Three months ago, we published a CD recorder review that compared three different CD recorders to each other: Mitsumi's low-cost 8x drive, a mid-range 12x model from AOpen and high-end 16x drive from Yamaha. Now that buffer underrun protection and large buffer memory have made CD-recording a safe affair, manufacturers continue to refine their drives to attain even higher speeds.
Currently, the fastest CD-R available on the market is the 24x Sanyo/Brainwave BP1500 drive. The reason we tested the Yamaha 20x model instead is that it was the first to make it to our lab. Many people wonder what these high write speeds could be good for, since a 16x drive requires only ~5 min 30 sec to write a complete CD (680 MB) - that is definitely fast enough, so hardly anybody should ever lose their patience.
Many of you might wonder whether or not these high write speeds are truly useful. A 16x drive, for example, also only requires ~5 min 30 sec to write a complete 680 MB CD. Well, Yamaha's latest drive is designed to write a full CD-R in less than five minutes, and we all like to speed things up. It also has buffer underrun protection, called SafeBurn, which consists of a write speed control system and 8 MB buffer. All of these features combined to make the Yamaha model approach the ideal for fast and fail-safe CD-Rs.