SAN FRANCISCO (03/06/2000) - Want your DVD and your CD-Rewritable, too? Until now, this meant buying two separate drives. But no more: Ricoh Co.'s $399 MediaMaster MP9060A gives you 6X/4X/24X CD-Rewritable technology and a 4X DVD-ROM player in the same drive. However, you'll pay for the space-saving combination--in both performance and price.
Installing this internal ATAPI drive in a Micron Celeron-400-based PC went quite smoothly. The bundled Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.01 and DirectCD 3.0 software installed easily, as well. But attempts to play a movie on the included Ravisent CineMaster DVD player software resulted in a Program lockup.
(Ricoh acknowledges that the software doesn't work well with all video cards, and it lists the 15 or so models that do pass its tests.) When we tried Cyberlink's PowerDVD 2.5 software (not included with the unit), the 9060A played movies flawlessly.
In other tests, the MP9060A wrote 430MB of data to CD-R in 9 minutes and 17 seConds. Read ratings using Testa Labs CD Tach 98 and DVD Tach 2.52 were 15.4X CD-ROM and 2.1X DVD-ROM, respectively. All these results are slightly below par. Writing 100MB to CD-RW took 3 minutes and 31 seConds--about on target for a 4X drive. More important, the 9060A had no trouble reading all the CD-R, CD audio, CD-RW, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM discs we threw at it.
Ricoh Provides a one-year warranty for the MP9060A, with toll-free telephone support 15 hours on weekdays and 9 hours on weekends. The multilingual documentation is sparse but adequate.
When you Consider that the MP9060A replaces two drives, its $399 price tag isn't exorbitant. But unless you're hard up for drive bays, you can save money--and get better performance--by purchasing separate CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives.
Dynamic duo: Ricoh's MediaMaster MP9060A is both a DVD-ROM and a CD-Rewritable drive, but it costs more than two separate units.
Ricoh MediaMaster MP9060A
Pro: Plays DVD, writes and reads all CD media in the same drive.
Con: Slightly slower, and more expensive, than buying separate CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives.
Value: Worthwhile if you don't have extra bays.
List price: $399
Product info no. 687.