• Price When Reviewed: £170 plus

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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The Yamaha LightSpeed CRW2200EZ was faster even than our current speed demon, TDK’s 16/10/40 VeloCD ReWriter. It also uses Yamaha’s SafeBurn buffer underrun compensation technology in conjunction with an 8MB buffer. The CRW2200EZ took just 4 minutes, 41 seconds to write our 650MB image file to CD-R – 35 seconds less than the TDK. It also excelled at writing CD-R on the fly, taking 4 minutes, 49 seconds to write 650MB of files. And even though the drive’s CD-RW speed is unchanged, this drive took only 1 minute, 16 seconds to write 100MB of data to CD-RW using packet-writing, shaving 7 seconds off the TDK’s record. Yamaha bundles an excellent assortment of software: Ahead Nero 5.5 for CD mastering, Ahead InCD for packet-writing, MusicMatch Jukebox 6.0, Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition, Adobe PageMill 3.0, and Adobe ActiveShare. Yamaha ships the drive with a detailed user manual, and provides a one-year warranty. The drive uses Partial CAV technology to burn a CD. With Partial CAV, the drive maintains a constant angular velocity (turns per second, or spin rate) while the drive writes the inner portion of the disc. Since the drive writes the innermost circles of data first, the writing speed increases as the drive writes bigger circles of data. Once the top writing speed is reached, the drive switches to CLV (constant linear velocity), which slows the spin rate with each larger circle of data to keep the writing speed constant. However, as the fastest drive, it is also the most expensive drive on our chart. And as has been the norm with CD-RW drives over the past few month faster drives are on the horizon. 24-speed drives will probably have already been launched by the time you read this. If not, and you do need this speed now and don’t mind paying the cost, this is an excellent drive to look at.