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Conclusions

The 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.

Victor 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.

Victor Oshiro 25 September, 2000

 





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