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Appeared on: Sunday, October 29, 2006
LiteOn LH-18A1P vGL03 Writing Quality


1. Introduction

We recently received the latest DVD burner from LiteOn, the LH-181AP. The drive offers the fastest available DVD recording speeds of 18x for DVD SL and 8X for DVD DL media, together with a high CD recording speed of 48x. It also supports DVD-RAM, with the impressive recording speed of 12x. At 18x writing speed for DVD-R / +R media, a 4.7GB compilation can be burned in around 5 minutes.

This review is a preview, concentrating primarily on the drive's quality with various media brands. A full review will follow soon.

Below is a summary of the specifications for this device:

12x DVD-RAM writing speed is supported with compliant media, currently available from Maxell and Panasonic. However, the availability of such discs (RAM2) is very limited - if at all - in Europe. Maxell will not ship the new media to Europe at all, which will disappoint many European owners of the new drive, to say the least.

Drive features include:


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Drive Info


2. Writing Strategies

Writing Strategies

Let's have a look at the drive's writing strategies for the highest supported writing speeds. In the following CDSpeed graphs, you can see the average writing speed for a full data compilation (4.38GB), as well as the corresponding recording times.

- DVD+R media @ 18X CAV

The specific results are with Taiyo Yuden 16x DVD+R media (YUDEN000 T03), which was the sole media burned at the maximum supported 18x speed.

The 18x CAV writing strategy resulted in an overall burn time of 5:16 minutes for a full disc. The average writing speed for the 18x CAV strategy is 13.61x.

 

 

 

- DVD-R media @ 16X CAV

The LiteON LH018A1P vGL03 did not manage to reach the 18x writing speed with other DVD-R media we tested, although it is certain that the Taiwanese company will add more MID codes in the drive's firmware with an update.

Above, we also have a successful burn at 16x CAV, with an average speed of 11.97x.

The procedure took 6:03 minutes, which is almost one minute slower than at 18x burning for DVD+R media. Actually, the 16x writing speed is a slightly slower higher due to the frequent checks by the drive's SmartBurn function (running OPC), which shows up as downward spikes in the transfer rate graph. In addition, the 16x burning process starts at 6.75x, which is lower than the 7.57x for the 18x strategy.

- DVD+RW media @ 8X CAV

This is typical for the latest DVD burners, 8x Z-CLV strategy illustrated below, with 8x DVD+RW media from Ricoh (RICOHJP W21).

- DVD-RW 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

The drive burned the 6x DVD-RW media from Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM 01RW6x01) in 11:01 minutes.

- DVD-R DL @ 8X Z-CLV

 

- DVD+R DL @ 8X Z-CLV

Similar writing strategies for both DVD-R and DVD+R DL media (Z-CLV), with average writing speeds of 6.82x and 6.81x, respectively.

Having an idea of the way the LiteOn LH-18A1P vGL03 treats the various DVD recordable/rewritable formats at the highest supported recording speeds, we proceed to the writing quality tests with various MIDs. In the following pages, we present a detailed report of the writing quality for each disc, measured with the DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2X system.

Each disc was burned at the maximum allowed writing speed and the DVD data compilation was created by with Nero CD DVD-Speed.

For all those who are not familiar with the measurements and the importance of the parameters provided by the DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2X system, we recommend reading this article.


3. Bulkpaq OPTODISC OR8 (000) DVD+R @8x

- Writing strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

Critical signals

A very interesting and useful tool of the DaTAVIEW software is QualityWeb. It is a dynamic viewing feature, that offers a clear and complete visual presentation of disc quality. In our example, all JC (jitter) POF, RADIAL1, RADIAL2, SVY, HFDO and PISum8 values are not graphically included within the inner area of the the red polygon and so show up as exceeding the quality limits:


4. YUDEN000 T02 (000) DVD+R @8x

- Writing strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurments

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- Critical Signals

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5. Datasafe CMC MAG E01 DVD+R @8x

\

- Writing Strategy

-Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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6. OptodiscR008 DVD-R @8x

- Writing strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical signals

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7. TTG02 8x DVD-R @8x

- Writing strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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8. CMC MAG AE1 DVD-R @8x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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9. PRODISC R05 (001) DVD-R @12x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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10. ProdiscS05 DVD-R @12x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measuremnts

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- Critical Signals

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11. Datawrite TTH02 DVD-R @16x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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12. DAXON016S DVD-R @16x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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13. MCC 03RG20 DVD-R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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14. DAXON AZ3 (000) DVD+R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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15. MAXELL 003(000) DVD+R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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16. Datawrite PRODISC R04 (004) DVD+R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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17. MCC 004 (000) DVD+R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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18. Philips INFOME R30 (003) DVD+R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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19. Ricoh CMC MAG AM3 DVD-R @16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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20. YUDEN000 T03 (000) DVD+R @18x

- Writing Strategy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

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21. Verbatim MKM 003 DVD+R DL @8x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

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- Critical Signals

Layer 0:

Layer 1:


22. RITEK F1 DVD-R @ 16x

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

This disc was not readable with either CD DVD-Speed or the DaTARIUS system. Attempts to read it with CD DVD-Speed produced the above error.


23. RICOHJPN R03 (004)

- Writing Startegy

- Reading

This disc was also not readable with either CD DVD-Speed or the DaTARIUS system. Attempts to read it with CD DVD-Speed produced the above error.


24. RICOHJPN D01 (002)

- Writing Strategy

This disc could not be written with CD DVD-Speed, producing the above error.


25. MKM 01RD30 DVD-R DL @ 4x

- Writing

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

- Critical Signals

Layer 0:

Layer 1:


26. MKM03RD30 DVD-R DL @ 8x

- Writing

- Reading

- Writing Quality Measurements

- Critical Signals

Layer 0:

Layer 1:


27. Conclusion

Liteon LogoIf gut feeling counts for anything, this drive didn't feel right. It seemed like a drive that was pushed quickly onto the market without all the kinks ironed out yet. Perhaps LiteOn was eager to get an 18x burner out, but at what cost. Of course, there's always the firmware upgrades on which we've come to rely on from all manufacturers, but I certainly wouldn't rush out to buy this drive unless major improvements are made. There were a number of discs that could either not be read after being burned, or not burned at all.

Since this review is a preview, more details will be made available soon in the upcoming full review which will include our usual array of tests.

Price for the drive is around US$40.



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