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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Sony DRU-800A


1. Introduction

Sony is one of the largest manufacturers worldwide and its name has been associated with reliability and quality, after all it's a Sony.
Lately, Sony has been using LiteON OEM DVD burners and the latest LiteON SOHW-1693S is behind the new Sony burner, branded the DRU-800A.

The drive can burn at 16X speed, both DVD+R and DVD-R media. With RW media, the supported speeds are 8X and 6X for the DVD+R and DVD-R respectively. The most important feature is DVD-R DL recording at 4X. DVD+R DL is also at the same speed.

- Features

- Specifications

PART NUMBER DRU-800A
DRIVE TYPE Internal DVD±R/±RW Double/Dual Layer,
Dual Format DVD/CD Recorder
MEDIA & MODES SUPPORTED DVD-R/-R DL/-RW, DVD+R/DVD+R DL/+RW:
DVD-ROM, DVD-Video
CD: CD-DA, CD-ROM (XA), CD Extra, Video
CD, Photo CD*, CD Text, multi-session
READ/WRITE SPEED Write (DVD-R) 1X, 2X, 4X, 6X CLV, 8X,
12X P-CAV, 16X CAV max.**
Write (DVD-R DL) 2X, 4X max. ***
Write (DVD-RW) 1X, 2X, 4X, 6X CLV max. **
Write (DVD+R) 2.4X, 4X**, 8X ~ 12X P-CAV
max. **, 16X CAV max.**
Write (DVD+R DL) 2.4X, 4X max. ***
Write (DVD+RW) 2.4X, 4X, 6X CLV, 8X Z-CLV
max. **
Write (CD-R) 8X,16X, 24X ~ 40X P-CAV max.**,
48X CAV max**
Write (CD-RW) 4X, 10X,16X, 24X Z-CLV max. **
Read (DVD-ROM) 16X max.
Read (CD-ROM) 48X max.
SUSTAINED DATA TRANSFER RATE 21MB/s max (16X DVD-ROM)
AVERAGE ACCESS TIME 130 ms (DVD 16X)
135 ms (CD 48X)
INTERFACE EIDE (ATAPI
BURST TRANSFER RATE 66 MB/s Ultra DMA66
BUFFER MEMORY 2MB
POWER CONSUMPTION +5V 1.5A max., +12V 1.5A max.
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 5.75 X 1.63 X 6.75 inches
WEIGHT 2lbs.
PACKAGE CONTENTS Internal DRU-800A Double/Dual Layer
DVD Recorder
NeroVision Express™ DVD video editing
& authoring software
Nero™ Burning ROM SE CD/DVD mastering
software
Nero™ InCD™ drive letter recording software
Nero™ Showtime™ soft DVD player software
Nero™ BackitUp™ backup software
Black front panel replacement kit
ATAPI cable and mounting hardware
User’s Manual
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Pentium® III 800 MHz or faster (or equivalent)
CPU minimum. Pentium IV 1.6GHz or faster
(or equivalent) CPU is recommended for real
time video authoring/editing
128 MB of RAM (256 MB or more for Windows
XP Systems)
10GB of hard disk space.
Windows® 2000 or Windows® XP Home or
Professional Operating Systems
WARRANTY One Year Limited
*Not supported with the bundled software, additional software required.
**High-speed DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW CD-RW discs required.
***Requires DVD+R DL & DVD-R DL media.

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

The drive also uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. However, since this is a Mediatek based drive, you can set the drive to region free using several readily available utilities.

- Retail package

The retail package includes the drive, a second bezel coloured black, a 40pin IDE cable, four mounting screws, a quick installation guide, a front panel replacement guide, instructions manual and the warranty card. There is also a software disc that includes Nero Burning Rom 6, InCD 4, Nero Vision Express, Nero BackitUp and Nero Showtime. Finally, there are also quick installation guides for the software.

The front panel is the same as on previous Sony models, with the transparent front bezel which in our opinion makes it the most impressive panel for a DVD burner.

The rear has the usual analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), IDE connector and 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:

..

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP, recognized as "SONY DVD RW DRU-800A ". The drive arrived at our labs installed with firmware version KY01 installed.

For this review, we will be comparing the drive's performance and capabilities along side two other burners, the NEC ND-3520A and Plextor 716S drives.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.80
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v3.00
  5. PlexTools v2.23(Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.05, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.51
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.13
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.4.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.54
  10. Alcohol 120% 1.9.5 build 2802

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The Sony DRU-800A supports up to 48X reading speed for CD-R media and 40X for CD-RW media. Below are the transfer rate graphs, where we compare its performance against the other two drives:

In all cases, the NEC drive seems to be the fastest reader for the CD and CDRW formats.

- DVD Format

Similar performance for all three tested drives with the DVD-ROM format. When however it comes to DL media, Pioneer dominates with NEC close behind. The Sony DRU-800A had satisfactory performance. A while back, this performance would have been considered as good, but now it is just on average.

Once again, the Sony drive showed average performance with the recordable and rewritable formats.

In this section, when it comes to ripping a DVD-Video, the Sony drive was very good.

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests, we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defective discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total Num: 1176122
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 53465 Avg:-73.2 dB(A) Max: -34.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 3774 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max: 11 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result 76.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 99.8%

The overall performance according to the graph is rather good. The total error count is not high, which is good, and the maximum error loudness just on the -35 dB(A) limit. Also, no samples were skipped and the total test result of 76.5 out of 100 is good.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num:0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Error Muting Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 100.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The behavior of drive was much better in this case where it managed to correct all the disc's errors. The result was a perfect 100.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's ability to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level -1 through Check Level -5.

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

Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
Sony DRU-800A 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5

The drive passed only the first three Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals average performance with the specific test disc. The fourth and the fifth levels include an error size of 1.125mm and 1.500mm respectively, and the drive produced continuous audible clicks over those tracks.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests
In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the Sony DRU-800A 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.

Excellent performance. The graph is smooth, even at 16X.

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.

Good behaviour, however the drive dropped speed once, just before the start of the second defective region, in order to read the contents of the disc successfully. No errors reported.

- 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.

Reading was very good with the first layer. In the second layer, at the end of the defects area the drive dropped its reading speed. Fortunately no errors were reported and the process finished successfully.

ABEX TDR-845

This test 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 discs is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas ranges from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

Very good performance despite some minor speed falls.

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.

This is supposed to be a difficult disc for many drives. The Sony drive however, managed to read it successfully.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

Excellent, smooth graph.

- Conclusion

Generally, DVD error correction on the Sony drive is very good.


5. Protected Disc Tests - Reading Tests

Using Alcohol 120% and three protected discs, with the appropriate settings depending on the protection type of each disc, we measured the duration and transfer rate of the protected media given below.

Game Title Protection Scheme Duration Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme" Lybcrypt 3:42 min 407 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter SafeDisc v.2.50.051 13:41 min 408 sectors/sec
VRally II SecuROM v.2 2:50 min 2022 sectors/sec

Only in the case of the SecuROM protected title was the Sony fast. In the two other cases it was very slow even if in case of Safedisc the two other drives were even slower.

- Writing Tests

The Sony DRU-800A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

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

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1x

Sims Superstar
SD v2.9x
Sims Unleashed
SD v2.8x
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.50.051
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
Sony DRU-800A No Yes

The Sony drive managed to create working backups only up to v2.8. The newer versions are a problem for the drive.


6. DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD

Using a pressed AudioCD and its CD-R copy with EAC, we get the following results:

Similar performance for all drives.

-Advanced DAE Quality

The Sony drive reported the best results, with a quality score of 100 (perfect) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test and slightly behind the NEC drive in average speed which however, did not manage a perfect quality score.

- Reading 90/ 99mins AudioCDs

The drive could not read the 90mins media, producing the above error.

In this case, the drive managed to successfully read the 99mins audio CD, generating a drop in speed at the completion of the reading.


7. Protected AudioCDs

For this test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protection schemes. The ripping process for all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200 contains artificial errors that are not easy to bypass with a reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session, causing problems for readers when they attempt to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The LiteON SOHW-1637S recognized up to the 12th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, it then recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Sony DRU-800A Key2Audio CDS200
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks Ripping process completed, EAC reports timing problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

The Sony DRU-800A will rip both Key2Audio and CDS200 protected audio discs. Both discs were recognized and their contents were ripped at the maximum speed.

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 associated with specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the produced wav with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors with PlexTools using the Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.05).

 

Sony DRU-800A CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors, writing produces few C2 spikes

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 the wav files with the Plextor PX-716A and PlexTools DAE with Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files.


8. CD Recording Tests
The Sony DRU-800A supports 48X CD-R and 24X US-RW recording speeds. Sony insists the default writing speed for the CD to be at 40X and the only way to enable 48X is by pressing the eject button for a few seconds after you have inserted the disc.

The drive supports the following speeds for CD media recording, illustrated in the screenshot below:

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive confirmed the maximum 48X speed. The test started at 21.69X and finished at 48.91X, having an average speed of 37.04X. Click on the image above for an enlarged view.

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, recording the data on several 700MB discs. The Sony DRU-800A needed 2:47 minutes to complete this task at the maximum 48X writing speed.

In the following graph we can see the recording times for the Sony burner with various CD-R media inserted.

The Sony DRU-800A supports 24X Z-CLV rewriting speed with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

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

The drive starts the writing task at 16.01X and reaches a maximum of 24.02X having an average speed of 22.48X.


9. C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the maximum supported writing speed of 48X. The software we used is PleXTools Professional v2.23, and more specifically the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-716A (firmware v1.06).

- Summary

The CD writing quality, according to Plextools, is very dependent on the inserted media. With BenQ and Ridisc media, the Sony drive needs a lot of improvement. With Traxdata media however, even at 48X, with the current firmware the quality seems to be simply great.

- Appendix

Media Label ID Code Manufacturer Name Lead Out TIme
BenQ 80min 52X 97m22s67f Daxon Technology 79:59.74
Intenso 80min 52X 97m32s19f Prodisc 79:59:71
Traxdata (black dye) 80min 40X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Traxdata 80min 52X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Ridisc 80min 52X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Verbatim 80min 52X 97m34s23f Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation 79:59:73

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

The specific test didn't confirm Plextools' results. The Sony drive with the BenQ disc seems to PASS this hard test.

- Appendix

Media Label ID Code Manufacturer Name Lead Out TIme
BenQ 80min 52X 97m22s67f Daxon Technology 79:59.74
Intenso 80min 52X 97m32s19f Prodisc 79:59:71
Traxdata (black dye) 80min 40X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Traxdata 80min 52X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Ridisc 80min 52X 97m15s17f Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Verbatim 80min 52X 97m34s23f Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation 79:59:73

11. DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The maximum supported speed is 16X for both the DVD+R and DVD-R formats, while for DVD+RW the speed is 8X and 6X for both DVD+RW and DVD-RW.

The supported burning speed as given by Nero,

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the supported speeds of the drive.


Click for details


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Click for details

- Burning Tests

The fastest burn was accomplished in 6:01 minutes with a Maxell disc certified for 16X. All media were burned at their certified speed. No overspeeding though.

With a CMC Magnetics disc, the Sony drive managed its lowest recording time for the plus format at 5:52 mins. Once again the drive supports all media at their certified speed.

- Comparison with other drives

Similar performance between the drives. The few seconds separating the drives is negligible.

The Pioneer drive could not perform an 8X burn with DVD+RW media, which explains the bloated time in the graph above.

- DVD Overburning Test

Unfortunately, the drive does not support DVD overburning for either -R or +R media, giving the above error messages.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The drive does not 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:

  • The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.
  • The Plextor PX-78A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

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.

Writing Quality for DVD+R burned at 8X

- Summary

The PIE error levels were low in almost all cases. However, according to CDSpeed, only three out of the ten tested media reported very good writing quality. In all other cases, the writing quality was average.


13. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

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

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

Writing Quality for DVD+R burned at 16X



Cannot access disc

- Summary

The writing quality for 16X recording with the DVD+R media we tried, was not as good as it should be. Although once again the error levels are within limits, or even lower, in CDSpeed the reading graphs reported many speed falls and difficulties while reading the discs.


14. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

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

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-87T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

Writing Quality for DVD-R burned at 8X

- Summary

Once again, average writing quality, although the error levels are low.


15. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

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

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

Writing Quality for DVD-R burned at 16X


- Summary

Low error levels with Plextools, messed up graphs in CDSpeed. Same old story...


16. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

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

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

Writing Quality for DVDRW burned at 6X & 8X

- Summary

In all cases, the readings up to three quarters of the way through are smooth, but after that it seems that something isn't quite right. The reading speed reduces and cannot recover. The PIE errors are between the limits.


17. 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:

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 it 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.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD-R @ 16X

Maxell DVD-R @ 16X

Traxdata DVD-R @ 16X

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R @ 16X

Ricoh DVD+R @ 16X

Traxada DVD+R @ 16X

- Summary

Judging from the quality scans above, only Traxdata DVD-R and Ricoh DVD+R reported good writing quality. With the rest of the tested media, the results were not good.


18. DVDR DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned two DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content. The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First, we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter in ISO format (single file). Afterwards, we used CopyToDVD, latest available version by the time of the review. After choosing the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image we selected the LiteON SOHW-1673S recorder.

CMC DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X

Maxell DVD+R9 media @ 4X

Traxdata DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X.

Ridisc DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X

Verbatim DVD+R9 media @ 4X

Verbatim DVD-R9 media @ 4X

For comparison reasons, we post DL burning times for other writers, with the same disc content and same recording software:
Drive Time (mins)
Pioneer DVR-109 16:29
NEC ND-3530A 17:48
NEC ND-3520A 22:35
Sony DRU-800A 22:48
TDK 1616N 22:51
NEC ND-3500A 22:52
ASUS DRW-1604P (4X) 23:10
Pioneer DVR-108A (4X) 23:10
Pioneer DVR-108A (2.4X)

38:23

Sony is fast at 4X burning, however there already burners that supports 6X.


19. DVDR DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LiteON SOHW-1673S DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712A drives.

CMC DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X

Maxell DVD+R9 media @ 4X

Traxdata DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X

Ridisc DVD+R9 media @ 2.4X

Verbatim DVD+R9 media @ 4X

Verbatim DVD-R9 media @ 4X

In most cases, both Plextools and CDSpeed reported very good recording quality.


20. Sony DRU-800A vs. SA300

For checking exactly what the Sony DRU-800A reports, we used four different media, burned with other recorders. The three media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

The drive is capable of reporting PI/PIF errors, so we will compare those measurements at 8X reading speed.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested DRU-800A drive. Using other drives, even another DRU-800A, can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#4th Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

From the above graphs, we can see that the error trend lines follow the same pattern as the original CATS scans, in most cases. In absolute values however, there is a lot of difference.


21. BookType Setting

All Mediatek based drives support the Booktype setting, allowing the user to maximize compatibility. Users should change to the preferred booktype setting prior to burning +R, +RW or +R9 media.

We used several utilities to confirm this feature, such as Kprobe, DVD Decrypter and DVDinfoPro. In all cases, the booktype was changed successfully.


22. Conclusion
An average CD reader when it comes to speed but with decent CD error correction. The Sony also has decent DVD error correction and good reading speed with pressed single layer DVDs. Its reading speed with double layer discs or DVD±R/RW is low. It could have been considered as a better than average drive some time back, but now...At least the ripping speed is good.

According to our DAE tests, the drive showed good performance and a perfect score in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. It managed to read the 99min test disc but it failed with the 90min. Apart from this, the Sony DRU-800A won't let you down when it comes to reading and ripping CDS200 and Key2Audio protected AudioCDs.

It can handle game protection schemes only up to the usual level. Safedisc protected games with version newer than 2.8 are a problem for the drive. There are some software programs, such as Blindwrite which might help you to do it but in this case, it would be mostly the contribution of the software and not the drive's chipset.

The CD writing quality of the Sony is much dependent on the inserted media. There were cases where we saw good writing quality while other times quite appalling. However, recording at 48X speed is not the best choice and this applies to just about all the burners on the market.

We burned 35 different DVD single layer media from all formats and at all supported speeds. Although the error levels were low with PlexTools, in most cases CDSpeed had a different idea about the quality. The writing quality was good only in a very few cases while in most cases it was average. We expect most of these cases will be fixed with a newer firmware upgrade.

The drive hopefully supports booktype setting for all the plus format media and this can be done with almost all the available utilities. Hence its ability to measure the writing quality with CD/DVD media as well as to be set as region free are an advantage. We would also like it if we could read the drive's firmware media support list with Omnipatcher.

The retail package is very good but a couple of blank media would be welcome. Its retail price at the time of the review was US$115 from Newegg.com and US$122 from Amazon.com, which is rather high.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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