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Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X EIDE (White) review: Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X EIDE (White)

Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X EIDE (White)

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
4 min read
For a long time, CD recording evolved around speed, with each progressive CD burner model faster than the previous one. Yamaha's CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X CD-RW drive adds a new element to this tradition, however. It's the first recorder to burn CD-RW media at 24X, but the drive also supports an intriguing technology dubbed DiscT@2, which lets you "tattoo" images onto CD-R media. The Yamaha is comparatively more expensive than most high-end internal CD recorders, but it offers both novices and advanced users a totally new experience in CD recording.
Editors' note: This page has changed from our original version. Please see the corrections page. The $180 Yamaha comes in a generous package consisting of the recorder, a blank CD-R, an IDE cable, an audio cable, mounting screws, a hardware setup poster, an illustrated Quick Start Guide, and two software CDs. The first CD contains full versions of Nero Burning ROM, InCD packet-writing software, and Dantz Retrospect-Backup. The second CD tosses in bonus applications, including PhotoDeluxe 4.0, ActiveShare, Photoshop 5.0 Lite (Mac), and a customized version of MusicMatch Jukebox.

Nero Burning ROM.

Thanks to the detailed instructions in the Quick Start Guide, it's easy to get the burner up and running straight out of the box. The guide covers most topics--from setting up the hardware to using the software to troubleshooting--with intuitive, step-by-step guides.

A CD-R created using DiscT@2.
The CRW-F1 features some useful technologies to help improve your disc-writing experience. In addition to a colossal 8MB buffer memory, the drive uses Yamaha's SafeBurn technology to prevent buffer-underrun errors. It also supports Full CAV (Constant Angular Velocity), which reduces noise and vibration, for swift, silent burning. If you're using rewritable media, the drive supports a technology called Mount Rainier, which lets you back up data on CD-RWs as easily as on a floppy. Mount Rainier adds on-the-fly formatting to CD creation, significantly reducing the time it takes to format a disc.
By far, the Yamaha's most interesting feature is its DiscT@2 (or Disc Tattoo) Laser Labeling System, which lets you burn graphics and text, such as signatures, logos, or pictures, directly onto the unused portion of CD-Rs. For example, you could burn the words 2001 Holiday Season all the way around the edge of a CD-R containing family photos. You can use any CD-R media with DiscT@2, regardless of brand name or speed, but we found the text to be more visible on CD-Rs with a dark-blue dye. On the downside, the DiscT@2 software can be difficult to master, and the included manual provides little instruction.

DiscT@2 Laser Labeling System.

The CRW-F1 fared well in most of CNET Labs' speed tests. The drive extracted a 27-minute audio track from a CD to the hard drive in 49 seconds and burned a 43-minute audio CD in just 2 minutes and 8 seconds, a full 20 seconds faster than the CenDyne Lightning III 40X/12X/48X CD-RW. In read tests, the CRW-F1 installed Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition in 1 minute, 38 seconds. By comparison, it took the CenDyne 1 minute, 44 seconds. When it came to packet writing, however, the CRW-F1 failed to meet our expectations. With a claimed 24X packet-writing speed, it burned 400MB to CD-RW in 4 minutes, 46 seconds, only 30 seconds faster than the 12X CenDyne.
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)   
Packet-write from hard drive to CD-RW (400MB directory)   
VisionTek Xtasy CD-RW (40X/12X/48X)
Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X
CenDyne Lightning III 40X/12X/48X

Audio-extraction tests
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)

VisionTek Xtasy CD-RW (40X/12X/48X)
Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X
CenDyne Lightning III 40X/12X/48X

Read tests
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)

Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X
CenDyne Lightning III 40X/12X/48X
VisionTek Xtasy CD-RW (40X/12X/48X)
All write tests are run with both the drive's recommended media (submitted by the manufacturer) and with Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed.
The CRW-F1 comes with a decent support policy. Yamaha backs the drive with a standard one-year warranty, and free, toll-free phone support is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The company's Web site also offers a small number of FAQs and firmware downloads.

Yamaha online Help Center.


Yamaha CRW-F1 44X/24X/44X EIDE (White)

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 9Performance 8Support 7