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Generic [MIRAI Retail kit] SANYO CRD-BP4-M 16/10/40 "burnproof" SCSI-3

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"Generic" Firmware

The computer industry has a surprisingly small number of manufacturers actually innovating & making cutting-edge products; with a large number of resellers branding these products as their own; then packaging them up for us to buy. Many resellers, alas, go large on logo-stickers but small on support.

This makes for a competitive market; but carries penalties, especially in relation to new devices containing "firmware" through which their feature-set is enabled bit-by-bit over time by flashing an EPROM.

There's little more frustrating than buying a [say]: "Turbo Krakatoa 1600GLX-CDRW" device - dramatically identified as such in Windows & the applications which use it - & finding the reseller who gave this whizzo ID-string to an OEM device is lazy or incompetent when it comes to providing similarly-rebadged firmware updates, &/or in encouraging the makers of applications to extend device-driver support to recognise their rebadged device. 

As a consequence, there are many webpages - like this - where owners of a relatively poorly supported rebadged device may find instructions on hacking the ID-string in the rebadged firmware, thus getting access to firmware being more actively supported & developed for a functionally identical model with a different ID-string.

While a public service, & a demonstration of ingenuity, this process is risky - any mistakes in device identification or the hack itself & you can lose your device for ever.

To avoid this, you've got two choices: either buy maker's-brand retail packages - Yamaha, Plextor, Sony & so on - or try to find an OEM device with no rebadging. Both ways you should have straightforward access to the latest firmware being developed by the folk who actually know what's going on - the manufacturer.

You are still at the mercy of the determination & competence of this manufacturer to enable the full range of features of their product through these firmware updates: Sanyo's latest [v 4.31] for the BP4 claims: "RAW DAO Read/Write enabled"

This mode is the ultimate & most desirable for a burner - it should allow any data to be read & written, most any disk to be backed-up. 

We therefore focused on this mode in our tests.

 

Kit as tested/Vendor:

What & Who? 

'BURN-proof' 10x HSRW [high-speed R/W] burners are the latest whizzo kit, & represent - according to the salesmen - a generation-change in speed & overall capabilities.

Sanyo invented, patented, & developed the technology & supply other manufacturers with the LSI silicon which make 'burnproof' possible - Sanyo also make OEM 'generic' burners, which get more-or-less branded by the usual suspects & packaged up for us to buy. 

At the time of writing, Sanyo's top-of-the range SCSI-model on sale through OEM's is the BP4 - there's a very similar BP1400 for those who use IDE/ATAPI devices: both are specified to write to CDR's at 1 > 16-speed; RW's at 1 > 10-speed; & to read CD-media at up to 40x.

Since Sanyo are where it's at; burningissues decided to test the latest, best value, & least-branded Sanyo-OEM model we could find: this turned out to be a BP4 package from a UK-based company called Mirai.

Mirai have the refreshingly user-oriented policy of providing a proper carriage-paid RTB service & of putting competent software in the box - rather than the usual offering - whether from large manufacturers or rebadgers - which leaves you to somehow extract service through a retailer & bundles a burner with pathetically useless Adaptec software.

Our BP4 came with the above return-to-base warranty card, a thin but clear manual, an OEM version of Nero v5.x & a bootable [Initio] Domex PCI ultra-SCSI-host together with a 2-device 50-way cable. 

This package is fine value [RRP inc. VAT in the UK] at 179 - around $280. 

Why?

Attractive though this all looks as a list of specifications & widgets, it's interesting to work out the logical market for such a package:  look at it this way . . . . 

 . . . . If you already use SCSI CD-devices, you're hardly likely to want or need another SCSI-card - even a good one. Equally, if you're making the upgrade from ATAPI devices to a stable burning-chain, it's hardly rational to use your [presumably] existing ATAPI CD-reader to trundle on-the-fly data over the PCI-bus to this very demanding [in data-stream terms] burner - unless, that is, you urgently want to see whether burnproof' works on a daily basis . . . . .

 . . . so, as an upgrade package for the user with an all-IDE system, Mirai's kit makes sense only if the BP4 is a wholly competent standalone do-it-all reader/burner; if, in short, it works to current standards as a data-reader/copier & audio-extractor - & sufficiently well in both these capacities to balance its demands as a top-of-the line burner.

If it can't do this; you'll either have to tolerate some mongrel SCSI/ATAPI CD-chain, or be effectively forced into buying a SCSI CD-reader both able & fast enough - conventionally twice-as-fast for on-the-fly tasks - to balance & feed the BP4's prodigious appetite for data at 16x.

Realistically, there's only one true 40x SCSI-reader: the Plextor 40TSi, so we thought it rational to compare the BP4's read-capabilities against this proven device. 

That's not to say we'd expect the BP4, despite its "40x CAV" read-speed claim, to be as good as Plextor's specialised reader - famously the out-'n-out dog's gonads for DAE - but we would expect it to have most of the capabilities & some of the speed.

"16/10/40" are big numbers; if they are, in fact: "16/10/4" the read/write balance of the device is out of sync.

 

 

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Copyright April 2001 Stephen Hoar for Burning Issues - all rights reserved

 

 

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