The Teac CD-W552E 52x24x52 CD-RW Drive
Pushing the CD-R Limits

By, Jeff Bouton
August 7th, 2003

It's hard to believe how far technology has advanced over the last decade.  I can remember getting my first CD-ROM drive that came with a Sound Blaster audio card.  That was the ultimate addition to my Wang 386/16MHz computer system.  No longer was I going to need to install Microsoft Office using the 11 floppy disks it came on!  Soon after that came out, a newer, faster CD-ROM drive was released that was 2X the speed...Wow!  Today, we've got CD-ROM drives that can read at 72X speeds and can write files at up to 56X!  Let's not forget these new things called DVDs!  When you take the time to reflect back, it's amazing how technology has evolved, leaving us wondering how we ever got through those dark ages.

While DVD burners have finally reached the masses and are growing in popularity, they still carry a price tag that will keep some buyers from taking the plunge.  There are others who simply do not need the 4.7GBs of space that these disks offer.  The nice part is that with the introduction of DVD-RW drives, prices of CD-RW drives have begun to plummet.  A good 40X burner from a leader like Plextor used to cost $140 or more and now a 48X can be found for $75.  Something else that has changed is the quality of drives available.  Originally there were a select few companies who made premium quality drives.  Now the quality levels have balanced out with most major manufacturers developing high quality drives for a good price.  Today, we will be taking a look at the latest CD-RW from the folks at TEAC that boasts 52X read/write speeds for less that $45!

Specifications of the Teac CD-W552E
A Lot for the Money!
Model:  CD-W552E
Interface: IDE/ATAPI
Data Transfer Rate: Write: 52X Max. (7.8MBps)
Rewrite: 24X Max. (3.6MBps)
Read: 52X Max. (7.8MBps)
Video Playback (VCD): 32X Maximum
Average Access Time: 100msec (Random Access)
Audio Extraction: 52X Max. (6MBps)
Data Buffer Size: 2MB
Buffer Management: Buffer Underrun Prevention
Write Methods: Track at Once; Disc at Once; Session at Once; Incremental
Disc Types: Audio CD; CD-ROM Mode-1;CD-ROM XA Mode-2 (Form1, Form2);
Super Video CD; CD Extra/CD Plus;CD-TEXT; CD-I; Photo CD (Single
and Multisession); CD-R; CD-RW(MultiRead)
Disc Size: 12cm and 8cm
Write Verification: Running Optimum Power Control to Dynamically Adjust Laser Write Power
Logical Recording Format: IS0 9660 & UDF Packet Writing
Drag and Drop Recording: Easy Write (Mount Rainier) Supported
Bezel Color: Choice of White (Light Gray) and Black
Mounting Orientation: Horizontal and Vertical Mounting
Disc Loading: Motorized Loading Tray
Front Panel: Headphone Jack, Volume Control, Eject Button and LED Indicator
Power Requirement: +12V DC and +5V DC
Headphone Jack: 3.5mm Diameter Stereo Jack
Safety Standards: UL, CUL, TUV, CE, FDA
MTBF: 100,000 POH
Dimensions: 5.87(W) x 1.63(H) x 7.78(D)
Weight: 2.2 lbs

The Bundle

Included with the Teac CD-W552E full retail package, we found the following:

  • 1 - 40-Pin 40-Wire Ribbon Cable
  • 1 - Audio Cable
  • 1 - 52X Generic CD-R
  • 1 - 4X-10X Speed Teac CD-RW
  • 4 - Mounting Screws
  • 1 - User's Manual
  • 1 - Avery AfterBurner Labeling System
  • 1 -Software CD including: 
    -Roxio Easy CD Creator 5 Basic Edition
    -ArcSoft Photo Impressions 4.0
    -MusicMatch Jukebox Version 7

A fair collection of hardware and software came with the Teac CD-W552E.  Teac included the necessary cabling to connect the drive to the system and 4 screws to mount it.  A generic 52X CD-R and 4X-10X CD-RW was also provided.  The User's Guide was clear and detailed, which should help novices get up and running swiftly.  Several Avery CD labels were included as a sample of the Avery labeling system called Afterburner.  Roxio Easy CD Creator 5 Basic, ArcSoft Photo Impression 4 and MusicMatch Jukebox 7 provide burning, photo editing, MP3 ripping and cataloging functions.  The only downside was the versions of the software are a bit dated, albeit functional.

The Drive

The Teac CD-W552E itself looks much like any other drive on the market.  The drive sports separate read and write LEDs, a headphone jack, a volume dial (does anyone really use those?), an eject button and an emergency eject hole.  The bezel is a generic beige with this model, although a black version is also available.

  

The rear of the drive held no surprises, providing all the common connections one would expect to find on a CD-RW drive.  There are connections for both Digital and Analog audio outputs as well as IDE and power connections.  The drive can be configured for Master, Slave and Cable Select through use of a jumper.

On the surface the Teac CD-W552E held no surprises for us.  Next we'll take a closer look at the drive's performance and see what Teac has in store for us there.

Performance Testing