Several reviews of recent drives at www.cdfreaks.com,www.cdrinfo.com and www.cdrlabs.com give results for CD-MRW (Mt. Rainier) tests with InCD. For testing writing speeds, typically two cases are distinguished: (A) while the format is in progress; and (B) to a formatted disc. (Also some reviewers write vaguely that the writing speed depends on how far the backgroud formatting has progressed.)
I find it difficult to interpret such results for the following reasons.
First, how does one know that background formatting has finished? Even if a system sits idle for a while, so that background formatting starts, do we have to wait for minutes, hours or days?
For example, on my XP Pro SP1 box with Lite-On LTR48125W VS08 and InCD 3.51.61, if a disc is not used after InCD formatting, then the burner sits idle (no red LED blinks) for several minutes (I never had the patience to measure it). I wonder if other burners behave similarly.
Second, it seems that for the newest drives, CD-MRW writing speeds are quite insensitive to this mysterious background formatting! I guess background formatting depends mostly on the burner’s hardware and firmware (rather than Windows and InCD); thus the latest drives seem to offer significant improvements in this area.
My LTR48125W apparently does writing and formatting on the fly, since the pattern of red blinks is essentially the same when writing to an old disc or a fresh one.
I would welcome comments, especially from reviewers/owners of the latest drives.