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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sony BDX-S500U


1. Meet the Sony BDX-S500U BD burner

Today we have in our labs an external, slim-type Blu-ray disc writer. The Sony Optiarc BDX-S500U writes to Blu-ray Disc at 6x speed, plays Blu-ray Disc movies, DVDs and CDs, archives large quantities of data and is suitable as a back-up medium and playback unit for practically any kind of terminal device.

Delivered with the CyberLink BD Suite, the external burner can be installed in the living room replacing the DVD player in the home cinema system. It is also optimally equipped for future home cinema applications as one of the first Blu-ray Disc players for 3D movies. Of course, the compact and light drive can be also used as a PC and notebook companion.

The burner comes with CyberLink’s Media Suite 8, a software package that includes programs such as the DVD/Blu-ray Disc playback software PowerDVD, the video editing software PowerDirector, and the DVD/BD authoring software, PowerProducer. These programs make it easy to play back 3D Blu-ray Disc videos, edit creative home video material and produce and burn your own Blu-rays Discs and DVDs with menus. Data archiving is also simple with the PowerBackup burning software.

Sony Optiarc’s new product writes single layer BD-R media (25 GB) in around 20 minutes (6X) and double layer BD-R (50 GB) media at up to 4X speed. The BDX-S500U can write DVDs at up to 8X speed, DVD-RAMs at up to 5X speed and CDs at up to 24X speed.

Sony Optiarc offers a 24-month warranty on the drive.

Specifications:

On the left picture you see the retail package of the BDX-S500U writer.

Besides the drive, the box includes a comprehensive set of accessories plus a Sony BD-R 6x BD-R disc (blank).

Here is the complete bundle:

The BDX-S500U is very stylish and its case plastic case has a great black glossy finish. At the top side panel there are the Blu-ray disc and DVD , CD recordable certification logos, as well as a small green led that lights up when the drive is connected to the AC power adapter.

.

The front side of the disc loading tray has the typical eject button, the busy indicator and the emergency eject hole. The DC input jack (power) and the USB 2.0 connector are available at the rear side of the drive:

 

 

Below you see the basic steps you should follow in order to operate the drive:

Connected to our test PC's USB 2.0 port, the drive was identified as "SONY BD RW BDX-S500U" USB device. Here is some additional information about drive as it is reported by the DVDInfo PRO and Nero InfoTool utilities:


2. CD and DVD reading tests

For our CD/DVD and Blu-ray transfer rate tests we used the Nero CDSpeed utility and a set of data and audio CD and DVD media. Here we test the maximum reading speed of the Sony BDX-S500U drive for each type of disc.

- CD media

 

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

 

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was just 16.56X with a quality score of 100.

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 drive dos 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 23.1X, using CD DAE:

 

90min Audio disc

The drive returned an error as it was trying to read the data stored at the outer part of the 90min disc. In addition, the drive could not recognize 99min CD-Rs.

- DVD media

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 6X for dual layer DVD ROM media.

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

Summary

The reading process of all media was completed without read errors and at speeds that match the drive's specifications.


3. Reading damaged 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: 827283
Errors (Loudness) Num: 46273 Avg: -74.9 dB(A) Max: -34.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Num: 2669 Avg: 1,0 Samples Max: 7 Samples
Skips Num: 1 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max:6 Samples
Results C2 Accuracy: 99.6 %
73.4 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The drive's error correction is good here, starting at the point where the defect is starting to grow, but t error hiding mechanisms are average, since there are some wedges that went beyond the -60 db(A) level, especially a the 32~34 min areas where the scratch on the surface of the disc becomes bigger. The drive also muted many samples as it couldn't "hide" them and also skipped once. This means that sync was lost and the drive had to reposition again (and started on a slightly different position).

- ABEX TCD-726R

Errors total Num: 608
Errors (Loudness) Num: 23 Avg: -69.3 dB(A) Max:-57.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Num: 1 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max:1 Samples
Skips Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Results C2 accuracy: 100 %
92.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

This time the errors started earlier than expected and before the drive reach the defected area of the disc. This has to do with the quality of the optical system (and/or of the error correction capabilities of the firmware). .

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

CD players have built-in D/A converters that turn the digital data on a CD into analog signal - what we hear as music. Ideally, all the digital data should be converted to the analog format. In reality, many factors cause digital data to be lost and sound reproduction to detoriate.

CD players handle this data loss using a sophisticated error correction system that allows them to recover it. However, when the data loss is greater than a system's recovery ability, some of the signal is lost. It is then that the CD player uses compensation methods such as interpolation, data substitution or signal muting to make this loss as anaudible as possible. However, this results in altered and often distorted sound.

The level of sound distortion depends on the amount of data loss. Initially, music may sound brittle and there may be subtle problems with stereo imaging or dynamics. Over time, disc skipping, clicks, pops in the signal or audible signal muting may result. CD-CHECK contains a special signal (tone), designed for early detection of the most subtle forms of distortion. 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 BDX-S500U
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5

A good performance for the Sony drive , as it successfully played all the tracks.


4. Reading damaged 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 CDVD Benchmark and Nero Disc Speed. 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 graph shows us some speed fluctuations, meaning that the drive had some difficulties in the reading process. No read errors were reported.

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.

 

A 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 at the first layer.

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.

 

 

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 great.


5. Reading Blu-ray discs

Continuing, let's see how the drive reads the various Blu-ray recordable and ROM discs.

5x

The supported 4X CAV reading with BD-ROM DL media (movie) was confirmed.

The Sony drive is also capable of reading of BD-R Low-To-High (LTH) discs. Below you can see a reading test with a Verbatim SL BD-R LTH disc (VERBATIMw):

 


6. CD DVD media quality testbed

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 BDX-S500U Blu-ray disc writer.


7. CD-R burning - Verbatim 48x @ 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 (E31 and E32).

As you will notice, the Opti Drive Control software cannot correctly read the MID of the CD-R discs we tested.

-Disc Info

Verbatim 48x CD-R 74min

- Writing


Average Writing Speed: 15.36x
Writing time: 06:08min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A good result for the Sony drive with the Verbatim CD-R at 48x,.


8. CD-R burning - Maxell 52x @24x

- Disc Info

Maxell 52x CD-R 700MB

- Writing

Average Writing Speed: 15.92x
Writing time: 06:24min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

Another good burn for the Sony BDX-S500U drive with no uncorrectable errors (E32), with the Jitter Pit to be a little higher than the limits after the 52mm radius of the disc.


9. DVD-R burning - TDK TTH02 16x @ 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

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

This is a quality burn with low PIsum8 and zero POF errors.


10. DVD-R burning - Verbatim MCC03RG20 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The measurements indicate problems at the 3.65GB mark, where POF and PIF were reported. The readability of the disc was not severely affected except from a brief fluctuation on the reading graph we saw earlier.


11. DVD-R burning - CMC MAG AM3 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

 

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

That's a bad burn for the Sony drive. many parameters were out of acceptable limits including POF.


12. DVD-R burning - Moser Baer India MBI01RG40 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

Again, POFs were reported with the Moser Baer disc.


13. DVD-R burning - Taiyo Yuden TYG03 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view


14. DVD+R burning - Philips INFOME R30 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

- Writing

 

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

This time we got an adequate burn, although the PISum8 is increasing towards the end of the data area.


15. DVD+R burning - Moser Baer India MBIPG101 R05 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view


16. DVD+R burning - Verbatim MCC004 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

A rather good burn here at 8x.


17. DVD+R burning - PRODISC R04 16x @ 8x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

 


18. DVD+R DL burning - Moser Baer India MBIPG101 R10 8x

- Media Info

- Writing

The drive refused to burn the specific disc and returned a write error.


19. DVD+R DL burning - Verbatim MKM 003 8x @ 4x

- Media Info

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The Sony BDX-S500U drive burned the Verbatim DVD+R DL disc quite well. No POF and low PISum8 were reported.


20. DVD-R DL burning - Verbatim MKM 03RD30 8x @ 4x

- Media Info

- Writing

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

POFs were reported for the L0 and jitter was high for both layers.


21. DVD-RW burning - Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 6x @ 4x

- Media Info

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view

 


22. DVD+RW burning - Verbatim MKM A03 8x @ 4x

- Media Info

 

- Writing

 

- Reading

 

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

 

Click for large view


23. DVD-RAM burning - Maxell MXL16 5x @ 5x

- Media Info

Maxell DVD-RAM 5x

- Writing

 

- Reading - 5X (5.02X average)

 

The Sony drive burner had not any reading/writing problems with both the Maxell DVD-RAM discs of this test.

DVD-RAM is a rewritable format supported by the DVD Forum. A DVD-RAM can be seen as a removable hard drive. However, as any other hard drive the DVD-RAM must be "prepared" (formatted) before the first use. A DVD-RAM disc must be formatted using the UDF (Universal Disk Format). Usually, a 4.7GB DVD-RAM should be formatted using the UDF 1.5 or the UDF 2.0 format.

Notice that in the above tests we showcase the maximum recording speeds supported by the drive with the specific DVD-RAM media. In case you are using your DVD-RAM discs as a removable hard drive through your Windows OS, you may experience slower burning. That because the DVD-RAM format features an automatic verification technology that results to safer but slower recordings.


24. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R 25GB LTH VERBATIMu 6x @ 6x

We start our disc recording tests with the Sony BDX-S500U drive. We used some of the latest BD-R/RE SL and DL media for these tests. Each disc was burned at the highest allowed recording speeds as well as in lower speeds.

We remind you that the drive supports 6x BD-R SL and 4x BD-R DL recording with specific media. The discs we used for this test were kindly provided by Mitsubishi Kangaku Media (MKM), the manufacturer of the popular Verbatim branded discs, Moser Baer India, Panasonic and Imation/TDK.

We also used Erik Deppe' s Opti Drive Control software for testing the writing quality of each recorded BD-R/RE disc. The software could give you an idea of the writing quality of each disc. For BDs, the following parameters are measured:

On a good disc, the average LDC should stay below 13 and BIS should stay below 15, according to the author of the software.

If you are interested in the data recovery methods of the Blu-ray discs, keep reading below. If not, skip the following text and proceed directly to the tests found later on this page :)

Blu-ray Data Recovery Methods: Partial Response - Maximum Likelihood (PRML)

For CD and DVD, the method for data detection was based on a zero crossing point method, using a conventional slicer. Basically, when the analogue signal (output from the optical pick-up) crosses a reference level, it indicates a binary transition. This method has its limitations, notably when the feature size (smallest pit/land) is less than the spot size, the modulation of the light is relatively small (the smaller the pit/spot size ratio the smaller the modulation). Thus, the conventional slicer can create data with non-exact mark/space lengths - otherwise known as jitter, and when this jitter becomes greater than 0.5 of a clock cycle, it becomes a bit error.

For BD, the minimum spot radius ratios are 0.88 and 0.85 of the ratio of DVD. This reduced resolution (low modulation of light by 2T pits) means that it is much more difficult to have effective data detection using a conventional slicer. Boosting the high frequency part of the signal has limited effect because this also increases the InterSymbol Interference (ISI), which is where adjacent pits and lands interfere with each other. This is mainly a problem with the shortest run lengths, particularly those that are smaller than the spot size.

Hence for BD, the Partial Response- Maximum likelihood (PRML) method is used for recovering the data from the signal.

Partial Response (PR) equalization is used to limit the effects of ISI, and then a sequence of bits is evaluated to define the most likely sequence of bits, based upon known allowed sequences. This is the Maximum Likelihood (ML) detection and uses a Viterbi algorithm to determine the ML sequence.

The Blu-Ray disc is more sensitive to burst errors compared to the DVD system. Therefore, the error correction system of Blu-Ray disc should be able to cope well with long burst errors, rather with single (random) errors.

The maximum number of errors that can be corrected depends on the number of parity symbols added. For each two parity symbols added, one error can be corrected. But Blu-Ray uses a more efficient approach to correct the burst errors. It uses a burst indicator mechanism that can detect bursts of errors before the correction starts. The advantage of this method is actually the prior knowledge of the error locations on the decoding process.

These burst indicator used in the Blu-Ray format is called picket code. The pickets are columns that are inserted in between columns of the main data at regular intervals. The main data is protected by a Reed Solomon code, while the pickets are protected by a second independent Reed Solomon code. When decoding (reading), first the picket columns are corrected. The correction information can be used to estimate the location of possible burst errors in the main data.

A BluRay Disc Error Correction Block (ECC Block) can store 64 Kilobytes of user data. This data is protected by the Long Distance Code (LDC) which has 304 code words with 216 information symbols and 32 parity symbols giving a code word of length 248. These code words are interleaved two by two in the vertical direction such that a block if 152 bytes x 469 bytes is formed as shown in the picture above.

A Blu-Ray Disc ECC block contains 4 equally spaced picket columns. The left most picket is formed by the sync pattern at the start of each row. If the sync pattern was not detected properly, that can be an indication for a burst error similar to the knowledge that a symbol of a picket column had to be corrected. The other three pickets are protected by the so-called Burst Indicator Subcode (BIS). The BIS code words are interleaved into three columns of 496 bytes each. Both LDC and BIS codes are decoded by the Reed Solomon decoder.

Reference: BD-ROM Physical Specifications

 

For the first test we used the Verbatim BD-R 25GB certified for 6x burning (VERBATIMu (000)) . The specific discs have been manufactured using the "Low-To-High" (LTH) process. The LTH write-once BD-R media feature an organic dye recording layer, making them different that the currently available BD-R discs that use inorganic materials.

- Media Info

Verbatim BD-R SL 6x LTH

- Writing @6x (4.36X average) in 21:21 min)

The Sony BDX-S500U recognized the disc and allowed us to select the 6X burning speed. However, the drive did not reach the 6X speed and the burning speed topped at 5.33X at the 16GB mark. From that point and toward the end of the disc, the drive struggled to keep that speed and finally finished the burning in 22:51 minutes and an average speed of 4.36X.

It was obvious that there was an issue with the USB 2.0 interface here. The 6X speed offered by the BDX-S500U when writing to single-sided discs translates into a write speed of 216Mbps. The PC's USB 2.0 port has has a theoretical maximum speed of 480MBps, but it runs much slower in real-world. Some of that speed is taken away by networking overheads built into the protocol, and more by inefficiencies in USB interface chips. Although the drive was the only USB device connected to the specific USB bus, the USB interface seems to reached its limits at ~192Mbps, which is translated to 5.33X in terms of BD speed (1X = 36Mbps).

We installed the drive in three different PCs and USB 2.0 controllers with no better luck. At that point, we realized that our hopes for fast transfers encountered a bottleneck in the form of the computer.

In case of USB 2.0 hard drives USB 2.0 ports generally offer sustained 288 to 320 Mbps in the absolute best scenario. USB flash drives have also reach 280Mbps. However real world testing shows that the bandwidth requirement of 6x BD is higher. The Sony BDX-S500U drive could be alternatively be equipped with an eSATA port (or a USB 3.0 port) in order to offer exactly what it is supposed to, at lest to everyone no matter how his PC performs.

On the bright side, the Sony BDX-S500U drive did not stop writing as soon as our PC's USB 2.0 interface stopped feeding the drive's buffer with data. The drive's Buffer underun protection kicked in and writing was stopping burning every now and then in order to maintain sufficient data flow and resume writing.

We were curious to see the impact of this writing behavior to the writing quality and readability of the disc. Hopefully, the disc was fully readable and the average reported LDC was 13.66, while the BIS was just 0.29. However, LDC hit very high values throughout the data area, as you see in the below graphs (spikes):


25. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R 25GB VERBATIMe 6x @ 6x

We continue our burning tests with a Verbatim BD-R SL for 6x (VERBATIMe(000)) disc. We selected the 6x speed for the burn, and here are the results:

- Media Info

- Writing @ 6x (4.40X average) in 21:45 min)

Again, the USB 2.0 drive could not reach the 6X max speed. The purple line on the above graph clearly shows that the data on the buffer was not enough to allow the drive burn at 6X.

Despite the USB 2.0 bandwidth problems, the condition of the burned disc look good and both the average BIS and LDS codes are low:

 


26. BD-R burning - TDK BD-R 25GB TDKBLDRBB 4x @ 4x

- Media Info

Here we used the TDK BD-R SL for 4x (TDKBLDRBB) disc. According to the software, the Sony BDX-S500U will burn the disc at 4x:

 

- Writing @ 4X (3.32X average in 30:36 min)

Z-CLV writing for this BD-R SL disc at 4X. The result is a complete burn in 30:36 minutes.

The reported average LDC and BIS are low. All jitter, LDC and BIS parameters gave a sudden spike right at the end of the data area, but as you can see from the graph this had no effect on the readability of the disc.


27. BD-R burning - Sony BD-R 25GB SONY N3 6x @ 6x

- Media Info

This is a Sony BD-R 25GB disc (SONY N3) certified for 6x recording:

- Writing @6X (4.38X average in 22:08 min)

 

- Quality

Although the average reported LDC and BIS are well within the acceptable limits, high values of both parameters were reported after the 20GB mark.


28. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R 25GB VERBATIMc 4x @ 4x

- Media Info

This is an BD-R SL disc by Verbatim (VERBATIMc (000)), certified for 4x recording.

 

- Writing - 4x (3.33x average) in 30:36 min

 

- Quality

The average LDC reached the 26.06, which is not acceptable.


29. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R 50GB VERBATIMf 6x @ 4x

- Media Info

This is VERBATIM BD-R 50GB disc (VERBATIMf) certified for 6x recording.

- Writing - 4x (3.33x average) in 60:43min

 

- Quality

The Opti Drive Control software reported high LDC for the specific disc.


30. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R 25GB VERBATIM0 2x @ 2x

- Media Info

This is another Verbatim BD-RE SL disc (VERBATIM0 (000) for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 4519min

 

- Quality

Definitely a problematic burn here with a very high average LDC.


31. BD-RE burning - Verbatim BD-RE 50GB VERBATIM1 2x @ 2x

- Media Info

This is a brand new Verbatim BD-RE DL 50GB disc (VERBATIM1) for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 91:17 min

 

- Quality

Both the LDC and BIS (average) values are low indicating a good burn.


32. BD-RE burning - Verbatim BD-RE 7GB VERBATIM0 2x @ 2x

- Media Info

This is a Verbatim 8cm BD-RE disc for 2x. The available capacity is 7.5GB.

 

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 14:09 min

- Quality

The result is amazing. If these measurements are accurate, the specific disc should not be burned with the Sony drive. The LDC is very high. Surprisingly, the disc was readable, leaving us with many questions about the reliability of the quality measurements using the specific software.


33. BD-RE burning - TDK BD-R 50GB TDKBLDRFB 4x @ 2x

- Media Info

This is a TDK BD-R DL disc for 4x.

 

- Writing - 4x (3.32x average) in 60:55 min

 

- Quality

The average LDC was higher than the acceptable limits. Very high values were reported at he end of L0 and the beginning of L1 of the disc.


34. Summary of CD/DVD/BD quality tests, Booktype, Overburning

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD and CD quality measurement tests. 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 Uncorrectable errors
DVD-R
     TTH02 F02 burned at 8x CMC MAG. AM3 burned at 8x
MCC 03RG20 burned at 8x
TYG03 burned at 8x
MBI01RG40 burned at 8x
DVD+R Verbatim MCC 004 burned at 8X.  

INFOME R30 burned at 8x

MBI PG101R05 burned at 8x
PRODISC R04 burned at 8x
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 burned at 8x
DVD-R DL   Verbatim MKM03RD30 burned at 4x
DVD+R DL Verbatim MKM 003 burned at 4x MBI PG101R10 read error
DVD-RW  Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6x  
CD-R Verbatim 48x CD-R burned at 24x  
Maxell 52x CD-R burned at 24x

- Blu-ray media supported speeds

In the following chart, we have gathered burning speeds the Sony drive with various Blu-ray discs:

Sony BDX-S500U Ver 1.D1
BD-R SL
Verbatim BD-R SL LTH 6x VERBATIMu 6x CAV in 22:21
Verbatim BD-R SL LTH 2x VERBATIMw 2x CLV in 14:31 min
Verbatim BD-R 8cm 2x VERBATIMa 7GB 2x CLV in 14:33 min

Verbatim BD-R SL 6x VERBATIMe

6x CAV in 21:45 min
Moser Baer India BD-R SL 6x MBI R06 4x Z-CLV in 30:32 min
TDK BD-R SL 4x TDKBLDRBB (000) 4x Z-CLV in 30:36 min
TDK BD-R SL 6x TDKBLDRBD (000) 6x CAV in 22:16
Panasonic BD-R SL 6x MEI RA1 6x CAV in 21:14
BD-R DL
Verbatim BD-R DL 2x VERBATIMb 2x CLV in 90:56
VERBATIM BD-R DL 6x (VERBATIMf) 4x Z-CLV in 60:43 min
TDK BD-R DL 4x (TDKBLDRFB (000)) 4x Z-CLV CLV in 60:40 min
TDK BD-R DL 6x (TDKBLDRFD (000)) 4x Z-CLV CLV in 60:41 min
Panasonic BD-R DL 6x MEI RB1 4x Z-CLV CLV in 60:39 min
BD-RE SL
Verbatim BD-RE SL 2x VERBATIM0 2x CLV in 45:00
Verbatim 8cm BD-RE 2x VERBATIM0 7.26GB) 2x CLV in 14:09 min
BD-RE DL
Verbatim BD-RE DL 2x VERBATIM1 2x CLV in 91:17 min
TDK BD-RE DL 2x TDKBLDWFA 2x CLV in 90:54

- BD Media quality

In the following table we have gathered the writing quality results we got with the BD-R/RE media of this test using the Opti Drive Control software. We remind you that for BDs, the following parameters are measured:

On a good disc, the average LDC should stay below 13 and BIS should stay below 15, according to the author of the software.

Media type
MID
average LDC (<13)
average BIS (<15)
BD-R SL
Verbatim BD-R SL LTH 6x VERBATIMu
13.66
0.29
Verbatim BD-R 8cm 2x VERBATIMa 7GB burned at 2x
0.89
0.05
Verbatim BD-R SL 6x VERBATIMe
3.83
0.10
Moser Baer India BD-R SL 6x MBI R06 burned at 4x
15.08
0.35
Panasonic BD-R SL 6x MEI RA1 burned at 6x
5.55
0.12
Sony BD-R SL 6x SONY N3 burned at 6x
10.25
0.20
BD-R DL
VERBATIM BD-R DL 6x (VERBATIMf) burned at 4x
21.23
0.33
Verbatim BD-R DL 2x VERBATIMb burned at 2x
16.98
0.24
Panasonic BD-R DL (MEI RB1) burned at 4x
22.65
0.46
TDK BD-R DL 4x (TDKBLDRFB (000)) burned at 4x
17.66
0.29
BD-RE SL
Verbatim 8cm BD-RE 2x VERBATIM0 7.26GB) burned at 2x
136.86
2.79
Verbatim BD-RE SL 2x VERBATIM0 burned at 2x
43.43
0.86
BD-RE DL
Verbatim BD-RE DL 2x VERBATIM1 burned at 2x
4.64
0.08
TDK BD-RE DL 2x TDKBLDWFA burned at 2x
11.02
0.36

- Bit Setting

The drive does not support the Bit Setting feature.

- Overburning

 


35. Final thoughts

Let's summarize our findings. The Sony BDX-S500U BD burner comes complete with support for all the CD, DVD and BD media for both reading and writing. Stylish and portable enough to carry with you, it can find its place either in your living room connected to your HTPC or even as a companion to your laptop. Sony is offering a complete software bundle with the drive, covering your media burning and playback needs, including Blu-ray movie playback. Although the supported CD and DVD writing speeds are typical for an external portable drive and lower than what the internal burners usually offer, they are still high enough for everyday routine tasks. And of course, the drive's basic strength remains the 6x maximum burning speed for Blu-ray discs - at least under the right hardware environment as we will see later on.

In the reading tests, the drive read the various CDs and DVDs accurately and at the maximum supported speeds, including the defected discs we typically try to read in our benchmarks. As a Blu-ray disc player, the drive also an accurate reader with all the BD-R /RE /SL and DL media, as well as with BD-ROM discs and movies. The PowerDVD software will also flawlessly playback your favorite BD movie discs.

The Sony BDX-S500U burned the CD-Rs we tested at their maximum supported speed (24x) and the quality tests were really encouraging. CD-RW's were burned at a lower speed of 16x. We should notice here that you'd better use any 24x HS-RW discs with the drive since it will not recognize the Verbatim HS-RWs for 32x.

DVD burning was a mixed bag; the quality measurements with most of the DVD-Rs we tested were disappointing. The same applies for the DVD-Rs DL discs and this is definitely a firmware issue. The situation with DVD+Rs was much better as we saw high-quality burnings. Generally, the list with the supported DVD+R/-R SL and DL media for the drive is limited to the basic and most popular brands.

When it comes to Blu-ray disc burning, the Sony BDX-S500U drive offers a wide compatibility with the most popular BD-R /RE SL and DL discs. The supported burning speeds are high enough for a portable drive: 6x with BD-R SL, 4x for BD-R DL and 2x for BD-RE SL/DL. However, in order to enjoy the maximum burning speed of 6x, make sure that your PC's USB 2.0 controller is able to operate at its maximum bandwidth.

The 6X speed offered by the BDX-S500U when writing to single-sided discs is translated into a write speed of 216Mbps. The PC's USB 2.0 port has a theoretical maximum speed of 480MBps, but it runs much slower in real-world. Some of that speed is taken away by networking overheads built into the protocol, and more by inefficiencies in USB interface chips. In our case, although the drive was the only USB device connected to the USB bus, the USB interface reached its limits at ~192Mbps, which is translated to 5.33X in terms of BD speed (1X = 36Mbps). The result was a BD-R burning speed that topped at 5.33X . The situation did not change when we connected the drive to another PC. The specific behavior does not seem to influence the writing quality of the BD-Rs we tested, which was generally good with some exceptions, according to the measurements we got using the OptiDrive Control software.

The Sony BDX-S500U drive could be alternatively be equipped with an eSATA or a USB 3.0 port in order to perform as it should be without worrying about the hardware installed in your computer. Of course, the first USB 3.0 ODD drives are coming this year and Sony will probably also upgrade the Sony BDX-S500U.

The Sony BDX-S500U can be purchased online at about $220.

 

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