I recently decided to update my CD-ROM drive because I'd heard so many good things about the Kenwood True-X drives. And anyone who knows me also knows that I fall squarely into the "Power User" category. I will do nearly anything to get more speed out of my system, and the speed that this drive was supposed to have was one of the main draws for me to look further into this drive. So, I went to my local computer store and picked up the 72x model to replace my existing drive. This review was performed using a retail drive and not a special model sent out for review by a manufacturer. This is the same drive that you would get if you were to go to the store and buy one for yourself.
CD-ROM Modes 1 & 2
Photo CD (Single and Multi-Session)
Optical Beam Reader:
Kenwood 7-Beam Pickup
Sustained Data Transfer Rates:
6,750-10,800 KB/sec typical
Burst Data Transfer Rates:
16.7 MB/sec (PIO Mode 4 and DMA Mode 2)
33 MB/sec (Ultra DMA)
Average Random Access:
Less than 100ms typical
40 pin EIDE Header
CD-Audio Analog Out:
Master, Slave, CSEL, Jumper Settable
Kenwood makes the claim right on the retail box: "TRUE-Xä The fastest CD-ROM drives on earth." They also state on their website that they are "Equivalent to a 100x Max drive *if one existed*". Besides their claim of being the fastest, they are also noted as being some of the quietest drives that you can buy.
How is it possible to attain these goals? Kenwood uses Xen's True-Xä technology to read 7 tracks in parallel. This is accomplished with 7 separate beams instead of the traditional 1 beam that is used on most CD-ROM drives on the market today. It then processes the data through a custom ASIC. It is also considerably quieter than most drives because the rotational speeds at the spindle are only ranging from 2,700-5,100 RPM's. Most drives of 40x or higher speeds are spinning at 10,000+ RPM's. This makes for a much louder drive, as well as one that causes a lot of vibration.