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Appeared on: Monday, February 18, 2002
Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM


1. Introduction
Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM - Page 1

Introduction:
Pioneer introduced the U05S model at 12/12/2000. As the press release stated: "...The new DVD-U05S has improved performance and quality compared to its predecessors. It is the world’s fastest SCSI drive proving Pioneer position as leader in DVD technology. With a transfer rate of 13.5MB/s (max.); a faster average access time for DVD-ROM of 95ms (80ms for CD-ROM); also seek time has been reduced from 90msec to 85sec (70msec for CD-ROM). Compatibility with CD-DA/ROM/R/RW/Extra/Video CD and DVD-ROM/R/RW/VIDEO the drive is truly more versatile with multiple possible applications. The new 10X SCSI drive is also available in bulk version (DVD-305S).."

Pioneer feels that U05S are for professional use and that is most users feel about SCSI models. The drive as all previous models we have tested is slot-in and supports:

Specs
DVD Read Speed
4.1x - 10x CAV
CD-ROM Read Speed
17.2x - 40x CAV
Data Buffer Size
512 Kbytes
Average Access Times
DVD-ROM:
CD-ROM:

95 ms
80 ms
Average Seek Times
DVD-ROM:
CD-ROM:

85 ms
70 ms
DVD Formats
DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-Video
CD-ROM Formats
CD-DA, CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-XA Mode 2, CD-R, CD-RW, Video CD, Kodak Photo-CD, CD-Text, CD-Extra

We will see how the latest Pioneer SCSI model performs and compare it with other Pioneer DVD-ROMs in order to have a clear look if the drive is really improved! All DVD-Rom drives produced after January 1st 2000 are RPC2 compliant. This means that now the region lock is based on both hardware (drive) and software (player) and it gives the user the chance to change the region only 5 times. After that, the player is locked to the last region change. Read more about it over here.

- Package :
We received the retail version of Pioneer 10x SCSI DVD-Rom (DVD-U05S), which included the drive, manual, audio cable, jumpers and mounting screws. As you can see in the pictures, this model has a slot-in system for loading discs. You might find this drive at OEM version with the code DVD-305S. The front of the drive is identical to the previous 105S:

- Installation :
Since this model was SCSI we set the SCSI ID and rebooted. The drive identified itself as "Pioneer DVD-Rom DVD-305S" from both DOS and Windows. We checked "Sync Data Transfer" under WinME and after that we were ready to start the test. We also installed the latest PowerDVD version (3.0) for measuring the DVD performance.

The supplied drive was a November 2000 model with v1.00 firmware revision. You must specify one region when you first try to use the drive as a DVD player. We selected Region 2 for our tests and we had another four hardware changes left before the drive locks forever. Till now there is no region free solution as with previous Pioneer models.

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
CL GForce2 GTS
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.04
Pioneer DVD-105S firmware v1.22
Pioneer DVD-104S firmware v2.02
Pioneer DVD-U05S firmware v1.00


2. Data Tests

Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method
- SCSI Mechanic v3.0: This was used to compare the Pioneer U05S vs. previous Pioneer's DVD-ROM I/O performance models (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.06 for all of the tests.
- CD Speed 99 v0.80 was also used to check the drive performance with pressed CDs. For that test we used PlexTools v1.06 original CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0 results

As you can see from the graph above, the DVD-U05S model is very fast model and managed to outperform even the supposed faster Pioneer DVD-105S 16x DVD-ROM in both Average Random and Sequential I/O tests! We think that Pioneer really improved the drive as posted in the press release.

- CD Speed 99 v0.80 results

Using CD Speed 0.80, we can see that the DVD-U05S model is again faster than the DVD-105S model.

The DVD-U05S has much lower seek times than the 105S does.

RW reading tests

For the RW tests we used Ricoh HS RW media written at 10x speed:

The U05 model gave back the exact same performance with 105S model. The average reading speed of 24.33x is very fast!

CloneCD Tests

- Verdict of CloneCD Tests:
As happened with previous Pioneer models, the CloneCD performance of U05S is very bad. Notice that the drive does not support reading of SubChannel data as CloneCD stated. People who might want to use this drive mainly with CloneCD should look elsewhere.


3. DAE Tests

Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM - Page 3

DAE Tests

Test Method
We used CD DAE 99 v0.2 with AudioCDs in order to check DAE performance of the Pioneer DVD-U05S and we compared it with others Pioneer DVD-Rom models. As the retail box stated, the U05S is only capable of 12x CLV DAE speed. :(

- Pressed AudioCD results
No surprises here since all Pioneer DVD-ROM models have their DAE speed locked at 13x max:

- Princo 74min AudioCD:
The same thing happened with CDR media. All drive delivered around 12.5x, which is very low compared with what the competition is able to do:

- Advanced DAE Quality

Here at last is another big improval over the previous Pioneer DVD-Rom models. The U05S from our tests seem to have the best DAE quality among Pioneer models but misses to get a perfect score (100). Notice the low data errors (only 16871) compared to the 10x and 16x Pioneer DVD-ROMs. We hope that this small bug will be fixed soon and the drive will have perfect DAE in near future.


4. DVD Tests

Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM - Page 4

DVD Tests

- Test Method
We used DVD Speed 99 v0.2 to run DVD tests (DMA enabled for both 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 using dual layer DVDs since the performance might be lower than the actual one. For that propose we used a single-layered DVD title, taken from PC Magazine.

- DVD Speed results:

The DVD Speed results shows that the U05S really gives out what it promises as 10x DVD-Rom drive. The average DVD reading speed is around 9.8mb/s: Very close to the specifications, but much lower than what the 16x model can do. The seek times are also improved but the 10x IDE DVD-ROM seems slightly better in this area.

- DVD Ripping Tests
We measured the DVD Ripping speed using two DVDs (Matrix and Gladiator) using VobDec 3.1. The U05S really rocks and gave out the best ripping performance we have seen from DVD-ROM drive. Good news for DivX rippers I suppose :)

- Movie Tests :
We tested Pioneer DVD-U05S with many DVDs and our total impression is good. When playing DVD movies, the average CPU Usage was 40% using Power DVD v3.0. We noticed no problems during the playback procedure. The only negative point here is the noise which the drive produces. Some people will find that very annoying.


5. Final Verdict

Pioneer DVD-U05S SCSI DVD-ROM - Page 5

Final Verdict

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- SCSI Interface
- CD Text Support
- Very Improved performance over previous Pioneer models
- Blazing fast DVD Ripping speed
- Very good Data transfer times
- Very good seek times
- Very good DVD performance

- Region-locked in hardware (RPC2)
- Low DAE speed
- Bad CloneCD performance
- Still noisy enough
- No Digital Output
- Doesn't support 90 and 99min CDs

The Pioneer DVD-U05S model is the best DVD-ROM ever tested. Some people may be confused by the "low" 10x DVD-ROM speed but the tests clearly showed that the drive kicks butt of the 16x model. The data reading performance is the best and the seek times are very fast for most users. The DAE speed is still slow, but is nearly perfect. CloneCD users will find this drive a bad choice due to its bad performance but will be pleased with the fastest DVD ripping speed we got from a DVD-ROM drive! The final product shows that Pioneer worked hard and presented a very good DVD-ROM for power users. The SCSI interface among with the various improvements over the previous Pioneer models will make many people drop ATAPI DVD-ROM models from their systems - at least we did after the end of tests. ;-)



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