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Appeared on: Monday, June 29, 2009
Optiarc AD7240S


1. Features, specifications

Sony Optiarc, a subsidiary of Sony Group, has released a new high-end DVD burner. The AD-7240S is one of the few t DVD burner to achieve a 24x burning rate.

According to Optiarc, this speed 'miracle' is reliable thanks to Auto Strategy Technology, which was first seen in the predecessor series AD-7200. When you burn a DVD, the drive always reads a section of the media in advance so that the writing head can be optimally adjusted. Adaptive Self Tuning also delivers high performance because the drive automatically adapts to the disc and the hardware environment in every burning process to compensate quality fluctuation.

Sony Optiarc's new flagship product comes with a serial ATA interface. It burns DVDs in +/-R format at up to 24x speed and CDs at up to 48x speed. In DVD-RAM and DVD+R9 format, and on double layer DVD-R media, the Sony Optiarc AD-7240S writes at up to 12x speed. DVD+RW discs are written at up to 8x speed and DVD-RWs at up to 6x speed. The AD-7240S achieves up to 16x reading speed with DVDs and 48x reading speed with CDs. Other features of the new drive include buffer under run protection as well as an automatically controlled speed of DVD / VCD / CD-DA reading during data extraction for smooth reading.

The drive is currently sold in Europe and the United States for about €22 / (bulk version). Optiarc is also offering a Lightscribe version of the drive (AD-7241S).

We received the drive without any accessories or software in the package.

The rear panel is typical and has a power and SATA interfaces.

Let's take a look at the drive's internal board. It is recommended not to open the case of your drive since that would void the warranty.

You can click on each picture for a larger view:

Click for HD image

The drive is based on the NEC MC-10045 system LSI (SCOMBO 8).

The SoC supports:

Its basic functions include:

Built-in CPU functionality

The drive was installed on our test PC and was recognized under Windows XP as "Optiarc DVD RW AD-7240S":


2. CD DVD reading tests

For our CD/DVD transfer rate tests we used the Nero Disc Speed utility and a set of data and audio CD-R/RW/ROM media. Here we test the maximum reading speed of the Optiarc drive for each type of disc. For comparison, we have included the corresponding reading results of another 24x DVD burner, the LiteOn IT IHAS-324 (based on MediaTEK SoC).

-CD-ROM

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 36.67x 37.05X

- US RW

The following CD Speed graph shows the reading performance with US-RW media.

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 31.27x 30.59x

- AudioCD

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was 28.49X with a quality score of 99.1 out of 100.

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 28.49x 33.11x

Digital Audio Extraction or DAE is important when we try to read the files stored on an audio CD and store them in our hard disk drive. The procedure is not always that simple and the fidelity of the extracted data depend on the way each drive handles these data.

The majority of the software that support this procedure, commonly known as "ripping", will just read the audio files and store them on your hard disk. However, this approach is not recommended for all drives, since it may result to read or sync errors if your drive does not support report of C2 error pointer information and also what the author of the EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software describes as "accurate stream" and " non-caching."

According to EAC, the Optiarc AD-7240S drive does not support "caching ", but it offers "Accurate stream" and reports "C2 error pointer information

Accurate stream and C2 error reporting is always welcome and contribute to reliable and fast audio extraction. Generally, if you select a drive for extraction better have a look that the drive does not cache audio data.

If you are sure about the physical condition of your audio CD and you need faster extractions, you may chose other utilities such as the CD DAE software. A typical ripping task finished at an average reading speed of 28.7X, using CD DAE:

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 28.7x 33.6x

- 90 mins Audio disc

 

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 36.78x 36.98x

- DVD Format

Now let's take 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 16X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 12X for dual layer DVD ROM media.

DVD-ROM SL media -

 

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 12.04x 12.12x

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.

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 8.85x 9.14x

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.

Optiarc AD-7240S LiteON IHAS-324
Average Speed 8.85x 9.13x

DVD-R- Average read 12.07x

 

DVD-RW - Average read 9.77x

 

DVD+R - Average read 12.06x

DVD+RW Average read 9.79x

DVD+R DL

 

DVD-R DL

 

DVD Ripping speed -

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

  Optiarc AD-7140S
Average 11.761KB/s (8,5x)
Maximum 16.451KB/s (11.9x)

Summary

The reading process of almost all media was completed without read errors and at speeds that match the drive's specifications. In most cases, however, the Optiarc drive was slightly slower than it's competitor, the LiteON IHAS-324.


3. CD error correction tests

This series of tests checks the drive's ability to correct/conceal possible erroneous data after reading artificially scratched / defective audio discs.

Using a CD-R in best shape to do the DAE test is generally not a safe way to test the drive's error correction capabilities. If your drive would not read audio CDs error free from an error free disc, you would probably bring the drive back to the vendor. It is far more interesting to see how a drive is behaving under critical conditions (which will also tell something about the DAE quality on CDs that have manipulated C2 error information on purpose). For that a special test CD like the ABEX discs from ALMEDIO can be used, that can be used to do a comparison between different drives. The ABEX test disc is actually an AudioCD that has artificial scratches and other physical disc error patterns on its surface.

Using a special software, we compare two audio files using FFT analysis. The first audio file has been extracted by a normal audio disc without physical error patterns on it . The second one is the result of the extraction of the ABEX test discs which hold the same audio tracks, but it also has specific defects on its surface. The similarity factor of the the two tracks unveils the error correction capabilities of the drive.

The differences between the two compared tracks are translated to a signal (noise) illustrated in the following graphs. Each graph tells a lot about the abilities of the drive. The quality of the optical system (and/or of the error correction capabilities of the firmware) is shown in at which time index the error start. The error hiding qualities are shown when the wedge gets bigger. The X position of a grid line is always a start of a new minute position on the CD (in play time, up to 74 min). The Y axis shows the dB(A) value of the error in the extracted file. The 0 dB(A) baseline at the top is marked slightly different. So the graph shows a range of 6 dB(A) down to -120.0 dB(A). Each line represents 6 dB(A) of volume (6 dB(A) louder means that the sound is double as loud).

- ABEX TCD-721R

 

Errors total Num : 804303
Errors (Loudness) Num : 46002 Avg : -73.9 dB(A) Max : -18.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 2904 Avg : 1,1 Samples Max : 34 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.9 points(of 100.0 maximum

The drive's performance on this disc can be commented using the graph above. Error correction is good here, starting at the point where the defect is starting to grow, but error hiding mechanisms are average. We can tell that by the noise that almost all the time exceeds that -60 db(A) level, especially after the 32min mark where the scratch on the surface of the disc becomes bigger.

- ABEX TCD-726R

Errors total Num : 6779
Errors (Loudness) Num : 3902 Avg : -174 dB(A) Max : -174dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 0 Avg : 0 Samples Max :0 Samples
Skips Num :0 Avg :0,0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 100 points(of 100.0 maximum)

Very good error correction mechanisms, providing a very good performance. No skips were performed, as well as no mutings.

- 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
Optiarc AD-7240S 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5

 

A pretty good performance for the Optiarc AD-7240S, as it successfully played only the first 4 tracks.


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 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.

The reading process was completed successfully.

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.

 

Another successful read here.

- 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.

 

Same as before, successful reading with a few fluctuations.

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 reading process of the TDR-845 disc produced some read errors near the end of the disc's readable surface.

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.

 

Flawless reading here.

Summary

Overall, the DVD error correction mechanisms are quite good.


5. CD, DVD quality testing platform - The Quantized IQB Omni CD DVD Analyzer

All CD/DVD writing quality tests are done using the IQB Omni CD DVD Analyzer by Quantized. The IQB Omni from Quantized Systems is a physical disc analyzer, covering all CD and DVD formats, designed to meet the Quality Control demands of the duplication and replication sectors.

Omni's features allows you to identify media quality issues and highlight drive performance and recording problems.

The system is based on a Philips CD/DVD drive. It supports the majority of the optical disc formats, including CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, CD-A
DVD-R/-RW, DVD-R DL, DVD+R/+RW, DVD+R DL, DVD-ROM 5 and DVD-ROM.

The platform can test the media for the following signals:

CD-R/CD-ROM/CD-A DVD+R/+RW DVD-R/-RW DVD-ROM
Reflectivity R-I14H R-I14H R-I14H
Jitter Modulation Modulation Modulation
I11/ITop Jitter Jitter Jitter
Asymmetry/Beta PI Sum 8 PI Sum 8 PI SUm 8
BLER PI Unc PI Unc PI Unc
E11 to E32 Error Statistics POF POF POF
Burst Errors Beta Beta Asymmetry
  ADER   EDC
  ADER Unc    

Test speeds for CD media are set at 16X and for DVD media at 4X.

The equipment is capable of providing measurements on the complete data area or at specific positions defined by the user (Quick Test mode). This zone testing procedure allows multiple areas of the disc to be tested in a single operation.

All numerical and graphical data are stored in a database. Data can be recalled with user defined criteria to create sets of related key results. Data can also be imported into most common software packages - MS Excel etc.

For more information on the Quantized IQB Omni Analyzer, visit http://www.quantized.com.

In the following pages, we present the writing quality measurements of various CD and DVD recordable and rewritable media, burned with the Optiarc AD-7240S DVD burner.


6. CD-R writing tests - Taiyo Yuden 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 Disc Speed software, and the disc was scanned for digital errors (C1 and C2).

-Disc Info

Taiyo Yuden 48x CD-R

- Writing

Average Writing Speed: 34.97x
Writing time: 02:57min

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The jitter Pit/Land was well above the limits but no uncorrectable errors were reported here (E32).


7. CD-R writing tests - Memorex (Ritek) 48x

-Disc Info

Memorex (RITEK) 48x CD-R

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 35.01x
Writing time: 02:59min

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

Again, very good burning quality, now with the Memorex 48X CD-R.


8. CD-RW writing tests - Verbatim 32x

-Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 24.26x
Writing time: 03:48min

- Reading speed


9. DVD-R writing tests - MCC 03RG20 20x

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 - 20x (14.79x average) in 04:37min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.07x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The test reported the PISum8 error rate exceeding its limit (280) at some points, but no uncorrectable errors were reported. Jitter was also marginally higher than the limit of 8 (normalized). Reflectivity was well within the limits. A relatively good burn with the the Verbatim MCC-03RG20 disc at 20x.


10. DVD-R writing tests - CMC MAG AM3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.85x average) in 05:32min

- Reading - 16X (12.03X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large image

Jitter and reflectivity were slightly increased in the end of the data area. PISum8 stayed in acceptable limits, and no POF were reported.


11. DVD-R writing tests - PRODISC F02 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.85x average) in 05:32min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.04x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The PISum8 errors gave a peak before at around the 53cm radius of the disc. Jitter was also higher than the usual levels and Beta fell bellow the 5%. However, all these did not result to any POFs.


12. DVD-R writing tests - TTH02 18x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 18X (13.21X average) in 05:05min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.07x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A peak at 334 in the PISum8 errors was reported here at the 54.4cm radius of the disc. Beta and jitter was also higher than the limits in the end of the data area . The good news is that no POFs were reported.


13. DVD-R writing tests - TYG03 24x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 24x (17.49x average) in 04:05min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.06X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

Increased PISum8 here for the Taiyo Yuden disc reported near the end of the data area. No POFs occurred.


14. DVD+R writing tests - DAXON AZ3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.81x average) in 05:32min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.02X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

It is obvious that the specific disc has not been optimized or use with the Optiarc drive. A pretty bad burn here, raising many uncorrectable errors.


15. DVD+R writing tests - INFOME R30 (Philips) TYG03 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.81x average) in 05:34min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.04X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


16. DVD+R writing tests - Verbatim MCC004 20x

- Media Info

- Writing - 20x (14.80x average) in 04:38min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.06X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The PISum8 error rate exceeded the limit near the 33mm radius. This is also the point where the Jitter value is over limit. Hopefully, no POFs were reported.


17. DVD+R writing tests - Moser Baer India MBIPG101 R05 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.85x average) in 05:32min

- Reading - 16X (11.95X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A rather good burn with the Moser Baer India 16x DVD+R discs, and the Optiarc drive is continuing its good streak with DVD media.


18. DVD+R writing tests - YUDEN000 T03 24x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 24x (17.54x average) in 04:01min

- Reading - 16X (12.05X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A rather good burn at 24x with the Taiyo Yuden disc.


19. DVD-RW writing tests - Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 6x

- Media Info

- Writing - 6x (6.00x average) in 10:05 min

 

- Reading - 13X (9.77X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Writing quality could be better here with POFs reported.


20. DVD+RW writing tests - Verbatim MKM A03 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.74x average) in 07:52min

 

- Reading - 13X (9.79X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A good burn here, with Verbatim DVD+RW media. However, Jitter was high before the drive reaches the 0.5GB mark, were it accelerates at 8x (burning).


21. DVD+R DL writing tests - Verbatim MKM 003 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 19:10min

 

- Reading - 12x (9.01x average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The disc was read successfully by the Tester and the the burning quality was just OK.


22. DVD-R DL writing tests - Verbatim MKM03RD30 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 19:35min

 

- Reading - 12X (9.01X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

High jitter and Beta were reported here, as it happens with the majority of the DVD R DL media. Although PIF was high, no POF was reported.


23. DVD-R DL writing tests - Verbatim MKM04RD30 12x

- Media Info

- Writing - 12X (8.54 average) in 14:21min

 

- Reading - 12X (9.01X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

This time the digital errors reported were high at 12x.


24. DVD-RAM writing tests - Maxell MXL16 5x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 5x (4.85x average) in 11:28min

 

- Reading - 13X (9.77X average)

 


25. DVD-RAM writing tests - Maxell MXL22 12x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 12x (9.78x average) in 6:03min

 

- Reading - 12X (10.7X average)

 


26. Summary of DVD quality tests, overburning, but setting

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD quality measurement tests. On the left side of the table, you can find the discs that did not produce uncorrectable digital errors (POF), 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
CMC MAG. AM3 burned at 16x  
MCC 03RG20 burned at 20x  
Prodisc F02 burned at 16x  
TTH02 burned at 16x  
TYG03 burned at 24X  
DVD+R Moser Baer MBIPG101 R05 burned at 16x DAXONAZ3 burned at 16X
YUDEN000 T03 burned at 24X.  

Philips INFOME R30 burned at 16x

 
Verbatim MCC 004 burned at 20X.  
   
   
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 burned at 8x  
DVD-R DL Verbatim MKM03RD30 burned at 8x  
  Verbatim MKM04RD30 burned at 12x
DVD+R DL Verbatim MKM 003 burned at 8x  
DVD-RW   Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6x

The performance of the Optiarc drive is rally impressive.

- Bit Setting

 

 

 

The drive supports the bit setting feature with DVD+R DL discs.

- Overburning

The drive is not able to overburn DVD media, according to CD Speed.


27. Final words

Optiarc's move in the 24X DVD Burners' market is the new AD-7240S. The supported 24x burning speed is the fastest currently available, and the only competitor is the LiteOn IHAS 324. However, many say that as the burning speed increases, good burning quality is something difficult to maintain. Does this apply for the Optiarc drive, too? Let's move on to the summing of the results to see.

First of all, the drive proved to be a good reader, performing all tasks with speeds according to specifications, and being able to complete them successfully. As far as error correction is concerned, the tests showed us that the drive has good error correction mechanisms on both CD and DVD media.

Next on, are the writing tests that we performed. DVD media were burned at speeds of up to 24X and the result was stunning. We were able to burn a DVD disc in 4 minutes with an average speed of approximately 17.5X. However, only very few discs are compatible with such high speeds. Writing quality tests were performed at CD and DVD media, and the drive turned out to be pretty good at this point. Both DVD+R and DVD-R media produced generally good scores. However, there were also some cases such as the Verbatim DVD-RW 6x and DVD-R DL 12x and were the tests reported uncorrectable digital errors on the burned media.

So the standards are set high with this one. 24X DVD burning is now possible and when you add it to burning quality that is above average, we can only say that the competitors have to work hard to beat Optiarc.

 

 



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