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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Wednesday, May 17, 2006
LG GSA-2166D


1. Introduction

A few weeks ago, we looked at the LG GSA 5169D, an external multi device, which featured all the latest technologies except for LightScribe. Today, we will be reviewing the LG GSA 2166D, a Super multi drive, which supports all the latest formats including Lightscribe, enabling the end user to further customize his burned CD media.

The drive supports the standard 16X burning speed for both the +R and -R DVD formats, 8X and 6X for DVD+RW and DVD-RW respectively, while the +R DL offered maximum writing speed is 8X and 4X for -R DL.

- Features

• With Lightscribe, disk label printing can be completed in under 20 minutes (530 TPI)
• All formats compatible DVD +R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM
• Dual layer recording enables storage of up to 8.5GB (DVD+R/-R DL)
• USB 2.0 Interface
• Portable, both PC and Mac compatible
• 2MB buffer memory with buffer under run prevention technology

- Specifications

Model LG GSA-5169D
Colour Black
Interface type USB 2.0
LightScribe Label Printing Printing Time 1070TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 36 minutes
800TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 28 minutes
530TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 20 minutes
Weight (kg) 1285.9g
OS-Compatability Windows 2000 Professional, XP Home & Prof, ME(Not support LightScribe)
Access time  
DVD-RAM 250 ms
DVD-ROM 140/175 ms
CD 120 ms
Buffer Memory 2MB with buffer under run prevention technology
Data transfer rate  
CD Max 7,200KB/s
DVD Max 22.16 Mbytes/s
Dimensions W x D x H (mm) 160 x 230 x 50
Disc Loading Method Motorized Tray
Writing Method  
DVD-RAM Random Write
DVD+R Sequential Recording,Sequential Recording,Random Write
CD-R / RW Disk-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Packet Write
DVD-R Sequential Recording
DVD-R /RW Disk-at-Once,Incremental Recording Overwrite
DVD-RW Sequential Recording
Write Speed  
DVD+R 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV, 12x PCAV, 16x CAV
DVD-R 2x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV, 12x PCAV, 16x CAV
DVD+RW 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV
DVD-RW 1x, 2x, 4x CLV, 6x ZCLV
DVD-RAM 2x, 3x, 5x CLV(Ver.2.2)
CD-R 16x CLV, 24x ZCLV 32x, 40x,48x CAV
CD-RW 4x, 10x, 16x CLV, 24x, 32x ZCLV
DVD+R DL 2.4x, 4x CLV, 6x, 8x ZCLV
DVD-R DL 4x CLV
Read Speed  
CD-ROM Max 48x
DVD-ROM Max 16x

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

- Retail package

The retail package contains everything that is necessary to set up the drive and use all of its features, including all required software. The package contains:

-The Drive

Simple in design, the LG GSA-2166D comes in one color only, black, as we can see in the pictures below. The front bezel carries the following logos:

On the bottom right are activity LED indicator and the eject button.

On the rear panel, the drive has the USB port and the DC Power Supply connection. As we said, a simple design.

- Installation

The drive was installed under WindowsXP and was recognized as "HL-DT-ST DVDRRW GSA-2166D ". The drive came with the latest available firmware installed (firmware revision 1.01), and as no further firmware releases had been made, we moved straight to the tests.

For comparison, we will be posting the results of the 2166D along with the results of the Samsung SE-W164C and LiteOn 1653S external drives.


2. Reading Tests

- CD Format

The LG 2166D supports up to 48X reading speed for CD media and up to 32X for RW media. We used both these media types to verify the drive's reading speed with the CD-DVD Speed utility.

After several retries, in order to confirm the results reported by CDspeed and a Pressed Plextools CD-ROM, the maximum supported reading speed was only 42X instead of the 48X stated in the manufacturer's specifications. The 32X maximum reading speed for CD-RW media however, was confirmed.

- AudioCD

For these tests, we used a pressed AudioCD and the Advanced DAE CDSpeed feature.

According to the Average DAE Speed test, the average reading DAE speed for the 2266D was 31.5X, whereas Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE Quality test awarded a perfect 100 quality score with an average speed of 28.65X. The drive can read leadin and subchannel Data and CD Text.

- 90mins Audio disc

- 99mins Audio disc

Unfortunately, the drive could not read the 90min Audio disc, but managed to successfully read all the way to the end the 99min Audio disc.

- DVD Format

We repeated the reading tests, this time using a collection of pressed SL and DL DVD media to test the drive's reading capabilities with DVD media.

All three drives support up to 16X reading speed with Pressed SL media. The reviewed drive along with the Samsung, produced a distinct 16X maximum reading speed while the LiteOn reported a max speed of just 14X.

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. 8X maximum supported speed for this DL Pressed DATA disc.

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the drive with OTP dual layer media. The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks towards the inner part of the disc. More or less same performance from all three drives, as all three devices support the same reading speed with this kind of media.

Both -R and +R Write Once media were read by the 2266D at a maximum speed of 16X, while the Samsung and LiteOn drives support 12X and 8X maximum reading speeds respectively.

The reported ripping speed was 8757Kb/s, which is approximately 6.6X DVD speed.

- DVD-RAM

The maximum supported speed with DVD-RAM media is 5X. No changes in speed with the RAM format yet, but we will soon witness changes, with speeds going all the way up to 12X from all the well known manufacturers.

Overall, the GSA 2266D is a good reading device, with good speeds for both CD and DVD. Even though the drive could not reach 48X for CD-ROM media, as per the manufacturer's specifications for this media, it managed to read at 16X, both DVD+R and DVD-R write once media, which is quite impressive when compared to the other two external drives.

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction

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: 854948
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 51160 Avg: -74.7 dB(A) Max: -31.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 2782 Avg: 1.1 Samples Max: 89 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Quite good performance. A low total error count and low maximum error loudness level, as well as no skipped samples indicate good performance which is confirmed in the result score of 76.8.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total Num: 23
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 90 Avg: -89.0 dB(A) Max: -76.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 91.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Unfortunately, the drive could not achieve flawless reading with the 726 test media. A little unexpected considering its performance with the TCD-721R disc previously. Nevertheless, 91.0 points is still good.

- 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
LG GSA-2166D 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5

Average performance with this disc, where the drive managed to read the third track without error. In the fourth and fifth tracks, the drive produced audible clicks and so could not fully correct the errors present.

Overall, average to good CD Error Correction mechanism.


4. DVD Error Correction

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the LG GSA-2266D 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.

Without errors or drops in speed and at a maximum reading speed of 8, the drive managed to read this SL test media all the way to the end.

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.

Here too, this time with SL media, the drive again managed to read through to the end without error or any significant drops in speed (yellow dots).

- 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.

In this test, the drive read through both layers at a maximum reading speed of 8X. There were no errors or significant drops in speed.

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.

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.

click to enlarge!

Even though CDSpeed reported some fluctuations in speed during the second layer, the drive managed to successfully complete the reading process in 19:06mins.

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.

click to enlarge!

Smooth reading, no speed fluctuations whatsoever. Good performance.

In all cases, the maximum reading speed was 8X. The drive did not drop speed while reading over the defective areas with any of our test discs except for the 541 test disc, but it still managed to complete the test without errors. Overall, very good error correction capabilities. The only comment would be perhaps a faster reading speed.


5. Protected Discs

At this point, we will check the drive's ability to read and backup protected CDs.

- AudioCD protections

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 protected audio discs tested, 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 to readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

- Recognition of the inserted disc (Yes/No).

- Ripping all wav files (with EAC's Burst Mode) to the hard disk through copy&compare function.

- Listening to the produced wav files to detect any possible click/skips.

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track in the CDS200 disc,

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

The test results are shown in the following table:

LG GSA 2166D Key2Audio CDS200
Unfortunately, the drive could not overcome the specific protection scheme. Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks

Only the CDS200 protected disc was read successfully.

- 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 which create problems during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

LG GSA 2166D CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors.

- Games Protections

To create the image of the various protected titles in the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, in accordance with 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.

The LG drive managed to achieve relatively fast times with all three protection schemes.

- Writing Tests

The GSA 2166D supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To check the drive's EFM correction status we used 5 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 (at maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.3105. Two different discs were recorded for each title; one with the "Rectify Sub-Channel Data" enabled and one with the function disabled.

- Quake 4 SafeDisc v4.6

- Fifa 2004 - SafeDisc v3.1x

The drive failed to create working backups of the above protected games.


6. CD Recording Tests

The GSA 52166D supports up to 48X writing speed with CD media, while it supports up to 32X with CD-RW.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive confirmed its maximum 48X writing speed. The test started at 21.53X and finished at 48.53X, having an average speed of 36.77X. Click on the image below for a larger view.

click to enlarge!

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, recording the data on several 700MB discs. The drive needed only 2:28 minutes to complete this task at the maximum 48X writing speed.

In the following graph we can see the recording times of the 2166D with various CD-R media.

The GSA-2166D supports 32X 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.

click to enlarge!

The drive starts the writing task at 16.10X and reaches a maximum of 32.18X having an average speed of 25.93X

- Overburning Test

The drive supports CD Overburning.


7. CD Writing Quality - Plextools

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 v2.28, and more specifically the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-716A (firmware v1.09).

- Summary

According to the above results from the Plextools Professional Quality Check utility, the BenQ and Philips media produced good quality, with zero C2 errors while TY media produced CU errors. In this test, any CU errors reported with any media indicate uncorrectable errors and constitutes a failed burn.


8. CD Writing Quality - Clover System

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

In this previous page, we checked three burned CD media with the Plextools Q-check utility. Now, we tested the same three media, with a more sophisticated and accurate utility, the Clover CDX Test. Unfortunately, it did not concur with the Plextools utility. As we can see from the above table, which presents the results in detail, all three media were found to be of bad quality, even BenQ which according to Plextools, was of very good quality with very low C1 count and levels. Philips media showed the best quality with a C grading.


9. DVD Writing Tests

- Writing Performance

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

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the writing strategy of the drive for both formats at 16X burning speed.

click to enlarge!

The drive successfully completed DVD writing at 16X in 5:44mins. The test started at 6.72X, reached a maximum writing speed of just under 16X (despite CD-DVD Speed reporting 12.91X) with an average speed of 11.83X. Once more, as with the previous LG drive tested (the 5169D), the drive tends to fluctuate in speed near the end of the disc.

The drive completed successful DVD writing of -R media at 16X speed in 5:51mins. The test started at 6.69X, reached a maximum writing speed of 15.67X and reported an average speed of 11.78X.

- Burning Tests

Overall, good writing times. Most of the media were burned at their certified speeds, except for three 16X media, which were burned lower speeds. With 8X media, things went pretty smoothly, while we even encountered overspeeding with Ricoh 8X -R media, which was burned at 16X. Best burn (speed wise) came with Datawrite/Ridisc media, burned in 5:32mins at 16X speed.

When using DVD+R media, things were even better, where we only encountered one media that was burned at lower than its certified speed (BenQ 8X burned at 4X with a reported time of 14:34mins).

- Comparison with other drives

Quite good times from the LG GSA2166D in comparison to the other two drives.

With rewritable media, the Samsung drive reported the best times, with the LG close behind.

- DVD Overburning Test

Unfortunately, the drive does not support DVD overburning for either of the -R or +R media formats.

- DVD-RAM

Now we will see how the drive performs when DVD-RAM media is inserted. According to the manufacturer's specs, the drive can read and write DVD-RAM media at the maximum speed of 5X.

According to Maxell: "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 test started at 3.23X burning speed and was completed in 12:26 mins with a max speed of 5.13X and a reported average speed of 4.74X. Note here that in the create data disc test, the drive does not enable WOPC with DVD-RAM. If we were to write the same amount of data with Nero and a DVD-RAM disc, it would take 30mins, more or less, for a full burn.


10. DVD Writing Quality - Page 1
In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing speed drops. 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

- BenQ 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Datawrite Titanium 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Datawrite Classic 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Maxell 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Plextor 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Prodisc(R04) 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Ricoh 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Traxdata 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Summary

With CDSpeed, most of the burned media produced erratic graphs, while with Plextools Pro, there are some cases with high PIE and POE levels and counts. Overall, average quality with some exceptions such as BenQ and Traxdata media which were very bad, and Verbatim and Optodisc which were very good.


11. DVD Writing Quality - 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 speed drops. 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

- BenQ 8X DVD+R @ 4X

- Bulkpaq 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Datasafe 8X DVD+R @ 8X

-Datawrite Titanium 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Ridisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- TY 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

At 8X burning speed, the results are far better, with almost all media reporting good results with both CDSpeed and Plextools Pro.


12. DVD Writing Quality - 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 speed drops. 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

- BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Datasafe 16X DVD-R @ 12X

- Datawrite Titanium 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Datawrite Classic 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Maxell 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- MKM 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Moser 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Prodisc (S05) 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc (F02) 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Ricoh 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Ridisc 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

Once more, mixed results. CDSpeed produced erratic graphs and in some cases could not complete the reading process. Plextools Pro reports high POE levels for most media. We could say that the performance with -R media at 16X can be considered as satisfactory, although barely.


13. DVD Writing Quality - 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 speed drops. 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

- Bulkpaq 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Datasafe 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Datawrite Mach4 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Prodisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ricoh 8X DVD-R @ 16X

- Traxdata 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- TY 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Summary

With 8X media, things are a little better but the POE levels remain high.


14. DVD Writing Quality - 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 speed drops. 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.

6X, 8X ±RW Writing Speed

- Summary

Far from satisfactory, the reported results indicate average too poor burning quality. Also note that MKM+RW media could not be read by both the LiteOn and Plextor drives, used in the quality checks.


15. DVD Writing Quality - Almedio

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 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.

- Ricoh 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Maxell 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- MKM 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD+R @ 16X

Two out of four media tested were found to be of good quality. Feel free to compare these results with the results on the previous pages with Plextools and CDSpeed. For example, Verbatim 16X DVD+R media which was among the best of the +R 16X media according to CDSpeed and Plextools, fails miserably with the Almedio checker.


16. DVDR DL - Page 1

We burned some DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL discs with data content. For this task we used "Create Data Disc" from Nero CDSpeed in order to fully burn the discs.

MKM DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

The drive started burning the media at 4.03X and maxed out at 8.06X with an average of 5.16X using ZCLV writing strategy. The burn ended after 23.20mins. Note here, that according to CDSpeed's graph, the writing speed dropped to 4X at the start of the second layer. A click on the above screen will provide a larger view of the CDSpeed graph.

MKM DVD-R DL 8X @ 2X

The test started at 2.02X and writing speed maxed out at 2.02X with an average speed of 2.00X, completing the burn in 53.37mins.


17. DVDR DL - Page 2

In order to test the LG GSA 2266D DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-716A drives, to scan the burned media.

MKM DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

Unfortunately, the Plextor drive could not read the specific media, even though the LiteOn drive managed to read both layers with a slight drop in speed during the layer change.

Verbatim DVD-R DL 8X @ 2X

Far from good quality, with the CDSpeed utility unable to complete the reading during the layer change and the high error values reported by Plextools Pro.

- Summary

A firmware addressing DL media compatibility and burning quality issues would be welcome. Poor DL burning quality.


18. LightScribe Feature

As mentioned, the GSA 2166D is a Super multi drive, supporting all the available formats and technologies, including Lightscribe, enabling the user to further customise the exterior of his burned CD media, replacing the old marker method with a more sophisticated picture "printed" on LS enabled media. Let us first take a quick glance at LS in general.

 

-What is LightScribe?

With a view to replacing the "old" fashioned CD markers, the LightScribe technology is an integrated system that with the combination of three key elements, manages to produce "precise" as it is said, CD and DVD labels. These three elements are the Lightscribe enabled drive, the specially dye coated discs, and the specific supported software. Note, that the use of specific coated media is required and cannot be done with any ordinary printable media.

-How it works?

In layman's terms, the LS enabled drive, uses a laser that emits light energy onto the thin dye coating of the disc (the label side of the media) chemically changing it so that visible points appear on the disc. As the disc spins inside the drive, the light beam marks even more points on the dye, following the pattern given to the drive's mechanism by the LS software mentioned previously. The result is a a precision image on the label side of the disc.

- LG 2166D LS feature

As we've already seen from the general specifications table at the beginning of this review, the LightScribe printing times mentioned, depend on the percentage of the surface of the media that we want to print on. These times are also listed below...

Printing Time
1070TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 36 minutes
800TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 28 minutes
530TPI 12cm Entire Disc less than 20 minutes

We managed to burn a full CD (LS enabled media is needed as described above, not just any media) and we then moved on to see how well the drive can print on the surface of the disc. The whole procedure took us around 30 mins to complete, which can be broken down into 4mins for the burn and 25-26mins to print. We used our default, custom made CDRinfo printing job for the LS media and the outcome is given below.

LightScribe feature is a definite plus for potential buyers who are fond of multi drives and the LS feature.


19. Booktype Setting

The drive supports the booktype change through Nero Burning Rom software, where the user is able to change the setting to the one that suits his needs, from the drive's properties tag. Note here, that the changes will be saved and take place every time a +R, +RW, +R DL media is inserted and burned with the Nero burning utility.

The default setting is Automatic, as we can seen in the screenshot. We tested a Traxdata 16X +R disc, which we burned with Nero and the automatic setting, and afterwards we used CDSpeed to verify that the booktype was changed to DVD-ROM.


20. Conclusion
As we mentioned at the beginning of this review, the LG GSA-2166D is the second external, latest release drive from LG, following the LG GSA-5169D. The 5169D had the One Touch recording function which defined it as a unique device. So what does the GSA-2166D have to distinguish it from the 5169D? Being a Super Multi drive, what else would we expect, but LightScribe support. Indeed, the GSA-2166D is a Super Multi device, with LS support among features like DVD-RAM as well as all the media formats.

Let's start by looking at its reading speed. The 2166D made quick work of all inserted media, for both CD and DVD format. What we really enjoyed, was the drive's performance with Write Once media, which was read at 16X speed, similar to the 5169D. DL speed is supported at 8X, while its ripping capabilities were satisfactory, although not that fast, with an average speed of 6.6X. The only drawback was with CD Pressed media, which was not read at the 48X maximum speed according to the manufacturer's specifications. No matter how many times we tried, we could only reach a maximum 42X reading speed.

Moving on to error correction, we can say that the drive can correct and read most defects. The CD error correction mechanism worked well with both the 721 and 726 test discs, even though we would have liked a perfect score with the 726 disc, as is the case with most of the latest release drives. With DVD test media, the drive did even better, reporting good reading with almost all media. There was a drop in speed in the second layer of the 541 test disc, but e reading was completed successfully.

With protected media, the drive's ripping mechanism faced an uphill battle. The standard games were ripped to our hard drive successfully and quite fast. But with the more advanced games, while they were ripped, they could not be backed up successfully. Audio extraction was a similar story, as the drive failed to rip our Key2Audio protected disc.

Burning capabilities of this device can be described as average to good, but not in all cases though. With 16X enabled media and at 16X burning speed, the drive did not manage to perform as well as we expected it too, since LG drives have always produced good burning results. The results were mixed, with sometimes poor CDSpeed graphs, other times bad Plextools scans, and occasionally both. As CDSpeed tends to be more reliable (due to its sensitivity with defective areas) we would say that overall, the burning quality was average. At 8X burning speed, things were better but still, we were getting only average to good quality burns. +RW and -RW burned media results were not satisfactory, neither were DL, with only 1 out of 2 media for each format producing successful discs. CD burning quality was poor, according to the Clover CDX test, which tends to be quite strict when it comes to quality criteria.

In the DVD-RAM arena, the scene remains the same as the previous releases, with 5X burning speed and 25 to 30mins average burning time for a full burn with Nero.

Among its features, CD Overburning is available, but unfortunately the drive does not support DVD Overburning. As always, bitsetting is supported through the automated feature from Nero Properties, and the end user can choose the desired setting upon starting burning session.

The drive's price ranges from US$100 to $US130, including VAT.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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