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Appeared on: Thursday, December 20, 2001
DVD-Rom Roundup Vol2


1. Introduction
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 1

- Introduction

It's a fact that the various DVD related recording formats are trying to be established in the market and to earn the confidence of the candidate users. However, the DVD recording speed and the compatibility between these formats are some of the main issues that may be confusing but also interesting. DVD-ROM manufacturers are following the DVD technology formats and try to expand their DVD media reading compatibility list, and to improve the performance of their products.

Behavior Tech Computer (BTC) presents its DVD reading proposal with a new drive, the "BTC BDV316B". The ATAPI internal drive supports 16X DVD reading speed and 48X CD speed. On the other hand, Pioneer offers the "DVD-106S/2", another ATAPI internal DVD-ROM drive also supporting 16X DVD reading speed and 40X CD speed. Both drives are compatible to the most of the CD/DVD formats and come with one-year warranty. We compare both drives with the already tested LiteOn LTD-163 and AOpen 1648 DVD-ROMs.

- Pioneer DVD-106S/2

Pioneer DVD-106S/2 is the OEM of DVD-A06S/2 ATAPI internal DVD-ROM drive. It supports 16x DVD and 40x CD reading speeds. It supports the UDMA66 interface, which will give you lower CPU usage in the various tasks, and has an analog and a digital output (SPDIF). The drive comes with a 256KB cache buffer and supports almost all DVD and CD formats: DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-Video, CD-DA, CD-ROM/XA, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-I, Video CD, Photo-CD, CD-Extra. Its price is approximately $75.

In the picture below there is the front side of the drive. As you can see, the drive is slot-in, and has the "DVD-ROM" logo just below the media slot. You will also find the usual connectors: headphone jack, volume control, power-on busy led, and the eject button:

On the rear panel of the drive we have the power/ide connectors, the analog/SPDIF audio connections and 3 jumpers on the left hand side, which are used for setting up the DMA connection mode.

We installed the drive as MASTER on the secondary IDE BUS at DMA66 mode. The drive identified itself on both DOS and Windows as "PIONEER DVD-ROM DVD-106". We enabled DMA and after rebooting we checked the region status of the drive. It was an August 2001 model with 1.22 firmware revision. According to the "Drive Region Info" the drive has RPC 2 region protection, and you can only change the drive's region 4 times.

- BTC BDV316B

BTC 316B supports 16x DVD (single layer), 10X (dual layer) and 48x (CD-ROM) reading speeds. It comes with a 512KB buffer cache and supports the of the most CD/DVD formats: DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-Video, CD-DA, CD-ROM/XA, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-I, Video CD, Photo-CD, CD-Extra. Its price is around $65.

The front of the drive has the "DVD-ROM" and "CD" logos. You will also find the usual connectors: headphone jack, volume control, power-on busy led, play/next/load/eject buttons and the emergency eject hole:

On the back of the drive we have the power/ide connectors and the analog/SPDIF audio connections. We installed the drive as MASTER on the secondary IDE BUS at DMA33 mode (default). . We enabled DMA and after rebooting we checked the region status of the drive. The firmware version of BTC 316B was the 0.47, and as with Pioneer, it has RPC 2 region protection, therefore you can change region only 4 times before the permanent lock of the drive.

- Test Machine

WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
ATI AIW 128


2. Data Tests
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0: This was used to compare the various DVD-ROM's  I/O performance (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.08 for all of the tests.
- Nero CD Speed v0.85 beta was also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test we used PlexTools v1.08 original CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results:

In the "average random" test, Pioneer DVD106 gave the best result with 931 kb/s, followed by BTC 316B with 884 kb/s. In the "sequential test", the BTC drive performed better than the Pioneer one, but LiteOn LTD163 and Aopen 1648 are faster. Pioneer DVD106 gave a surprisingly high performance (8250 kb/s) while reading the same sector in the same test. The BTC drive follows with 2674 kb/s.

- Nero CD Speed results: (Press for BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106S CDSpeed results)

In the CD Speed test BTC 316B showed a faster average reading speed than Pioneer DVD106. In the same test LiteOn LTD163 gave the highest reading performance.

Pioneer DVD106 has a good random access performance with 88 ms, very close to LiteOn's and equal to Aopen's performance. BTC 316B has the highest access times, in all random, 1/3 and full access tests.

- PSX Pressed Media

In order to fulfill a request made by some of our frequent visitors, we have included a test with mixed mode CDs (mainly PSX). For these test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to HD with CloneCD. We measured the reading times and we can say for sure that the BTC 316B simply rocks the competition...It took it only 51 seconds to rip the PSX image to the HD. Pioneer DVD106 follows with 103 seconds, still a good performance, when the rest of the drives follow.

- CDR Media: (Click for BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106S CDSpeed results)

BTC 316B read the inserted CDR with a 37.34X average reading speed, very close to the leading performance by LiteOn LTD163. Pioneer DVD106S is slower and gets the last performance position among the drives tested.

- HS-RW reading tests (Click for BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106S CDSpeed results)

For the RW tests, we used TDK's HS-RW media. For the DVD-ROM drives, the performance is away better from what we are used to with CD-RW drives. The leader here is Pioneer DVD106S, since it read the inserted hsrw disc with an average 24.64X speed. The BTC drive follows with 19.67X.


3. CloneCD Tests
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v3.2.2.1) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading time of our DVD-ROMs. We also tested their reading performances with backups of the original CDs, since reading speeds vary between original and backup media.

- SafeDisc 1/2 results

Pioneer DVD106S gave the best performance when reading both pressed and backup SafeDisk v1 protected titles. LiteOn LTD163 comes in the second place and unfortunately, BTC 316B comes last with a very low reading speed performance.

With the SafeDisc 2 test disc, the LiteOn LTD163 drive performed better than any other drive.

- LaserLock 1/2 results

Good performance for BTC 316B with LaserLock v1 original/backup protected CDs. The drive gets the second position behind Aopen 1648, which holds the first position. Pioneer DVD106 had hard times to read the original cd, but with the backup CD things were better and the drive gave the third best position.

In the LaserLock 2 test, the results are a little complicated. In the original CD test, Aopen is the faster reader with 433.38 sectors/sec. BTC 316B comes second with a 270 sectors/sec, the LiteOn drive follows and Pioneer DVD106 has the lowest performance with only 51.88 sectors/sec. In the backup CD test, LiteOn leads the race followed by BTC 316B. Aopen 1648 has the third best performance, and as in the previous test, Pioneer DVD-106 is last with 60.69 sectors/sec.

- SecuROM 2 results

The LiteOn LTD163 supports reading of SubChannel data from both Data and Audio tracks, and very fast, according to our tests. BTC 316B also performed well and gets the second position, in both original/backup reading test. Pioneer DVD106 doesn't support reading of 96 bytes of Subchannel data, which means you will not be able to read CD+G CDs. Last of all, the AOpen 1648 doesn't support reading of SubChannel data at all :(


4. DAE Tests
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 4

DAE Tests

- Test Method

We used CD DAE 99 v0.21 beta and EAC v0.9 prebeta 11 in order to check the DAE performance of the various DVD-ROMs with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). As a last note, we used the "BURST" reading mode of EAC. We made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The Average DAE reported speeds are displayed in the test graphs.

- Pressed AudioCD results

LiteOn is the leader in the DAE ripping tests. The drive managed to reach around 31.9X of average DAE ripping speed, which is the fastest we have ever measured for a DVD-ROM drive. The AOpen 1648 comes second with 22.8X average and BTC 316B follows with 21.7X. Pioneer DVD106S was not so fast and gets the last position with 16.3X average speed.

- CDR AudioCD Results

LiteOn LTD163 continues to lead the race even with CDR media. The drive actually performed better and reached 33.4X. AOpen 1648 continues to come second and BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106S follow with performances close to those they gave with the original CD DAE ripping test.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Lite-On and AOpen drives completed the CD Speed 99 "Advanced DAE test" successfully, and got perfect score (100). As for the speed, LiteOn LTD163 is the faster drive, AOpen 1648 follows with an 23.35 average speed. BTC 316B gave the third best performance and Pioneer DVD106 was slower with 16.26X average speed.

- Bad CDR Media results

Despite the fact that CD Speed 99 Advanced DAE test stretches a drive's mechanism to the max, we decided to do real life tests with a scratched disc. The disc was dirty and with some light scratches, enough to cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results are quite interesting:

Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Pioneer DVD106
16.4
14030
0.0%
BTC 316B
-
-
-
Aopen 1648
23.1
54425
0.01%
LiteOn LTD163
25.5
15310
0%

Pioneer DVD106 ripped the bad medium image at 16.4X average speed, and produced no (%) errors. BTC 316B could not even recognize the disc. In the same test, LiteOn LTD163 is the fastest drive with 25.5X average speed.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs

Pioneer DVD106: The drive reads fully the 90 min CDs but stops reading around 90mins (with 99 min media):

>>

BTC 316B: The drive can read the 90 min CDs and gave a read error at 92 min when a 99 min CD was inserted.

>>

- Reading Protected AudioCDs

Since many latest AudioCDs are protected we decided to add such tests in our reviews. For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which tested at both recognition and ripping (with CD DAE) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony KeyAudio and

* CDR AudioCD protected with Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) - made with Clone Audio Protector v1.1 (Adding 30 secs leadout)

KeyAudio
CDS100
LiteOn LTD-163
Cannot recognize CD at all
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible
AOpen 1648
Can read the contents of the disc (17 tracks Audio tracks + 2 Data tracks) but stops reading around 93%
Pioneer DVD-106S/2
Makes lot of noise after inserting disc, recognizes without any problems contents of the disc but denies ripping!
BTC 316B
Cannot recognize CD at all

As the test results showed, both AudioCD protections can prevent you from ripping its contents. The Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) disc couldn't be ripped from any drive since all tracks are showed as "Data" and not as "Audio". Sony's KeyAudio is also effective with 3 drives and only AOpen 1648 can read the contents and rip the disc till 93% - after reports reading error.


5. DVD Tests
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 5

DVD Tests

- Test Method

We used Nero DVD Speed v0.52 to run DVD tests (DMA enabled on all drives). All tests were performed at least 3 times with the same DVD title (we took the worst results). The DVD Speed author suggests avoiding the use of dual layer DVDs since performance might be lower than the actual one. For that purpose we used a single-layered DVD title, taken from PC Magazine.

- Nero DVD Speed results: (Click for BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106S CDSpeed results)

In this test we added the results of a previous DVD-ROM drive, Pioneer DVD-105S. The results leave the BTC 316B in the third position with 15046 kb/s, behind LiteOn LTD163 and Pioneer DVD-105S. Pioneer DVD106 performed very bad and finished the task with only 9183 kb/s average DVD-ROM reading speed.

BTC 316B and Pioneer DVD106 have almost the same performance in all three access modes of this test. In the Full access test BTC, Pioneer DVD106 and Pioneer DVD-105S drives gave an approximately 175 msec result. Pioneer DVD-105S has the lowest Full seek time.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD Ripping speed using Matrix DVD and DVD Decrypter v3.0.0.8. The BTC 316B performed very well and earns the first position with an 11490kb/sec average ripping speed. LiteOn LTD163 follows with 9336 kb/s and Pioneer DVD106 is slower with 7681 kb/sec:

- DVD R/-RW/+RW reading Tests

The chart below shows the Nero DVD Speed results of both drives with DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW media.

Good performance for BTC BDV316B with DVD-R media. The drive read at 8093 kb/s average reading speed. However, the drive refused to recognize the DVD-RW medium. Pioneer DVD106 read the DVD-R slower than all the other drives of the test. Pioneer read the DVD-RW at 5335 kb/s and lastly, both Pioneer and BTC drives read the DVD+RW media at almost the same spead.

BTC 316B DVD Speed graphs for (DVD-R, DVD+RW) and Pioneer DVD-106S/2 DVD Speed graphs for (DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW)

- Movie Tests

We tested the DVD-ROMS with many DVD titles and our overall impression was very good. Both drives didn't have any problems with any DVD title we tested, and the average CPU usage was around 45% using PowerDVD XP v4.0.


6. Conclusion
DVD Round-up Vol2 - Page 6

Conclusion

Pioneer DVD-106

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Good CD/DVD access time
- Very good HSRW reading performance
- Very good SafeDisk v.1 performance
- Read up to 92 min CDs
- Low operation noise
- Can read DVD-R/DVD+RW/DVD-RW formats
- No problems during DVD playback

- Low DVD/CD reading performance
- Low DVD ripping speed
- Low DAE ripping speed
- Bad CloneCD performance (except from SafeDisk v1)
- Low DVD-R reading performance
- Bad DAE performance with scratched media
- Cannot handle Audio protected CDs
- Cannot read 96bytes from SubChannel data

BTC 316B

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Very good DVD ripping speed
- Very good DVD-ROM reading speed
- Good CD reading speed
- Very good PSX ripping speed
- Good DVD-ROM access time
- Good LaserLock v1/2 performance
- Good SecuROM performance
- Read up to 90 min CDs
- Support of DVD-R, DVD+RW formats
- Good DVD-R reading performance

- High CD access time
- Very low SafeDisk v1/2 performance
- Failed in the Bad Media extraction test
- No 99 minutes CDs support
- Does not support DVD-RW format
- Cannot handle Audio protected CDs

Both Pioneer and BTC drives did not gave any outstanding performance that would make the difference between the compatible drives. Pioneer DVD-106 supports reading of all the DVD formats except from DVD-RAM, has a good DVD/CD access time performance, very good performance with HSRW CD media and SafeDisk v1 protected titles. Pioneer engineers worked on reducing the drive's operation noise. The drive has not a silent operation, the produced noise level is lower than the company's previous drives. On the other hand, Pioneer DVD-106 is not the faster DVD/CD reader and failed to give a high enough DAE performance. Lastly, the drive does not support reading of 96 bytes of Subchannel data.

BTC 316B gave a very good DVD ripping speed, and also high DVD/CD reading speeds. The drive supports the DVD-R/DVD+RW formats and has an impressive performance with PSX titles (51 sec full ripping). As for the CloneCD performance, LaserLock v1/2 and SecuROM protections will not be a problem for Pioneer, however the drive hardly back ups SafeDisk v1/2 CDs. BTC does not support DVD-RW and 99 min CD media and also failed to extract the bad quality audio CD in the relative test.

Generally, LiteOn LTD163 still holds the first place in the performance chart and both Pioneer and BTC drives need further improvements to reach the top. You will need approximately $ 75 to buy the Pioneer DVD-106 and almost $65 for BTC 316B. LiteOn LTD163 costs around $52 and AOpen 1648 $68.



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