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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Friday, September 09, 2005
LG GSA-4167B


1. Introduction

After 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 burners, with the last addition, the LG GSA-4163B, having been released several months ago. Now LG releases it's latest drive, the 4167B model, an upgrade of the 4163B. In the ensuing pages, we will take a thorough look among other things, at the reading capabilities of the new LG 4167B, as well as its error correction mechanism and writing quality.

Note here that due to writing quality issues with certain media, the release of this review was postponed until a newer firmware was released by LG. Therefore, all reading and error correction tests were made with the old firmware (the DL10) and writing tests were made with the latest firmware installed (DL11), since upon flashing the drive, all writing tests were repeated.

- Features

- Can read and write DVD+R, DVD-R and DVD-RAM formats

- Supports DVD±R DL burning

Below are the full specs for the drive:

Compatible Formats
Write DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW
Read DVD (single/dual), DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD+R Double layer, DVD-RAM, CD-Digital Audio&CD-Extra, CD-Plus, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA-Ready, CD-I FMV, CD-TEXT, CD-Bridge, CD-R/RW and Photo-CD (single & multiple session), Video CD and DVD-VIDEO
Write Speed
DVD+R 2.4x, 4x (CLV), 8x (ZCLV), 12x, 16x (PCAV)
DVD+RW 2.4x, 4x (CLV), 8x (ZCLV)
DVD+R DL 2.4x, 4x, 6x (CLV)
DVD-R 2x, 4x (CLV), 8x (ZCLV), 16x (PCAV)
DVD-RW 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x (CLV)
DVD-R DL 2x, 4x (CLV)
DVD-RAM V.1.0 2x
V2.2 2x, 3x (ZCLV), 3x-5x (PCAV)
CD-R 4x, 8x, 16x (CLV), 24x, 32x, 40x, 48x (ZCLV)
CD-RW 4x, 10x ,16x (CLV), 24x, 32x (ZCLV)
Read Speed
DVD-ROM SL 7x-16x (CAV)
DL 3.3x-8x (CAV)
DVD+/-RW 3.3x-8x (CAV)
DVD+/-R
4.2x-10x (CAV)
DVD-VIDEO 3.3x-8x (CAV)
DVD-RAM V.1.0 2x
V2.2 2x, 3x (ZCLV), 3x-5x (PCAV)
DVD+R Double layer 3.3x-8x (CAV)
CD-ROM/R 17x-48x (CAV)
CD-RW 17x-40x (CAV)
Data Transfer Rate
CD Max 7.200Kb/S
DVD Max 22.160Kb/S
Average Access Time
DVD-ROM 145ms
DVD-RAM 175ms
CD-ROM 125ms
Interface IDE / ATAPI
Burst Transfer Rate PIO mode 4 / Ultra DMA 33
Cache Memory 2MB
Interface IDE / ATAPI
Weight 0.75kg
Dimensions 146(W)×41.3(H)×170(D)mm

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

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

- Retail Package

The LG GSA-4167B retail package includes the internal SuperMulti burner, an IDE and an audio cable, four mounting screws, 1 CD-ROM disc and the warranty. The CD-ROM contains several software solutions, such as Nero Express, Nero BackitUP, InCD, PowerProducer Gold, PowerDVD.

- The drive

The front panel of the 4167B drive at first glance is more or less a typical LG one. One though may notice except of the SuperMulti and MultiRecorder logos located on the far left and far right sides of the face, a DVD+R DL logo and different overall design, with a different eject button and activity led. Also, the gray bottom has been replaced by a white one.

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

The label of the drive, indicating among others the model name, SN, ROM version (default firmware), and Manufactured date. In this case, its August 2005.

Now, let us take a closer look on the drives mechanism (board and chip). Note that by opening the drive, one would render the guarantee void, so we advise against it. Instead feel free to take a look at the pictures below.

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

- Installation

The device was connected in our test PC and was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4167B" under WinXP. We received the drive with firmware version DL10, as it can be seen in the screen below, and we flashed it to the latest revision, the DL11.

As discussed earlier in this page, all writing tests were made with the DL11 firmware revision installed.

For the needs of comparison in this review, we will be comparing the LG-GSA 4167B, with two other latest released drives, the NEC ND-3540A and the Pioneer DVR-110D.


2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

With both Pressed and CDR media and using the Nero CD-DVD Speed utility, we got the following readings regarding the LG GSA 4167B's reading transfer rates.

 

With Pressed CD media, the 4167B performed well. In our tests, it didn't quite reach the manufacturer's specifications of 48X reading speed, stopping short at 46.95X with an average speed of 35.22X.

Using CDR media, the LG drive performed better than with Pressed CD media, having an average speed of 36.37X and an end speed of 48.47X.

This time using USRW media, the LG drive was the fastest among the comparison drives. Generally good performance with CD media.

- DVD Format

We repeated the procedure, this time using Pressed Single and Dual layer DVD media, as well as DVD±R-RW media. The results are shown in the following graphs.

In this test, all drives performed equally well, with the LG drive being the fastest SL DVD-ROM reader even if the difference is marginal.

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. Again speed differences are negligible, with the Pioneer drive achieving the fastest reading speed this time.

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer on the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks towards the inner part of the disc. Here too, the Pioneer drive was fastest, even if only slightly, with the LG close behind.

Highest speeds were reported by the NEC drive, followed by the Pioneer 110D. The LG drive was the slowest among the three drives with both write once and RW media.

One would think that without a Plextor drive in the comparison, the LG would take first place as the fastest DVD ripper. But with the riplock out of commission on the Pioneer DVR-110, the outcome differs. At 9155 Kb/s, the LG proved to be a good ripper.

- DVD-RAM

DVD-RAM reading has always been a standard feature with LG drives and the 4167B is no exception. The LG drive can read up to 5X DVD-RAM (v2.2) at 3~5 P-CAV, as the following Nero CD Speed graph shows.

-Appendix Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

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

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 2599394
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 118158
Avg: -75.2 dB(A)
Max: -35.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 7817
Avg: 1.2 Samples
Max: 582 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
74.9 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.8 %

The total error count is very high, however the maximum error loudness is within acceptable levels, according to our experience. Although the muted samples count is also somewhat high, there were no skipped samples. The total test result score of 74.9 is quite good.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 130233
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 12513
Avg :-84.1 dB(A)
Max: -47.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 497
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 2 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
79.9 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
100.0 %

This is a much easier test disk than the previous one and most drives pass this test with a near perfect score, something that the 4167B didn't do. The total test result score of 79.7 out of 100 is not as good as it could have been.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

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

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

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
LG GSA-4167B
5/5
5/5
2/5
0/5
0/5

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. This is not good performance. Almost all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level, while a good drive can read the 4th level. But almost all drives can handle the third level without any problems. This is similar to the previous LG model, the GSA-4163B and is considered below average performance.

- Summary

CD error correction with the LG GSA-4167B can be described as mediocre.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

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

- Single Layer media

ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

A near perfect reading graph illustrates a very strong error correction mechanism.

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.

Very good behaviour from the LG drive. This disc was not a problem for the 4167B.

- 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.

Not much to say here as the graph speaks for it self. Excellent performance from the LG drive over 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.

Last graph and the LG drive manages to live up to the reputation held by LG drives. The 4167B continues in the tradition started by the 4120, that of excellent DVD error correction capabilities.

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 a difficult test for most drives to handle. Notice how well the LG drive performed with this specific media.

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.

Excellent reading.

Overall, excellent DVD error correction capabilities.


5. Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.

Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
0:56 sec
1614 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
57:48 min
1177 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:39 min
2604 sectors/sec

The ripping performance from the LG drive was very good, no matter the protection scheme. In each case, the reported transfer rate was very good.

- Writing Tests

The drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After copying the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

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

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.51.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
LG GSA-4167B
No
Yes

The LG GSA-4167B can backup accurately only up to SD v2.8, while it fails to backup the SD2.9 and above protected game titles. This is a typical performance...


6. DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The drive supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported while using a Pressed Audio CD along with its copy and Nero CD-DVD Speed utility. The results are presented in the graph below along with the results for the other two drives.

Similar performance from all three drives. LG confirmed its specifications, reaching 40X DAE speed.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The following results came from the Nero CD-DVD Speed utility using the advanced feature of the DAE quality test.

 

The LG and Pioneer drives produced a 100 quality score. The LG drive reported the highest average speed and as can be seen from the screenshot below, the 4167B can read Leadin data, CD Text and Subchannel data, though it can not read Leadout data.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

Unlike what we are used to seeing with these two media types from the latest drives, the LG managed to successfully rip both the 90 and 99min audio CDs without any drops in speed. Excellent performance once more from the 4167B drive.


7. Protected AudioCDs

For the 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 v0.9 beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:
Audio Discs Protection
Celine Dion - New Day Has Come Sony's Key2Audio
Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island Cactus Data Shield 200
Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a

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

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

The test results are shown in the following table:

LG GSA-4167B Key2Audio CDS200
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

With Key2Audio discs, EAC didn't report any timing problems and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for corresponding tracks. The drive could not rip 100% accurately the CD200 disc where Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same for corresponding tracks.

- Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a (Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter)

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-716A.

 

LG GSA-4167B CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors.

- C1C2 Error rate from PleXWriter PX-712A (8X CLV reading speed)

- BETA/Jitter Error rate from PleXWriter PX-716A

As it can be clearly seen from the C1/C2 Plextools graph, the drive did not manage to produce a 100% error free disc, due to the C2 spike reported near the end of reading.

We then tried to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-716A and PlexTools DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No reading errors were reported after extracting all files.


8. CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 4x, 8x, 16x (CLV), 24x, 32x, 40x, 48x (ZCLV). Below is a screenshot from Nero Burning Rom, depicting the available writing speeds.

Below is a screenshot of the writing simulation test with CDR media. Clicking on the image will take you to a full view of the CD-Speed scan.

According to Nero CD-DVD Speed, the test started at 16X and using the Z-CLV writing strategy, finished at 48.04X speed, confirming the manufacturers specifications, reporting an average speed of 33.74X.

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart demonstrating all recording times with various media.

Fastest burn came with TY media, completing the writing procedure in 3:06mins.

- Other features

The LG GSA-4167B supports CD overburning up to 91 minutes.

- CD-RW Format

The drive supports both the HS-RW and US-RW formats. With US-RW media, 4x, 10x ,16x (CLV), 24x, 32x (ZCLV) writing speeds are available.

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 32X US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive reached a maximum of 32.02X writing speed. The test started at 16.00X, having an average speed of 29.05X. The task was completed in 3:05mins.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


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 v2.24, and more specifically the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-716A (firmware v1.08).

- Maxell 80min 48X @ 48X

- Philips 80min 52X @ 48X

- Ridisc 80min 52X @ 48X

- Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

- TY 80min 48X @ 48X

- Summary

According to Plextools, the LG 4167B offers very good quality CD writing. Almost all scanned media reported no C2 errors whatsoever, with only Maxell media reporting a C2 spike near the end. We can now move on to the next page and see what the Clover System CDX scan reports for the same burned media.

- Appendix

- Media ID codes

Media Label
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
Maxell 48X
Ritek
79m59s70f
Philips 52X
Ritek
79m59s70f
Ridisc 80min 52X Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Traxdata 52X
Ritek
79m59s70f
TY 80min 48X
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f

10. Clover System Tests

The Clover System 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.

- Maxell 80min 48X @ 48X

- Philips 80min 52X @ 48X

- Ridisc 80min 52X @ 48X

- Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

- TY 80min 48X @ 48X

- Summary

Even though the Plextools scans reported good quality on all media, the CDX scans did not confirm this. Only two out of five media managed to pass the Clover CDX test, while all others reported high error values as can be seen in the table above. However, we should not forget that this is a test with very strict criteria that many drives and media fail to pass.

- Appendix

Media Label
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
Maxell 48X
Ritek
79m59s70f
Philips 52X
Ritek
79m59s70f
Ridisc 80min 52X Ritek Co. 79:59:70
Traxdata 52X
Ritek
79m59s70f
TY 80min 48X
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f

11. DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The LG 4167B drive, supports 2.4x, 4x (CLV), 8x (ZCLV), 12x, 16x (PCAV) for DVD+R media and 2x, 4x (CLV), 8x (ZCLV), 16x (PCAV) for DVD-R media. Below is the list of supported burning speeds reported by Nero upon media insertion.

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with a 16X DVD-R and a 16X DVD+R media, we are able to see the supported writing strategy for this burner. Click on each image below for a complete CDSpeed graph.

- DVD+R media @ 16X

The strategy used by the LG 4167B drive with 16+R media is P-CAV as reported by Nero CD-DVD Speed utility. The task started at 7.15X and finished at 15.99X max end speed. The elapsed time was 5:35mins, and the average reported speed was 12.65X.

- DVD-R media @ 16X

As with the DVD+R format, P-CAV writing strategy was used. The test started at 7.17X and climbed all the way up to a steady 16X, completing the task in 5:05mins. The reported average speed was 12.70X.

- Burning Tests

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

As we stated in the beginning of this review, we received the drive with firmware revision DL10 with which we performed the first recordings. The first results were among the worst we have ever seen and for this reason we highly recommend you flash the drive to a newest firmware version, as we did upgrading to DL11, the latest at the time of this review.

With DVD-R media, the 4167B performed fast, with the majority of media burned at their designated speed. Notice the writing stability, with almost all media reporting more or less the same burning times. Worst writing came with the Optodisc 16X media, burned in 14:26mins, which is a 4X true speed burn.

The stable performance gave way to speed. We have many oversped cases, while all 16X media was burned at their designated speed, with fastest writing being that with Philips 16X DVD+R media.

- Comparison with other drives

As we saw previously, the LG can burn at 16X with times under 6 minutes, and hence managed to be the fastest among the comparison drives.

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested to see if the drive can overburn using DVD+R and DVD-R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning, giving the following error with all inserted media.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


12. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

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-716A 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.

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

- CMC MAG 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD-R @ 8X

- MKM 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

Overall, the writing quality with DVD-R media at 16X is acceptable but we expected something better.


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:

- 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-716A 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.

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

- Datawrite 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- MKM 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc (Blue) MCC 02R 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc (Red) RITEK 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- TY 8X DVD-R @ 8X

 

- Summary

In almost all cases the quality was very good. Only with the the Maxell disc did we see high PIE values but even this cannot detract the excellent recording quality of the drive. The DL11 firmware revision upgrade has improved the writing quality of the drive from being less than average to something approaching excellent.


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:

- 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-716A 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.

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

- CMC MAG 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- MKM 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Philips 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Ridisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

In order for LG to improve things with Ricoh 16X DVD+R media, the supported speed has been reduced from 16X to 8X in fw DL11. For this reason, we did not repeat a burning but simply present the following scan, with fw DL10 used in the burn.

 

- Summary

Taiyo Yuden and Mitsubishi Chemicals produced excellent writing 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:

- 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-716A 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.

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

- Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- TDK 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- TY 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- Summary

There were some increased PIE values which also showed up in the CDSpeed graph scans. Otherwise, the quality is good to excellent (TY).


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:

- 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-716A 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.

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

- CMC MAG 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- MKM 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

CDSpeed indicates good quality. The plextools scans also indicate good quality with low PIE levels in most cases and similarly low POE levels. The writing quality is generally good although.


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:

- 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-716A 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.

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

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 8X DVD+RW @ 8X

- Ricoh 8X DVD+RW @ 8X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- Traxdata 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- Summary

Only Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+RW burned at 8X produced acceptable results with both CDSpeed and Plextools scans. In all other cases, there were some rough patches with either one or the other of the two scans indicating inconsistent quality. Ricoh media also produced a high POE count which could mean not very reliable.


18. Almedio AEC-1000

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

- Summary

- CMC MAG 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Ridisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD+R @ 16X

All burned media achieved the "Good condition" label from the ALChecker quality scan utility, a feat rarely achieved by any of the available market drives.


19. DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

The LG 4167B supports up to 6x (CLV) burning speed for DVD+R DL media, and up to 4x (CLV) speed for DVD-R DL media. We used one media from each format to test the writing capabilities of the 4167B model.

First, we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter in ISO format (single file). We used the latest version of CopyToDVD software to burn the image file to all media. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the LG burner to start burning.

Below are the log files for each media we used:

- MKM 2.4 DVD+R DL @ 6X

- Traxdata 2.4X DVD+R DL @ 2.4X

- MKM 4X DVD-R DL @ 4X

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

Drive Time (mins)
BenQ DW1640 14:14
LG GSA-4167B 14:22
NEC ND-3540A 15:17
Pioneer DVR-109 16:29
NEC ND-3530A 17:48
Pioneer DVR-110D 20:01
TDK 1616N 22:51

The LG managed to achieve a very good burning time, ranking second in the above table.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LG GSA-4167B DVD±R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-716A drives.

- MKM 2.4 DVD+R DL @ 6X

- Traxdata 2.4X DVD+R DL @ 2.4X

- MKM 4X DVD-R DL @ 4X

 

- Compatibility

Surprising to see higher POE counts than PIE and also the second layer seems to be worse, at least in the Plextools scans. Other than this, the writing quality is fairly good.


21. DVD-RAM Tests

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

click to enlarge!

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

- Burning Tests

Using NeroCDSpeed, we got the following graph:

The drive started writing at 3.01X and using the P-CAV technology, it reached 5X max writing speed, reporting an average burning speed of 4.58X. The task was completed in 12:40mins.

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

Normally, the total writing time would be around 12mins, but with the "Write and verify" in the background, the writing ended in 26mins. An enable/disable "write and verify" choice would be welcomed.


22. BookType Setting

In order to maximize compatibility with stand alone players, most DVD burners feature the Booktype setting change, which is supported by the LG 4167B drive as well. Unfortunately, the DVD+RW Booktype change is not yet supported as can be seen in the screenshots below, taken with the CD-DVD Speed utility, version 4.01. DVD+R and DVD+R DL media can be set to DVD-ROM with the aid of the CD-speed or DVD Decrypter utilities, DVD Info Pro and others. Note here, that as Nero reports during the commencing of a burn for DVD+R media, the Booktype is set automatically to DVD-ROM, a setting which can be adjusted through Nero Drive properties.

- CDSpeed Booktype change

- Nero Burning Rom


23. Conclusion

The already excellent GSA-4163B has been replaced by the GSA-4167B. So it would be rather interesting to see what is new from LG. Firstly, the supported writing speeds have been increased, allowing LG to compete against other manufacturers. The CD writing speed has reached 48X while for DVD+RW and DVD-RW, it has been increased to 8X and 6X respectively. DVD+R DL now is supported up to 6X while DVD-R DL writing added in the drive's features at 4X speed. Although there are currently drives even faster than this on the market.

Starting off with reading, the LG can read CD up to 48X but a better error correction would be welcomed. LG retain the same behaviour on this as it was with the GSA-4163B. Not many drives can read our test 90/99min CDs where LG had no problems at all. The DVD reading speeds for the GSA-4167B were similar to those of the GSA-4163B, with the only difference that pressed double layer DVDs now can be read up to 12X instead of 8X. No change at all with DVD-Video ripping. The DVD error correction once again is strong and the drive won't have any problems with this.

Audio protection is not problem for the GSA-4167B, as it wasn't for the GSA-4163B, while once again the LG will rip all the game protections quite quickly but with Safedisc, it will create working backups only with older versions.

CD writing is now up to 48X from 40X and US-RW 32 up from 24X as it used to be with the GSA-4163B. The burning quality is good, despite the Clover System's reports which are always strict, but then we are talking about high speed recording.

Once again, the LG will burn DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16X with times below 6 minutes. We would like to see here more media being supported at these speeds or even at 12X, although there has been a minor improvement on this. At 8X, the drive reported great stability since it managed to burn almost all tested media with similar times. RW recording times are also rather low in comparison to the competition. The supported speeds for the DL formats are satisfactory but the competition already offers higher speeds.

What about DVD writing quality? Is this still excellent as it was with GSA-4163B? Partially yes; it is very good but there are cases with some media which still need improvement, something you can see by reading the respective pages in this article. It is highly recommended you install the latest available firmware revision, as we did upgrading to fw DL11. We don't dare describe the writing quality with the previous fw DL10. With DL media, the quality is great.

As for features, the drive once again supports reading/writing DVD-RAM but not quality scans. Bitsetting for DVD+R and DVD+R DL media is present here, but still not for DVD+RW.

At the time of this review, there was no price for the LG GSA-4167B on the e-market.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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