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Appeared on: Thursday, November 27, 2003
Pioneer DVR-SK12D


1. Features - Installation

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 1

 

Toshiba, NEC , Teac and other manufacturers of internal CD/DVD drives for notebooks / laptops are working hard to implement high CD/DVD writing speeds for 2.5 inch devices. And while without doubt, the progress in performance and capabilities of ATAPI/IDE internal drives has been much more pronounced, many existing laptop users have been left with a choice of either remaining with their slow drives originally installed on the laptop, or to purchase a new laptop, simply to gain higher CD/DVD recording performance. In the first case the user must forsake performance and capabilities, in the second it can turn out to be quite a costly exercise.

Well, fear no more, for a solution is at hand. A new slim drive at an affordable price, with the performance and capabilities of a half height drive.

While there are certainly drives cheaper, faster and with more capabilities than Pioneer’s newly released DVR-SK12D slim external drive, there are none matching its performance in the slim drive category, and it gives a lot of half height drives a scare as well. It is certainly an ideal solution for anyone with a laptop PC not having a CD/DVD recorder mounted internally on the laptop. It is a light, compact drive delivering extremely good performance and at a good price coming in at around €300. Because it is a slim external drive, it can be easily carried around in the compartment of a laptop carry case.

Pioneer’s new DVR-SK12D external slim drive offers speed. Add to that CD-R/RW and DVD+-R/RW support and you now have more options available to you. But don’t buy this DVD writer just for its speed; buy it for its great looks and ultra-portability.

- Features

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D can be connected either through USB 2.0, USB 1.1, (according to the manufacturer, the unit will not demonstrate its full performance with USB 1.1) or IEEE1394 interfaces, providing easy and fast installation on your notebook or PC.

Writes: DVD-R, DVD-RW, +R, +RW, CD-R, CD-RW , DVD-R 2x*, DVD-RW 2x* , +R 2.4x, +RW 2.4x , CD-R 16x , CD-RW 10x

The drive supports recording of all the recordable/rewritable CD/DVD formats, using "Buffer Under-Run" protection for safe CD/DVD burning.

Both vertical and horizontal mounting is available saving space on your desktop. For vertical operation, Pioneer offers a stylish stand bundled in the retail package.

- Specification
READ SPEED

 DISC Format

Transfer Speed

DVD-ROM (Single layer)

 8X CAV

DVD-ROM (Dual layer)

 6X CAV

DVD-R Ver.1.0

 3.6X CAV

DVD-R Ver.2.0 / DVD-RW Ver.1.0 and Ver.1.1

 4X CAV

+R/+RW

 4X CAV

DVD-Video with CSS (Single layer)

 4X CAV

DVD-Video with CSS (Dual layer)

 3.6X CAV

CD-ROM

24X CAV

Video CD

10X CAV

CD-DA,CD- TEXT,Mixed-CD,CD-Extra (Play audio)

10X CAV

CD-DA,CD- TEXT,Mixed-CD,CD-Extra (Data extraction)

24X CAV

CD-R

24X CAV

CD-RW (Multi Speed, High Speed, Ultra Speed)

24X CAV

Note:  (*1) Rotational speed of 8cm media is same as 12cm media.
WRITE SPEED

 DISC Format

Transfer Speed

DVD-R

1X CLV

2X CLV (*3)

DVD-RW

1X CLV

2X CLV (*4)

8cm DVD-R/RW

1X CLV

2X CLV

DVD+R

2.4X CLV (*5)

DVD+RW

2.4X CLV (*5)

8cm +R/+RW

2.4X CLV (*5)

CD-R

4X CLV

8X CLV

12X Zone-CLV

16X Zone-CLV

Multi Speed CD-RW

4X CLV

High Speed CD-RW

4X CLV

10X CLV

8cm CD-R

4X CLV

8X CLV

8cm Multi Speed CD-RW

4X CLV

8cm High Speed CD-RW

4X CLV

10X CLV

Note:  (*1) Ultra Speed CD-RW is not supported. (Support read only)
          (*2) Scanning velocity: DVD 3.49 m/s, CD 1.2 m/s
          (*3) 4X-Speed DVD-R and normal (1X Speed) DVD-R that the
                drive supports 2X write only.
          (*4) 2X-Speed DVD-RW only.
         
(*5) 4X +R and 4X +RW are supported. But the drive supports
                2.4X write only.
Access Time
(Random Average)
DVD-ROM  140 msec
CD-ROM    130 msec
Interface: IEEE1394 & USB2.0
Mounting Orientation Horizontal and Verticle
Interface ATAPI (PIO Mode4)/Multi Word DMA Mode2)
Ultra DMA33(Ultra DMA Mode2)
Data Buffer (size) 2 MBytes
Power AC110 - 240V (50/60Hz)
Weight 490g
Disc Formats  Supported:
  • KODAK Photo CD Single and Multi-session
  • CD Extra (CD PLUS)
  • Video CD
  • Read/Write CD-R discs
  • Read/Write CD-RW discs
  • CD text data read/write
  • Read DVD-ROM
  • Read/Write DVD-R Ver. 2.00 for General
  • Read/Write DVD-RW Ver.1.0 & 1.1
  • Read/Write +R Ver. 1.0 & 1.1
  • Read/Write +RW Ver.1.1
Note: DVD-RAM is not supported.

Nero InfoTool confirms the official specifications, as can be seen below:

The drive has a 2MB cache memory. RAO DAO 96 wriitng mode is also supported.

- European retail package

The retail package includes the Pioneer portable DVR-SK12D drive, a user manual, Firewire cable, USB2 cable, vertical mounting stand, application software and AC adapter (input 100-240V AC 50/60 Hz, output 5V DC/2.0 Amp). The application software comes on a single DVD and includes:

Pinnacle:

Instant CD/DVD 8 (including InstantCopy, InstantCinema and Expression)
Instant VideoAlbum
Instant PhotoAlbum
Studio 8 SE
InterVideo: WinDVD 4

The DVR-SK12D can be found online at a price of less than under $300.

The drive itself is quite stylish, being very light, slim and compact. On the top side when layed flat, (as can be seen on photo below), there are air vents on the top right hand side and just below this is a plastic panel with the Pioneer logo showing through. Also behind the panel is the power indicator light which when the unit is powered on, turns blue if the connection to the PC is USB 2.0, green for USB 1.1, and orange for IEEE 1394.

The power switch is located on the side and has three positions: ON, AUTO and OFF. The unit can be turned on and off by sliding the switch to the ON and OFF position respectively, or it can be left in the AUTO position to turn on and off automatically when the unit is connected to a computer.

Looking at the front of the unit, the loading tray has the usual load/eject button, busy indicator light, and forced eject hole.

The rear of the unit has the interface connections for USB 2.0./USB 1.1 and IEEE 1394, as well as the DC power input connection jack.

The unit can be fitted with a vertical mounting stand (supplied) being more compact and taking up less space when placed on a desktop.

- Installation

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D was connected to our test PC and was identified as device "Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-K12D" under WinXP. All tests were done with firmware revision v1.00.

For our test line-up we decided to put the DVR-SK12D alone since currently there are not any competitive drives in the market. Putting the drive against any internal DVD dual writer would not be a fair comparison.


2. CD Reading Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 2

CD Reading Tests

- Pressed CD results

Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports 24x CAV reading speed with CD-ROM/-R media.

On this test we used an 80 min data pressed disc with the latest version of Nero CDSpeed to test the reading performance of the drive. As can bee seen from the graph below, starting from the innermost tracks the drive exhibited a speed of 11.47x, increasing linearly as it reached the outermost tracks and a speed of 25.10x. The average speed was 18.95x.

According to the specifications, random seek times for the drive are approximately 130msec. The results we obtained with Nero were very close to the manufacturers specifications. For the Full stroke the drive was slower, with 274msec. The performance is compatible to other DVD writers, even to some ATAPI drives.

- CDR Media results

For this test we used an exact copy of the previously tested pressed disc that was written onto a cd-r media. Nero CDSpeed reports results a little higher than in the previous test at all tested speeds. Again the speed increase from inner to outer tracks is smooth and linear. The reading method was CAV and the average reading speed was 19.18x.

 

On the seek time test for the same cd-r media, resulting times were lower for the Random and 1/3 modes test in comparison with the pressed disc. However, the full seek time increased (292ms).

- ReWritable Media

For this test we used 10x HS-RW media from Ricoh. The drive read the disc at 24.69x and the seek times were not significantly different from those for CD-R/ROM.

The Pioneer DVR-K12D also supports reading of US-RW media. This time the drive had some problems when reading our 24x US-RW disc from Mitsubishi Chemicals. The reading speed dropped to 12x at around the 35min and 40min address marks on the disc, as can be seen from the graph below.

 

 


3. CD Error Correction Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

Next we checked the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defective discs. The test discs we used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 996439
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 52683
Avg: -73.6 dB(A)
Max: -35.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3207
Avg: 1.1 Samples
Max: 40 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
76.7 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D performed very well. As you can be seen from the graph above, the majority of the red spikes (error level) are lower than the -60dB(A), EAC's author limit for non-audible errors. The total average error loudness level is only -73.6dB(A) with a maximum value at -35.9dB(A). No errors were skipped and some samples were muted.

The total score for Pioneer DVR-SK12D is good and reaches 76.7 points out of 100.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 684
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num:36
Avg:-69.4 dB(A)
Max: -59.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num:5
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 1 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
90.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

Using the 726 Abex test disc, being more easily read by most drives, the drive managed to rip the contents of the disc without problems. Comparing the original .wav file (i.e. non deffective source) with the one produced after ripping the defective disc, showed no major differences. No samples were skipped and only a few number samples were muted.

The total score of the drive for this test is 90.6 points out of 100.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful 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 and reproduce music completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult test tracks. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
0/5

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D passed the first 4 Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals very good sound reproduction and error correction. The fifth level includes an error size of 1.500mm, and the drive here produced audible clicks.

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
76.7
ABEX TCD-726
90.6
Average Score
83.7

Combining the two scores from the tests, we estimate an average total score of 83.7 points out of 100. The score is more than adequate. The Pioneer drive managed to read severely scratched discs with a high accuracy, a fact that may interest many users who are seeking reliable reproduction of discs.


4. DVD reading tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 4

DVD reading tests

- Single Layer PTP DVD-ROM

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports an 8x CAV reading speed for single layer DVD-ROM media. Nero CDSpeed reports that the drive reached the 8.16x maximum speed at the end of the disc (i.e. outermost tracks) while the average speed was 6.07x under CAV mode.

While we may be used to higher DVD-ROM reading speeds from DVD writers (12x~16x), it should not be forgotten that the DVR-SK12D is a slim and compact DVD recorder and as such, the achievement of higher speeds is not an easy task.

Random seek time for the drive was faster than 140msec, as stated in the official specifications. The performance in the full stroke could however have been better.

- Dual Layer PTP DVD-ROM

Both layers of the dual layer PTP DVD-ROM were read in the same manner. The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports 6x CAV reading of dual layer media. The disc was read accurately under CAV mode, at an average speed of 4.57x.

In the same test the reported seek times are once again low and very close to those of the single layer disc previously tested. The random seek test clocked in at 132ms while the drive needed 288ms for the full seek test.

 

- Dual Layer OTP DVD-ROM

The graphs presented below show the drives performance for OTP dual layer DVD-ROM read under CAV mode.

The first layer was read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks toward the inner part of the disc. Here too the speed increase/decrease is linear and symmetrical between the two layers.

The transfer rate graph is smooth and each layer was read at an average speed of 4.54x under CAV mode.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD ripping speed of the Pioneer DVR-SK12D using the DVD Decrypter software. The DVD Video title is the "Matrix" pressed DVD.

 
Drive
Average Ripping Speed
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
4.720 KB/s (3.4x)

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D finished the ripping process after 19:08min. The average reported ripping speed was 3.4x (4720 KB/sec) which is an acceptable speed.

Apart from the decrypting procedure, the Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports speeds of 3.6x CAV reading for dual layer DVD-Video discs with CSS, and 4x CAV for single layer DVD-ROM (with CSS).

- DVD Recordable / Rewritable reading Tests

The chart below shows the Nero CDSpeed results with the following media:

The drive supports 4x CAV reading with DVD±R/RW discs. Note that the DVD-R Ver.1.0 media will be read at 3.6x CAV. The CDSpeed tests confirmed the drive's specifications and each disc was read flawlessly at aproximately 3x average.


5. DVD Error Correction Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the Pioneer DVR-SK12D drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media come 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 with dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate graph comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The drive read the disc at 6x CAV, which is 2x slower than the supported 8x CAV for a single layer DVD-ROM. However, the scratched area did not affect the read process at all. The disc was read accurately and no read errors were reported. The performance reveals high error correction capabilities with scratched single layer DVD-ROM discs.

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 ranging between 65 and 75 micrometres.

Once again the disc was read without any read errors. The reading speed was not reduced when the drive read the defective areas, and the test was finished successfully.

- 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.

Keeping up the good performance exhibited thus far, the dual layer disc was read at 6x CAV and no read errors were reported.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes both defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometres.

As in the corresponding test with the ABEX TDR-825 (defective single layer DVD-ROM), the disc was read accurately. The average reading speed for each layer was 6.06x.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer Video/S-2 disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based on 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 also checks the error correction capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Both layer were read flawlessly at 6x CAV. The scratched areas did not slow down reading, even in the second layer of the disc, where most DVD writers have reading (focusing) problems.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer Video/S-2 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 micrometrer fingerprints.

The drive managed to read the disk without encountering any problem. The test was finished successfully while the drive exhibited a smooth performance. The starting speed was 2.56x and the average 6.11x.

 

 


6. Protected Disc Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 6

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create an image of the various protected titles onto a hard disk, we used CloneCD v4.3.1.7 software and the appropriate settings, depending on the protection type of the inserted disc. Below are summarized the capabilities of the Philips drive, according to CloneCD software. Notice that the drive supports writing of CD+G under RAW DAO:

The Pioneer DVR-K12D supports reading of subchannel data information from data/audio tracks.

The drive was very slow in the reading task with the SafeDisc v.2 protected. The specific SecuRom v.2 disc was read in 4:14min, which is an average speed of 1353.41 sectors/sec.

Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Average Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
1:30 min
1004 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
50:24 min
110.92 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
4:14 min
1353.41 sectors/sec
- Writing Tests

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 2 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions with the latest software patches installed. After creating images of the various titles to the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with CloneCD v4.3.1.7. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Amplify Weak Sectors" feature enabled and one more with the function disabled.

In the case of the SecuROM v.2 title, CloneCD prompted that the drive was capable of writing on the whole 96 bytes of the Subchannel area.

In the table below you can see whether the produced backups were working (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive
Game Title
SD2 Build
Settings
Amplify Weak Sectors Enabled
Amplify Weak Sectors Disabled
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
Max Payne
v2.51.020
OK
NO
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
v2.60.052
No
No

Game Title
SecuRom
Working backup
VRally II
v2
Yes
Enter the Matrix
v4.84.75.0045
No

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D will not please the game freaks since it is not able to produce working backups of the latest protection schemes.


7. DAE Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 7

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports 24x maximum DAE speed. Below can be seen the CDSpeed transfer rate test with a pressed audio CD:

According to CDSpeed, the average reading speed with this disc was 18.46x. Note that the specific speed corresponds to audio extraction only. For audio play of CD-DA,CD- TEXT, Mixed-CD, CD-Extra, the speed is 10x CAV.

We ripped the contents of the same audio disc to the hard disk with CDDAE software. The drive gave an average ripping speed (burst mode) of 17.7x for the pressed disc and 17.4x for a copied audioCD on CD-R.

Drive
Pressed Audio Disc
CD-R Audio Disc
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
17.7x
17.4x
- Advanced DAE Quality

The drive produced a perfect score of 100 in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The CDSpeed showed that the average reading speed was 17.25x, and that the drive supports reading of SubChannel data and CD Text. It can also be seen that the drive is not capable of reading Leadin / Leadout data.

- Ripping of 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
99min

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For this test procedure we used two audio discs with different audio protections. The tasks tested were both recognition and ripping to hard disk. The software used is the Exact Audio Copy.

* Pressed Audio disc protected by Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)

* Pressed Audio disc protected by Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
Pioneer DVR-SK12D
Recognizes disc contents but cannot rip tracks
OK

The drive recognizes contents of protected Key2Audio discs but cannot rip the tracks. With CDS200 there were no problems in either the reading or ripping process.


8. CD-R Recording Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Writing

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports 4x, 8x, 12x and 16x writing speeds under Z-CLV mode.

The writing procedure starts at 8x CLV remaining steady until the 20min address mark on the disc, climbing up to 12x. A third speed switch occurs at the 50min address mark, where the Pioneer DVR-K12D reaches a maximum speed of 16x.

According to CDSpeed, the average writing speed with an 80min blank disc is 12.35x. The writing simulation graph is given below:

 

For the burning tests we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, and recorded the data on a 700MB disc. Pioneer finished the task in 7:49 minutes, when we selected the 16x writing speed. Below can be seen the best writing times (sec) of the dirve at speeds of 8x, 12x and 16x.

- Other features

Overburning
Up to 90:07 min
CD text reading/writing
Yes

- CD-RW Writing
The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports the 4x and 10x CLV rewriting speeds, with High Speed CD-RW. Below is the CDSpeed writing simulation graph with 10x HS-RW media. The average writing speed for the test was 10.28x.

For the burning tests we created a 74min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, and recorded the data on a 650MB HS-RW disc. The drive completed the task in 8:01 minutes, when we selected the 10x writing speed:

- Packet Writing Tests

We used InCD and a 10x HS-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals for all Packet Writing tests (22 KB) from a local Hard Disk onto the formatted RW media through Windows explorer (drag and drop).

 
Duration
Average speed
Read
6:59 min
6.57X
Write
7:09 min
6.41X

The drive achieved competitive times and speed in this test. The numbers were almost the same for both read and write processes.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests_1

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

Using 80min 48x CD-R media from Taiyo Yuden, we burned the same AudioCD project at 8x, 12x and 16x. On this page you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

The results we took are possibly the best we have ever experienced. The drive is an excellent CD burner with very low 3T Pit jitter values, using the specific media. The maximum value was at 16x and it was 25nsec. As a sidenote, the RedBook limit is for jitter 35ns.

The average 3T Pit Jitter values for all recording speeds are illustrated in the following table.

- 3T Land results

Once again the drive exhibited high quality results. The maximum 3T Land Jitter value was 27nsec for the 12x recording speed.

The following table show the average 3T Land Jitter values for all recording speeds.

Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max 3T jitter values (ns)
8X
22.20
24.49
No
24 Pit, 27 Land
12X
22.15
24.85
No
23 Pit, 27Land
16X
22.02
23.98
No
25 Pit, 26 Land
- Summary

For the tests described on this page, the most appropriate word that comes to mind in describing the writing qualities of the Pioneer DVR-SK12D is excellent.


10. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests_2

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

Here, we carried out the same tests as in the previous page, but this time we burned a variety of CD-R media with the Pioneer DVR-SK12D. Note that the recording speed for each disc is 16x.

- 3T Pit results

The drive continued its good performance and gave low 3T pit jitter values with all media.

The average 3T Pit Jitter values for all recording speeds are illustrated in the following table.

- 3T Land results

Once again the drive produced high quality results. The maximum 3T Land Jitter value was 31nsec for the Imation 52x disc.

The following table shows the average 3T Land Jitter values for all recording speeds.

Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max 3T jitter values (ns)
SKC 48x
26.85
27.68
No
24 Pit, 27 Land
TDK 48x
22.44
23.24
No
26 Pit, 24 Land
Imation 52x
22.02
28.80
No
31 Pit, 31 Land
- Summary

The overall jitter measurements are low and it seems that the jitter does not influence the writing quality.

On the following page we examine the C1 and C2 error rates for the same discs, to further substantiate our conclusions thus far.


11. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 11

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

Here we measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is the CDSpeed CD Quality Test. As a reader we used the Plextor Premium drive for retrieving the error rate information.

Media

Speed Recorded
C1
C2
Quality Score
Avg / Sec
Max / Sec
Total
Avg / Sec
Max / Sec
Total
Taiyo Yuden 48x
8x
0.66
18.0
3170.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
97.2
12x
0.63
13.0
3003.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
98.2
16x
0.59
12.
2845.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
98.3
TDK 48x
16x
1.50
24
7169.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

95.1

SKC 48x
16x
1.86
52
8894.0
0.0
0.0

0.0

91.7
Mam Golden Dye 52x
16x
6.98
42
33441
0.0
0.0
0.0
86.3
Imation 48x
16x
3.61
39
17300.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
91.5

Below can be seen more information regarding the CD-R media we used in this test.

Disc
ID Code
Capacity
Imation 48X
97m26s66f
79:59:72
SKC 48x
97m26s26f
79:59:73
Taiyo Yuden 48x
97m24s01f
79:59:72
Mam Golden Dye 52x
Mitsui 97m27s58f
79:59:74
TDK 48X
97m15s05f
79:59:74
- Summary

This test confirms once again the ability of the drive to write CD media at high quality. Independently of the disc brand we used, the C1 level was low. No C2 errors were reported.


12. DVD Recording Tests

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 12

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports writing of all DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW. According to the manufacturer the supported speeds are 1x, 2x for DVD-R/RW and 2.4x for DVD+R/RW. 4x DVD±R media are also supported, although the drive will record them at 2x/2.4x.

First we tested a 4x DVD-R from Mitsubishi Chemicals at the maximum recording speed. The drive wrote the disk under CLV mode confirming the manufacturers specifications.

The drive started the write process at 2.07x and finished the test at the same speed.

 

 

We repeated the procedure using another media type and brand. We tested the drive with a Maxell 4x DVD-RW.

Once again the drive finished the test in the prearranged speed, according to Pioneer. The starting speed was, as with the DVD-R in the previous test, 2.07x and an average speed of 2.06x.

 

 

We continued the writing performance test with a 4x DVD+R media by Mitsubishi Chemicals.

As it was expected the drive performed just as Pioneer's specifications for DVD+R media. The writing process started at the speed of 2.48x and the test completed with an average speed of 2.47x.

 

 

Finally, we checked the drive's writing behaviour with 4x DVD+RW media. The disc was from Ricoh.

According to the screen shots on the left and below the starting speed was 2.48x and the average 2.47x. This performance is exactly the same with the previous one in accordance with the drive's specifications.

 

- Burning Tests

We selected various media types and brands and burned the same 4315MB DVD-Video compilation for each disc, at the maximum speed. The best recording times are illustrated in the screen shots below and are gathered in the following table.

In the table below can be seen the maximum permitted writing speeds with various media including their respective manufacturing code IDs and writing times.

Disc Label
Disc Information
Writing Speed
Recording Time
Panasonic 2x DVD-R
MEI 00V001
2x
28:30
Pioneer 4x DVD-R
PVCR001002
2x
28:31
Princo 2x DVD-R
TDKG02000000
2x
28:28
Prodisc 2x DVD-R
PRODISCG02
2x
28:29
MCC 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
2x
28:30
Ritek 4x DVD-R
RITEKG04
2x
28:30
Maxell 4x DVD-RW
MCC 01RW11n9
2x
28:28
MCC 4x DVD+R
MCC 002
2.4x
22:20
Ricoh 4x DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
2.4x
22:18
Ricoh 4x DVD+R
RICOHJPNRO1
2.4x
22:19
Philips 4x DVD+R
RICOHJPNR00
2.4x
22:29
Sentinel 2.4x DVD+RW
SENTINELW01
2.4x
22:45
TY 2X DVD-R
TAIYOYUDEN
2x
28:29
- DVD±RW Packet Writing

The Pioneer DVR-SK12D supports packet writing with both DVD+RW and DVD-RW media. To test the performance with the DVD+RW format, we formatted a 4x DVD+RW disc from Ricoh and started the drag and drop process, using a 412 MB file (412.822 KB). With the background formatting in full progress, we wrote down the reading / writing performance.

For the DVD-RW format we used a 2x DVD-RW from Maxell. The performance of the drive is illustrated in the following table:

DVD+RW
DVD-RW
Read
4:35 min / 1.1X
4:30 min / 1.13X
Write
8:19 min / 0.61X
6:52 min / 0.74X

Although the media we used supported higher available writing speeds for each format, and the drive's specifications are faster, under packet writing the performance is lower. With the +RW media the speed was 0.61x and 1.1x for write and read respectively, while with -RW media was 0.74x for write and 1.13x for read.


13. KProbe PI/PO quality results

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 13

KProbe PI/PO quality results

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PO error rate graphs with various DVD-R/+R and DVD-RW/+RW, recorded with the Pioneer DVR-SK12D at the maximum speed.

The software we used for the measurements is the KProbe v1.1.26, and the reader is LiteOn LDW401S. The reading speed was set to maximum, while the ECC was set to 8.

The specific methodology is very dependent on the drive we use as a reader, and the reliability of the PI/PO provided output is also not technically confirmed. As a result, we cannot safely come up with absolute results, but we are allowed to compare the behavior of the drive with various DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The recordable discs we used came from Mitsubishi Chemicals, Philips, Ricoh, Ritek, Princo, Maxell and Taiyo Yuden. More information about each disc type is available at the bottom of the page.

 

In this test, the disc from Mitsubishi Chemicaks supports up to 8x writing speed, we wrote at the maximum speed supported by the drive, namely 2.4x, the results were quite satisfactory, with a relatively low error rate.

 

In this test, the disc from Ricoh supports up to 4x writing speed, we wrote at the maximum speed supported by the drive, namely 2.4x, the results indicate a somewhat increased error rate while being inside the specifications.

As in the previous case, the error rate is a little high with Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R discs, however it is still within the specifications.

The specific media is probably not reccomended for the DVR-SK12D. The PI/PO error rate reached 1872. The specific disc is a 1x-2x DVD-R for data/video.

Media
Code
MCC 8x DVD+R
Philips 081
MCC 4x DVD+R
MCC 002
Philips 4x DVD+R
RICOHJPN R01
Ricoh 4x DVD+R
RICOHJPNRO1
Ricoh 4x DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
MCC 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
Ritek 4x DVD-R
RITEKG04
Princo 2x DVD-R
TDKG02000000
Maxell 2x DVD-RW
MCC 01RW11n9
TY 2X DVD-R
TAIYOYUDEN

14. Conclusion

Pioneer DVR-SK12D Dual DVD±R recorder - Page 14

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

  • Slim Dual DVD burner
  • Stylish design
  • Complete retail package
  • Dual iEEE1394 & USB 2.0/1.1 interface
  • Supports vertical & horizontal mounting
  • DVD-R/RW/+R/+RW writing
  • 16/10/24 CD-RW
  • Acceptable CD seek times
  • Good CD-R/RW/DVD-ROM/DVD±R/RW reading performance
  • High error correction with defective / scratched CD-R media
  • High reading accuracy with defective DVD media
  • 24x max DAE
  • Good CD-R writing quality
  • Low 3T jitter
  • Acceptable DVD-Video ripping speed
  • Overburning up to 90min (CD)
  • Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
  • Supports 99min audio discs
  • Ideal for portable PC users
  • Cannot create working backups of SafeDisc versions greater than v.2.50
  • Does not support Key2Audio protected discs
  • DVD seek times could be better
  • DVD/CD writing could be faster
  • Higher than expected PI/PO error rate with some media types

At first glance, the Pioneer DVR-SK12D appears to be a very good solution for notebook and portable PC users. It is the first of its kind, being able to deliver amongst other formats, recording of DVD-R and +R media in a slim drive. It is compact, and delivers very good performance with a wide range of capabilities. The dual interface is also a plus.

Very impressive was the fact that the drive was able to record on all the media we tested, although the maximum writing speed supported by the drive (i.e. 2.4x) is a bit on the slow side compared to what is currently available on the market. For example, the supported writing speed of 2.4x is slow when compared to drives that support 4x and 8x writing speeds. While overall the drive performed very well in the write tests, the PI/PO produced a higher than expected error rate, although it remained within the specifications.

The drive also performed very well with the reading tests. It read all media formats without problems. The drive's DVD video ripping capabilities were acceptable. Although seek times were adequate, it would have been desirable to have had faster seek times. A point which leads us once again, to the conclusion that, as with the writing speed, a slightly higher maximum reading speed would have been desirable.

CD reading and writing performed well, being well within the specifications of the drive. While there were no problems reading 10x HS-RW, there was a sharp drop-off while reading 24x US-RW (see relevant test results for this media under CD Reading Tests)

The error correction and concealment tests were also impressive with the drive yielding very good sound reproduction coupled with excellent error correction capabilities. This sort of performance was carried over into the DVD error correction tests where the drive performed flawlessly.

The DAE tests produced a perfect score, with the drive being able to read both CD text and subchannel data. Jitter was very low, amongst the best we have encountered, but this was to be expected since the drive operates at slightly lower speeds than current maximums.

The writing quality tests, C1/C2, exhibited low error rate for C1 and no errors for C2.

Summing up, this is an impressive drive and would suit someone who is interested in overall quality rather than speed. It's size makes it an ideal device for anyone needing to carry the drive from one location to another as is the case with portable PC users. It's price is around the €300.00 mark, and if you do a bit of shopping around on the internet, you should be able to find it for a good deal less.

 



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