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Appeared on: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sony DVDRW DRX-S70U-W


1. About the Sony DRX-S70U-W

Sony 's new 24x DRX-S70U-W external DVD burner cuts a good figure in any environment, from lobby and cafe to home office. The company has paid attention to the design and functionality of this portable drive, making an
elegant drive for netbook users and mobile individuals appealing in terms of its low weight and trend colours of black, white, pink and gold.

The DRX-S70U-W is also impressive on the inside because it incorporates the qualities of the DRX-S70U-R (already on the market) from Sony. At only two centimetres in height and weighing only 420 grams, it easily fits into any item of hand luggage or briefcase.

The DRX-S70U-W can process all major DVD and CD formats. It comes with software and NERO 8 express for Microsoft Windows as standard.

The DRX-S70U-W writes to DVD±R and DVD+RW at 8x speed. It achieves 6x speed writing to DVD-RW media and 5x speed writing to DVD-RAMs, 6x speed writing to Double Layer media and 24x speed writing to CDs. The drive reads DVD-ROMs at 8x speed and CD-ROMs at 24x speed.

Sony offers a 24-month warranty on the burner.

Below you can see the retail package of the drive:

The package includes:

The drive retails for about €55-60.

We received the black version of the drive. The front panel illustrated below includes a single ejecy button, an operation led and an emergency eject pin-hole.

Also the CD-RW, DVD Multi-recorder and DVD+RW certifications ensure compatibility with most of the optical discs:

At the rear side there are the power and SATA connectors:

The product information label is found at the bottom side of the drive:

The drive was connected to the PC via a USB 2.0 interface and was identified as "SONY DVDRW DRX-S70U ".

Software utilities provide information about the capabilities and features of the drive:


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. DVD recordables/rewritables and DVD ROM discs were used in order to check the reading performance of the drive. Notice that here we test the maximum reading speed of this drive with each kind of disc.

-CD-ROM

- US RW

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

- AudioCD

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was 18.13X with a quality score of 100.

- 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 Sony DRX-S70U-W 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.

A typical ripping task finished at an average reading speed of 15.3X, using the Exact Audio Copy software (EAC):

- 90 mins Audio disc

90min Audio disc

A read error with the 90min data CD.

- 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 8X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 4X 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.

 

The specific disc was read at 4x CAV and not at 6x as we were expecting.

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

There is an issue here with the DVD-R DL discs. The drive gave back a read error.

DVD Ripping speed -

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

Average 2.106 KB/s (1.5x)
Maximum 15.389KB/s (3.9x)

Summary

The reading process of almost all media was completed without read errors, but the drive was slower than expected with the DVD-ROM DL PTP discs. In addition, the drive could not read the DVD-R DL disc.


3. Reading of defected CDs

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 : 850849
Errors (Loudness) Num : 55658 Avg : -75.8 dB(A) Max : -21.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 2794 Avg : 1.1 Samples Max : 34 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.7 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 : 734
Errors (Loudness) Num : 162 Avg : -85.9 dB(A) Max : -58.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 3 Avg : 1.0 Samples Max :1 Samples
Skips Num :0 Avg :0,0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 89.4 points(of 100.0 maximum)

The majority of the DVD burners we have tested so far had managed to accurately read the specific disc. The Sony drive reported some errors here but they should not make it out to your speakers, since they are below the -60 dB.

- 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
Sony DRX-S70U-W 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5

An average good performance for theSony drive , as it successfully played only the first 3 tracks.


4. Reading of defected DVDs

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 and the transfer rate graph was smooth throughout the data area despite the scratch on 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 gave a read error right before the end of layer 0.

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 decent.


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

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 Sony DVD RW DRX-S70U-W burner.


6. CD-R writing tests - Taiyo Yuden CD-R @ 24x

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: 18.72x
Writing time: 05:49min

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

An excellent result for the Sony drive with the Taiyo Yuden CD-R at 24x.


7. CD-R writing tests - CMC Magnetics CD-R @ 24x

-Disc Info

CMC Magnetics 48x CD-R

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 18.84x
Writing time: 05:44min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

 

Click for large view

Again, very good burning quality, now with the Memorex 48X CD-R at 24x.


8. CD-RW writing tests - Verbatim CD-RW @ 24x

-Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 16.25x
Writing time: 06:15min

- Reading speed

No problems with the readability of the CD-RW disc.


9. DVD-R writing tests - CMC MAG AE1 @ 8x

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 - 8x (75.94x average) in 11:14 min

- Reading - 8X (6.06x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A perfect burn here with all the signals to be within the acceptabe limits.


10. DVD-R writing tests - CMC MAG AM3 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.95x average) in 11:13min

- Reading - 8X (6.07X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large image

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


11. DVD-R writing tests - MBI 01RG40 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.94x average) in 11:15min

 

- Reading - 8X (6.08X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The drive continous the great performance with the Moser Baer 16x DVD-R disc.


12. DVD-R writing tests - MCC 03RG20 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8X (11.88X average) in 11:13min

 

- Reading - 8X (6.07x average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Another great burn for the Sony drive with no uncorrectable errors being reported.


13. DVD-R writing tests - TYG03 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.95x average) in 11:10min

 

- Reading - 8X (6.07X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

Jitter was slightly higher than the acceptable here but still, the reported digital errors were very low.


14. DVD+R writing tests - DAXON AZ3 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.90x average) in 11:24min

 

- Reading - 8X (16.05X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

This time the PISum8 error rate excedded the limits in the end of the data area. Jitter and PIF was also higher there. Not so much to worry here since the reported uncorrectable errors (POF) was zero, but this rising trend to higher error rates could result to possible read errors of your disc after some time.


15. DVD+R writing tests - MBIPG101 R05 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.94x average) in 11:20min

 

- Reading - 8X (16.08X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The Sony drive returned to the bright results with this burn, this time with the Moser Baer India disc at 8x.


16. DVD+R writing tests - PRODISC R04 @ 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (5.94x average) in 11:19min

 

- Reading - 8X (6.07X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Despite the slightly high jitter and the ADER, this is a highly acceptable result.


17. DVD+R writing tests - RICOHJPN R03 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.96x average) in 11:17min

- Reading - 8X (6.09X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


18. DVD+R writing tests - YUDEN T03 @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 8x (5.94x average) in 11:19min

- Reading - 8X (6.07X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


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

- Media Info

- Writing - 6x (4.89x average) in 14:21 min

 

- Reading - 8X (6.07X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Writing quality is good here, with no uncorrectable errors being reported.


20. DVD+RW writing tests - MKM A03 000 @ 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (5.03x average) in 13:20min

- Reading - 8X (6.09X average)

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

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


21. DVD-R DL writing tests - MKM 03RD30 @ 6x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (4.62X average) in 27:33min

 

- Reading - error

The drive could not read the disc.

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Severe errors (POFs) were reported in the end of L0 of the disc. This must have caused the read error in the transfer rate test previously.


22. DVD+R DL writing tests - MKM 003 @ 6x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 26:06min

 

- Reading - 6X (4.58X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view


23. DVD-RAM writing tests - MXL16 @ 5x

- Media Info

 

- Writing - 5x (4.05x average) in 14:42min

 

- Reading - 5X (4.06X average)

 


24. Summary of writing quality tests, Overburning, Bit 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 8x  
MCC 03RG20 burned at 8x  
TYG03 burned at 8X  
CMC MAG. AM1 burned at 8x  
MBI 01RG40 burned at 8x  
DVD+R DAXONAZ3 burned at 8X  
Moser Baer MBIPG101 R05 burned at 8x  

PRODISC R04 burned at 8x

 
RICOHJPN R03 burned at 8x  
YUDEN000 T03 burned at 8X.  
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 burned at 8x  
DVD-R DL   Verbatim MKM03RD30 burned at 8x
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 Nero DiscSpeed.


25. Final words

Sony's DRX-S70U-W is a as handy external multi-format DVD SuperMulti recorder. At a glance, the drive is definitely stylish, with a smooth and clear design. It is also lightweight, allowing you to easily carry it with you and use it with your laptop or netbook - which lack of an optical drive most of the times.

The drive burns on DVD+/-R as well as DVD+RW at 8X, DVD+/-R dual layer with DVD-RW at 6X, DVD-RAM at 5X as well as CD-R/RW at 24X. It makes use of USB 2.0 interface and it's being packaged with Nero DVD/CD burning application. Let's move on to the summing of the test results.

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. We would like to see a faster DAE as well as a more capable reading with scratched audio CDs, but don't forget that we have to do with a slim-type external drive here. On the weak side, we should add the lack of the overburning feature, which could be annoying some times when you cannot burn your slightly oversized compilation on a DVD. We would also like to see support for bit setting.

On the other hand, the drive did it well in the reading tests with scratched /defected DVD discs.

Next on are the writing tests that we performed. The CD and DVD discs were burned at of 24x and 8X respectively and the results were great. With almost all the DVD and CD discs, the writing quality was very high and both the PISum8 and POF error rates were excellent. Of course, the fact that the drive burns DVDs at just 8x helped it produce quality burns. An exception here is the result with the DVD-R DL disc, which was unreadable.

With the boost in sales of Netbooks over last year or so many people are finding that the lack of optical drive is a bit of a hindrance. The Sony DRX-S70U-W is available for less than €60 and makes a perfect match next to your new netbook.

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