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Appeared on: Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Lite-On iHAS324


1. Introduction, features

The IHAS324 is the new LiteOn drive supporting 24X burning of DVD±R media. Being among the very few drives to support such speeds, along with the Optiarc AD7240S, it is a competition among the two brands for the domination of the high speed DVD burners market. This drive supports burning of DVD±R media at 24X, DVD±R DL media at 12X, DVD+RW at 8X, DVD-RW at 6X and DVD-RAM at 12X.

Features:

  • SmartWrite can overspeed certain 16X DVD±R media to a maximum of 24X 
  • SmartErase: Erase your disc the "Smart way": cost effective and beyond recovery 
  • SmartWrite optimizes the writing strategy for each particular session and automatically memorizes this for future sessions 
  • Throw away your useless discs without any worries 
 
  • Compatible with DVD±R (DL) and CD-R formats

The drive came in in a red retail box :

The package includes:

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 MediaTek MT1879E chipset.

The drive was connected to the PC via a typical SATA interface and was identified as "ATAPI IHAS324".


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 LiteOn drive for each type of disc. For comparison, we have included the corresponding reading results of another 24x DVD burner, the Optiarc AD-7240S.

-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 33.11X with a quality score of 100.

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

- CD DAE

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 LiteON IHAS-324 drive does not support "caching ", but it supports "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 33.6X, using CD DAE:

- 90 mins Audio disc

90min 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 12.14x

DVD-RW - Average read 9.01x

 

DVD+R - Average read 12.14x

DVD+RW Average read 9.03x

DVD+R DL

 

DVD-R DL

DVD Ripping speed -

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

  LiteOn iHAS324 Optiarc AD-7240S
Average 11.950 KB/s (8.6x) 11.761KB/s (8,5x)
Maximum 16.807 KB/s (12.1x) 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 addition, the drive was faster in most tests than it's competitor, the Optiarc AD-7140S.


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 : 945189
Errors (Loudness) Num : 48794 Avg : -73.7 dB(A) Max : -20.8 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 3068 Avg : 1.0 Samples Max : 9 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.8 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 : 0 Avg : -174.0 dB(A) Max : -174.0 dB(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
LiteOn iHAS324 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5
Optiarc AD-7240S 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5

An average good performance for the LiteOn iHAS324, as it successfully played only the first 3 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 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, although the drive slowed down in the beginning of the disc.

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.

 

No reading problems 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 without any speed 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 drive slowed down reading in the second layer of the disc at around the 7GB mark.

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 mechanism is average.


5. CD, DVD testing platform - The Quantized IQB Omni 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 LiteOn iHAS324 DVD burner.


6. CD-R burning - 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: 36.55x
Writing time: 02:43min

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A very good result for the LiteOn drive with the taiyo Yuden CD-R at 48x.


7. CD-R burning - Memorex (Ritek) 48x

-Disc Info

Memorex (RITEK) 48x CD-R

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 36.54x
Writing time: 02:44min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

 

Click for large view

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


8. CD-RW burning - Verbatim 32x

-Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 24.13x
Writing time: 03:42min

- Reading speed


9. DVD-R burning - Verbatim MCC03RG20 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 (7.55x average) in 08:26min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.14x average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The test reported pretty low PISum8 error rate and no uncorrectable errors.. Good burning quality here.


10. DVD-R burning - CMCMAG AM3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.74x average) in 05:39min

- Reading - 16X (12.12X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large image

Good burning quality here, too, with no uncorrectable errors reported.


11. DVD-R burning - RITEKF1 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.46x average) in 06:01min

The drive slowed down at around the 4.2GB mark and finished the burning task at 8x.

- Reading - failed

We had a read error hee with the Ritek F1 disc.

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The test reported enormous amounts of uncorrectable errors; no wonder why the drive was not able to read the disc. Bad burning quality here.


12. DVD-R burning - TTH02 16x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 16X (11.88X average) in 05:42min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.14x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Another good burn for the LiteOn drive with no uncorrectable errors being reported.


13. DVD-R burning - Taiyo Yuden TYG03 24x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 24x (17.55x average) in 03:59min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.14X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

The 24X speed resulted in many uncorrectable errors.


14. DVD+R burning - DAXON AZ3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.67x average) in 05:54min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.10X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

A pretty bad burn here, raising many uncorrectable errors.


15. DVD+R burning - CMCMAG M01 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.78x average) in 05:35min

 

- Reading - 16X (11.48X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Many reading problems here and very high PI8 error rate. POF were also reported.


16. DVD+R burning - Verbatim MCC 004 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.77x average) in 05:36min

 

- Reading - 16X (12.14X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Not an acceptable result here with the the PISum8 to rise and reports for uncorrectable errors.


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

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.75x average) in 05:37min

- Reading - 16X (12.14X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


18. DVD+R burning - Taiyo Yuden YUDEN T03 24x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 24x (17.41x average) in 04:00min

- Reading - 16X (12.13X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


19. DVD-RW burning - Verbatim MKM01RW6X01 6x

- Media Info

- Writing - 6x (5.83x average) in 11:21 min

 

- Reading - 13X (9.01X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Writing quality is questionable here, with uncorrectable errors being reported.


20. DVD+RW burning - Verbatim MKM A03 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.38x average) in 08:18min

- Reading - 12X (9.03X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A good burn here, with Verbatim DVD+RW media.


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

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 18:57min

 

- Reading - 12 x

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


22. DVD-R DL burning - Verbatim MKM03RD30 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 18:44min

 

- Reading - 12X (9.04X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


23. DVD-R DL burning - Verbatim MKM04RD30 12x

- Media Info

- Writing - 12X (8.60X average) in 14:05min

 

- Reading - 12X (9.04X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view


24. DVD-RAM burning - Maxel MXL22 12x

- Media Info

- Writing - 12x (10.16x average) in 5:40min

 

- Reading - 12X (10.21X average)

 


25. Summary of DVD burning tests, Overburning, Bit setting, SmartErase

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 RITEKF1 burned at 16x
MCC 03RG20 burned at 16x TYG03 burned at 24X
TTH02 burned at 16x  
   
   
DVD+R   CMC MAG M01 burned at 16x
  DAXONAZ3 burned at 16X

 

Verbatim MCC 004 burned at 16X.
  Moser Baer MBIPG101 R05 burned at 16x
  YUDEN000 T03 burned at 24X.
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

 

- Bit Setting

 

 

 

- Overburning

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

- SmartErase

SmartErase is a technology which can destroy recordable discs and data on recordable discs permanently. SmartErase will overwrite the data stored on recordable media with random characters and make the disc and data stored no longer can be accessed or restored.

To erase the data on your CDs and DVDs and destroy the disc with SmarErase, you need the
following aSmartErase-capable drive like the LiteOn iHAS324, the SmartErase software (available through Nero Essentials 8 suite) and of course, a recordable CD or DVD.

SmartErase will destroy the disc and the data on the disc. Once the data is destroyed, it can not be restored. SmartErase supports all recordable media, but cannot erase or destroy rewritable media.


SmartErase provides two methods to destroy the disc and data: Quick Erase and Full Erase.
Quick Erase only destroys the information stored in Lead-In area and data stored on the first
track of a disc. It takes less time to erase a disc but not all the data on the disc is destroyed.
Full Erase destroys all the information and data stored on a disc. It takes a longer time but all
the data on the disc is destroyed.

If you use Full Erase mode to SmartErase the disc, all the information and data stored on a disc is destroyed and the disc can no longer be restored again. If you erase a disc with Quick Erase mode, not all the information and data is destroyed. The information and data which is not destroyed may have the chance to be restored by specific devices and software.

How to use SmartErase

1 Launch SmartErase from the menu of the burning software bundled with your drive. In our case, we used Nero Express Essentials 8 which intagrates the SmartErase application.


2 We select our LiteOn drive in the drop down menu.


3. The next step is to insert a DVD recordable disc. We used a DVD-R full with data.

4. You are ready to 'SmartErase' the disc. Click Quick Erase or Full Erase to erase the disc.

The 'quick erase' function for a DVD R SL will not take more than 30 seconds. The disc was not readable or even recognizable by any DVD burner we tried after a quick 'Smart Erase'.

The 'Full erase ' takes more than 7 minutes to complete. Again, the 'SamrtErased' disc is completely unreadable.


26. Summary

LiteOn move in the 24X DVD Burners' market is the new IHAS324. The supported 24x burning speed is the fastest currently available, and the only competitor is the Optiarc AD7240S. However, many say that as the burning speed increases, good burning quality is something difficult to maintain. Does this apply for the LiteOn 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. In addition, the drive, in most reading processes, was faster than its competitor, the Optiarc drive. As far as error correction is concerned, the tests showed us that the drive has average 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 great. 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. Untill now, the drive can only burn at such speeds the YUDEN000T03 and TYG03 Taiyo Yuden DVD+R and DVD-R media respectively. Writing quality tests were performed at CD and DVD media, and the drive did not appear to be as good as we expected it to be. Tests on the majority of the burned discs reported huge uncorrectable digital error rates.

The drive also offers the SmartErase function. If you have some time to spend, you can try it out using the bundled software. It will completely erase your discs fast and with just a few clicks.

To sum up, the drive proved to be a very good and fast reader, beating its competitor in most tests. However, its burning quality is not so good, and the Optiarc drive beats the IHAS324 in this aspect.



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