benchmarks speak for themselves. The unit gave acceptable performance - although
the lack of accelerating performance hints to a problem with the unit that
was shipped to me. At $129 there is a lot of value packed in with this player,
especially when you consider that the PowerDVD software retails for $49
on its own. Although the CPU utilization seemed high during testing there
were no problems with movie playback or with slowdowns during periods where
I was reading large amounts of data. Perhaps that can be improved with a new
firmware, but since it isn't a real problem I don't think you should worry
too much about that - but I'm leaning to the fact that the unit was playing
in CLV mode and not CAV may have caused the high CPU usage.
EPO designed the unit
with a focus on overall performance and not just peak performance. While other
10x drives will benchmark higher they may also suffer from performance dips,
and during movie playback or CD-ripping that is not acceptable. The unit's
performance reading CD-ROM material was also very stable, and I think that
is quite good. Although it won't give you the peak performance of other drives,
the fact that it starts at close to 20X performance and hangs in at that speed
without dips in performance makes it a good candidate for your source drive
while ripping CDs. I think anyone who is in the market for a DVD-ROM unit
should give the EPO unit some serious consideration.
Oshiro 20 September, 2000
Update: I contacted EPO
prior to posting this review and explained to them the performance issues
I encountered with it. Overall, I was glad the unit did have reasonable minimum
performance, but it did not appear to be accelerating or gaining in performance
properly. This was EPO's response:
"[It could have] happened by either the quality of DVD disc is poor
OR the drive itself mechanically out of spec during poor shipping handling.
From both conditions, our firmware forces the drive into the CLV mode (instead
of CAV) in order to get stability and readability in priority."
I tested the unit with
several different discs and the results always repeated themselves so I'm
leaning to the mangled innards theory for this unit. Now that Q4 is upon us
(anyday now!) EPO has offered to allow me to test their soon to be released
12X DVD-ROM. Hopefully the gorillas at the parcel service won't hurt the next
unit as they did the original one so we can see the performance that the units
are actually capable of. Stay tuned readers as it appears we have found a
company who is very concerned with the quality of their units and the performance
that user's can expect from them.
Oshiro 25 September, 2000