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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Thursday, April 21, 2005
LG GSA-5160D


1. Introduction

Since November 2000, when the joint venture between LG & Hitachi took place with a mutual target, the manufacturing of quality drives, the "HL-DS" series has provided the market with some good recorders, with the latest addition, the LG GSA-4163B. But the "HL-DS" series did not focus only in internal IDE drives.

In the following pages, we will be reviewing the GSA 5160D, an external drive of the "HL-DS" series. Both LG-GSA 4160B and 4163B, have offered a very good overall performance, so we wish to verify if the 5160D can do the same. Note that both drives mentioned previously, both internal ones, should not be used as a reference, the 5160D being an internal one. For the purposes of comparison, we will be reviewing this drive with two internal drives which we will see later on.

- Features

The LG-GSA5160D can burn a full single layer disc in less than 7mins. It can write +R media at 16X, -R at 8X and RW media at 4X. The drive, like most recent drives can also burn DL media at 2.4X burning speed, but unlike many recent burners, it can also read and write DVD-RAM media, thus making it compatible with all DVD formats.

Below are the full specs for the drive:

Specifications
Access time  
CD-ROM 135msec
DVD-RAM 185msec
DVD-ROM 155msec
Buffer Memory 2MB with buffer under run technology
Data transfer rate  
CD Max 6,000KB/s
DVD Max 22,160KB/s
Dimensions W x D x H (mm) 161.8 x 242 x 51
Disc Loading Method Motorized Tray
Interface type USB 2.0 by USB 2.0 converter cable
OS-Compatability Windows 98SE, ME, 2K Professional, XP Home Edition, Professional
Read  
DVD-RW / +RW 8x Max
DVD-R / +R 10x Max
CD-R 40x Max
CD-ROM 40x Max
CD-RW 40x Max
DVD-RAM
2x (Ver.2.0), 2x, 3x ZCLV (Ver.2.1), 3~5x PCAV (Ver.2.1)
DVD-ROM 16x Max
Supported disc Formats  
Write DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-R/RW
Read DVD-RAM, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-ROM, CD-R/RW, CD-ROM Mode 1,2, CD-DA, CD-I FMV, CD-ROM XA, Mixed CD, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-Plus, Photo-CD, Video CD
Write  
CD-R 4x, 8x, 16x CLV, 24x, 32x, 40x ZCLV
CD-RW 4x, 8x, 10x, 16x CLV, 24x ZCLV
DVD+R 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x, 16x ZCLV
DVD+RW 4x CLV
DVD-R 2x, 4x 8x CLV
DVD-RAM 2x(Ver.2.0), 3x ZCLV, 3~5x PCAV (Ver.2.1)
DVD-RW 1x, 2x, 4x CLV
Writing Method  
DVD+R Sequential Recording
CD-R/RW Disk-at-once, Track-at-once, Session-at-once, Packet write
D-RAM Random Write
DVD-R /RW Disk-at-once, incremental recording, Restricted overwrite(DVD-RW only)
DVD +RW Random Write

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

The package we received in our labs, contains the External Super Multi DVD rewriter, a USB 2.0 converter cable, a Firewire IEEE 1394 cable (6 pin to 6 pin), a Firewire IEEE 1394 (6 pin to 4 pin), an AC Power Adapter (with power supply cable), a software CD ( Nero Express, InCD, Power Producer Gold and Power DVD). Last but not least, a quick guide for the Software CD, and of course, the manual.

 

 

 

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.

- Installation

The device was connected in our test PC and was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-5160D" under WinXP.

As stated above, in this review, we will be comparing this drive with other two, both external drives, the Philips ED16DVDR and the Memorex F16, as all three drives have the same specs overall.

Since no further firmware release has been made by LG, the firmware used is the one that the drive came with, the A302 release.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.75
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. PlexTools v2.20
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.1.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.34.58

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

Due to the 40X max reading speed for CD media, the LG drive came last with the pressed and CD-R transfer rate tests, as the two other comparison drives support a max speed of up to 48X for the same format. In the last test though, using US-RW media, the LG drive easily reaches its higher speed, reporting the best time and maximum speed. As we can see in the above graph, in this case, both other drives, support up to 32X reading speed for US-RW.

- DVD Format

With a slight difference between the other two drives, the LG managed to achieve the highest transfer rate speed.

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 Memorex F16 was the fastest drive.

In the graph above we test the reading speed of the LG drive with an OTP disc. 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. Again, the Memorex offers the faster transfer rate speed, with no significant speed difference between the other two.

As we can see in the two graphs above, the LG drive confirmed its maximum reading speed with DVD-R/+R media. Amongst the three external drives, the LG is the fastest, with these media, and with the -RW media also, though the speed difference once more is negligible. With the +RW media, the LG moves in the same space as the other two drives, coming last with an insignificant speed difference.

In this case, the LG performed great, with a ripping speed of 9139Kb/s, leaving the other two, in second and third place.

- DVD-RAM

Here we can see something that we don't always see in our reviews, especially in the External Drives. Below, is a graph of the DVD-RAM reading capabilities of the LG 5160D drive.

5X DVD-RAM

click to enlarge!

-Appendix Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


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

Total erors
Num: 2374290
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 125491
Avg: -76.4 dB(A)
Max: -22.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 7417
Avg: 1.2 Samples
Max: 582 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
74.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The results are not very bad, nor good. The total error count is high and so is the total of the error muted samples. No samples were skipped.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 62616
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 8968
Avg: -84.7 dB(A)
Max: -46.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 277
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 3 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
80.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

Most of the drives in the market would give a perfromance that ranges from acceptable to excellent with the 726 test disc. Though this is not the case here, the LG did relatively good , reporting an average error total.

- 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-5160D
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

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used 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 Nero CD DVD Speed transfer rate test.

No reading errors can be reported. The device manged to read all artificial errors; a smooth line all the way to 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.

In this case, the drive performed relatively well, even though we can see a drop of speed at the end, nera the completion of the test. It gave a successful reading once again.

- 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.

.

An excellent reading. The graph shows smooth lines on both layers.

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.

 

No match to report here, the graph speaks of itself.

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!

Not a very smooth graph, only because of the drop of speed the LG drive managed to read over the defective area of the drive. The test was completed successfully with no errors to be reported.

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!

A show off of the burners error correction capablitites.. Smooth line with a slight, negligible drop during the layer change.


5. Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles of 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
01:23 min
1088 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
4:52 min
1125 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:33 min
2247 sectors/sec

Very good ripping speed in all cases, first with the PSX and Safedisc protection ( safedisc a particulary hard protection which most drives can't read in below an hour span), even in the last graph, though fast it came last, with insignificant speed difference.

- Writing Tests

The drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To verify 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 another one with the function being 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

LG GSA-5160B

No
Yes

The LG GSA-5160D can only backup accurately up to SD v2.8 and SD v.29 with EFM off. Even there, this is an improvement in comparison to other drives.


6. DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The drive supports up to a 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Nero CD/DVD Speed.

With both pressed AudioCD and AudioCD-R media, the LG drive came third, with the the other two drives, the Philips taking the lead using cdr media and the Memorex in the pressed cd.

- Advanced DAE Quality

All tested drives received a perfect quality score of 100. The LG drive can read Leadin data and CD Text but not Leadout and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 28.82X.

- 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. Note that, so far, few drives have this capacity .


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 presents no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks

With Key2Audio discs, EAC didn't present any timing problems and additionnaly, 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-5160D
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. Though the C1 errors are low, a small amount of C2 errors occurred during the reading.


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 40.46X after 3.11 mins. The test started at 16.00X and had an average speed of 31.73X.

click to enlarge!

- CD-R Recording Times

What follows is a chart of the burned cd media we used to test the LG drive for its burning capabilities, along with the burning time for each of the burned cd. For the needs of this test we created a 700MB image which we burned using Nero Burning Rom.

The best recording time was achieved with Waitec media at 3:06 mins.

The LG GSA-5160D supports overburning, writing up to 95mins and can read/write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

Using a 24X (Z-CLV) US -RW media to test the maximal speed supported by 5160D. Note that the drive also supports the 16X (CLV) HS-RW.

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 a 24.01X writing speed. The test started at 16.00X, with an average speed of 23.28X.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. 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 has the capability of measuring 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 these errors.

- Summary

Although it is always difficult for most drives to pass this test with success, LG managed to PASS it with Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim media. The E32 errors were present only in case of SKC medium.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 80min 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f
SKC 80min 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
Intenso 80min 48X
97m32s19f
Prodisc
79m59s71f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Verbatim 80min 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
79m59s73f

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).

- Summary

All CD-R media reported low C1 error levels, with no C2 errors to be reported in any case. Great performance from the LG GSA-5160D burner.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 80min 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f
SKC 80min 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
Intenso 80min 48X
97m32s19f
Prodisc
79m59s71f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Verbatim 80min 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
79m59s73f

11. DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The LG GSA-5160D 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.

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the writing strategy in each of the cases.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!.

- Burning Tests

Best performance came with Maxell 8X media. It burned in only 7:48mins. In one case, that of the 3A 8X media, the maximal writing speed was 4X, indicating a lack of medialist, which would be solved in a future firmware upgrade. Burning DVD-RW media, all other inserted media but the Verbatim one, would be recognized as 2X maximum allowed burning speed. This is also a matter that sould be tend to by a future firmware upgrade.

Faster burn with the Verbatim 16X +R as seen in the burned medialist above. Note once again the short media burned, only two 16X burned, once more, due to a lack of the current firmwares medialist. On the other hand, there is a wider range of 8X media that can be burned at 12X.

- Comparison with other drives

With the +R media format, the LG GSA-5160D performed very well, reaching the first place. On the other hand, with the -R media format, the LG drive came last. Until now, this is the drives only "flaw".

With DVD re-writable media, the fastest burner is the LG, with only slight differences regarding the speed.

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we made a test to verify 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

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 ot the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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. Only the results of the Datawrite medium did not meet our expectations but this cannot affect the overall performance.


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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 PIE error levels were once again low.However, the writing quality of 4X is good and the CDSpeed reading graphs should be smoother.


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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

Excellent quality!


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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

Notice that all recorded media here are certified for 8X and they were burned at 12X. The writing quality is good while in a few cases the reading graphs in CDSpeed could be better.


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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 case, the quality is absolutely great.


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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

Very good writing performance.


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 of the time however, even though a disc has a very low PIE/POE error rate, 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

Good quality. It could be better, with the RW media. Note that once again, due to a lack in the firmware media list, the LG could only write at its certified speed the MKM for the DVD-RW format. All other inserted media of the same format would only be recognized as a 2X maximum burn speed.


19. DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

The LG GSA-5160D model supports Double Layer media recording at 2.4X. We burned two DVD+R DL media from Verbatim and Traxdata 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 a few seconds. Total burning time reported by CopyToDVD was 37:59mins with a 2.32X average writing speed.

We then repeated the same procedure with Verbatim Double Layer media. CopyToDVD reported 34:59mins total burning time with 2.32X average writing speed.

For comparison reasons, we posted 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-5160D (2.4)
37:59
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

Both DL media, burned at the same speed, thus ending the DL writing at the exact same time. In the above table, we can see that the LG 5160 is not the fastest DL recorder on the market, but it is certainly fast when compared to other 2,4X DL recorders.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LG GSA-5160D DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712A drives.

- Compatibility

The booktype change support for this format increases their compatibility which confirmed in our test standalone DVD players from Pioneer, Philips and Sony.


21. DVD-RAM Tests

The LG recorders are the first PC recorders to ever support 5X DVD-RAM media. Maxell announced on the 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!

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 transfering data to a hard drive first, speeding up the editing tasks..."

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

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:

We formatted the Maxell media with InCD software.

- 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. As all LG drives regarding to writing DVD-RAM, the 5160D uses the "write and verify"strategy, thus the low reported speed from the above graph. This means that while writing, the LG drive also verifys the writen data, which leads to the low speed thus unable to report the true writing speed which in this case is 5X. LG does not support disabling the "write and verify" strategy.

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

The b urn process was completed successfully. The DVD-RAM media offered an excellent performance.The only drawback is the "write-verify" strategy of the drive, which we hope it will be "fixed" in the near future.


22. BookType Setting

The drive supports the Booktype function, through the Nero Properties of the drive. By default, the booktype is set to Automatic ( DVD-ROM) but it can be switched to any type to fit the users demands, as we can see in the image below taken from the drives properties.

As follows, we also used two other softwares to check the booktype's settings with this drive.

Nero CD DVD Speed

The drive can adjust the booktype only for the DVD+R DL and DVD+R media. The DVD+RW format is set by default to DVD-ROM for better compatibility.

And as the software prompts here, the booktype is successfully changed.

DVD Decrypter

A click away from the booktype change...

DVD Decrypter confirms the booktype support...


23. Conclusion

The external DVD recorders' market is really exigent and competitive. All product manufacturers struggle to offer the best reading quality and fastest burning speed with their drives. In the past years, we have witnessed the release of various drives, from poor quality ones to highly performant ones. Fortunately, in this case, as we have concluded in this review , we were dealing with an external drive far above average.

As most previous releases by LG, this drive appears to have an overall good error correction mechanism. Our DVD error correction tests confirm the drive's ability regarding this function. However, the CD format is something that we needs to be improved in further devices.

The LG-GSA5160D offered good CD and DVD ripping speeds, being an external drive. As it can clearly be noticed in the previous pages, the average speed, when ripping protected games, is satisfactory, but unfortunately, it can not create full working backups with the latest SafeDisc versions. However, with the EFM error correction enabled version, up to 2.9 can be backed up, which is a good performance in comparison to many other latest DVD burners.

As for the DVD writing quality, the 5160D demonstrated good results with most media used, with a few exceptions. DL media, burned at a speed of 2.4X with satisfactory results, especially with the Verbatim DL+R media.

The Booktype Setting with the DVD+R and +R DL media is also supported with this drive as we have seen in the previous page of this review, and this is a good improvement from LG since some of the previous versions of LG drives did not officially support this function.

With the Booktype and the DVD-Ram media, the drive rests among the best external DVD-Recorders, though another flaw can be found in the writing strategy with the DVD-RAM media, only because the drive uses the "write and verify" strategy, which reduces the writing speed but not the writing quality of the inserted media.

To conclude this review, we considered the drive's price, which is $120,VAT included. This is a decent price for such a good external device with all the competition on the market.

 

- The Positive Points

- The Negative Points

- Needs To Be Fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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