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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
LITEON DH-20A4P EZ-DUB


1. Introduction, features

Lite-On released last February its second generation of DVD burners featuring the EZ-DUB function, a patented new feature that makes copying easier and more hassle-free for users than ever before. Two buttons are placed on the top side of the external drive, allowing easy disc copy or creation of DVD data compilations without needing to have any third-party burning software installed on your PC.

With its high writing speeds, the new DH20A4P comes to claim the top position among the external DVD-ReWriters. Its reading speeds are also set high enough, complementing its good specification list. Let's take a look at the key features:

- Key Features

- Specifications

DVD Family
Write
DVD+R 20X maximum by CAV
DVD-R 20X maximum by CAV
DVD+R9 8X maximum by Zone CLV
DVD-R9 8X maximum by Zone CLV
DVD-RAM 12X maximum by PCAV
ReWrite
DVD+RW 8X by Z-CLV
DVD-RW 6X CLV
Read 16X maximum by CAV
Access time 160ms

CD Family
Write
CD-R 48X by CAV
ReWrite
CD-RW 32X maximum by Z-CLV in UltraSpeed disc
Read 48X(7200KB/sec) maximum by CAV
Access time 160ms
PC Required
Pentium 4 1.3GHz or higher CPU and 128MB or higher RAM are required.
HDD must have access time < 20ms; with a minimum of 650MB free
space.
9GB free space for creating a DVD image file (9GB for double layer; 5GB for single layer).
Compatibility
Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP
MTBF (Life)
70000 POH
S/N Ration
> 60dB
General
Environment
Operating 5°C to 35°C; Relative Humidity: 15% to 80%
Non-Operating -40°C to 60°C; Relative Humidity: 15% to 95%
Dimension 165(W) x 58(H) x 192(D) mm
Weight 1.3Kg

- Retail package

The drive's retail package includes the following:

LiteOn DX-20A4PU EZ-DUB external drive

Quick installation and operation guide

CD kit for application software (EZ-DUB software, Nero 7 Essentials)

Hi-Speed USB 2.0 standard cable

AC/DC power adapter (100V to 240V)

The drive comes with a very stylish external case as you can see in the photos below:

 

On the rear panel, you can see the USB and power ports, as well as an On/OFF switch.

Once powered on, the two buttons placed on the top side of the drive light up. These are used for the EZ-DUB operation, as we will see later on.

Our test sample was manufactured on the November 2007 in China.

- Installation

The drive was connected as a USB device, and was recognized as "ATAPI DVD A DH20A4P".


2. CD/DVD reading tests

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. The results of two other 20x DVD burners have been included in the charts for comparison.

For each CDSpeed graph, you can click on the image to see the complete screenshot of the software, including the measuring 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 33.20X with a quality score of 100.

- 90/99 mins Audio disc

Both the 90min and the 99 min audio CDs gave a read error, as you can see in the screenshots above.

- 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 12X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 12X 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

- DVD Ripping speed

Average 11.911KB/s (8.6x)
Maximum 17.127KB/s (12.4x)

-Notes.

Reading of both pressed and recordable DVD media produced slight fluctuations at the speed. However, the media was read successfully and the average speed was OK.


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 : 397810731
Errors (Loudness)
Num 1882477
Avg : -23.7dB(A)
Max : -3.2dB(A)
Error Muting
Num :759291
Avg : 1,1 Samples
Max : 470 Samples
Skips
Num 15
Avg :2760.1 Samples
Max 2939 Samples
Total Test Result
47.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2accuracy : 50.1%

Not a good score presenting a high level of noise.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num 397812496
Errors (Loudness)
Num 1882487
Avg : -23.7dB(A)
Max : -3.2dB(A)
Error Muting
Num :760631
Avg : 1.1 Samples
Max :470 Samples
Skips
Num :15
Avg :2760.1 Samples
Max :2939Samples
Total Test Result
47.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2accuracy :50.0%

Same results here, too, with a big amount of noise being generated. Keep in mind, though, that this noise is not always audible.

- 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
LITE ON-DH20A4P-9P54
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 for DH20A4P


4. DVD error correction tests

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 the Nero CDSpeed software and not the usual CDVD Benchmark, since the latter does not work with external drives. 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.

 

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.

 

Both SL media were read successfully with only some speed fluctuations appearing.

- 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.

 

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 two DL media were also read successfully, overcoming all the defects.

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.

 

The drive was not able to read the disc, as it approached the end of the first layer.

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.

A good reading here, overcoming any defects.


5. CD-R burning - Ritek 48x

For this test (and for all ensuing tests with CD-R media), the 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

- Writing strategy

16x (16.04x Average Speed/ Elapsed time 5:30)

Although we had chosen the 48X speed for this test, the drive burned the disc at 16X CLV.

- Reading speed

48,17x( 36,20x Average Speed )

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

No uncorrectable errors were reported; nice burning quality.

- 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. CD-R burning - CMC MAG 48x

-Disc Info

CMC Magnetics 48x

- Writing strategy

Average writing speed 37.42x (48x) writing time 02:37

- Reading speed

48.05x (36.45x Average speed)

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

Again, nice burning quality with no uncorrectable errors.


7. CD-RW burning - Verbatim 32x

-Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

- Writing strategy

32x (Average writing speed 24.50x) wtiting time 03:51

- Reading speed

33.19x (25.52x Average speed )

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

Almost flawless writing here, with only some correctable errors showing up.


8. About the DaTARIUS 2x Analyzer

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:

Analysis of pre-recorded DVDs, single and dual layer, and written DVD Recordable
Analysis of pre-recorded DVDs, single and dual layer, and written DVD recordable
Double and single speed analysis
Double-check function at reference speed
Double-check function at reference speed
Multi-dimensional calibration
HF, jitter, mechanical and tracking parameters checked
Radial tilt control, focus offset compensation and slicing level adjustment for jitter measurement
Local defect detection/missing pits
Error flag analysis (PI-errors, PI-fail, PO-fail)
According to DVD Forum specification
Double-Check function
Control datasimulation
DVD-9 OTP sector number check

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 burner.


9. DVD-R burning - CMCMAG AM3 16x

We start our DVD writing quality measurements with DVD-R media. A variety of different MIDs were selected and burned at the maximum allowed speed. In each of the following pages, you will find detailed information about each disc, the burning and reading procedure as well as the related signal measurements that construct the overall quality picture for each disc.

You can always navigate across to the different MIDs in this review, using the page navigation drop down menu.

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.06x average) in 05:55min

- Reading - 16X (11.85X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Average start for the DH20A4P.The test reported some uncorrectable errors..


10. DVD-R burning - MCC 03RG20 18x

-Media Info

- Writing - 18x (13,47x average) in 05:24min

- Reading - 15,15X (12,00X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Bad burning quality with huge error rate values. We can also note that approaching the disc's end, the POF/PISum8 value was increasing along with the Jitter value. Readability was also affected as you can see in the CDSpeeed reading graph.


11. DVD-R burning - PRODISCS05 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11,94x average) in 06:17min

- Reading - 8,27X (10,98X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Huge problems here with many POF and PISum8 errors.


12. DVD-R burning - RITEKF1 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12,12x average) in 05:57min

- Reading - 15,87X (12,02X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

This is a relatively good burn, at least compared to what we have seen in the previous results of the LiteOn frive. A single POF was reported but the disc was readable.


13. DVD-R burning - TTH02 18x

-Media Info

- Writing - 18x (13,36x average) in 05:27min

- Reading - 15,94X (12,03X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

High error rates here especially toward the end of the data area.


14. DVD-R burning - TYG03 20x

-Media Info

- Writing - 20x (12,07x average) in 05:55min

- Reading - 16,09X (11,96X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A very nice burn with the Yuden media. The test did not report any uncorrectable errors and the PISum8 were within limits.


15. DVD+R burning - DAXON AZ3 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12,04x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - 13,97X (11,57X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

This is a very nice burn showing good burning quality.


16. DVD+R burning - MAXELL 003 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12,11x average) in 05:51min

- Reading - 16,11X (12,03X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

An unacceptable burn with many error rates constantly over limit.


17. DVD+R burning - MCC 004 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.09x average) in 05:52min

- Reading - 16X (10.06X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another disc which might be unreadable at all having lots of PISum8 and POF errors not to mention that the Jitter is really beyond the limits. Also taking a look at the first and second CDSpeed graph we can observe that the disc was unreadable a bit before the end of disc.


18. DVD+R burning - RPODISC R05 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.95x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - 16,08X (11.92X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

The test reported some uncorrectable errors. Furthermore, the DaTARIUS Analyzer was not able to perform measurements over the complete area of the disc.


19. DVD+R burning - RICOHJPN R03 004 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12,09x average) in 05:52min

- Reading - 12X (11,46X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another bad performance for the LiteOn drive, producing many uncorrectable errors.


20. DVD+R burning - RPODISC R04 16x

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12,09x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - 1,92X (8,02X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Reporting huge amounts of errors at some parts of the disc, made also the CD Speed sharply drop down the speed. Furthermore, the DaTARIUS Analyzer was not able to perform measurements over the complete area of the disc.


21. DVD+R burning - YUDEN000 T03 18x

-Media Info

- Writing - 20x (12.06x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - 16X (11,90X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another unacceptable burn with enormous error rate values.


22. DVD-RW burning - MKM 01RW6X01 6x

-Media Info

- Writing - 4x (3,99x average) in 15:21min

- Reading - 12,17X (9,09X average)

Almedio Scans -

No uncorrectable errors. Good writing quality.


23. DVD+RW burning - MKM A03 8x

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7,22x average) in 08:38min

- Reading - 12,19X (9,10X average)

Almedio Scans -

Good writing quality with no uncorrectable errors.


24. DVD-R DL burning - MKM 03RD30 8x

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (6,78x average) in 18:33min

- Reading - 12,15X (9,08X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

-Layer 0

-layer1

s

d

a

Good burning quality on both layers with no uncorrectable errors being reported.


25. DVD+R DL burning - MKM 003 8x

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (6,78x average) in 18:40min

- Reading - 12,20X (9,13X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

-Layer 0

aa

q

ww

-layer1

s

d

a

Average burning quality with some uncorrectable errors being reported.


26. DVD-RAM burning - MXL22 12x

-Media Info

- Writing - 12x (9.99x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - failed


27. Summary of DVD recording tests

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD quality measurement tests. 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 List

Media type
Digital errors within limits
Digital errors exceed limits
DVD-R
Maxell RITEKF1 burned at 16X. CMC MAG. AM3 burned at 16x
TYG03 burned at 20x Verbatim MCC 03RG20 burned at 18x
  ProdiscS05 burned at 16x
  Datawrite TTH02 burned at 18X.
DVD+R
Daxon AZ3 000 (00h) burned at 16x. Maxell MAXELL 003 burned at 16X.
  Verbatim MCC 004 000 (00h) burned at 16x
  PRODISC R05 001 (01h) burned at 16x
  RICONJPN R03 004 (04h) burned at 16x
  PRODISC R04 004 (04h) burned at 16x
  YUDEN000 T03 000 (00h) burned at 20x
DVD+R DL   Verbatim MKM 003 000 (00h) burned at 8x
DVD-R DL Verbatim MKM 03RD30 burned at 8x  
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 000 (00h) burned at 8x  
DVD-RW Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6x  

- Booktype Settings

The booktype feature is supported for both DVD+R D L , DVD+RW and DVD+R media.

- DVD Overburning

As we can see, the drive supports a bit of overburning of DVD recordable media, according to CDSpeed.


28. EZ-DUB page 1

Working with LiteOn's EZ-DUB function requires you to install the software that is included on the bundled CD-ROM disc.

The ' FILE' button placed on the top of the drive allows users to back-up data from the PC, in 3 simple steps

After insterting a blanc recordable DVD disc on the drive, we press the ' FILE' button once, and the following window pops up:

We now drag and drop the files/folders we want to burn, on the specified icon of the EZ-DUB app.

The size meter shows us how many MBytes of data we have selected for burning, and compares it to the capacity of known CD/DVD formats.

Then, we press the ' FILE' button again, and we insert a blank disc of appropriate capacity.

First, the software creates the directories and temporarily stores the information required for the compilation on the HDD.

Soon enough, the burning starts.

The burning process has finished and now we can eject our disc. Note that user cannot control the burning speed and it is decided by the drive.


29. EZ-DUB page 2

The ' DUB' button allows users to make a direct copy of a CD or DVD in three simple steps

We press the ' DUB' button and we insert the source disk.

dvd_image 

The app starts writing image file to disc, in order to burn it on a new disc later.

When prompted, we insert a blank disc in the drive.

The new disc burning begins.

DVD/CD media duplication completed successfully!


30. Final words

LiteOn's latest external DVD-ReWriter is the DH20A4P. Supporting burning of DVD media with up to 20X, this drive should be one of the top as far as external writers are concerned. LiteOn has definitely done a very good job in the aesthetics, with the drive to easily find a position on your desk.

The EZ-DUB function is very handy for quick disc copy tasks and makes this drive unique in the market. It is also very useful for simple data compilations, when all you need is to drop some files on a DVD disc and go.

Starting with CD/DVD reading and error correction tests we have to say that the drive's performance was mediocre. Reading speed was good but the error correction mechanisms were not good enough. One of our defective discs was not readable by the DH20A4P, while other drives of the market can successfully read them all. Furthermore, there were some fluctuations in the reading speed, as the drive read the defective area of discs.

The writing speed of the drive did not manage to meet the specifications, as some discs, although recognized as "20X compatible" were burned at a maximum of 16-18X. In addition ,burning of some other discs produced fluctuations of the writing speed, thus slowing down the whole process.

Proceeding to the writing quality tests, the results were not very pleasing. Almost all DVDs produced POF (uncorrectable errors) and some of them produced extremely high levels of uncorrectable errors. Nevertheless, they were all readable the drive, except the DVD-RAM disc. CD writing quality was good, producing no uncorrectable errors.

Generally the drive didn't leave us the best impression. It is obvious that the firmware installed is still in early stages, and we hope that we will be able to run some tests again as soon as we have the drive flashed.



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