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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Wednesday, February 02, 2005
LG GSA-4163B


1. Introduction

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - 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.

After the successful GSA-4160B model, LG releases its latest DVD burner, the GSA-4163B.

Below are the full specs for the drive:

Compatible Formats
Write DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW
Read DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM Mode 1,2, CD-DA, CD-I FMV, CD-ROM XA, Mixed CD, CD Extra, CD-Text, Video CD, Photo CD
Write/Read Speed
Write Speed DVD+R 2.4X, 4X, 8X, 12X, 16X
DVD+RW 2.4X, 4X, 8X
DVD+R DL 2.4X, 4X
DVD-R 2X, 4X, 8X, 16X
DVD-RW 1X, 2X, 4X, 6X
DVD-RAM 2X, 3X, 5X(Ver.2.2)
CD-R 4X, 8X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 40X
CD-RW 4X, 10X, 16X, 24X
Read Speed DVD-R/-RW/-ROM 10X/8X/16X MAX
DVD+R/+RW/+R DL 10X/8X/8X
CD-ROM 40X Max
Data Transfer Rate
CD Max 6.0MB/S
DVD Max 22.16MB/S
Average Access Time
CD 125msec
DVD-ROM/RAM 145/165msec

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

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

- The drive / Retail Package

The LG GSA-4163B retail package includes the internal SuperMulti GSA-4160B burner, an IDE and an audio cable, four mounting screws, 2 CD-ROM discs and the warranty. The first CD-ROM disc contains the user manual and the second CD-ROM disc the bundled software which includes PowerDVD, PowerProducer Gold, Nero Express, InCD and Acrobat reader. No blank media is included in the retail package.

LG uses the same typical front panel available on most LG recorders. You can see the "Super Multi", "DVD+RW", "US-RW" and "DVD Multi Recorder" logos. However, there is still no DVD+R DL format logo.

On the rear you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE master/slave/cs selector 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.

Below is a photo of the main chipset used for this drive:

- Installation

The device was connected in our test PC and was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4163B" under WinXP.

We received the drive with firmware version A100. We then flashed the firmware to the latest release, version A102. All writing tests in this review are made with firmware version A102.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the NEC ND3520A and Plextor PX-716A since all three drives have been recently released and have similar specifications.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.61
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. PlexTools v2.19a
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.2.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.42

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

According to each manufacturer's specifications, the LG has the slowest supported reading speed for CD media and this is confirmed in our tests. With US-RW media however, the LG and Plextor drives had similar performance with the NEC trailing behind.

- DVD Format

Although speed differences are not significant, the LG GSA-4163B performed very well being the fastest pressed Single Layer DVD-ROM reader.

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 LG was slightly faster than the NEC drive but the Plextor PX-716A is way out in front...

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the LG GSA-4163B 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 on 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 LG once again was faster than the NEC but a good deal slower than the Plextor.

The Plextor drive had the most stable reading speeds, hovering around 9X, across the four formats, while the NEC drive was the fastest with DVD±R media and slowest with DVD±RW media. The GSA-4163B also had fairly steady speeds although on the slow side.

The LG drive performed well with a ripping speed of 9115kb/s, 6.6X. However, the Plextor PX-716A is simply unbeatable in this task.

- DVD-RAM

The LG GSA-4163B 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 graph shows:

-Appendix Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - 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: 2325547
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 114672
Avg: -75.8 dB(A)
Max: -30.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 6850
Avg: 1.2 Samples
Max: 582 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
75.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.6 %

The total error count is very high, however the maximum error loudness is low at -30.5dB and within acceptable levels. While there are quite a few muted samples, there are no skipped samples thanks to the low error loudness level just mentioned. The total test result score of 75.00 out of 100 is good.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 24554
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 3601
Avg: -85.3 dB(A)
Max: -47.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 98
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 2 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
82.7 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100 %

The total error count is high but no samples were skipped. However, this is a much easier test disk than the previous one and most drives pass this test with a near perfect score. The total test result score of 82.7 out of 100 is not as good as it could have been.

- 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
2/5
0/5
0/5

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. This is not good performance. Almost all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level, while a good drive can read the 4th level. But almost all drives can handle the third level defects without any problems. The performance is similar to the previous LG model, the GSA-4160B.

- Summary

The CD error correction of the LG GSA-4163B, as was the case with the previous LG GSA-4160B model, is mediocre.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - 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 scratched area did not affect the reading process and no errors were produced despite the high reading speed, which reached 16X towards the end of the test.

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.

Once again, the defective area did not affect the reading process.

- 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.

Excellent performance.

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 from the LG. The GSA-4163B carries on the reputation of LG burners with DVD error correction.

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 on 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.

Although this test media is difficult for many drives, the LG read it without any 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 disc's surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer thickness, fingerprints.

Absolutely smooth curve, indicating good performance for this particular test. The LG GSA-4163B has great DVD error correction capabilities.


5. Protected Disc Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner- 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
1:01 min
1481 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
5:02 min
1111 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:33 min
2247 sectors/sec

The performance for the LG GSA-4163B is similar, if not the same, with this of the LG GSA-4160B model.

The LG had fast performance with all the protections we tried. With PSX and SecuROM protections, the drive was the fastest, while in the case of the Safedisc protection scheme, it displayed performance that was better than most drives, simply here, the Plextor drive has such a good tradition.

- 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-4163B

The LG GSA-4163B can backup accurately only up to SD v2.8, while it fails to backup our SD2.9 protected game title, which is typical performance.


6. DAE Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - 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.

As it was expected, due to the supported speeds of each drive, the Plextor was the fasted with LG and NEC following behind.

The drive also supports C2 error information.

- Advanced DAE Quality

Both the LG and Plextor received a perfect quality score of 100. The LG drive can read Leadin data but not Leadout, and can also read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 28.79X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

The drive can read/rip flawlessly both 90min and 99min Audio CDs, with no speed fluctuations or drops. If you click on the images for the complete CDSpeed graphs, you'll also see the low seek times which indicates how easily the drive can read both discs. Not too many drives have shown this capability of late...


7. Protected AudioCDs

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - 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:

LG GSA-4163B
Key2Audio
CDS200
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-712S.

LG GSA-4163B
CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
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. However the C2 levels are low.

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

No reading errors were reported after extracting all files.


8. CD Recording Tests

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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 40.48X after 3.09 mins. The test started at 16.00X and had an average speed of 31.76X.

- 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.

Once again, due to the different supported speeds, for CD writing this time, the Plextor was the fastest while the NEC and LG drives followed.

- Other features

The LG GSA-4163B 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 24.02X writing speed. The test started at 16.00X, having an average speed of 23.30X. The time needed for this task was 3:36min.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. Writing Quality Tests - Clover System Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - Clover System Tests

The Clover Systems CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a high-speed tool to quantitatively measure the quality of a CD. It will analyze CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-R, Photo-CD, Enhanced CD and CD-RW discs at 4X, 8X, 24X, 32X or 40X speed. It effectively measures disc quality by examining the quantity and severity of CIRC errors generated during playback. It also provides the capability to measure signal parameters related to pit geometry, such as asymmetry and reflectivity. Together, all these bits of information provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover Systems Analyzers can also perform various format-checking tests on data discs, and do bit-for-bit data comparison on all types of CDs. All tests are carried out at the maximum speed of 40X.

CIRC error correction uses two principles to detect and correct errors. The first is redundancy (extra information is added, which gives an extra chance to read the disc), and the second is interleaving (data is distributed over a relatively large physical area). The CIRC error correction used in CD players uses two stages of error correction, the well known C1 and C2, with de-interleaving of the data between the stages.

The error type E11 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C1 stage. E21means two bad symbols were corrected in the C1 stage. E31 means that there were three or more bad symbols at the C1 stage. This block is uncorrectable at the C1 stage, and is passed to the C2 stage. Respectively, E12 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C2 stage and E22 means two bad symbols were corrected in the C2 stage. E32 means that there were three or more bad symbols in one block at the C2 stage, and therefore this error is not correctable.

BLER (Block Error Rate) is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors, at the input of the C1 decoder. Since this is the most general measurement of the quality of a disc, you will find BLER graphs for all media tested below. If you click on the images you can see a more detailed table, indicating error levels. The Red Book specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second averaged over ten seconds. Discs with higher BLER are likely to produce uncorrectable errors. Al low BLER shows that the system as a whole is performing well, and the pit geometry is good. However, BLER only tells us how many errors were generated per second, and it does not tell us anything about the severity of those errors.

- Summary

Taiyo Yuden, MMore and BenQ media reported good writing quality without E32 errors being reported. We would like the performance with the two other media brands to be fixed in a future firmware revision.

- 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 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f
BenQ 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f

10. DVD Recording Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 10

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The LG GSA-4163B supports DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and DVD-RAM writing. The maximum supported speeds are 16X P-CAV for DVD+R and DVD-R, 8X Z-CLV for DVD+RW, 6X CLV for DVD-RW, 4X CLV for DVD+R9 and 5X P-CAV for DVD-RAM media. Notice that the difference between the LG GSA-4163B and the previous LG GSA-4160B models are not only in maximum supported speeds but also in writing strategies.

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 or higher, the 2X or the 2,4X writing speed option, for DVD-R and DVD+R respectively, is not available. However, if the maximum speed is 4X, 2X or 2.4X writing speed is available.

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the supported writing strategy for each speed and format for this burner. Click on each image below for a complete CDSpeed graph.

According to the graph above, the writing strategy is P-CAV, and not CAV as is the case for most drives, where the 16X speed is reached relatively early and remains for approximately 800MB. Furthermore, the test started at a speed of 7.28X and for those two reasons, the LG drive proved to be the fastest 16X DVD+R recorder.

For 12X, the writing strategy is Z-CLV.

As with the DVD+R format, the same is happening here with DVD-R. For the same two reasons we mentioned above, the drive is also the fastest with DVD-R.

The drive reaches the maximum 8X speed too early and kept it until the end of the burning process.

6X CLV for the DVD-RW format. Not bad...

- Burning Tests

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

The reported writing time 5:17min at 16X is the slowest we ever experience. The excusion for this is the writing strategy we mentioned above. Notice how stable is the performance, almost the same times for each recording speed.

As we have already mentioned a few times, we will say it again that the drive is the fastest 16X burner. Once again, stable performance.

- Comparison with other drives

No matter what the format is, the LG GSA-4163B is unbeatable...

- 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.


11. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 11

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.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Since both media were burned at 5:17min we expected higher PIE values. However, these were low while the CDSpeed graph for Mitsubishi Chemicals media was smooth. In the case of TDK media, the speed started to slow down at the outer area but even in this case, the quality was more than good.


12. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 12

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.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

In all cases the quality was very good. Only with the Maxell disc, the PIE values were a little increased but even this cannot detract from the excellent recording quality of the drive.


13. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 13

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

4X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Taiyo Yuden and Mitsubishi Chemicals produced excellent writing quality.


14. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 14

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.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Some increased PIE values were also confirmed in the CDSpeed graphs. However, burning near 5:20min should produce higher error levels. The quality is good.


15. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

LG GSA-4163B DL Recorder - Page 15

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.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Quality for 12X is higher than 16X, which is logical. There were a few cases with increased PIE values but only in one was it over the limit. Once again, the quality is good.


16. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 16

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.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

In all cases, the PIE values were low but CDSpeed had a different point of view. In any case, the writing quality is good although it could be better.


17. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 17

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.

4X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Intenso and Traxdata media produced the highest writing quality at 4X. The PIE values were very low in all cases...


18. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 18

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

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

All PIE error levels were low, especially in the case of Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+RW burned at 8X. CDSpeed graphs however should be smoother.


19. Writing Quality Tests - Almedio AEC-1000

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 19

Writing Quality Tests - Almedio AEC-1000

The AEC-1000 consists of a DVD Drive and the "ALChecker" error measurement application which can check the written data quality. The application is capable of 1X CLV measurement as well as 4X CLV on DVD-Video/ROM and finalized DVD+R/-R media. There are three measurement modes, Fine Mode, Rough Mode and Quick Mode. The first checks a series of eight consecutive ECC blocks, the second checks eight consecutive ECC blocks every 100h ECC blocks and the last, the fastest, checks three specified areas. The checking status is shown graphically in real time while you can save the error graph at the end of the test. The reported errors are the PI and the UncPO. In the case of PI, it counts the number of rows corrected by the PI error correction in each group of eight consecutive ECC blocks. In the case of UncPO, it counts the number of ECC blocks in which more than one byte is uncorrectable in eight consecutive ECC blocks. For our quality scans, we set for 1X CLV and Fine Mode which is the slowest and with the safest results. Also, we chose to measure all the media burned at the maximum available writing speed, namely 16X.

- Summary

The DVD+R media was burned with booktype DVD-ROM. For this reason, the ID codes of these media is not available in the above tables.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 1

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 20

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

The LG GSA-4163B model supports Double Layer media. It can record this type of media at 4X. We burned five different DL media from Verbatim, Traxdata, Philips, Ricoh and CMC Magnetics 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 all 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 approximately 30 seconds. Below are the log files for each media we used:

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)
LG GSA-4163B 22:24
LG GSA-4160B 37:59
Plextor PX-716A 23:33
NEC ND-3520A
22:35
NEC ND-3500A 22:52
Pioneer DVR-108 23:10
Asus DRW-1604P 23:10
Philips DVDR1640P 24:23
BenQ DW1620A 24:21

As we can see from the table above, the LG GSA-4163B managed to burn a DVD+R DL media with the lowest time among the burners.


21. DVD+R DL - Page 2

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 21

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LG GSA-4163B DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712A drives.

- Compatibility

The writing quality is good while all media were playable in our test standalone players from Pioneer, Philips and NeuNeo.


22. DVD-RAM Tests

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 22

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 an 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!

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 4.3.11.1:

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

Since the Maxell media was not formatted, we used InCD for this.

Then we were able to copy files from the HD onto the DVD-RAM media, using the drag'n'drop method, as well as delete them.

- Burning Tests

Using NeroCDSpeed, we got the following graph:

The drive started writing at 1.39X using the P-CAV writing strategy and reached 2.35X, giving an average writing speed of 2.15X. 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-4163B for this Write and Verify feature is enabled.  This is the reason why you see ~1.4-2.1X writing speed, which is just below 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..."

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

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


23. BookType Setting

LG GSA-4163B DL Recorder - Page 23

BookType Setting

We used several software applications to investigate booktype setting support for this recorder. Unfortunately, the drive supports this feature but only for DVD+R and DVD+R DL. We would like to see the same for the DVD+RW format.


24. Conclusion

LG GSA-4163B DL Burner - Page 24

Conclusion

The GSA-4163B model replaced the existing, very good GSA-4160B burner. The new drive not only rose to the occasion, reaching the maximum writing speeds for the DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD+R DL formats but also changed the writing strategy for the DVD+R. This results in even lower recording times. The reported recording times during our tests for all the formats, place the GSA-4163B in first place among all the burners currently available on the market with 5:17min, 5:20min, 9:46min and 7:15min for the DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW respectively.

LG models are known for their good reading ability, and the new model confirmed this for one more time. The drive managed to read all the media we used, defective or not, even 90/99min CD media which prove troublesome for the latest burners. The error correction is very good for the DVD format but with the CD format needs further improvement. This performance is similar, if not the same, as the previous GSA-4160B model.

The CD/DVD ripping speed is good but not the fastest we have ever seen. With copy protected games, the speed was very high, no matter what the protection scheme, while the drive also managed to rip/play successfully all the copy protected AudioCDs we tried. We would also like to see better behavior from the drive when it comes to backing up SafeDisc protected games. In this task, the performance was average and the drive managed to create working backups up to v2.8. To be honest, we really didn't expect anything better since this has now become common issue with the latest DVD burners.

As far as writing quality of the GSA-4163B is concerned, this proved to be very good. With all the DVD formats, the reported PIE levels were rather low while in most cases this was also confirmed by CDSpeed. In very few cases, the levels were high but this does not affect the overall good image of the drive. With CD media, the quality was also good with most of the brands we tried. Further improvements in this area would be welcome though.

Fortunately, LG has decided to support the booktype change feature for this burner, as it also does with the GSA-4120B. DVD+R and DVD+R DL can be easily set to DVD-ROM booktype with CDSpeed, DVD Decrypter or even straight from Neo Burning Rom. We would like the DVD+RW to support the same feature as well as the GSA-4160B :-)

DVD-RAM support, at 5X max, is another advantage with this drive which can automatically verify 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.

Finally, the burner is already available on the market at approximately $77, at the time of this review. The price is very good if we keep in mind that other burners with similar specifications cost around $100 or even more.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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