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Appeared on: Thursday, February 17, 2005
Aopen vs Toshiba

1. Aopen DVD1648/AAP PRO

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 1

Aopen DVD1648/AAP PRO

Taiwanese manufacturer, AOpen, has expanded its product line to include motherboards, graphics cards, sound cards and other PC peripherals.

Recently, we receive the latest DVD-ROM from AOpen, the DVD1648/AAP PRO.

- Aopen Advanced Technology

Support Double Layer DVD format
The double layer DVD uses two layers for data storage, which are separately by a spacer.Each layer has a metal reflector on top of it to reflect the laser's light. The advent of this technology nearly doubles a DVD's capacity from 4.7GB to 8,5GB
Black Disc Tray Design
Aopen black disc tray design supports both horizontal/vertical mounting. Black disc tray absorbs the unnecessary signals and get more accurate signal. Achieve a significantly better reading quality
Universal Bezel
Chamaleon Bezel
The owner can choose between three different colored bezels which are all included in the retail package
Silent Technology
To ensure users get the most relaxed and quiet working environment, AOpen designs mechanical structures made especially for controlling noise and vibration
ABS ( Auto Balance System)
ABS can effectively decrease the vibration under the high-speed rotation and improve the quality of information reading and writing sharply

Noise- control System ( NCS)
NCS is implemented by improving bearing, disc tray and foam damping washers design so as to reduce wind noise.

- 16X DVD-ROM Transfer Rate Up To 22160 KB/sec
- 48X CD-ROM Transfer Rate Up To 7200 KB/sec
- 512KB buffer memory inside Firmware version upgradeable
- High Data Transfer Rate and Quick Seek Time
- Supported DVD and CD Formats Including CD-R/RW and DVD-R/RW
- Supported IDE / ATA-33
- Supported IDE / MW-DMA Mode 2
- Supported IDE / Ultra-DMA 33 Mbytes/sec
- Supports audio digital output (S/PDIF)
- Vertically and Horizontally Use

- Specifications


ATA-33 (33.3 MB/sec)
Ultra-DMA Mode-2
PIO Mode-4 (16.6MB/sec)


CD-ROM : 48X

Disc Format

CD-RW ((Multi-Read))
Video CD

Access Time

CD-ROM : 100 ms

DVD-ROM : 110 ms

Sustained Data Transfer Rate

CD-ROM : 48X MTRP 7200 KBytes/sec

DVD-ROM : 16X MTRP 21632 KBytes/sec

Disc Storage Capacity

CD-ROM(Mode 1) : 650 MB
CD-ROM(Mode 2) : 748 MB
DVD-ROM(Dual Layer) : 8.5 GB
DVD-ROM(Single Layer) : 4.7 GB

Data Buffer Size

512 KB


100,000POH (25% duty)

Audio Specification

Line Output: : 0.5 Vrms Typ. (RL = 47KOhm)
Headphones: : 0.5 Vrms Typ. (RL = 32 Ohm)

Power Requirement

5V+ - 5%, 12V + - 10%


-35°C ~ +70°C
0°C ~ +45C (operating


10% ~ 98% R.H.
20 ~ 80 % RH (operating)


with : 149 mm
Height : 42 mm
Deep : 188.4 mm


Less than : 1kg

Mount Position

Horizontal / Vertical

EMI Requirement

EMI Requirement (FCC-B, CE, C-tick, BSMI)

Safety Requirement

Safety Requirement (UL, CUL, DHHS, TUV, NEMKO)

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

- The package

The retail box includes the drive, one audio cable for internal connection with the motherboard, mounting screws, quick installation guide and a CD-ROM with PowerDVD 5 software and drivers. There are also two extra front bezels included, one black and one silver. Hence the name "Chameleon". No IDE cable present.

On the front, there is only the DVD-ROM logo located on the right and the the brand name on the left. The activity indicator led is located in the middle while the emergency eject hole is on the right. On the right there is also the eject button.

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

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

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and WindowsXP recognized it as "AOPEN DVD1648/AAP PRO". The drive arrived with firmware v1.01.

- 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. DVD Decrypter
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.47

2. Toshiba SD-M1912

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 2

Toshiba SD-M1912

The SD-M1912 is the latest DVD-ROM from Toshiba. The drive supports 16X DVD reading and 48X for CD. DVD-RAM is also supported.


- Features

- Specifications

Format Compatibility
DVD DVD-ROM (Book 1.02)
DVD-Video (Book 1.1)
DVD-R (Book 1.0, 3.9G)
DVD-R (Book 2.0, 4.7G) - General & Authoring

CD-DA (Red Book) - Standard Audio CD & CD-Text
CD-ROM (Yellow Book Mode 1&2) - Standard Data
CD-ROM XA (Mode 2 Form 1&2) - Photo CD, Multi-Session
CD-I/FMV (Green Book, Mode 2 Form 1&2, Ready, Bridge)
CD-Extra/CD-Plus (Blue Book) - Audio & Text/Video
Video-CD (White Book) - MPEG1 Video

Media Compatibility
DVD 9/10/18G DVD-Single/Dual (PTP,OPT) (Read Only)
3.9/4.7G DVD±R (Read Only)
DVD±RW (Read Only), 80mm DVD (Horizontal Mount Only)
DVD-RAM (V1.0/2.0/2.1)
CD 120mm CD-ROM (Read Only)
80mm CD (Horizontal Mount Only)
800/700/650/550MB CD-Recordable (Read)
80mm CD-Recordable (Read/Horizontal Mount Only)
700/650MB CD-Rewritable (Read)
700/650MB High Speed CD-Rewritable (Read)
Ultra Speed CD-Rewritable (Read)
80mm CD-Rewritable (Rad/Horizontal Mount Only)
Access Time
Average Random Access 93ms (DVD-ROM - single)
115ms (DVD-ROM - dual)
2000ms (DVD-RAM)
90ms (CD 48X)
1/3 Stroke 93ms (DVD-ROM - single)
90ms (CD 48X)
Full Stroke 168ms (DVD-ROM - single)
170ms (CD 48X)
Data Transfer Rate
Sustained Data Transfer Rate 21,600KB/sec (DVD - single)
10,800KB/sec (DVD, Dual Layer)
8,100KB/sec (DVD±R/±RW)
2,700KB/sec (DVD-RAM)
7,200KB/sec (CD-ROM/R - mode 1)
4,800KB/sec (CD-RW - mode 1)
Burst Data Transfer Rate 16.6MB/sec (PIO Mode 4 & Multiple Word DMA)
33.3MB/s (Ultra DMA)
Physical Characteristics
Dimensions 5.83" x 1.65" x  7.24" (148.2mm x 42mm x 184mm)
Weight 1.98lbs (0.74kg)
Mounting Orientations  Horizontal / Vertical
Output 0.7V±20% (max)
Signal to Noise Ratio 75 dB (min) (1 kHz IEC179 A-Weighted ON)
Ambient Temperature
Operating 41°F - 113°F (5°C - 45°C)
Storage -13°F - 140°F (-25°C - 60°C)
Operating Humidity 10% - 80%
Spin Up Time 3.7sec (CD/DVD)
6.0sec (Spin Down & Eject)
Buffer Cache Size 512KByte
Power Requirements DC +5V±5%   +12V±10%
Power Consumption DC +5v / 1.5A, +12v / 1.5A

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

- The package

The kit contains the drive itself, a multilingual installation manual, Manuals & More CD, Pinnacle "Instant CD/DVD" Software, media accessories, cables and leads. 

- The EJECT button is used to open the disc tray so you can install or remove a disc.
- The emergency eject hole is to be used only when the DVD tray will not open when EJECT button is pressed.
- When you install a disc into the DVD-ROM drive, the BUSY light flashes slowly as it attempts to locate the disc. One of the following will occur:

Power Connector
Power is supplied to your DVD-ROM through the connection with your computer's +12V/+5V power cable to the power socket at the back of drive. One side of the plug has chamfered edges, so the power connector fits only one way.
Audio Connectors
Supplies Analog and Digital sound to your system.
ATAPI Connector
The SD-M1912 DVD-ROM is connected to your computer system through the ATAPI connector.

Opening the device's case will void the drive's warranty, something we don't recommend. Press on the image below for an enlarged view:

The main chipset is coming from Mediatek

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and WindowsXP recognized it as "TOSHIBA DVD-ROM SD-M1912". The drive arrived with firmware vTM01.

- 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. DVD Decrypter
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.47

In the following pages we compare the performance for these two DVD-ROMs against the respective performance of the Asus DVD-E616P2, Samsung TS-H352 and LiteOn SOHD-167T.

3. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 3

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

In order to confirm the specifications for all drives with CD reading, we used one CD pressed media, a copy made on CD-R and HS-RW media. The results are illustrated in the following graphs.

- CD Format

The CD reading speeds for the AOpen and Toshiba drives were similar. Toshiba reached a slightly higher speed but the AOpen had better seek times.

- DVD Format

We repeated the same tests with DVD media this time.

All drives reported similar speeds. Any differences can be considered as negligible.

The following DVD is a PTP DVD-ROM where the two layers of 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 AOpen and Asus drives were a good deal faster with double layer media. Their performance is similar and this might be as a result of the same chipset being used on both drives. The Toshiba and Samsung drives also use the same chipset between them and respectively showed similar performance.

The graph shown below indicates the reading performance of the five drives 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 progressing towards the inner part of the disc.

As in the previous case, the AOpen and Asus drives were again the fastest and by a sizeable margin.

The two following graphs include the reading performance with recordable and rewritable media, where again the Aopen and Toshiba drives proved to be the fastest, accompanied not too far behind by the LiteOn.

Once again, AOpen and Asus lead the race with LiteOn in close pursuit.

We ripped the contents of a pressed Double Layer movie to the hard disk with each drive. The results are summarized below:

The highest ripping speeds belong to the AOpen and the Asus drives.

The Toshiba drive, as well as the Samsung, are the only drives that support DVD-RAM reading, a feature that distinguishes them from the other three:

DVD-RAM reading graph for Toshiba SD-M1912

-Appendix Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs



4. CD Error Correction Tests

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 4

CD Error Correction Tests

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


Errors total
Num: 1657392
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 67738
Avg: -71.9 dB(A)
Max: -14.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 4996
Avg: 1.3 Samples
Max: 631 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
75.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
67.0 %

Errors total
Num: 1207469
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 53394
Avg: -70.9 dB(A)
Max: -11.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 4207
Avg: 3.5 Samples
Max: 2080 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 2
Avg: 864.0 Samples
Max: 864 Samples
Total Test Result
60.4 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.6 %

The total error count is higher for the AOpen drive but the average error loudness is similar for both drives. The great difference in quality scores can be attributed to the skipped samples that the Toshiba reported. This decreases the quality score, yielding 60.4 out of 100 while the AOpen fared better with 75.8 out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 5830
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 642
Avg: -80.1 dB(A)
Max: -32.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 31
Avg: 1.1 Samples
Max: 2 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
85.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
66.9 %

Errors total
Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 0
Avg: -174.0 dB(A)
Max: -174.0 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
100.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100 %

The Toshiba managed to pass this test with a clean sheet and a perfect score of 100.00. The AOpen reported some errors and its score was lower at 93.3.

- 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 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

Error Level
Toshiba SD-M1912

The Toshiba drive managed to pass the first four tracks, which includes scratch sizes of 1.125mm, while the AOpen managed the first three first with scratches up to 0.750mm. The performance of the Toshiba can be characterized as better than average in this test.

- Summary

It seems that error correction depends to a large degree on the error type. However, the Toshiba had better, overall performance with better behavior with the ABEX TCD-726 and the CD-Check Audio Test Discs.

5. DVD Error Correction Tests

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drives with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media came from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


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 performance is similar for both drives, although the AOpen drive exhibited more speed fluctuations, especially towards the end of the disk. Generally good behavior though.


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 speed fluctuations at the end of the reading process make their presence, especially for the AOpen reader. No errors reported.

- Dual Layer media


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


The AOpen drive read the specific disc easily, as seen by the smooth graph, while the Toshiba dropped speed just after the scratches in the first layer.


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.

Excellent performance for the AOpen reader. In the case of the Toshiba, the reported error can not be ignored.


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.


Toshiba SD-M1912

The reading process finished successfully only for the Toshiba drive, with a smooth reading graph. The AOpen managed to read only the first layer. Then the process stopped due to uncorrectable errors.


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.


Toshiba SD-M1912

Black dots and fingerprints on the disc's surface did not create any reading problems. There was a slight glitch during the layer change for the AOpen but both drives finished the task successfully.

6. DAE Tests

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

AOpen supports 40X DAE speed while Toshiba 32X.

As it was expected, due to the specifications for each drive, the AOpen drive was faster than the Toshiba. As we said in a previous page, the Asus and AOpen drives share the same chipset, as does the Samsung with the Toshiba. The performance between the drives confirmed this once again.

EAC also reported the following information for each drive:


- Advanced DAE Quality

All tested drives received a perfect quality score of 100.The average speed was again higher for the AOpen drive over the Toshiba.

Advanced DAE Quality for AOpen

Advanced DAE Quality for Toshiba

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs



- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs



Neither of the two drives managed to read successfully all of the disc contents.

7. Protected AudioCDs

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process performed for all protected Audio discs was performed 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:

All drives recognized up to the 13th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

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

The test results are shown in the following table:

Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Recognizes the contents of the disc but the ripping process lasts forever
Toshiba SD-M1912
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
CD is unreadable under Windows OS

Neither of the two drives managed to play both of the tested discs. Key2Audio protection was easier for both drives while CDS200 was not. The Toshiba drive cannot recognize the disc while the AOpen recognized the contents of the disc but the ripping process was too slow for us to wait :-)

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.

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors
Toshiba SD-M1912

8. Protected Disc Tests

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 8

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 Drive Duration Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme" Lybcrypt AOpen 00:58min 1558 sectors/sec
Toshiba 02:12 min 685 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07 SafeDisc v.2.60.052 AOpen 02:13 min 2521 sectors/sec
Toshiba 2:24:30 min 39 sectors/sec
VRally II SecuROM v.2 AOpen 02:45min 2083 sectors/sec
Toshiba 07:26min 770 sectors/sec

Once again due to the same chipset, the AOpen and the Asus drives reported nearly identical speeds when ripping all protection types.

9. Quality Scans

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 9

Quality Scans

Although both drives support quality scans, neither of them worked with utilities such as DVDinfoPro or Nero. This was due to an incompatibility of these utilities and drive with our VIA chipset based motherboard, something which has been confirmed with other VIA chipset based motherboards in general.

However, when we installed the new VIA drivers (Hyperion 4in1), the situation was remedied.

- AOpen

AOpen quality scan

The trend lines for both PI Sum 8 and PIF with the AOpen drive, are similar to those of the SA300. However the values are very different.

- Toshiba

Toshiba quality scan

The error levels, as they were reported by the Toshiba drive were totally different to those of the reference SA300.

10. Hacked Firmware for AOpen

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 10

Hacked Firmware for AOpen

No firmware hacks available for the PRO version of the DVD1648/AAP drive. However there is a small adjustmant you can do. By using Nero's Drive Speed you can change the default reading speed from 10X to 16X.

This way, as you can see in the following CDSpeed reading graphs, the drive becomes even faster.

11. Hacked Firmware for Toshiba

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 11

Hacked Firmware for Toshiba

Currently, there is only an unofficial beta firmware revision which removes region control. However, this version is based on the TM00 which has already been replaced by firmware version TM01.

12. Conclusion

Aopen vs Toshiba - Page 12


The AOpen DVD1648/AAP Pro and Toshiba SD-M1912 DVD-ROM drives are two of the most popular readers currently available. So it was highly intersting to test and compare them both in the one review.

Both drives were fast while reading CD media. The AOpen drive reported lower (ie better) seek times while the Toshiba had slightly higher speeds due to its 52X support. Their performance was similar when reading recordable CD media.

With DVD-ROM single layer media, their performance was also close where at 16X the difference was negligible. However, when the disc was double layer, the result was very different. Here, the AOpen proved to be much faster, with average reading speeds close to 10X, while the Toshiba a little above 6X. We saw the same behavior with recordable and rewritable media. The AOpen drive finished the DVD±R/RW readings closer to 10X max and having an average of 7X, while for the same tasks the Toshiba reported 6.3X at the end of the test and an average of 4.7X.

The average ripping speed with CSS DVD-Video, as reported by DVD Decrypter, was 8.1X for the AOpen drive and 6.8X for the Toshiba. Although the AOpen proved to be faster than the Toshiba drive, when the inserted media is DVD-RAM, only the Toshiba can read it as only it supports this advanced format.

One of the most important charactristics of a reader is its error correction capabilities with CD and DVD discs. As far as the CD format goes, overall, the Toshiba drive had better performance since it read more reliably two out of our three test discs.

DVD error correction was good with both drives but we would like for it to be better. We didn't like the reported error from the Toshiba drive with the ABEX TDR-845 nor that of the AOpen with the ABEX TDV-541.

Our DAE tests confirmed that AOpen supports 40X DAE speed while Toshiba 32X. Both drives support C2 information while the score for the Advanced DAE Quality test was full points for both drives. However, neither of the drives managed to successully finish playback of the 90min or 99min test discs.

The Key2Audio protection is not a problem for either of the readers. On the other hand, the CDS200 is. The Toshiba drive could not recognise the disc at all, while the AOpen recognises the contents of the disc but the ripping process goes on forever.

The AOpen drive also had fast performance with all the protection types we tried, even that of SafaDisk. The Toshiba was extremely slow with the specific protection while with the others, just average.

Finally, both drives can perform writing quality scans. Also, there is no hacked firmware revisions for both drives currently, that can remove the region control or increase the reading speeds.

The prices for both drives are very similar at approximately $24.

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