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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Thursday, August 12, 2004
Pioneer DVR-108


1. Retail Package - Installation

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 1

has been leading the DVD recording race, especially when we consider that almost all of the previous models supported the fastest DVD-R writing speeds. The A07 was the only recorder that supported 8X±R recording speeds and the A08 continues the tradition by supporting 16±R writing speeds along with 4X DL writing, making it, the fastest DVD recorder announced yet.

Having already tested the ASUS DRW-1604P and waiting for a new batch of 16X recorders to popup, we compared both drives in our usual suite of benchmarks, checking the reading and recording performance with all formats and speeds. Let's start :-)

- Official press release

According to the posted press release on 13/7/2004: "...Pioneer launches its new multiple format DVD writer. The DVR-A08XL is the industry's first DVD writer to support 16x write speeds on both DVD-R/+R along with the option to write at 4x speed on Double Layer media. This extends Pioneer's track record of establishing key performance benchmarks when introducing new DVD writers.

With the facility to write 4.7GB of data to write-once media in seven minutes, or store up to 8.5GB on Double Layer media, the DVR-A08XL enhances a wide range of DVD applications including the authoring, editing and storing of video files, developing digital music catalogues, building image libraries and backing up data.

"Writing speed and data capacity are the key performance factors for DVD writers and understandably manufacturers have focused on these issues in the build up to the launch of next generation writers. Indeed, with its 16x write-speed complemented by the flexibility to store up to 8.5GB - equivalent to four hours of Standard Play (SP) video quality - the DVR-A08XL leads the pack. At the same time, customers are also concerned about the overall technical capabilities and the design of DVD drives and with a range of color options and advanced technology improving the form and functionality of the product, we are confident that the DVR-A08XL will become the premier DVD writer for professionals and consumers alike," observes Chris Tampsett, Senior Manager, Pioneer Europe NV, Multimedia Division.

Enhanced technology and features

The DVR-A08XL is available in beige and black colors to complement the contemporary design of new PCs and offers a wide range of technologies to produce a fast yet quiet DVD writer. Improved writing speeds can generate higher noise levels due to the increased velocity of disc rotation and consumer research indicates that the background ambient noise of DVD drives is becoming more noticeable. The DVR-A08XL incorporates Pioneer's QuietDrive technology that was first introduced in the DVR-A07XL. QuietDrive features a honeycomb design in the unit's top outer casing that reduces vibration from the drive mechanism. Together with noise dampening firmware and a lack of integral fan, ambient noise from the DVR-A08XL is significantly reduced.

The DVR-A08XL also features a range of innovations, "Precision Recording Technology", that improve DVD writing performance. Precision Recording Technology includes:

The drive will be available in September for under €200 through Pioneer resellers and retailers. An OEM version of the drive - the DVR-108 - will also be available through PC manufacturers. (The DVR-108 does not include the honeycomb chassis or the front bezel design of the DVR-A08XL, as it is an internal drive intended for OEM manufacturers to install in their PC's.)..."

- Features

The Pioneer DVR-108 supports 16X DVD±R, 4X DVD±RW and 4X DVD+R DL writing according to the official specifications. As a CD recorder it supports 32X CD-R and 24X US-RW writing along with 40X CD-ROM reading. Below are the full specs for the drive:

Drive
Pioneer DVR-108
Media
DVD
CD
Transfer Rate Read
16X CAV SL DVD-ROM
12X CAV DL DVD-ROM
40X CD-ROM CAV
12X CAV DVD±R
8X CAV DVD±RW
32X CD-RW CAV
2X CLV DVD-RAM
8X CAV DVD+R9
Transfer Rate Write
16X DVD±R Z-CLV
32X CD-R Z-CLV
4X DVD±RW CLV
24X CD-RW Z-CLV
4 DVD+R9 CLV
Access Time
145ms
125ms
Mechanism
motorized Tray load mechanism for horizonal and vertical use
Interface
ATA/ATAPI-5
Burst Transfer Rate
PIO Mode 4, Multi Word DMA Mode 2, Ultra DMA Mode 4 (Ultra DMA 66
Cashe Memory
2MB
Supported Media formats
DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Audio, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-IReady, CD-Bridge, Photo-CD, VideoCD, Hybrid CD
Audio
headphone jack and volume control at front plus digital-out and line-out at the back (MPC compatible)
Writing methods
DAO(disc at once), SAO(session at once), TAO(track at once) with zero gap, variable or fixed packet, multisession
Weight
1.1kgr
Dimensions
148(W) × 42.3(H) × 198(D) mm

The drive does not support Mount Rainier, as is the case with most new DVD recorders, for either of the CD or DVD format. It uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. Till now, there is no known way to make the drive region free.

Below are the drive's main characteristics as given by NeroInfoTool. and DVDInfoPro:

- The drive

We received the bulk (OEM) version of Pioneer DVR-108 from Pioneer. We would like to thank Pioneer HQ for providing this engineering sample for our review. Below is a picture of the final retail package for the DVR-A08XLA:

The drive is also available with black bezel under a different code name (DVR-A08XLB):

Both retail packages (DVR-A08XL A and B), include MyDVD Deluxe v5.3, DLA (Drive Letter Access) v4.9, RecordNow! v7.2, Simple Backup v5.0 and CinePlayer software v2.0.1. If you are wondering what the differences between DVR108 & DVRA08XL are, Pioneer explains:

"...Apart from the cosmetic differences and Honeycomb Chassis for reduced drive resonance the retail version DVRA08XL also contains blank high speed media 8x DVD-R & 4x DVD-RW in the carton and additional software bundle as listed above. The DVRA08XL also includes Performance adjusting firmware, which allows for quiet playback of commercial DVD video..."

The front of the drive is rather simple, without the Pioneer logo but with the DVD-R, DVD+RW and USRW logos.

Below are the pictures of the retail drives, DVR-A08XLA:

and DVR-A08XLB:

On the rear you can find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input. There's even vent holes for a fan, however one isn't installed.

The top of the drive includes the identification sticker with code number, serial number, manufacture date and place of manufacture ("Made in China"), as well as various approvals among other things:

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. Click on the photos for an enlarged view.

Click To Enlarge!

The main chipset comes from NEC and its part number is NEC D63635GM in combination with the NEC C333500:

Model name
C3335
Process
Bi-CMOS 0.35
Voltage
5V
Package
120-pin TQFP (14x14mm)
Power consumption
0.66W (8x DVD playback)
0.74W 8x DVD recording)
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

Model name
D63635
Process
CMOS 0.15
Voltage
1.5V core, 3.3V I/O
Package
216-pin LQFP (24x24mm)
Power consumption
0.35W (8x DVD playback)
0.95W (8x DVD recording, LVDS)
Interface
Host
ATA/ATAPI5
Buffer
16Mbit SDRAM
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

Below is a close up photo of the drive's pickup/lens system:

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-108" under WinXP.

The drive arrived with v1.04 firmware revision,

which was updated to v1.06 and used to perform all the reading/writing tests. Its quite possible that soon, newer firmware versions will be released from Pioneer to improve the drive's reading/writing performance.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the BenQ DW1600A and ASUS DRW-1604P.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.12
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.24
  5. KProbe v2.2.2 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S14 Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.15 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.03, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.54
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.17
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.2.2.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.26

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The Pioneer and ASUS drives have almost the same reading performance with pressed, CD-R and US-RW media, with the ASUS drive being slightly faster but by a very small margin of 0.05X. Both drives read US-RW media at 32X, which is rather slow by today's standards.

- DVD Format

All the tested drives support 16X CAV reading speed with SL discs. Again, there is very little between the drives, with the fastest being the BenQ and the slowest the Pioneer where the difference in average speed with the ASUS DRW-1604P is only 0.02X. With DL media, the Pioneer

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. The ASUS and Pioneer drives once more display similar performance.

click to enlarge!

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the drive with OTP dual layer media. 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 towards the inner part of the disc. The average reading speed was 9.40X, with a perfect reading graph.

Both the ASUS and Pioneer drives performed according to their specifications for 12X CAV DVD±R and 8X CAV DVD±RW discs.

The Pioneer couldn't read the CSS DL media at 12X and the average ripping speed drops to 5825Kb/s.

- DVD-RAM

The drive can read read DVD-RAM but at only 2X CLV, according to the specs. For our test, we used a 5X DVD-RAM disc from Maxell burned with the LG GSA-4120B. The disc was read without any problems at 2X CLV.

Click To Enlarge!

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1219671
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 54764
Avg: -73.2 dB(A)
Max: -9.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3909
Avg: 1.6 Samples
Max: 1101 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 2
Avg: 30 Samples
Max: 30 Samples
Total Test Result
67.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
-

The performance with the 721R test disc is about average. The drive reached a very high -9.6 dB(A) Error Loudness level and also skipped samples. The drive cannot return C2 error pointers, so there's no C2 Accuracy score.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 749
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 36
Avg: -68.4 dB(A)
Max: -57.1 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
92.2 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
-

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. The Pioneer DVR-108 drive reached 92.2 score (out of 100), a good score.

- 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 more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

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

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Pioneer A08
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
1/5

The drive showed a good ability to correct errors and reached the 5th level where it managed one out of five.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media comes 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 drive can read DVD media up to 16X. The scratched area did not affect the reading process. The drive showed very good behavior with this disc, and no errors were produced.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 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 instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

Again, the drive didn't have problems reading this test disc. The drive drops its reading speed when passing over the "coarser" defective area but afterwards increases its reading speed again, back up to 16X.

- 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.

.

As seen above, the drive didn't have, again, problems reading the test disc.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with 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 defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

The Pioneer drive slowed its reading speed when reading the defective area in Layer0 although it didn't slow down when reading the corresponding area in Layer 1.
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 disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

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

The drive dropped its reading speed when it entered the scratched area and continued till the end of the disc without reporting any reading 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 also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

Click to enlarge!

No problems here for the drive, only some very minor glitches near the Layer0-1 switch.


5. Protected Disc Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - 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
3:40 min
411.02 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
48:04 min
117.12 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:37 min
2191 sectors/sec

The Pioneer drive is slow when reading Safedisc2 and PSX discs. With Securom2 the drive is very fast.

- Writing Tests

The drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.51.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
Yes
Creative CD5233E

ASUS DRW-1604P

The drive can backup accurately only up to SD v2.51.201. Newer version of SafeDisc 2 cannot be accurately backed up either by using the EFM Correction option or not.


6. DAE Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The drive supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

The Pioneer DVR-108 came in first with 28.8X and 28.7X when reading the pressed and CD-R media respectively. As EAC reports, the drive doesn't support C2 error reporting, but caching and accurate stream are supported.

- Advanced DAE Quality

All tested drives received a perfect quality score of 100. The Pioneer drive can't read from Lead-in/out area, and can read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 27.54X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

The drive has problems reading 90min Audio CDs under NeroCDSpeed, while it can rip them with EAC but reports numerous timing problems.

With 99min CDs, it was possible to produce the Nero CDSpeed graph but again there were timing problems when we tried ripping with EAC:

Click To Enlarge!


7. Protected AudioCDs

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on 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 easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session, causing problems for readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track of the 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
Pioneer DVR-108
Recognizes process ok, tracks are not possible to rip
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

The Pioneer DVR-108 needs improvement when reading protected Audio discs. Key2Audio contents were recognized but ripping wasn't possible to the HDD, while with CD200 discs, the Read&Test CRC check comparison between corresponding tracks was not the same for all tracks.

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the wav file produced from the Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a disc with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors and for BETA/Jitter errors with PlexTools software using Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.04).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Pioneer DVR-108
Reading/Writing performed without any errors

The C1/C2 error graphs shows that the drive did not manage to produce a 100% error free disc. A C2 spike after 36mins appears, while the Jitter graph is clean.

We then tried to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTool DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No reading errors were reported after extracting all files meaning, the drive can backup the disc without any problems.


8. CD Recording Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 4X, 8X, 16X (CLV), 24X and 32X (Zone-CLV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive ends the test after 3.45mins. The test started at 15.94X and finished at 32.42X having an average speed of 24.89X.

Click To Enlarge!

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart demonstrating all recording times with various media. The best recording time was with BenQ media at 4:17mins.

Below is another graph that displays the recording times for the same project with all the tested drives. The BenQ drive has the lowest recording time, due to its 40X CAV writing technology.

- Other features

The drive supports overburning, writing up to 90mins and can read/write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

The drive supports both the HS-RW and US-RW formats. With US-RW media, 10X, 16X (CLV), 20X and 24X (Z-CLV) writing speeds are available, as Nero reports.

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24X US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Click To Enlarge!

We also used Nero Burning Rom in order to burn a data disc at 24X. The data compilation we burned had a size of 651 MB and the duration of the recording process was 4:03 minutes.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

In this page we present the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs when using various media burned at 32X Z-CLV writing speed.

- 3T Pit results

Levels with all media brands is rather high, but best performance came with Verbatim 52X CD-R media. Below are the average 3T Pit Jitter of the various used media:

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results are high, with the best results coming again with Verbatim media.


10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is PleXTools Professional v2.16, and particularly the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.04).

BenQ 80min 52X @ 32X

Maxell 80min 48X @ 32X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

Taiyo Yuden 80min 48X @ 32X

Verbatim 80min 48X @ 32X

Waitec 80min 52X @ 32X

- Summary

The C1/C2 graphs show that the drive performed well with most of the tested media. We noticed high C2 errors with the Waitec 52X media, however the specific media was readable in CDSpeed.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f
Maxell 48X
97m15s17f
Ritek Co.
79m59s70f
SKC 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Verbatim 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
79m59s73f
Waitec 80min 52X
97m28s26f
Multi Media Masters & Machinery SA
79m59s74f

11. DVD Recording Tests

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The Pioneer DVR-108 supports 16X ± R (Z-CLV) writing speeds among with 4X CLV for DVD±RW, 4X CLV for DVD+R9 media.Nero Burning Rom reported speeds, are shown below, after inserting a DVD-R media.

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 12X/8X Z-CLV recording technology being used by the recorder.

The Pioneer DVR-108 uses Zone-CLV recording strategy, meaning the disc area is devided to zones, where the speed is linear. In order to reach the 16X recording speed, the drive uses 4 zones (6X->8X->12X->16X).

As Pioneer explains "...ZoneCLV is a method for data writing in which the writing area within a disc is separated into "zones", between the inner, mid, & outer circumferences. Within each zone, writing speed is maintained at one fixed speed, this allows for the writing speed to be perfectly stable. Pioneer considers ZoneCLV writing as an important method for ensuring high quality writing and maintaining data integrity..."

The 16X speed will be reached at the 4.15~4.20GB point, meaning that unless you are burning a full 4.36GB project, you will most likely never reach the promised 16X speed.

Click to enlarge!

By using the Maxell 8X DVD-R media that is supported by the Pioneer DVR-108 at 16X writing speed, we can see the writing strategy graph. As you might notice, the drive didn't reach the 16X writing speed but only 13.66X.

Click to enlarge!

By using the TY 8X DVD+R media, the Pioneer DVR-108 again didn't reach the 16X writing speed. Below is a table that lists the maximum average writing speeds from other tested drives.

Drive
Writing Strategy
Writing Speed
Average
Writing Speed
Plextor PX-712A
P-CAV
12X
10.62X
LG GSA-4120B
Z-CLV
12X
9.87X
BenQ DW1600A
CAV
16X
11.44X
ASUS DRW-1604P
Z-CLV
16X
10.11X
Pioneer DVR-108A
Z-CLV
16X
10.03X

The BenQ DW1600A is the fastest 16X +R recorder since it uses CAV writing strategy, while Plextor PX-712A comes second with P-CAV writing strategy. All Z-CLV recorders are slower than CAV/P-CAV, which affects the writing times.

Click to enlarge!

Click To Enlarge!

According to the condition of the used media, the drive may drop its writing speed from 12X to 8X, especially at the end of the disc. We have seen this with various media, including TDK's 8X DVD-R media:

TDK 8X -R @ 12X

The writing speed drops to 8X at 3.8GB and stays there till the end of the project. The drive seems to have some kind of WOPC, checking the burning quality, mostly at the outer area.

- Supported media list/Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc. With current firmware (v1.06) not many media are supported at 16X, we decided to burn only ±R media supported at 8X+ speeds and not at 4X. All 4X rated media will burn only at 4X, while new ±R media only at 4X (like RitekG06 and PhilipsC16):

DVD-R

DVD+R

Future firmwares expected to support more media at 12X/16X. You can also visit Pioneer's DVD Supported media website.

- Writing Time Results

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
CMC Magnetics 8X
CMC MAG AE1
12X
6:55
DataWrite 8X
FujiFilm 03
8X
7:59
Maxell 8X
MXL RG03
16X
7:07
TDK 8X
TTG02
12X
7:48
TraxData 8X
RITEKG05
12X
7:14
Taiyo Yuden 8X
TYG02
12X
6:54
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
12X
6:55
MKM 4X RW
MCC 01RW4X
4X
14:35
TraxData 4X RW
RITEKW04
4X
14:36

As Pioneer also explains why 12X is faster than 16X:

"...The DVR-108 and DVR-A08XL writers utilize a check system which confirms each and every media's ability to maintain high quality at high write speeds, therefore at times it may take longer to write to media. However, when at 16X, the transfer rates are faster than that at 12X. When attempting 12X/16X writing on 8X certified media, the writer selects the appropriate media specific write strategy. This is accomplished based on Pioneer's unique technology, however what must not be overlooked is the media's quality. It is also a key factor in determining transfer rate (the ability to switch to 12X/16X) and overall write time.

When it comes to DVD Writing speeds regardless of what method is used the actual time taken to complete the write is not a linear scale based on the X speed of the writer. That is from a time point writing at 8x does NOT mean that compared to 4x the time it will take to fully write a disk would be half of the 4x time. So to extend this 12x would not complete in one third of the time. As writing speed increases the actual delta decrease realized in the time taken to complete a disc write is not a direct division based on the X maximum writing speed of the disc or capability of the writer.

For example 16x writing to DVD-R compared to 8x will take from 60-90 seconds less time (at 8x the total writing time is around 9 minutes). So to extend this from 12x to 16x (based on using 8x certified media) the time saving is negligible if not a few seconds longer. The 16x writing zone only becomes active writing to the very final part of the disc.

In order to write at 12 to 16x reliably Pioneer has upgraded the power output of the laser diode from 160mW (DVR-107D/A07) to 240mW for the DVR-108/A08XL. This initiative prepares these drives for future high speed writing and ensures much improved writing reliability for existing media..."

According to our information, only three (3) media are supported at the 16X writing speed, which unfortunately were not in our tested media (besides Maxell). It's quite possible that using other -R media could give lower (better) recording times.

  1. SONY 8X -R (ID Code: SONY08D1)
  2. Maxell 8X -R (ID Code: MXL RG03)
  3. TDK 8X -R (ID Code: TTH01)
Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
BenQ 8X
DAXONAZ2
8X
8:17
BeAll
BeALL000P80
8X
8:17
Intenso 8X
PRODISCR03
8X
8:16
Maxell 8X
MAXELL002
12X
7:11
Optodisc 8X
OPTODISCOR8
8X
8:16
Philips 8X
PHILIPSC08
8X
8:17
TDK 8X
RICOHJPNR02
12X
7:22
TraxData 8X
RITEKR03
12X
7:20
Taiyo Yuden 8X
YUDEN000T02
16X
7:24
Verbatim 8X
MCC003
12X
7:14
Waitec 8X
CMC MAG E01
16X
7:14
Optodisc 4X RW
OPTODISCOP4
4X
15:17
Maxell 4X RW
PHILIPS041
4X
15:16
TraxData 4X RW
RICOHJPNW11
4X
15:16

Below are various screenshots from Nero, burning our usual project at various speeds.

8X DVD+R

12X DVD-R

16X DVD+R

- Comparison with other drives

The BenQ DW1600a is the fastest 16X +R recorder with 358secs, while the Pioneer DVR-108 comes second with 431 seconds. The ASUS drive was slower by 10secs. With DVD-R format, the DVR-108 is faster by 7secs than ASUS DRW-1604P (the DW1600A doesn't support -R writing). It's clearly that the drive is faster with DVD-R than with DVD+R format.

With DVD re-writable media, the Pioneer and ASUS burners had similar performance. Again the drive is faster with DVD-RW than with the DVD+RW format

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested if the drive can overburn using DVD+R and DVD-R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning, giving the following error with all inserted media.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


12. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 12

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

With both Kprobe and Plextools, the error rates are increased for the regions where the drive moves into the 12X writing speed. At the end, we can also see a high PIF spike, while POF errors were reported.


13. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 13

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

12X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

The PIF scans with Plextools show low levels, while the KProbe scans in most cases, were the opposite.


14. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 14

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Here too the two graphs show a totally different picture. The PIF scans with Plextools were low, while the KProbe scans in most cases were the opposite.


15. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 15

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

The writing quality at 16X was good, according to Plextools.


16. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 16

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

The recording quality at 12X +R speed was very good with Maxell, Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim 8X +R media.


17. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 17

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

The drive performed very well with specific media (Intenso, Optodisc and Philips) and badly with BeALL and BenQ media.


18. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 18

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.5, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

4X DVD-RW Writing Speed

4X DVD+RW Writing Speed

- Summary

The recording quality with DVD re-writable media was good with several media brands, while with other media, the drive needs improvement.


19. DVD+R DL - Page 1

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 19

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Introduction

The Pioneer DVR-108 along with the ASUS DRW-1604P, are the first ever recorders supporting the 4X DL (CLV) writing speed. The Pioneer DVR-108 will write existing 2.4X Verbatim DL media at 4X.

Below we can see the two supported recording speeds (2.4X and 4X CLV), as DVDInfoPro reports:

The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" Disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter in ISO format (single file).

We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image file and we selected the ASUS burner to start burning.

When we pressed "OK", the burning procedure started after 22secs:

The writing process finished after 23:10 minutes.

The average speed was 3.79X as reported by CopyToDVD. The recorded disc had DVD-ROM booktype, important for the highest possible compatibility with DVD players.

We then tried to burn a Double Layer media provided by Traxdata. The disc was recognized without any complaints from the drive, and burning started after 24secs.

The project finished after 38:23mins:

For comparison reasons, we post DL burning results from other writers, with the same disc content and same recording software:

Drive
Time (mins)
NEC 2510A
37:17
BenQ DW1600A DL
40:16
BenQ DW830A
39:14
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A

38:39

LG GSA-4120B
38:12
ASUS DRW-1604P (4X)
23:10
ASUS DRW-1604P (2.4X)
38:08
Pioneer DVR-108A (4X)
23:10
Pioneer DVR-108A (2.4X)

38:23

Both the ASUS DRW-1604P and Pioneer DVR-108A drives have the exactly the same recording times at 4X.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 2

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 20

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

* Verbatim 2.4X DVD+R Double Layer Media

Using KProbe v2.2.5 and the LiteOn SOHD-167T at 8X, we got a very good scan indicating good quality performance from the Pioneer drive at 4X.

Using the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTools, we were able to scan the DVD+R DL media. The disc is recognized as DVD-ROM and as we can see, the quality is very good:

* TraxData 2.4X DVD+R9 Double Layer Media

The recording quality seems good, despite the PI error rate being higher than with Verbatim DL media.

The Plextor PX-712A drive reported much higher error rates, especially in Layer 1.

- Compatibility

The Pioneer DVR-108 will burn directly all DVD+R9 projects with DVD-ROM booktype, making sure you will get maximum compatibility.


21. BookType Setting

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 21

BookType Setting

The Pioneer DVR-108 doesn't support BookType Setting for DVD+R/+RW formats. With DVD+R DL discs, Booktype is automatically set to DVD-ROM.

As Pioneer explains "...It is known that not all existing DVD-ROM drives and set-top DVD Video players will be able to if at all reliably play DVD+R DL discs. This could especially be the situation with DVD players manufactured over 12 months ago. The only way to know if a player is compatible with DVD+R DL media is to simply try it. In particular check if the player can reliably switch to the second layer and continue playing. It must be remembered that standards for Dual Layer did not exist when most earlier players were designed and manufactured so there was no way a manufacturer could have taken this into account.

With the new DVR-108 and DVR-A08XL writers the Pioneer engineers did what they could to maximize compatibility by instigating the following initiative.

Media Support - Book-type issue on +R DL media

+R DL media is tentatively-assigned the book-type field "1110h" which results in very low playback compatibility when the disc is placed into a legacy DVD player or legacy DVD-ROM drive. For "maximum compatibility" with legacy DVD players and DVD-ROM drives the book-type field should be set as "0000h" (DVD-ROM) when the
disc is finalized/closed.

The DVR-108/DVR-A08XL's firmware will "automatically" set the default book-type field to "0000h" (DVD-ROM), thus eliminating the need for a separate "bit-setting utility" and further increasing the playback compatibility of +R DL discs when used with legacy DVD players and DVD-ROM drives
..."


22. Conclusion

Pioneer DVR-108 DL Recorder - Page 22

Conclusion

The Pioneer is one of the first 16X ±R recorders to support the 4X DL writing speed with existing 2.4X DVD+R DL media. The writing time to burn a DL disc at 4X is reduced by 38.43%, while the writing quality is very good and the DVD-ROM booktype promises maximum compatibility with DVD players.

The used writing method for DVD projects (Z-CLV), won't give the highest recording speeds and the lowest recording times. A strange side-effect of the Z-CLV implementation, is that the DVR-108 is faster at 12X than at 16X. The writing quality is very good with specific media, while there is room for improvement with other. The drive seems better tuned for the +R rather than the -R format, in terms of writing quality, while it is faster with -R than +R, in terms of writing times.

The supported media for the 12X/16X writing speeds is restricted, overspeed is supported only for some 8X rated media. Don't expect 4X rated media to burn at 8X, unless it is supported either by official or un-official firmware upgrades. We expect Pioneer will offer new firmware updates improving the drive's performance.

The CD writing quality is good with low C1C2 error rates, but with high 3T Jitter values. The drive's ability to read scratched CD/DVD discs is very good, even though it cannot properly handle deep scratches. Lastly, Games and Audio discs incorporating various protection schemes, will present you with problems, since the drive can neither read them fast nor backup them up 100% accurately.

The price of the drive is around €116 ( including VAT)! The retail package (DVR-A08XLA and DVR-A08XLB) is expected to hit the European market at the end of August, early September, at a higher price of €150.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

 

Tony Veglis



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