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Appeared on: Thursday, August 05, 2004
LiteON SOHD-167T


1. Introduction - Specifications

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 1

The SOHD-167T is the latest internal half-height DVD-ROM from LiteON. The drive supports 16X DVD-ROM and 48X CD-ROM reading speeds, exactly the same as the previous models, the XJ-HD163 and the XJ-HD165H. We will compare the three drives in an attempt to find out if the newer model has any improvements over its predecessors, and in general see how it performs under our usual suite of tests.

- Specifications

LiteOn

SOHD-167T

Interface

ATAPI - E/IDE

Read Speed

DVD-ROM: 16X Max (21,350KB/sec)
CD-ROM: 48X Max (7,200KB/sec)

Access Time

DVD: 105ms ( typical )
CD: 95ms ( typical )

Supported Disc Format

Multi-Read
UDF, all DVD single/dual layer
( PTP, OTP ), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW,
CD, CD-R, CD-RW
ISO-9660, all CD-ROM formats both 8cm & 12cm discs

Buffer Size
512KB
Supported Disc Diameter
8cm/12cm
Mount Position
Horizontal/Vertical

Dimensions (W x H x D)

145.8 x 41.3 x 170.0mm

Weight

0.8Kg

The drive uses a 512KB buffer memory and below we can see the supported reading formats. Note that reading DVD-RAM is not supported, but the drive can read DVD+R DL.

DVDInfoPro gives us some additional details about the drive's capabilities as well:

The drive's model name, SOHD-167T, is coded according to the SONY Alliance Models ODD Naming Rule:

The drive also uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times, which however can easily be bypassed with various utilities.

Lastly, let's see what additional information KProbe software returns for LiteON based drives:

- The package

The retail box includes the internal drive, one audio cable for the internal connection to the sound card, mounting screws, quick installation guide and one CD with PowerDVD 5 Software, Manual and DOS driver.

On the front, there is the DVD-ROM and the compact disc logos located on the tray. The phone jack, sound level control and the activity led are located on the left side and below the disc tray. On the right side there is the eject button.

On the rear panel you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input.

The drive is a half-height internal device, much shorter than the usual CD/DVD recorder, making mounting in small form-factor PC cases an easy task. Below you can see a picture of the drive with noticeably smaller dimensions compared with the older 163 drive.

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. You can click on the mainboard picture for a higher resolution image:

Click for bigger image

Inside the LiteOn SOHD -167T, there is the MT1358E from MediaTek Inc. The board as well as the servo control unit come from SONY.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and WindowsXP recognized it as "LITE-ON DVD SOHD-167T". The drive arrived with firmware v9S13. LiteON released a newer firmware, v9S14 and by the time all tests were finished, v9S15 had been released. It's not exactly known what the newer firmware fixed.

Codeguys offers two un-official firmware releases at 9S14 and 9S15, which allow reading of ±R/RW discs up to 16X and +R DL up to 10X!

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.00
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.21
  5. KProbe v2.2.2

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

LiteOn has improved the seek times with pressed & CDR media while maintaining good transfer rates with all media we used with the latest SOHD-167T drive.

- DVD Format

No big differences from the previous drives, except the seek times are marginally better.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards the outer range, for each layer.

Click To Enlarge!

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks progressing towards the inner part of the disc. The average reading speed is 6X.

With DVD+R/RW & DVD-R/RW media, the 167T behaved the same as the other drives.

All LiteON drives can read CSS DVD-Video discs very fast. The best performance came from the LiteOn 167T at 8715Kb/sec. Notice that with a patched firmware, you can increase the ripping speed :-)

- DVD RAM

Amongst the three LiteON drives, only the LTD-165H can read DVD-RAM media at the low speed of 2~3X CAV.

Click To Enlarge!

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs:


3. CD Error Correction Tests

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defective discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

LiteOn SOHD167T
Errors total
Num: 16324527
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 120120
Avg: -45.0 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 34042
Avg: 1.5 Samples
Max: 3401 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
73.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
52.9 % (out of 100.0% maximum)

The 167T drive performed satisfactorily with the ABEX TCD-721R test disc. The drive had a high Loudness Error level at -7.2 dB(A) and the total error count was also on the high side but there were no skipped samples. The total score of 73.6 points however is good. The only downside was the C2 accuracy score which reached only 52.9%, a very poor performance there.

Below are the test results for the other two LiteON drives:

Score

- ABEX TCD-726

LiteOn SOHD167T
Errors total
Num: 71
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 11
Avg: -77.0 dB(A)
Max: -66.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num:0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
93.3 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100 % (out of 100.0% maximum)

With the ABEX TCD-726 test disc, the drive received 93.3 points for the total test result score and 100 % for C2 accurancy. The LiteOn drive managed a high error correction with the ABEX TCD-726 test media which is an easy test disc for the majority of drives.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
LiteOn SOHD167T
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5

The drive passed all the Check Levels of the Check Disc test. The performance was excellent offering good sound reproduction and error correction. The fifth level includes an error size of 1.500mm. Very few drives manage to play all tracks perfectly.

- Conclusion

LiteON SOHW-167T offers a good CD error correction. The drive will not perform well with highly scratched media, such as the Abex TCD-721R since it logged many errors and hence had a reduced C2% accuracy score...


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the 167T drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media come from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media
ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The LiteOn SOHW-167T read the disc at 16X CAV and the scratched area did not affect the process. The disc was read accurately and no read errors were reported.

Below are the corresponding graphs for the LTD-163/165H:

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

As before, the disc was read without any "read errors" and the test was finished successfully. There was a short duration reading speed drop just before the third step which didn't affect the process however.

Below are the graphs for the LTD-163/165H:

- Dual Layer media
ABEX TDR-841

This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.

The drive read both layers without any major problems, as the above graph shows. Below are the same graphs for the LTD-163/165H:

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints.

The dimensions of the defects range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

The drive passed the fingerprint defects without any reading speed drop and finished the test without problems. Below are the graphs for the LTD-163/165H:

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Click for full graph

The reading process started at 3.37X and reached 8.06X at the 4.0GB point, where the drive changed layer and reduced its reading speed till the end. The drive finished the reading process normally, without errors or problems.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB.

The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

Click for full graph

Black dots and fingerprints on the disc's surface did not create any reading problems, and the drive finished the task successfully.


5. Protected Disc Tests

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.

Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
4:42 min
320 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter
SafeDisc v.2.50.051
02:05 hours
46 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
4:47 min
1197 sectors/sec

The LiteOn 167T drive was in the main slower than the other two drives, but with Safedisc v2 its speed was simply unacceptable.


6. DAE Tests

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD

The LiteOn SOHW-167T supports up to 48X CAV DAE speed. When using a pressed AudioCD and its CD-R copy, with EAC, we logged the following results:

The LiteOn 167T was faster overall with both formats. As EAC reports, the drive caches DAE, supports accurate stream and can report C2 error information.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The LiteOn SOHW-167T received a score of 100 in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. CDSpeed showed that the average reading speed was 34,84X, and the drive supports reading of SubChannel data, Leadin data and CD Text. Leadout isn't supported.

- Reading 90/ 99mins AudioCDs

Click for full graph

Click for full graph


7. Protected AudioCDs

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process performed for all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easy to bypass with the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session, causing problems for readers when they try to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The LiteON SOHW-167T recognized up to the 13th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, it recognized the 13th Data track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
LiteOn SOHD-167T
CD is unreadable under Windows OS
CD works with Windows Media Player, ripping process completed with EAC which reports timing problems. Read&Test CRC comparison was unsuccessful for most of the tracks

The LiteOn SOHW-167T will rip CDS200 protected audio discs at the maximum speed. The Key2Audio protected disc wasn't recognized under Windows OS. However, the drive may not rip 100% accurately CD200 protected discs since EAC reported timing problems and at the same time, the Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same for matching tracks.


8. 167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 1

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 8

167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 1

To check exactly what the LiteOn SOHD-167T, 165H & 163 report and differences the new chipset inside the new LiteOn drive produces compared with the older drives, we used various media, burned in other recorders. The three media burnt, have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

Since all LiteON drives report only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements for the various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested SOHD-167T drive. Using other 167T drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

All LiteON drives report increased error rates at the outer surface of the disc. The LTD165H is the only drive that reaches the CATS error rates.

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

At 6X speed, the 167T and 163 drives reported lower error rates, while the 165H was exactly the same as at 8X.

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

At 4X, again only the 165H drive reports PI errors similar to CATS, while the 167T and 163 indicate much lower error rates, but they do show problems on the outer area of the disc.


9. 167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 2

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 9

167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 2

To check exactly what the LiteOn SOHD-167T, 165H & 163 report and differences the new chipset inside the new LiteOn drive produces compared with the older drives, we used various media, burned in other recorders. The three media burnt, have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

Since all LiteON drives report only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements for the various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested SOHD-167T drive. Using other 167T drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

With this disc, we see very strange performance from the 163/165H drives, while performance is good with the 167T.

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

As the test results showed, the 167T was the only drive that followed accurately the error level reported by CATS at almost all reading speeds.


10. 167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 3

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 10

167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 3

To check exactly what the LiteOn SOHD-167T, 165H & 163 report and differences the new chipset inside the new LiteOn drive produces compared with the older drives, we used various media, burned in other recorders. The three media burnt, have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

Since all LiteON drives report only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements for the various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested SOHD-167T drive. Using other 167T drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The 8X reading speed showed that the 167T reports high error levels, even when the disc has low PI errors. Both the 163 and 165H drives had almost the same PI error trend line but with totally different values.

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

The 8X reading speed showed that the 167T reports high error level even when the disc has low PI errors. Both the 163 and 165H had similar PI error trend lines but with totally different values.


11. 167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 4

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 11

167T&165H&163 vs. SA300 - Page 4

For checking exactly what the SOHD-167T reports, we used different media, burned by other recorders. The three media have been measured using the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X. Since all LiteON drives report only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements at 8X reading speed (max).

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested SOHD-167T drive. Using other 167T drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#4th Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - MAX Reading speed

All LiteON drives reported high PI error rates, especially at the Layer change point. Lower error rates were reported by the 163 and the highest by the 165H.


12. Conclusion

LiteOn SOHD-167T - Page 12

Conclusion

The LiteOn SOHD-167T DVD-ROM reader offers 16X DVD-ROM maximum read speed and 48X max. read speed for CD-ROMs. With the CD reading tests, the drive showed good performance with good seek times and very fast DVD video ripping speed. It didn't have problems reading DVD-R/RW & DVD+R/RW media and with an un-official firmware, can read up to 16X.

The CD error correction results were good, but with test discs having large scratches, the drive did not produce good results exhibiting high error rates. In the DVD error correction tests, it managed to playback all of our test discs without reporting any read errors or problems.

The drive offers fast ripping times only with PSX, whereas with the SecuROM and especially with SafeDisc v2, it reported slow ripping times.

According to the DAE tests, the drive returned good performance only with the CDS200 protection scheme but with some timing problems and unsuccessful read&test CRC comparisons for most of the tracks. With the Key2Audio protection scheme, the CD was unreadable under Windows XP OS. The drive managed to play 90 & 99 minute AudioCDs. The LiteOn 167T is fast with the CDR audio test disc, resulting in high quality performance for audio extraction.

The LiteOn SOHD-167T when compared with the AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system reports similar PI errors with some media and totally different with other. This is more or less the same behaviour as with the previous models, the LTD-163 and LTD-165H.

The LiteOn SOHD-167T costs about $30, which is an affordable price for almost any end user.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed



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