.99
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The Good Top-notch performance; huge software bundle; good documentation.

The Bad Different applications that duplicate basic tasks can be confusing.

The Bottom Line With a big software bundle and speedy performance, this is the perfect drive for anyone new to the CD-R/RW world.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

9.0 Overall

To make the most of a CD-R/RW setup, you need more than the drive. You also need a ton of software--audio-editing applications, file-management systems, CD-label and jacket-design programs--that can cost a bundle if it doesn't come with your drive. The Yamaha CRW2200EZ puts your entire CD-R/RW wish list into one box, along with a tiny $229 price tag--not to mention the fastest rewritable performance we've seen to date. To make the most of a CD-R/RW setup, you need more than the drive. You also need a ton of software--audio-editing applications, file-management systems, CD-label and jacket-design programs--that can cost a bundle if it doesn't come with your drive. The Yamaha CRW2200EZ puts your entire CD-R/RW wish list into one box, along with a tiny $229 price tag--not to mention the fastest rewritable performance we've seen to date.

Big bundle; medium price
There are a few cheaper CD-R/RW drives that offer competitive performance, including the QPS Que 24X/10X/40X, a $179 drive with blistering performance. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a drive this fast that offers so many extras for the price. Until November 11, 2001, a $30 mail-in rebate is also available, which brings the price of the Yamaha CRW2200EZ down to a very svelte $199.

The list of bundled software reads like a multimedia fan's dream, starting with the powerful Ahead Nero 5.5 for CD mastering. While it's not as easy to use as the oft-bundled Roxio Easy CD Creator, Ahead Nero 5.5's extensive list of features allows you to edit audio, run performance benchmarks, and filter sound for karaoke. The software also features disk imaging, drive-letter rewriting (also known as packet-writing), and support for all the expected CD formats.

But the bundle includes a lot more than just burning software. PhotoDeluxe 4.0 and Adobe Photoshop LE 5.0 are included for sophisticated photo finessing. Neato MediaFace 2.1 and a pack of CD and jewel-case labels provide all the tools for creating professional-looking CDs and jackets. And MusicMatch Jukebox 6.0 takes care of all the MP3-ripping responsibilities. All the necessary cables and screws also come with the drive.

The only potential problem: There may be too much of a good thing. Taken all together, the software package is a little confusing. For example, it's possible to design CD jackets using four different applications, and there are also two different programs for ripping MP3s. For beginners, the choices could become overwhelming.

Packet up
Along with all the powerful software, the CRW2200EZ can add pleasing performance to its list of virtues. The 20X/10X/40X drive fared well in all of CNET Labs' tests. It was close to the head of the pack in straight CD-R and audio-burn tests, trailing only a few seconds behind performance leaders, including QPS's Que 24X/10X/40X and TDK's VeloCD ReWriter 24X/10X/40X. And the Yamaha won the blue ribbon in our packet-writing test, edging out the TDK for the top spot. Its straight-reading and audio-extraction performance were also consistently good. Luckily, high performance doesn't come at the price of stability; the drive's SafeBurn buffer-management system and large 8MB buffer memory prevent wasted CDs due to buffer underrun.

The Yamaha CRW2200EZ's documentation is particularly substantial. A quick-start poster clearly outlines the hardware installation. And an included print manual does a good job of covering both the hardware and the included Nero software--a nice touch, since most hardware manufacturers don't bother including documentation for bundled software. The drive's brief (but common) one-year warranty includes toll-free tech support, available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

Best of breed
If you already have all the software tools you need, you'd be better off saving some cash and going with the QPS Que 24X/10X/40X. But if you're new to the CD-R/RW game or simply want a complete overhaul of your removable-storage situation, this drive is a perfect one-stop shop. Its performance is well above average, and its software bundle is among the best--especially for the price.

Write tests
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Audio burn to CD-R from image on hard drive (from 43 min., 11 sec. audio CD)   
Single-session data burn to CD-R (500MB directory)   
Packet-write from hard drive to CD-RW (400MB directory)   
QPS Que (24X/10X/40X)
2.8 
3.9 
6.0 
Yamaha CRW2200EZ (20X/10X/40X)
3.4 
4.0 
5.6 
Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A
3.6 
3.6 
6.8 
Acer CRW 2010A (20X/10X/40X)
5.3 
5.1 
7.1 
 
Audio extraction tests
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)

QPS Que (24X/10X/40X)
0.9 
Yamaha CRW2200EZ (20X/10X/40X)
1.0 
Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A
1.2 
Acer CRW 2010A (20X/10X/40X)
1.6 
 
Read tests
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)

QPS Que (24X/10X/40X)
3.2 
Yamaha CRW2200EZ (20X/10X/40X)
3.2 
Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A
3.2 
Acer CRW 2010A (20X/10X/40X)
3.5 
 
Even though it writes to CD-R at only 20X, the Yamaha CRW2200EZ keeps up with the 24X Plextor and QPS drives. The Yamaha is also the fastest packet writer to date.

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