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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Friday, October 15, 2004
LG GSA-4160B


1. Introduction - Retail Package

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 1

LG Electronics, formerly known as GoldStar, was established in 1958 as the pioneer in the Korean consumer electronics market. Since then, a lot has changed in LG Electronics. In November 2000, Hitachi and LG formed a new joint venture to manufacture optical storage drives under the name "HL-DS". These recorders are well tuned and with unique features.

Their latest internal drives are the GSA-4120B 12X burner and the GSA-4160B burner. The GSA-4120B model has already been tested by CDRInfo and was found to have excellent writing quality performance. Let us see in this review if the new 4160B model continuous to write media as well as its predecessor did, but now at the higher 16X speed.

- Features

The LG GSA-4160B can burn a full Single Layer disc in less than 6 mins. It can write +R media at 16X, -R media at 8X and can re-write at 4X. Of course, Double Layer media is also supported, at 2.4X writing speed.

The main difference between this drive and other competitors drives is that it can read and write DVD-RAM media, making it compatible with all the DVD media formats.

Below are the full specs for the drive:

Drive
LG GSA-4160B
Media
DVD
CD
Transfer Rate Read
16X DVD-ROM
40X CD-ROM
16X DVD±R
8X DVD±RW
40X CD-RW
2X, 3X (CLV), 5X (Z-CLV) DVD-RAM
8X DVD+R9
Transfer Rate Write
16X DVD+R Z-CLV
4X, 8X 16X (CLV), 24X, 32X, 40X (Z-CLV ) CD-R
8X DVD-R Z-CLV
4X DVD±RW CLV
4X, 8X, 10X, 16X (CLV), 24X (Z-CLV) CD-RW
5X DVD-RAM Z-CLV
2.4X DVD+R9 CLV
Access Time
145ms (DVD-ROM) - 165ms (DVD-RAM)
125ms
Mechanism
motorized Tray load mechanism for horizonal and vertical use
Interface
IDE / ATAPI
Burst Transfer Rate
PIO mode 4 / Ultra DMA 33
Cashe Memory
2MB
Audio
digital-out and line-out at the back (MPC compatible)
Media/Modes supported
DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD+R9, DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Audio, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-IReady, CD-Bridge, Photo-CD, VideoCD, Hybrid CD
Writing methods
DAO(disc at once), SAO(session at once), TAO(track at once) with zero gap, variable or fixed packet, multisession, Incremental Recording, Restricted Overwrite (DVD-RW only), Random Write (DVD-RAM only)
Weight
0.9kgr
Dimensions
146(W) 184.7(D) 41.3(H) mm (without bezel)

The drive uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times.

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

- The drive / Retail Package

We received the LG GSA-4120B retail package, as well as the bulk version of the drive. The retail package includes the internal SuperMulti GSA-4160B writer, and recording, DVD authoring and DVD playback software (Nero, InCD, PowerProducer Gold and PowerDVD player). You will also find an owner's manual and manual for Nero recording software, as well as an audio cable, mounting screws and atapi cable.

 

 

The front panel is not particularly impressive, since LG used the same typical panel available on most LG recorders. You can see the "Super Multi", "DVD+RW", "US-RW" and "DVD Multi Recorder" logos. However, there is no DVD+R DL format logo.

On the rear panel you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input.

Opening the device's case will void the warranty, so we advise against it. Instead, use the photos in this review for a closer look under the hood. Clicking on the image below will reveal a high resolution image.

click to enlarge!

The main chipset is the same chipset that the GSA-4120B model uses, coming from TDK and and with part number R8J32005FP.

The following picture shows the laser lens assembly of the LG GSA-4160B. By clicking on the picture, you can see a higher resolution image.

click to enlarge!

This laser len is identical to that of the LG GSA-4120B.

- Installation

The device was connected in our test PC and was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4160B" under WinXP.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the LiteON SOHW-1633S, NEC ND-3500A and Pioneer DVR-108 since all drives have similar specifications.

We received the drive with firmware version A301. We then flashed the firmware to the latest release, version A302. All writing tests are made with firmware version A302, while some reading test are made with firmware version A301, since reading performance of the drive is the same for both versions.

Improvement points of this new firmware is the addition of Optodisc DVD+R 8X (OPTODISCOR8), InfoDisc DVD+R 8X (INFODISCR20), Must DVD-R 8X (MUST003), DVD+R 16X codes of Sony, TDK and Philips, and some minor improvement of +RW and -RW rewriting ability.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.30
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. KProbe v2.4.2
  6. PlexTools v2.17
  7. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.25
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.5.1.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.29.48

To discuss this drive further or to discuss it with other users, go to our forum.


2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

Remember that the LG drive supports up to 40X CD media reading speed, while the other drives support up to 48X reading speed. This explains the speed differences shown in the graphs above. However, with Ultra Speed Re-Writable media, the LG model was the fastest of all.

- DVD Format

Although speed differences are not significant, the LG drive performed extremely well, managing to be the fastest.

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 Pioneer DVR-108 was the fastest drive. The GSA-4160B supports up to 8X reading speed for this media type, and performed better than the NEC and LiteON drives.

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the LG GSA-4160B 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. Almost the same behavior as before, with the Pioneer model being the fastest reader with this media type.

The reading speed could be further improved here. While not as slow as the LiteON drive which was the slowest, the LG GSA-4160B was not that much faster.

The LG drive performed well with a ripping speed of 9094Kb/s, with only the LiteON drive being faster and not by much.

- DVD-RAM

The LG GSA-4160B can read DVD-RAM depending on the version of the inserted media. For example it reads 3X DVD-RAM (v2.1) media at 3X CLV, while 5X DVD-RAM (v2.2) at 3~5 P-CAV, as the following Nero CD Speed graphs showing:

3X DVD-RAM

click to enlarge!

5X DVD-RAM

click to enlarge!

-Appendix Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4160B 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: 2316428
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 117221
Avg: -76.1 dB(A)
Max: -26.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 6913
Avg: 1.2 Samples
Max: 576 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 5
Avg: 6.0 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
68.2 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.2 %

Unfortunately, the performance with this disc is not all that good. The total error count was high, as was the reported maximum loudness level at -26dB. High error rates are reported because the drive cannot automatically reduce its ripping speed to correct these errors.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 63652
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 9883
Avg: -84.9 dB(A)
Max: -47.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 271
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 2 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
80.7 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100 %

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. However, again the LG GSA-4160B didn't perform as well as we would have expected. High error counts were reported, and the total test result score is low at 80.7. However, C2 accuracy returned a perfect score of 100%.

- 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
LG GSA-4120B
5/5
5/5
3/5
0/5
0/5

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. This is a rather poor performance. Usually, all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level, and a good drive can read 4th level. But most drives will pass the third level without any problem.

- Summary

The CD error correction capabilities of the drive are just below average and should be improved by LG.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine 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 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, which is fast enough compared to the competition. The scratched area did not affect the reading process 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.

Same behavior with this test disc. No errors were reported and the drive kept showing excellent DVD error correction capabilities.

- 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.

.

Again, no problem at all for the GSA-4160B. The disc was read as if there were no scratches at all.

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.

Fantastic performance by LG. The GSA-4120B is known to be an excellent reader, and as you can see above, the new GSA-4160B carries on this reputation.

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.

click to enlarge!

The drive automatically reduced its reading speed to read the scratched area on the media. However, no errors were reported and the reading process was completed successfully.

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 disc's surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer thickness, fingerprints.

click to enlarge!

Perfect curve indicating good performance for this particular test. The LG GSA-4160B has great DVD error correction capabilities.


5. Protected Disc Tests

LG GSA-4160B 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
01:26 min
1051 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
4:58 min
1126 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:35 min
2218 sectors/sec

We should emphasize the LG drive's performance with SafeDisc protected games since it is one of the fastest rippers on the market with this copy protection method. The GSA-4160B was almost three times faster than the LiteON SOHW-1633S which came in a distant second.

- 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 copying 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

LG GSA-4160B

The LG GSA-4160B can backup accurately only up to SD v2.8, while it fails to backup SD2.9 and the newest 3.1 without EFM correction on.


6. DAE Tests

LG GSA-4160B 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 LG GSA-4160B came in second for both Pressed and CD-R media, with the LiteON drive being the fastest of all. It should be noted that the LG GSA-4160B's performance is similar to that of the GSA-4120B model. As EAC reports, the drive can report C2 errors, but caching is not supported.

- Advanced DAE Quality

All tested drives received a perfect quality score of 100. The LG drive can read Leadin data but not Leadout, and can read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 29.02X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

click to enlarge!

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 90min Audio CDs.

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

click to enlarge!

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 99min Audio CDs, with no speed drop near the end of the disc.


7. Protected AudioCDs

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For this 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 sample 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 LG drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

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

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
LG GSA-4160B
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

With Key2Audio discs, EAC didn't report any timing problems and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for corresponding tracks. The drive could not rip 100% accurately the CD200 disc where Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same for corresponding 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 with 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 v1.03) and LiteOn LDW-811S (firmware vHS0Q).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
LG GSA-4160B
Reading/Writing performed without any errors

The C1/C2 error graphs show that the drive did not manage to produce a 100% error free disc.

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. The C2 errors as reported from Plextools could be due to the writing quality of the drive, since the disc was burned at the maximum speed.


8. CD Recording Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 4X, 8X, 16X (CLV), 24X, 32X and 40X (Z-CLV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive reached a maximum speed of 40.53X after 3.11 mins. The test started at 16.01X and had an average speed of 31.67X.

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 achieved with Waitec media at 3:06 mins. It should be noted that above recording times are an improvement on the GSA-4120B model's times.

- Other features

The LG GSA-4160B supports overburning, writing up to 95mins and can read/write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

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

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

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive reached a maximum of 24.48X writing speed. The test started at 16.01X, having an average speed of 23.31X.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

On this page, we present the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs when using various media burned at 40X CAV writing speed.

- 3T Pit results

Traxdata 52X media recorded the worst results with a high of 50ns and in general, we expected somewhat better figures from the LG drive, since almost all media overshot the 35ns limit. BenQ media reported the best results.

Below are the average 3T Pit Jitter values for the various media:

- 3T Land results

Same image here, with high 3T Land values, overshooting the 35ns limit. Again, the best results were achieved with BenQ media.


10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

LG GSA-4160B 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 was PleXTools Professional, and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.05).

MMore 80min 52X @ 40X

Maxell 80min 48X @ 40X

Taiyo Yuden 80min 52X @ 40X

TraxData 80min 52X @ 40X

BenQ 80min 52X @ 40X

Waitec 80min 52X @ 40X

- Summary

CD writing quality varies, since the drive performed well with some media and very badly with other. Traxdata media reported C2 and CU errors, making the disc virtually unreadable.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
MMore 52X
97m22s67f
Moser Baer India
79m59s74f
Maxell 48X
97m15s17f
Ritek Co.
79m59s70f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
TraxData 80min 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f
BenQ 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f
Waitec 80min 52X
97m28s26f
Multi Media Masters & Machinery SA
79m59s74f

11. DVD Recording Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The LG GSA-4160B supports DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and DVD-RAM writing. The maximum supported speeds are 16X Z-CLV for DVD+R, 8X Z-CLV for DVD-R, 4X CLV for DVD±RW, 2.4X CLV for DVD+R9 and 5X Z-CLV for DVD-RAM media.

Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below, after inserting a DVD+R 16X certified disc.

Note that when the software identifies a disc as 8X, the 2X writing speed option is not available. However, if the maximum speed is 4X, 2X writing speed is available..

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 16X, 12X, 8X Z-CLV recording technology being applied by the recorder.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

The drive uses three zones to reach the 12X writing speed (6X->8X->12X) and 6 zones to reach the 16X writing speed (6X->8X->10X->12X->14X->16X) .

- Supported media list

LG officially, doesn't list the supported media at any of 8X, 12X or 16X. The user has to insert a disc to check the maximum reported recording speed for the specific media, so it's basically a test and see process. Depending on the inserted disc, the drive may lower its recording speed.

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc.

Best performance came with MMore 8X media. The drive needed 7:46mins to complete a successful burn. It should be noted that Traxdata and 3A 8X certified media was burned at 4X. On the other hand, no 4X certified media could be burned at a higher speed other than the certified maximum (i.e. 4X).

When we tried to test the 16X writing performance of the LG recorder, we were saddened, observing that the media list is rather short for 16X recording. CMC Magnetics and Traxdata 16X certified media could not be burned at 16X speed. Traxdata 16X media, for example, could be burned only at 4X! Although we had the A302 firmware version installed that is supposed to support Philips +R 16X certified media, the recorder can only burn at 4X.

On the other hand, there is a wider range of 8X media that can be burned at 12X. Best results came with Verbatim 16X media. The drive needed only 6:04mins to complete a successfully burn.

- Comparison with other drives

With the +R media format, the LG GSA-4160B performed very well, taking second place, with the LiteON drive being the fastest in this comparison chart. On the other hand, with the -R media format, you can see big differences in speeds. This is because the LiteON and the LG models offer up to 8X -R recording, while the NEC and Pioneer models offer up to 16X -R recording. But again, if compared with several 8X reorders, the LG model is one of the fastest available.

With DVD re-writable media, the fastest burner was the LiteON, while LG gets third place with both DVD+RW and DVD-RW media.

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested to see 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. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 12

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Very good recording performance from the drive at 8X. All quality scans reported PI values far below the 280 limit. However, worst performance came with MMore media, but "worst" does not mean "bad performance".


13. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 13

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level

4X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

The drive will surely produce error free, good quality discs at this speed. The best results came with 3A media. It should be noted however, that several 8X media could be recorded only at 4X. We are happy to see that LG Electronics aims at quality rather than speed, since this is the only way users will be sure about their writing quality performance.


14. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 14

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Usually, when recorders write at 16X speed, we expect to see higher PI/PO error levels. What we got was a quality scan that could only be described as "fantastic". We will not see quality scans like this at 16X for quite some time! Excellent performance indeed.


15. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 15

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Again, excellent performance, this time at 12X writing speed. Very low PI/PO error levels for all media.


16. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 16

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

As speed is reduced at 8X, we expect to see better quality results. Most media performed well, except for some small exceptions, as in the case of Traxdata and Philips 8X media. Especially with Traxdata 8X media, which exceeded the 280 limit, but fortunately the disc was still readable.


17. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 17

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

4X DVD+R Writing Speed

!!!

- Summary

Just take a look at the Verbatim 4X DVD+R quality scan! We have never seen such good results from any recorder on the market. When users refer to "perfect quality scan", they should refer to this. No POE and POF errors, and only 2117 PIE correctable errors. Absolutely fantastic!!!


18. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 18

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

DVD+RW and DVD-RW media format

- Summary

The recording quality with most 4X +R media was very good. It should be noted, however, that some 4X -RW media (Traxdata -RW media for example) could only be recorded at 2X.


19. DVD+R DL - Page 1

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 19

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

The LG GSA-4160B model supports Double Layer media. It can record this type of media at 2.4X. We burned several Verbatim DVD+R DL and Traxdata DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content. 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 used the latest version of CopyToDVD software to burn the image file to the Traxdata Double Layer media. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the LG burner to start burning.

The recorder needed sometime to initialize the inserted media and the recording process started after 21 seconds. Total burning time reported by CopyToDVD was 37:59mins with 2.32X average writing speed. The recorded disc was in DVD+R9 booktype.

We then repeated the same procedure with Verbatim Double Layer media. CopyToDVD reported 38:00mins total burning time with 2.32X average writing speed. Again, the recorded disc was in DVD+R9 booktype.

For comparison reasons, we post some burning results from other DL writers, which all burned the same content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1), using the CopyToDVD software:

Drive
Time (mins)
NEC 2510A (2.4X)
37:17
BenQ DW1600A DL (2.4X)
40:16
BenQ DW830A (2.4X)
39:14
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A (2.4X)

38:39

LG GSA-4120B (2.4X)
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

NEC ND-3500A (4X)
22:52
TDK 1616N (4X)
22:51
LG GSA-4160B (2.4X)
37:59
BenQ DW1620A (2.4X)
40:03

You can see that although the LG GSA-4160B model is not the fastest DL recorder, burning time has improved over the GSA-4120B model.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 2

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 20

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LG GSA-4160B DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712A drives.

- Compatibility

Unfortunately, we were not surprised to see that the DVD+R9 media was not compatible with most stand-alone DVD players, since there is no official booktype bit-setting utility provided by LG for the GSA-4160B model. Both Double Layer media were recorded with DVD+R DL booktype.


21. DVD-RAM Tests

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 21

DVD-RAM Tests

The LG recorders are the first ever PC recorders to support 5X DVD-RAM media. Maxell announced on 26th of May, 2004, the release of 5X DVD-RAM media. DVD-RAM media is the most appropriate media for large file storage and recovery, since it combines error correction system and BCM (Bismuth Coupling Material) recording layer technology, which improves signal to noise ratio for higher reliability during high-speed recording.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

As Maxell stated: "DVD-RAM is an advanced recording media format that offers a range of digital data applications. Its phase-change recording material allows discs to be re-recordable and erasable, and a superior defect management system ensures accurate recording and playback. DVD-RAM allows instant, random access to any location on the disc for fast and easy data reading and writing. Because DVD-RAM supports fast formatting and no finalizing, it is an extremely easy-to-use media. And with DVD-RAM, changes can be made directly on the disc without the need to transfer data to a hard drive first, speeding up the editing tasks..."

For our test, we used two different DVD-RAM media, Optodisc 3X DVD-RAM media and Maxell 5X DVD-RAM media. Below, you can see the media information according to DVDInfoPro:

You can see that the Optodisc media comes pre-formatted with UDF2.00, meaning WinXP/2k will recognize the disc directly, since DVD-RAM is supported by Microsoft. Of course, you can format (erase) the disc and use it with a normal application like Nero. LG includes the well known InCD for packet writing.

For our tests, we used the latest InCD version 4.3.0.5:

After installing InCD, a new TAB was added to the drive's properties providing information about the media file system:

We formatted the Maxell media with InCD software. We can set the disc's label name as well as set some advanced options:

InCD recommends UDF 2.00 as the main file system for the disc. The formatting is almost instantaneous (less than 10secs). If you choose the "Verify" option in the format tab, formatting will take much longer:

- Burning Tests

Using NeroCDSpeed, we got the following graph:

click to enlarge!

The drive started writing at 1.36X and using the P-CAV writing strategy, reached 2.42X, giving an average writing speed of 2.18X. To find an explanation as to why the drive cannot reach 5X writing speed, we need to look at writing strategies. The LG drive uses the "write and verify" function while writing to DVD-RAM media, as opposed to +R/+RW or -R/-RW media, where the verify function is not used. Hence, with DVD-RAM media, the drive automatically verifies all written data. This explains why the drive reports or implies a slower speed than the specifications give.

LG commented that "...In the case of DVD-RAM, it has Write and Verify feature. This means drive reads after write to verify written data.  Default setting of GSA-4160B and GSA-4120B for this Write and Verify feature is enabled.  This is a reason why you see ~1.4-2.1X writing speed, half of 5X speed.  In the case of video streaming data write, Write and Verify feature is disabled, therefore, in this case writing speed is 5X ZCLV..."

Comparing 5X vs 3X DVD-RAM media, we can see that the drive starts writing at 1.03X and continues until the end at this speed, resulting in an average speed of 0.98X.

click to enlarge!

Using the latest Nero version, we burned our usual Single Layer DVD complilation.

We hope to see lower recording times in the near future, or at least the choice to select between "write and verify" or simply "write" with DVD-RAM media.


22. BookType Setting

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 22

BookType Setting

We used several software applications to investigate booktype setting support for this recorder. Unfortunately, the LG GSA-4160B does not officially support booktype changes. However, we hope to see bitsetting support as new firmware releases will start shipping in from LG. Remember that originally, the GSA-4120B model did not support booktype changes, but a new official firmware version was released to solve this problem.

The following snapshots indicate the error messages that were reported from several applications regarding booktype setting.


23. Conclusion

LG GSA-4160B DL Recorder - Page 23

Conclusion

The GSA-4160B model is LG's latest DVD recorder offering 16X +R recording speed. When we received the retail package, which included everything end users will need to get them started, we were curious to see how this drive would perform at this high speed.

LG models are known to be excellent readers, and this new model was no exception. The drive did not only manage to read all tested media with no problems, but it even managed to read defective media that could not be read by any other drive we tested. Only CD error correction capabilities need to be further improved by LG with future firmware releases.

CD/DVD ripping speed was acceptable. Especially with copy protected games, the drive performed well in terms of speed, but unfortunately it cannot backup the latest SD 2.9+ versions. CD writing quality could also be improved, since most created media was readable, but reported high C1/C2 error rates.

The big advantage of this drive is its writing quality. Outstanding writing quality was reported with Verbatim 4X +R media, and excellent writing quality with Verbatim 16X +R media. The drive also supports Double Layer recording at 2.4X. Although the competitions offers higher writing speeds, quality scans indicated very good performance. As already stated in this review, LG prefers to improve quality, even if the supported writing speed is reduced.

LG does not officially support booktype setting for this drive with current firmware, but we hope to see future firmware releases solving this problem, since LG has already released new firmware to support the booktype setting for the GSA-4120B model.

Another advantage of this drive that cannot be found easily in other recorders is the ability to read and write DVD-RAM media at 5X max. The drive automatically verifies all written data, (a function that will reduce the effective writing speed), offering the highest reliability among DVD re-writable media with 100,000 re-write times and superior defect management.

The price of this drive is considerably low, making it a very attractive purchase for users aiming at DVD reading performance and writing quality. It received our "Editor's Choice" award, since it sets new standards for 16X +R DVD writing quality.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features

 

To discuss this drive further or to discuss it with other users, go to our forum.

 

Konstantinos Kioulafas



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