Specifications

Yamaha CRW4416S Specifications

Software Compatibility Windows 95/98/NT 4.x; Macintosh System 7 or higher (MAC software not included)
Included Software (PC) Easy-CD Creator, DirectCD, Adobe Photo Deluxe BE, Adobe Page Mill 3.0
Type: Internal
Read/Write/Re-Write Speed Read 16x/ Write 4x/ Re-Write 4x
Interface SCSI-2
Buffer Size 2MB
Capacity 1.2m/sec: 666MB, 1.4m/sec: 540MB
Access Speed 160ms
Package includes Mounting hardware, audio cable, quick start guide, blank CD-R and CD-RW discs, SCSI ribbon connector cable, software
Recording Modes Session at once, packet writing, disc-at once, track-at-once, multisession
Formats Supported CD-ROM, CD-ROMXA (both PhotoCD and Video CD), CD-I, CD-Digital, Audio, CD-Extra and Video CD (requires a sound card and sufficient available hard drive space).

Looking at the Specs

What does all those names and numbers mean? For starters, the CRW4416S is available in both an internal and an external flavor (4416SXZ), the drive itself is the same in both versions, however the model tested by AnandTech was the internal 4416S drive.

The drive is specified as a 4/4/16 drive, meaning it can write or "burn" CD-R (write-once) discs at 4 times the normal speed (4X), as well as burn CD-RW (re-writable) at 4X, and as a reader it can read discs at 16X. In terms of the length of time it would take to burn a full disc, regardless of whether or not the disc is populated with data or audio, the following table represents the amount of time it takes to burn a disc at the available speeds:

Disc Creation Times

Disc Size Record Speed (x Normal) Record Time (Minutes)
650MB - 74 mins (audio) 1X 74
650MB - 74 mins (audio) 2X 37
650MB - 74 mins (audio) 4X 18.5
650MB - 74 mins (audio) 6X 12.34
650MB - 74 mins (audio) 8X < 10

As you can see, if you're going to be burning a full 74 minute audio CD, or a full 650MB data CD, the time to record on a 4X burner such as the Yamaha is approximately 18.5 minutes, a good balance between the annoyingly slow 2X burn time and the extremely fast, and expensive, 8X burn time. Why would you want to go for a 4X burner instead of a faster 6X or 8X drive? The speed at which you burn a disc doesn't depend entirely upon the drive itself, but also the media being used, as many cheaper discs won't allow for reliable copies to be made at speeds greater than 2X or 4X, with 6X or 8X writing being out of the question. Just recently have blank CD-R discs become available in 6X rated versions, with the majority of them concentrated at the 4X burner market, making 8X drives the alternative for those with much (much) deeper pockets as both 8X certified media and 8X burners are quite expensive.

The 4416S is the Internal SCSI version of Yamaha's 4/4/16 burner line, the interface is critical in the performance of the drive itself. While the time burning a full disc won't vary from an EIDE to a SCSI drive, the amount of processing power utilized by a SCSI drive is much lower than that of an EIDE drive, making the ability to multitask while burning a CD with a SCSI drive much more feasible in comparison to an EIDE drive. Since the CPU utilization of the drive itself is offloaded onto your SCSI controller rather than your on-board EIDE controller, you can perform a number of other tasks while burning a CD, such as playing a game of Quake 2 or even something as simple as surfing the net, a task that isn't even possible when burning on an EIDE drive.

Also featured on the 4416S is a 2MB buffer that aids in the maintenance of a consistent 4X burn throughout the entire writing process. As described in AnandTech's review of the EIDE HiVal 2x24x2 CDR/W drive, the function of a larger buffer is critical to stable operation:

In order to help ensure streaming uninterrupted data, CD-RWs make use of "on-drive" memory as a buffer. The system hard drive (or any other input source) sends the information to the CD-RWs buffer. In turn, the CD-RW then reads the data from the buffer (since the buffer is RAM, it is very very fast) and burns the data into the CD. The size of the buffer is very important to help maintain consistency and allow the user to run other programs while burning a CD.

Why is the size so important? Well, let's say you want to burn a CD and play Quake2 at the same time (not recommended) While Quake2 is loading, the CD-RW software will be accessing the HD for data to burn. If the drive is too slow to the supply the CD-RW drive (actually the buffer) with data fast enough before the data in the buffer drains out, there will be a Buffer Underrun error and recording will be stopped. (Since the laser head cant move backwards to go fix gaps) For this reason, a large buffer is very helpful, since it takes longer to "drain out".

The 4416S features two particular recording modes which are quite critical to the creation of audio CD's in their entirety, these two recording modes are disc-at-once and track-at-once.   Disc-at-once allows the user to burn an audio CD without having the burner shut off the laser between tracks as to avoid the normally inserted 2 second delay between tracks, a delay which cuts 2 seconds off the end of every track.  Track-at-once provides the same feature, except on a track by track basis.

Index Installation