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Appeared on: Wednesday, December 26, 2007
LITE-ON DVDRW-LH20A1L


1. Introduction

The LH20A1L drive is LITE ON's brand new burner from the "Super All Write" series and it is supposed to be one of the most versatile high-performance half-height internal drives that LITE ON has ever offered. Its price is incredibly affordable (US $43.99) and it comes with the Nero 7.0 OEM bundle Software package.

- Features

- Specifications

The heart of the drive is the Mediatech MT1899LE chipset.

- DVD Info Pro

- Nero Info Tool


2. CD - DVD Reading

For our CD transfer rate tests, we used the Nero CD-Speed utility and a set of data and audio CD-R/RW/ROM. The drive can read CD media at a maximum speed of 48X.

For each CDSpeed graph, you can click on the image to see the complete screenshot, which includes the measurement results.

- CD-ROM

- US RW

The following CD Speed graph shows the reading performance with US-RW media. For all the CDSpeed graphs, you can click on the image to see the full CDspeed snapshot.

- AudioCD

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was 33.19X with a quality score of 100.

- 90 mins Audio disc

- 99 mins Audio disc

As seen in the test results above, the LITE-ON drive failed to read both the 90 mins and 99 mins audio discs. The reading session of the 90 mins audio disc began at a speed of 1X, and remained at that speed until producing an "unrecovered read error" at the 45min mark. With the 99 min disc, despite the fact that the drive managed to read to the end of the recorded surface, had a lot of speed deviations after theb65 min mark and eventually produced an "Unrecovered read error" at the end.

- DVD Format

Now let's have a look at how the drive performs with DVD media. This time, a set of SL and DL DVD media was used. The drive is capable of reading at 20X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 8X for dual layer DVD ROM media.

DVD-ROM SL media -

PTP DVD-ROM -

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 its outer range.

OTP DVD-ROM -

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 and progresses towards the inner part of the disc.

- DVD-R

 

- DVD-RW

- DVD+R

- DVD+RW

- DVD-R DL

- DVD+R DL

Perfectly smooth graphs in general from the LITE-ON drive, which performed very well with our DVD reading test media.

- DVD Ripping speed.

Average - 11,855 kB/s (8.6x)
Maximum - 16,787 kB/s (12.1x)


3. CD Error Correction
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 : 750657
Errors (Loudness)
Num 39501
Avg : -73.3 dB(A)
Max : -23.0dB(A)
Error Muting
Num : 2509
Avg : 1 Samples
Max : 9 Samples
Skips
Num 0
Avg : 0.0 Samples
Max : 0 Samples
Total Test Result
77.2 points (of 100.0 maximum)

A good score from the LiteOn drive. Total error count is low and there are no skipped samples.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num : 0
Errors (Loudness)
Num : 0
Avg : -174 dB(A)
Max : -174dB(A)
Error Muting
Num : 0
Avg : 0.0 Samples
Max : 0 Samples
Skips
Num : 0
Avg : 0.0 Samples
Max : 0 Samples
Total Test Result
100.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is another 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 reproduced through a software multimedia player (e.g. 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
LH-20A1S
5/5
5/5
5/5
0/5
0/5

The drive managed to correctly play the first three tracks. Problems occurred with the fourth and fifth tracks. An average performance from the LH-20A1L in this test.

Overall, the drive is probably slightly above average when reading defective CDs.


4. DVD Error Correction

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive (error correction) 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 a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Pretty smooth results with this artificially scratched, single layer DVD-ROM from ABEX.

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.

Speed drop from 12X to 4X when the LITE-ON drive reaches the artificial fingerprint, but otherwise smooth reading.

- 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.

This is a slightly worrying graph. The first layer was successfully and flawlessly read, while the drive made heavy going of the second layer. The artificial defects on the second layer caused quite a few problems for the LITE-ON although it did complete the reading process and there were no errors.

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.

Drops in reading speed just after the first defect on both layers of the disc.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

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.

Smooth graphs and positive results with both the DVD-VIDEO discs.

The DVD Error Correction mechanism of the LITE-ON drive produced mediocre results, having had trouble with the second layer in some of the dual layer test discs.


5. Ritek CDR

For this test, each CD-R disc was burned to its maximum capacity and at its maximum speed. Then the same disc is read with the CDSpeed software, and the disc was scanned for digital errors (BLER, C1 and C2) with our system provided by Clover Systems. To simplify the presentation, we present the BLER, E31 and E32 error rates for each disc, which unveil the most serious errors on each disc.

Disc Info

CDspeed provides information about the inserted media as well as the maximum supported burning speed. For more details, you can click on the images.

Writing strategy - 48X (37.05X Average)
Writing time - 2:40 min

Reading strategy - 48X (36.88X Average)


Writing Quality - Clover Systems

Nero CD Speed produced smooth graphs in both the writing and reading sessions with this Ritek CDR, but the Clover Systems test discovered an over the limited E32 count and FAILED the disc.

- About Clover Systems

The Clover Systems CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a 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 speed of 4X.

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.


6. MoserBaer CDR

Disc Info

CDspeed provides information about the inserted media as well as the maximum supported burning speed. For more details, you can click on the images.

Writing strategy - 48X (37.27X Average)
Writing time - 2:39 min

Reading strategy - 48X (37.11X Average)


Writing Quality - Clover Systems

E32 errors (uncorrectable) is over the limits while there are some other (correctable) errors over the limits also.


7. Verbatim CDR

Disc Info

CDspeed provides information about the inserted media as well as the maximum supported burning speed. For more details, you can click on the images.

Writing strategy - 48X (37.01X Average)
Writing time - 2:49 min

Reading strategy - 48X (37.02X Average)


Writing Quality - Clover Systems

The results here are perfect.


8. Verbatim CDRW

Disc Info

CDspeed provides information about the inserted media as well as the maximum supported burning speed. For more details, you can click on the images.

Writing strategy - 10X (10.01X Average)
Writing time - 8:59 min

Reading strategy - 32X (26.23X Average)


Writing Quality - Clover Systems

The E12 flag is over the limit but this kind of error is correctable so the FAIL here is not so severe.


9. DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x

The DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x

The DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x is one of the cornerstones in DVD quality control equipment, and is truly unique in the industry. It allows checking of replicated DVDs with single and dual layer structure (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-14, DVD-18) and written DVD recordable, at 1X and 2X speed. It is based on the Pulstec Reference Pickup and Drive, developed in close co-operation with Pulstec and according to the standards of the DVD Forum.

In short, the device's features include:

An explanation of the various parameters the DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x offers is available here. At the same page, you can read more details about the error signals and a brief analysis the possible meaning of its parameter in the overall quality of each burn.

In the following pages, we present the writing quality measurements of various DVD recordable and rewritable media, burned with the LiteOn LH-2B1S.


10. CMC MAG AM3

Media Info -

Writing - 16X (12.06X average) in 5:53 mins

Reading 16X (12.16X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

The reported POFs did not affect the playability of the disc, at least not on the LiteOn drive itself. However, these uncorrectable errors are not acceptable and may be a problem on other players.


11. DAXON 008S

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (7.76X average) in 8:23 mins

Reading 16X (12.18X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Despite the relatively low recording speed (8x) with the specific MID, POFs were reported in the outer area of the disc.


12. MCC 03RG20

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (7.80X average) in 8:26 mins

The writing speed failed to reach the 18X level.

Reading 16X (12.18X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

One single POF here. The scanning test still fails, even though the rest of the measurements are not that worrying.


13. OPTODISC R016

Media Info -

Writing - 16X (12.06X average) in 5:55 mins

Reading (Failure)

The LITE-ON drive here fails to completely read the Optodisc's DVD-R.

DaTARIUS Scans -

A large area could not be scanned and the burning quality is anything but decent. "Red" flags whose values are well beyond the limits. This can definitely be considered as a total failure.


14. TTH02

Media Info -

Writing - 18X (13.61X average) in 5:21 mins

Reading 16X (12.18X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A lot of digital errors that span a large area of the disc. One more failure for the LITE-ON drive.


15. TYG03

Media Info -

Writing - 20X (14.68X average) in 5:05 mins

Reading 16X (12.18X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

POF and PISum8 flag are over the limits. As before, only a small part of the disc is not affected by them. Pretty worrying results and barely acceptable performance from the LITE-ON drive.


16. MKM 03RD30

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (6.80X average) in 18:28 mins

Reading 12X (9.19X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

- Layer 0

- Layer 1

Digital errors on both layers.


17. MKM 01RW6X01

Media Info -

Writing - 6X (5.75X average) in 11:05 mins

Reading 12X (9.22X Average)

AL Checker -

Uncorrectable errors here too. The LITE-ON drive keeps producing failed burns.


18. CMC MAG E01

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (7.81X average) in 8:21 mins

Reading 16X (12.20X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

No POF's here, but the PISum8 is way over the limit.


19. CMC MAG M01

Media Info -

Writing - 16X (12.04X average) in 6:01 mins

Reading 16X (12.19X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another failed disc here also, not that many errors but still not passable.


20. DAXON AZ3

Media Info -

Writing - 18X (13.54X average) in 5:20 mins

Reading 16X (12.14X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

This is a case where digital errors occur somewhere near the end of the scanning session. Again, very high PISum8 count which naturally produces POF errors.


21. MCC 004

Media Info -

Writing - 16X (12.07X average) in 5:50 mins

Reading 16X (12.17X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

And again, high PISum8 count occurring at the end of the scanning session but fortunately it does not produce any POF errors. The rest of the results are not that bad though.


22. PRODISC R05

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (7.76X average) in 8:18 mins

The writing speed fails to reach 16X.

Reading 16X (12.16X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

No digital errors here.


23. YUDEN000 T03

Media Info -

Writing - 20X (14.66X average) in 5:02 mins

Reading 16X (12.17X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another failed disc thanks to the POF error. Also, a portion of the disc could not be scanned.


24. MKM 003

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (6.80X average) in 17:48 mins

Reading 16X (9.19X Average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

-Layer 0

-Layer 1

Increased digital error levels near the end of the scanning session on both layers of this Verbatim's +R dual layer media.


25. MKM A03

Media Info -

Writing - 8X (7.23X average) in 8:05 mins

Reading 12X (9.24X Average)

AL Checker -

High PI count but no uncorrectable errors.


26. M01J5006

Media Info -

Writing - 5X (4.94X average) in 11:27 mins

Reading 5X (4.64X Average)


27. MXL22

Media Info -

Writing - 12X (10.00X average) in 6:07 mins

Reading (Failure)

The LITE-ON drive manages to burn, but fails to completely read the 12X DVD-RAM media.


28. Media List - Booktype - DVD Overburning

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD quality measurements for this drive. Note, that each disc was measured under the same conditions with the Datarius equipment. On the left side of the table you can find the discs that did not produce uncorrectable digital errors, while on the right side are the rest of the discs. For detailed measurement data, visit the corresponding pages.

Media type
Digital errors within limits
Digital errors exceed limits
DVD-R DAXON008S burned at 8X CMC MAG.AM3 burned at 16X
  MCC03RG20 burned at 18X
  OPTODISC R016 burned at 16X
  TTH02 burned at 18X
  TYG03 burned at 20X
DVD+R PRODISC R05 001 (01h) burned at 8X CMC MAG M01 000 (00h) burned at 16X
  DAXON AZ3 000 (00h) burned at 18X
  MCC 004 000 (00h) burned at 16X
  YUDEN T03 000 (00h) burned at 20X
DVD-R DL   MKM 03RD30 burned at 8X
DVD+R DL   MKM 003 000 (00h) burned at 8X
DVD-RW   MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6X
DVD+RW   MKM A03 000 (00h) burned at 8X

- Booktype Settings

The LITE ON LH20A1L drive supports the Booktype feature as seen in the snapshot above.

- DVD Overburning

The LITE ON LH20A1L drive does not support overburning with DVD recordable media, according to Nero CDSpeed software.


29. Conclusion

The LH20A1L drive is LITE ON's brand new burner in the "Super All Write" series. As with most 20X compatible combo drives, the LITE-ON LH20A1L drive was not what someone would call "an ordinary case". Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons.

One of this drive's main advantages, is the fact that its price is among the lowest (US $43.99). On the other hand, the drive's mediocre performance - mostly as far as writing is concerned - gave us a lot of headaches, while at the same time, justifying its low price. The large amount of digital errors that occurred when we scanned the burned discs, had us rubbing our eyes, and surprised at just how many digital errors can occur in one single scanning test.

DVD overburning is not supported by the drive, but booktype is. The CD Error Correction mechanism of the drive is slightly better than average and is one of its few pros. At the same time, the resulting graphs produced from the DVD Error Correction tests, were not encouraging with quite a few speed deviations with our defective DL discs.

We should also mention here, that the support for the Lightscribe disc labeling, is definitely a pro.

We usually nd by saying that future firmware upgrades could address many issues related to the writing strategy of a drive with the various DVD brands. This could be the case here, although we would welcome work on new firmware that truly does fix current MID issues and not just adds support for new MIDs. This of course holds true for all ODD manufacturers.



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