Ricoh MP7200A

Sep 2nd, 2001 | By

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Ricoh MP7200A

: 09/2/01 – 10:29:23 AM


: Optical Devices

Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer: Ricoh CD-R/RW
Price : around $150

Thanks to Ricoh for supplying us with their MP7200A unit!


It has been a while since 0verclockers Online had a CDReWriter on the testbench. Well, today, we like to have a closer look at one of the fastest writers at the moment and Ricoh's current flagship, the Ricoh MP7200A. This beast should be capable of writing CDR discs at 20x! And that's not all, the MP7200A should also write CDRW discs at 10x and read all CDs at 40x. If you consider the fact that this is an IDE writer and not a SCSI one, you might think you'll need a high end rig with a fast CPU, loads of memory and hard disk space to be able to write a full CD without errors at 20x. Well, nothing is less true! With features like JustLink and Justspeed, the Ricoh MP7200A can correct hickups caused by a system that's out of resources or low quality CDs. We'll discuss more about this matter later on in the review.

Ricoh what, Ricoh who? Well, I guess a little company history won't harm anyone, huh. The company, Ricoh Company Ltd., was founded February 6, 1936 by a guy named Kiyoshi Ichimura (Try to pronounce that when you're drunk!). After polishing my maths, I can tell you that this company already exists for over 65 years now. They have no less than 74000 employees in over 390 companies in all over the world. The headquarters is still in Tokyo, Japan. Ricoh doesn't only make CDReWriters but also copiers, (digital) cameras, printers, image scanners, software and other electronic equipment. I bet some of you didn't know that.

I also read on the web recently that Ricoh has stopped supplying products on the US market. The reason was that the company needed to improve its profitability. Of course, US customers can always buy Ricoh products through online stores, but I don't think many will do that. Actually I'm very curious why Ricoh products didn't sell that well in the US compared to other parts of the world … How well, life goes on and for once I'm glad that I don't live in the US because now I can present you the Ricoh MP7200A 20x10x40 CDReWriter.

Let's see some specs of this writer and find out if this drive is suitable to backup your prescious files …

Page 2 : Specifications



Internal type


Buffer memory

JustLink Function Supported
JustSpeed Function Supported

Data transfer rate (at I/F)
33MB/sec. (Max.) (Ultra DMA mode2)

Writing speed
Writing: 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x (CD-R)
Rewriting: 2x, 4x, 10x (CD-RW)

Reading speed
Reading: 40x (Max.)(CAV)

Recording capacity

Writing mode
Disc At Once, Session At Once, Track At Once, Multi-session, Packet Write

Writing format
CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, CD-I, Mixed-mode CD, VideoCD, PhotoCD, CD TEXT, Bootable CD

Average access time
100msec. (40x)

Loading method

Power requirements

Power consumption


Less than 1.2 kg(2.6lb)

Dimensions (W x D x H)
146.0 x 196.5 (including front panel) x 41.3 mm

Disc stocking capacity
1 (8 cm CDs can be used for read only)

Specs In Detail

The MP7200A is capable of writing CDRs at 20x, but behind that is a little catch or trick depending on what how you like to call it. To achieve this 20x burning power and to be able to burn CDRs at 3000Kb/sec (in theory), the MP7200A uses the so-called Zone-CLV technology. WTF? The name is quite difficult but the idea behind the technology is actually pretty easy.  The idea is that when you set your burning prog to 20x and you press the write button, the MP7200A will not immediately begin the burning process at 20x. Here's how it goes: The lead-in area will be burned at 12x, the first 100MB (inner circle of the disc) will be at 16x and the rest (outer circle of the disc) will be at 20x. That's how this writer achieves the magical 20x barrier. Of course Zone-CLV is only used for plain CDR burning, because the rewriting speed is 'limited' to 10x and doesn't require Zone-CLV technology.

The Ricoh MP7200A isn't 'only' a fast CDReWriter, but it's also a fast CDROM reader that can read a good quality CDROM at 40x. That's just as fast or only a tad slower than most other ordinary CDROM drives.

More important is the Justlink technology on this writer to prevent those annoying buffer-underruns. Don't know what this is? Well, a buffer-underrun occurs when your system (and the buffer) can't provide data to the writer fast enough, even when the writer has a 2MB buffer like this MP7200A. This causes the writer to stop the burnprocess and makes your CD useless (this is called a coaster). Justlink prevents this buffer-underruns from happening. Justlink shouldn't affect the reading quality in the slightest way because it leaves an extremely short link (the patch between the data when the writer stops to let the buffer fill up again) of 2 µm or under. Isn't that great?!

Justspeed is another cool feature this MP7200A is equiped with. Justspeed has been designed to determine the best possible burning speed for the CDR media you want to burn on. It will analyse the quality of an empty CDR and adjust the burnbeam, writing speed, etc.

The drive features an ATAPI IDE interface sporting UDMA mode2. This UDMA mode2 will not enable the MP7200A to write a CD even faster than on PIO mode or normal DMA mode, but it will use less CPU time and run much more solid.

The front of the MP7200A is pretty simple. No specialities like big giant logos or 20 different leds or buttons, it has only what's essential! The main part of the front is the tray in which you put the empty CDR(W)s to write or the CDROMs to read. There's only one led that lights up orange when the MP7200A is active. It doesn't matter if the drive is reading or writing, the color is always orange.

The backside isn't all that different from an average CDROM reader of writer. The MP7200A is, like most writers, equiped with a SPDIF connector for digital sound output.

Enough blabbering about the specs, lets take a look at what's inside the box.

Page 3 : In The Box

In The Box

It's always nice to know what you can expect to see when you open up the box of the brandnew hardware you just bought. Here's a little list of what you can expect in the Ricoh MP7200A retail package :

- MP7200A-DP CD-RW drive
- AHEAD InCD⢠1.9
- CDR disc (1 piece)
- High Speed CD-RW disc (1 piece)
- Quick Setup Manual
- Online Manual (User's Manual)
- Mounting screws
- Analog audio cable

Well, isn't that an impressive package?! If you already have a full version of the nero burning software and you really don't care about the 2 free empty CDs, I suggest you look out for the bulk version of this package and save some extra $$$. If you want it all, you won't be dissappointed at all, but you'll pay more. That's how it always is.

As you could see above, the retail version shippes with the nero burning rom software. In my opinion, this is the best overall burning software available today and I've been using this since I had my very first writer (the HP 7200i for those who wanted to know). The quick setup manual shows you in a few steps how you should install this drive in you rig. The user manual is included on a CD and isn't printed. For some, this might be a bad thing because when someone uses this MP7200A as their only CD drive, they might get in trouble when they want to read the manual before installing the drive. Ricoh also forgot to include an additional IDE cable which could be useful for peeps who have their hard drive and CDROM drive on the same cable and don't have a spare one.

Now, let's see how the MP7200A handles a burning job …

Page 4 : Installation & Testing

Installing & Testing

Of course, most of you know how a cdrom drive has to be installed in a case. But for the very few who don't know this, I will explain very briefly. Remove a free 5.25′ cover at the front of your case. Determine if you MP7200A drive should be set to master or slave and slide the drive into the 5.25′ bay. Connect the power, IDE & audio cable to the back of the drive and you're all set. The only thing you still need to do now, is install the Nero burning ROM software and you're ready to write some kickass CDs ;)

Our Test system :

- AOpen HQ45 case
- AMD Athlon 1.4GHz CPU
- Swiftech MC370-0A cooler
- Abit KT7A-RAID Mainboard
- 256MB OCZ Performance Max SDRAM
- Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 Kyro II videocard
- Western Digital 45GB UDMA100 7200rpm hard drive
- AOpen 48x
- Ricoh MP7200A CDReWriter
- Windows XP build 2600

Because we are not a CDWriter tech site, we won't give you, our readers, all the technical benchmarks and stuff like that. I will tell you about my experience with this drive.

First of all, I decided to write a normal 80 minutes (700MB) audio CD. This burning process took about 6 minutes with Nero burning ROM version Then, I decided to test the Justlink feature (buffer-underrun protection) on the MP7200A. I started the recording process of that same 80 minutes audio CD again while I prepared myself for a quick game of Max Payne. You could hear the Justlink do its job during that process. After about 10 minutes, I stopped gaming and I saw the burning process had finished. Because I burned an audio CD, I could listen to the tracks and I was surprised to hear that there were no errors and clicks in the audio. I guess the Justlink actually works! Same story with a CDRW at 10x and data CDs in general.

I also decided to test the overburning potential of this MP7200A. Overburning can be very useful when you have CD you wish to copy that have a little bit too much data on it to fit on an empty CDR. And guess what, the writer succesfully produced a CD of 720MB instead of the normal 700MB (succes rate depends on the type and brand of the media you are using). Way to go, Ricoh!

The drive also didn't have any troubles reading any of my CDROMs, so I can't complain about that either.

Page 5 : Conclusion



- One of the fastest CDRW drives available
- Great overall performance
- Justlink buffer-underrun protection
- Justspeed feature
- Great price/value ratio


- Not available in the US
- Not 100% 20x (Zone-CLV)
- Only has 1 led on the front panel
- 24x CDRW drives already available

To conclude this review I must say that Ricoh has done an excellent job on their MP7200A CDReWriter. I believe that if you look at overall performance of this drive, it has everything to be rules of the CDReWriter empire. Look at this : 20x CD recording, Justlink buffer-underrun protection, Justspeed … man, I think I'm in love. Also remember that the retail package comes with a lot of sweet goodies like 2 empty CDs (1 CDR and 1 CDRW) and the Ahead Nero Burning ROM 5.5 software in full version flavor. If you need a top performing CDReWriter and you live outside the US, you should definately consider this Ricoh MP7200A!

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