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PIONEER DVD-RW Model DVR-104 / A04






As with most IDE drives now installation is simple. We installed it as secondary master by changing the jumper on the back. The drive was detected in Windows XP without any problems.

Auto insert notification was enabled but we disabled it by changing the registry key "KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services/Cdrom/Autorun=0". DMA is normally successfully turned on by default if Windows XP can detect it. We experienced no difficulty or strange behaviour during installation.

Above you can see we examined the drive using the popular program Infotool version 1.01. It is reporting that the Read speed is: 24 x and write speed is 8 for CD-R disks. This is slower than the Philips 228k (32 read and 12 speed write). The buffer of this drive is 2,000KB.

You can see that it can not read DVD-RAM disks and it can also read the competition formats "+" disks i.e. DVD+R & DVD+RW. It wrongfully reports no buffer underrun protection for CDs which is inaccurate. This drive also does not support the packet writing standard "Mount Rainer" which is available in newer CD writers.

Installation was easy and it took around 10mins from disassembling the machine to having the software installed and the drive ready for use.

Our review drive is a May 2002 model that came shipped with firmware version 1.20 (which is currently the latest version available for this drive).

The software we used for this review was: DiskJuggler 4.01.1002, Nero, Record Now Max 4.1 & CloneCD

The above shows what Nero ( finds about the drive. Nero does correctly detect its burnproof feature and it is supported. You can see it supports the overburning of CDs and the writing of CD-Text information. The maximum writing speed of CD-Rs is 8 speed (around 10mins). What is strange is the DVD high compatibility option has not appeared (see the review of the Philips DVDRW228k) to aid compatibility with certain DVD players by padding the disk with dummy data (to a minimum of 1GB).

The above screen shots are from DiscJuggler 4.01.1002 and more information is now revealed. We can see that it reads DVD's at x 6 speed (slow by today's standards as 16 speed DVD-ROM readers have been out for well over 14months). It also reports ripping (CDs) at 10 speed.

The drive can only write to CD-RWs at 4 speed (which is much slower than the Philips 228k's 10 speed) and DVD-RWs at x1. The DVD "+" format wins by a huge margin in the re-writing stakes (at least on specifications). We were disappointed to learn that no DAO RAW mode was added since the A03. Also the drive can not read and write full 96 bytes sub-codes (only 16 bytes).

Page 2 - Last Updated: 10 August 2002



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