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Appeared on: Monday, January 27, 2003
Toshiba SD-M1712 DVD-ROM

1. Introduction


- Introduction

Combo drives are always handy to users since they cover the basic desktop needs, which are mostly reading for the CD and DVD formats. Continuing the successful SD-M1612 series, Toshiba launches the new SD-M1712 combo CD-R/DVD-ROM drive, already available in your local stores. The drive supports 16X CAV DVD-ROM reading and 48X for the CD format. What's new for the SD-M1712 series is the DVD-RAM support.

- Drive features

Toshiba SD-M1712 came with the firmware revision v1.004 installed. The supported reading speed for DVD-ROM is 16X CAV for single layer and 10X CAV for dual layer discs.

The main specifications of the drive are illustrated below:

The applied cache buffer 128MB and is compliant to the RPCII regulations, allowing user to change the region code of the drive 5 times.

The Applicable Read Disks are the following:
CD-DA, CD-I , CD-I Bridge (Photo-CD) , CD-I Bridge (Video-CD), CD-MIDI, CD-R, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-RW, CD-TEXT, Multisession CD-Extra, Multisession CD-R, Multisession CD-RW, Multisession Photo-CD, DVD-R, DVD-RAM 1.46 GB, 80 mm, Double/Single Sided, DVD-RAM 2.6 GB, 120 mm, Double/Single Sided, DVD-RAM 4.7 GB, 120 mm, Double/Single Sided, DVD-ROM (DVD-10, DVD-18, DVD-5 and DVD-9) and DVD-RW.

- The package

The retail kit contains the drive itself, the Intervideo WinDVD v.4 DVD playback software and the necessary IDE cables and leads.

In the package you can also find a pen, a CD-ROM with information about the Toshiba products and a quick installation guide. The Toshiba SD-M1712 retail kit will be available from Toshiba distributors and dealers, in the retail price of Euro 50-60.

On the disc-loading tray there are the "DVD-ROM" and the "Compact Disc " logos. The eject key is placed below the tray on the right side of the front panel, as usually. The busy indicator ( LED) indicates the drive status. Last, no headphone jack or volume control knobs are available, as you can see in the picture below.

OOn the black-colored rear panel there are the usual connectors, such as the power connector, the IDE interface, the device configuration jumper, and the analog audio output.

After removing the screws on the bottom we can see the drive's internal design.

Click for higher resolution!

- Installation

The Toshiba drive was identified as "TOSHIBA SD-M1712" under WinXP. The drive was installed to the secondary IDE channel of our test PC as a "Master" and worked in Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode. The October 2002 model came with firmware version v1.004 installed.

IIn the following tests we compare the Toshiba drive with three already tested 16X DVD-ROM drives, the Teac DV-516E, the Asus E616 and the Toshiba SD-M1612.

2. Data CD Tests


Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

Toshiba SD-M1712A supports 48X CAV CD-R reading speed. The drive almost reached that speed by the end of the reading process, and gave an average reading speed of 35.88X. In the same test, Asus E616 was slightly faster with 37.17X average.

Toshiba reports that the drive supports 80 msec medium seek time for the CD media. The seek time we measured is 95 msec for the random stroke, 111 msec for the 1/3 and 164 msec for the full stroke. The performance is not the best in the test but is rather competitive since the other drives gave approximately similar results.

- CDR Media results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

All the drives gave better results with the CDR media. Toshiba SD-M1712 gave a 36.09X average reading speed but speaking with numbers, the fastest drive comes again from Asus.

In the seek test, the results were not very different than in the pressed CD test.

- HS-RW media (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

For the RW tests we used Verbatim 10X HS-RW , Cyberdrive 16X HS-RW and Yamaha 24X US-RW media. The Toshiba SD-M1712 supports 48X CAV reading speed for the HS-RW format, and the average reading speed we got was 36.71X.

3. CD Error Correction Tests

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the error correction capabilities of Toshiba SD-M1712.

- EAC Test Disc

- Test Results (Max Reading)

The errors within the black triangle defect, reached -7.2dB in specific areas. The average Loudness errors level is 29.0db(A). The score is 52.8 out of 100 (max), which is a low performance.

Errors total
Num: 115253525
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 582399
Avg:-29.0 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 76655
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 622 Samples
Skips Samples
Avg:44.2 Samples
Max: 2934 Samples
Total Test Result
52.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)


- Introduction

This test disc includes artificial scratches with lengths from 0.4 mm to 3.0 mm.

Using the ABEX TCD-714 as the reference disc, we created the reference.wav file that is needed for the comparison. Using the c2 extract software we compared the reference .wav file with the produced one from the defected ABEX TCD-721R.

- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 4258078
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 70657
Avg: -63.2 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 17595
Avg: 1.8 Samples
Max: 273 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 128
Avg: 10.3 Samples
Max: 18 Samples
Total Test Result
60.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The score for Toshiba SD-M1712 is only 60 points, which is a less than average performance. The total errors are less than in the previous test, but the average error level reported is -63.2dB(A).

- ABEX TCD-726

- Introduction

The ABEX TCD-726 includes three kinds of defects, interruption, black dots and fingerprints are prepared in this disc. The interruption defects are sized from 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm. The black dots are from 0.4 mm to 1.0 mm. Lastly, the fingerprints are from 65 to 75 micro meters.

- Test Results (Max Speed)

The total amount of errors only 115 with the TCD-726 disc. The scratches on the disc is not as heavy as in the TCD-721, and the rest defects and fingerprints produced only a few errors while reading. The Loudness errors were only 28 and the average level was -86.6dB(A), which is an acceptable level. No error muting samples were reported and the total score is to a very good (92.2 points).

Errors total
Num: 115
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 28
Avg: -86.6 dB(A)
Max: -58.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 18.0 Samples
Max: 18 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0.0 Samples
Total Test Result
92.2 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

Toshiba SD-M1712 gets an average 68.3 score out of 100 in the reading error correction tests. The performance is less than average considering that we have experienced better results with some other IDE drives, mostly from CD-RW recorders. However, Teac DV-516E gave a similar result in our previous test report, with 69.8 points out of 100.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Tests Results (Max Speed)

Nero CDSpeed confirmed the previous test results with ABEX TCD-721R test disc. The quality score for Toshiba SD-M1712 is only 42.8 points out of 100. The amount of compare errors is high and the 1640 sync errors lead to a low overall score. The C2 information retrieved by the drive is also not very high, and reaches the 62.15%.

EAC software also gave the a very low accuracy (61.7%) in the corresponding test.

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score (%)
Average Score

4. DVD reading tests


DVD reading tests

- Test Method

We used Nero CD Speed to run DVD tests. All tests were performed at least 3 times with the same DVD title (we show the average results). The tests discs were one single sided, single layer DVD-ROM, one single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM, and DVD-R,-RW, +R and DVD+RW media.

- Single Layer DVD-ROM reading: (Click for CDSpeed results)

Toshiba SD-M1712 supports 6 to 16X CAV reading speed for the single layer DVD-ROM discs. The drive read the disc at 11.83X average speed, behaving in a similar way as Teac DV-516E. Toshiba SD-M1612 follows closely with 11.13X.

The seek times of Toshiba SD-M1712 are low for the DVD-ROM format. The random seek test gave a 92msec result, and the Full seek around 139msec. The Teac drive is slightly faster in the Random and 1/3 modes, with a small however difference. The performance was expected and the results are verified by the drive's specifications.

- Dual Layer DVD-ROM reading: (Click for CDSpeed results)

The drive supports 4.1-10X CAV reading speed for the dual layer DVD-ROM discs. It started reading at 4.25X and finished the task at 10.18X, with an average speed of 7.62X. The Teac drive is faster by 1X.

The seek times for the dual layer DVD-ROMs are slightly higher than with single layer DVD-ROMs.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD Ripping speed using the "Matrix" DVD Video title and DVD Decrypter v3.0 software.

The ripping speed of Toshiba SD-M1712 is not very high and reaches the 5216 kb/sec (3.8X). The Asus and Teac drives are faster.

- DVD reading Tests

The charts below shows the Nero DVD Speed results with the following media.

Toshiba SD-M1712 supports 2 to 4.8X CAV reading speed for the DVD-R/RW discs. The drive gave a 3.9X average reading speed for the DVD-R and 3.47X for the DVD-RW format. Although the drive does not officially support the DVD+RW and DVD+R discs, it finished our tests without any problem. In addition, the drive was gave the higher reading performance with DVD+R media. However, the Asus and Teac drives are generally faster. Note that the missing results in the graph (zeros) do not indicate any inabilities of the corresponding drives to finish the task. Unfortunately we did not have the chance to re-test the Asus E616 and Toshiba SD-M1612 with DVD+R media.

5. DVD Error Correction tests

DVD Error Correction tests

In the following tests we examine the DVD error correction capabilities of Toshiba SD-M1712. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark v1.21 and Nero DVD Speed . The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, in which there are scratches with dimensions from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from CDVD Benchmark v1.21.

Toshiba SD-M1712 seems to have no problem finishing the reading task with no errors. The graph is not interrupted, meaning that the drive read the disc smoothly and no errors were reported. The performance is high revealing increased error correction capabilities.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as the TDR-821, with the difference that there not scratches on it but defected areas with dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There also fingerprints sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

The drive read the disc smoothly the "black band" and the "fingerprint" areas. The reading speed was not reduced and no errors were reported. The yellow dots correspond to the current speed in each area of the disc.

- Dual Layer media


This is a 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches with dimensions from 0.4 to 3.0mm, in both layers.

The result is very good, as it was expected, judging from the reading test with the single layer disc. If you compare the two yellow transfer lines with the one we had in the TDR-821 test, you will see that the drive showed a similar good reading behavior, in both layers.


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 defected areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defected areas are ranged from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Again the drive easily overcomes the defected areas and successfully finishes the reading test.


The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correction capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The test showed that the reading speed by the end of the first layer reached the 12X. The average speed for both layers was 8.39X. The scratched areas in made the drive slow down in some areas. The average random seek time time 89 msec.


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 has also 65 - 75 micro meters fingerprints.

Black dots and fingerprints were not a problem for the drive. The test was successful, with an 7.63X average speed and 95 msec for the average random seek time.

6. CloneCD Reading Tests


CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drives. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD. Toshiba SD-M1712 finished the task in just 51 seconds. The Asus drive was just 3 seconds faster.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

Toshiba SD-M1712 is a recommended solution for reading SafeDisc v.2 protected discs. The drive needed only 3 minutes to finish the task. The previous Toshiba model is slower at least with the original disc.

- LaserLock v.2 Results

With the LaserLock v.2 protected disc, the drive finished reading the pressed disc in 13 minutes. The performance is average and compatible for the category. The Asus drive is the fastest with the pressed disc, and Toshiba SD-M1612 takes the leads in the backup CD test with 1819.28 sectors /sec reading speed.

- SecuROM Results

All the drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. Although Toshiba SD-M1712 gave a good performance, the LiteOn drive was slightly faster and finished both tasks in approximately 2 min.

7. DAE Tests


DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 reports that Toshiba SD-M1712 does not support caching of data, it gives "Accurate Stream" and retrieves "C2" error info, with low accuracy, however, as we experienced in the previous tests.

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the speed of the DAE of the drive. Toshiba reports that the drive supports 14 to 32X CAV for the CDDA format. However, the drive ripped the audio files at 21.8X average. The performance is the third best in the test behind Teac DV-516E, which gave a 30X average speed.

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping speed is again 21.8X. The Teac drive keeps the first place with 30X.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that for each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Teac DV-516E
Toshiba SD-M1612
Asus E616

- Advanced DAE Quality

Toshiba SD-M1712 got a 100 score (out of 100) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for the drive was 22.09X. The drive can also read data from SubChannel and CD Text.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

Error Level
Teac DV-516E

The Toshiba drive showed average error correction / concealment abilities with the CD-Check audio test disc. The first three audio tracks were playbacked correctly without any error noises. The rest tracks produced audible errors.

- Bad CDR Media results

We used CD DAE software in order to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) to the hard disk. Unfortunately, the drive could not recognize the disc and the test could not be done.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Up to 95min
Teac DV-516E
The drive cannot playback/rip any track

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Recognizes disc contents, cannot rip
Teac DV-516E
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes disc contents, cannot rip

The drive cannot handle the "Key2Audio" and "Cactus Data Shield 200" protected discs. The disc contents of both discs were recognized, but ripping was impossible.

8. Conclusion



Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- 16X DVD-ROM /48X CD-ROM drive
- Fast reader for CD-ROM/-R discs
- Good seek times for CD/DVD
- Reads DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW discs
- Supports DVD-RAM format
- Fast CloneCD reader
- Good DVD error correction/reading quality
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text

- Supported DVD-R/RW reading speed lowed than competition (4.8X CAV)
- Supported reading speed for dual layer DVD-ROM limited to 10X
- DVD ripping speed lower than competition
- Average CD error correction capabilities
- Cannot "handle" any audio protected disc
- DAE speed could be higher (22X)
- C2 error information is present with low accuracy according to the EAC test

Toshiba SD-M1712 performed adequately in the most of the tests and the results were confirmed by the drive's specifications. Concerning the DVD reading, the drive is fast and the 16X supported speed is high enough, while the seek times are low and compatible to other drives in the DVD-ROM market. The drive officially supports the DVD-R/RW formats but users will be able to read DVD+R/RW discs also. However, the drive did not give the fastest reading speeds in specific tests, compared to other drives. The dual layer DVD-ROM was read at 10X, while it could be higher, and the supported DVD-R/RW reading speed was 4.8X CAV. Ripping of DVD discs was also not very fast but this is commonly known to all users who already own a Toshiba drive. On the other hand, the performance cannot be evaluated considering the reading speeds only. The drive showed a very positive behavior in the DVD "error correction" tests with the ABEX defected discs.

The SD-M1712 series also supports the DVD-RAM format (2X). Unfortunately we did not have the chance to test the reading abilities of the drive but we will update this article shortly with more information on this area.

CloneCD users will find the Toshiba SD-M1712 as a very good solution for their reading tasks with protected discs, since the drive is very fast. The 48X reading speed for CD-R/RW is high enough and the seek times are very low for a drive of this category. As for the CDDA format, the drive is fast (22X) but the competition demands a higher performance. Staying in the reading part for the CD format, we could say that the error correction capabilities of the drive are average and the DAE quality should be also improved. As for the audio protections, the drive will disappoint users since it cannot handle the "Key2Audio" and "Cactus Data Shield 200" modes. The drive can also retrieve C2 error information but the reliability is not high.

The Toshiba SD-M1712 is generally a good DVD-ROM solution. The CD-ROM /DVD-ROM combination could be very handy for the candidate users among with the 2 year-warranty offered by Toshiba. The retail kit is priced at 50-60 Euro.

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