Turn off the Ad Banner  

To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu.

    -----------------------------------------------
This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
-----------------------------------------------


Appeared on: Thursday, May 06, 2004
BenQ DW830A DL recorder


1. Introduction

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 1

- Introduction

is a strong "player" at the DVD recordable market. The DW800A introduced the 8X DVD+R speed and unlike to the other 8X DVD recorders, it offered high quality recordings. The cooperation of the company with Philips and its technological background (Nexperia) had made everyone believe that BenQ would introduce the first Double Layer recorder very soon. The BenQ DW830A will be in the market in the next few weeks, supporting DL recording. BenQ also schedules to launch the DW1600 with 16X DVD+R (& 2.4X DVD+R DL) in the end of Q2, 2004. Currently, the DW822A (8x8) is available in the stores, planned to support DVD+R9 around September 2004 through firmware upgrade.

Today, we present you a preview of the upcoming DW830A. We mostly test the Double Layer recording capabilities in order to approach what a user should expect from this technology. Note that the DVD+RW alliance has chosen DL acronym coming from Double Layer words and not the Dual Layer, used by Pioneer for their announced (?) DVD-R DL (Dual Layer) format. However, the possibility Pioneer to support its own format for two-layer recording is very weak.

- History

Philips Research in cooperation with MKM (Mitsubishi Kagaku Media)/Verbatim, announced back at October 2003, the technology that virtually doubles data storage capacity on DVD recordable discs from 4.7 Gbyte to 8.5 Gbyte, called Double Layer (DL).

The Double Layer DVD+R system uses two thin embedded organic dye films for data storage separated by a spacer layer (see left figure). Heating with a focused laser beam irreversibly modifies the physical and chemical structure of each layer such that the modified areas have different optical properties to those of their unmodified surroundings. This causes a variation in reflectivity as the disc rotates to provide a read-out signal as with commercially pressed read-only discs.

According to Mitsubishi, compatibility has been achieved through the use of a thin silver-alloy as reflector material in the upper layer giving a reflectivity from the layer of at least 18% in compliance with the Double Layer DVD-ROM standard. In addition, the transmission of the upper recording layer is greater than 50% to allow for read-out and recording of the lower recording layer. This layer has high power sensitivity since the upper layer absorbs and reflects part of the incoming light. It also has a much higher reflectivity (> 50%) which after double transmission through the upper layer also results in an apparent layer reflectivity (at the disc surface) of at least 18%.

For more information about DVD+R DL technology, you can visit DVD+RW Alliance website or Philips Research website.

 


2. Drive features

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 2

- Drive Features

The obvious feature of the BenQ DW830A is the support of Double Layer recording at 2.4X recording speed. Double Layer recording offers a storage capacity of up to 8.5GB and as BenQ says "...you can record up to 16 hours of VHS quality video, or 4 hours of DVD quality video on a single disc, while retaining disc compatibility with DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives..". Interesting claim here, we will investigate it later.

BenQ has included several technologies that improves writing quality, already found at previous BenQ DW8xxA series:

The following text is from BenQ's presentation "...Unlike other drives which preset the writing power before the actual writing of data, the WOPC II (Walking Optimal Power Control) algorithm evaluates the writing quality constantly and adjusts the writing power accordingly in order to ensure the best possible writing quality over the entire disc. The BLER OPC (Block Error Rate Optimal Power Control) further enhances the writing quality near the end of the disc, where the risk of warping is higher.."

The specific technology is very important for the integrity of the recorded data.

(picture: courtesy of BenQ)

Optimal reading and writing quality is obtained when the angle between the disc and the laser beam is 90 degrees. However, if a disc is warped, the laser beam may no longer be correctly positioned. BenQ?s Tilt Control repositions the OPU (Optical Pickup Unit) to maintain the 90-degree angle between the disc and the laser beam in order to ensure the best writing quality.


(picture: courtesy of BenQ)

With the unique Sliding Cone Mechanism, the disc position on the turntable is improved considerably. This greatly helps to reduce data access time and also to deliver superior reading and writing quality.


(picture: courtesy of BenQ)

Lastly, the dark-colored CD tray efficiently minimizes jitters, and enhances readability and burning quality, again according to BenQ.

- Drive Specifications

The DW830A specifications are more or less the same with the other DW8xxA series. The big difference compared with DW800A is the reduced buffer (2 instead of 8MB) since BenQ claims that 2MB buffer are enough for DVD writing. Of course, the less buffer the lowest the price:)

Through a firmware upgrade available in Q3, 2004, the DW830 will be able to additionally support DVD-R/-RW recording. The drive is expected to be released end of May 2004.

Performance [DVD]
Data Transfer Rate /DL write: 26.59 Mbit/sec (2.4X)
Data Transfer Rate /write: 88.64 Mbit/sec (8X)
Data Transfer Rate /rewrite: 44.32 Mbit/sec (4X)
Data Transfer Rate /read: 132.96 Mbit/sec (12X, Max.)
Access time: 150 ms
[CD]
Data Transfer Rate /write: 3600 KByte/sec (24X)
Data Transfer Rate /rewrite: 1500 KByte/sec (10X)
Data Transfer Rate /read: 6000 KByte/sec (40X, Max.)
Access time: 120 ms
Interface E-IDE/ATAPI
Supported IDE mode PIO mode 0/1/2/3/4
DMA mode 0/1/2
UDMA mode 0/1/2
Buffer Size 2 Mbytes
Writing Mode

[DVD]
DVD Data and Video
[CD]
Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Multi-session, Packet Writing (fixed & variable packet), CD Digital Audio, Direct-Over-Write on CD-RW, Simulation write

Disc Size

[DVD] 120 mm disc
[CD] 80 and 120 mm discs

Disc Formats [DVD]
DVD+R DL 8.5GB, DVD Video, DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18, DVD+RW 4.7GB, DVD+R 4.7GB, DVD-RW 4.7GB (closed session), DVD-R 4.7GB
[CD]
CD-DA, CD-ROM XA (m1, m2f1/m2f2), CD-R, CD-RW, Bootable CD, Photo CD (single & multi-session), Video CD, Super Video CD, CD-Extra, Mixed-mode CD, CD-Text, CD-Graphics
Audio Performance Signal-to-Noise ratio: 75 dB min.
Number of stereo channels: 2
Analog audio line output: 0.75 VRMS at 470 Ohm
Analog headphone output: 0.6 VRMS at 34 Ohm
CD sampling frequency: 44.1 KHz
Power Requirement DC 5 V5%, 0.9 A
DC 12 V10%, 1.8 A
Environment Conditions Operating temperature: 0 0C~50 0C (320F~1220F) at humidity of 50% RH
Non-operating temperature: -40 0C~60 0C (-40 0F~140 0F)
Non-operating humidity: 5%~95% RH
Reliability Characteristics MTBF: 50,000 POH
Non-recoverable read error < 1 block in 1012 bits (CD and DVD)
Physical Characteristics Dimension: 146 X 42 X 198 mm (W x H x D)
Weight: 1.0 Kg
Firmware Update Flash memory upgradable
Panel Design Front side: open/close button, audio play/skip button, volume control wheel,
read/write status indicator LED and 3.5 mm headphone jack
Rear side: 40-pin ATA-2 dual row flat-cable connector, 4-pin DC power connector, 3-
position master/slave jumpers, digital audio output connector and analog audio
output connector
OS Compatibility Windows 98/ME/2000/XP

- Software Utilities

For performing our tests we used:


3. Tested kit

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 3

- Tested Kit

We received an evaluation kit from BenQ, in order to demonstrate the Dual Layer recording procedure. The tested drive is a working engineering sample with S/N 6 and firmware revision B4A8. The drive was recognized under Windows as "BENQ DVD DL DW830A".

The heart of the drive is the well-known Philips PNX7850 chipset, also met in the DW800A and DW822A DVD burners.

Below is the screenshot from Nero Info Tool, reporting the drive's capabilities (notice DVD+R DL is checked),

,while below are the features according to DVDInfoPro:

BenQ provided only one (1) piece of DVD+R9 DL media for our tests. The specifications of this disc are available below:

The media was manufactured from Mitsubishi Chemicals as the ID code shows. Fortunately for our tests we managed to find more blank DVD+R9 media so we had the chance to record both DVD-Video and Data content for these tests. The DVD+R DL disc doesn't seem to have any visual differences (dye color) compared with normal DVD+R media.

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed we can check the writing speed (2.4X CLV):


(picture: courtesy of BenQ)

As the Nero CD-DVD Speed shows, the drive starts writing at 2.19X, ends at 2.39X, giving an average of 2.33X. During our writing tests we saw the actual writing speed dropping for one second, controlled by the WOPC II (Walking Optimal Power Control) function.


4. Tests

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 4

- Tests

We burned two DVD+R DL media with BenQ DW830A. The first one was a DVD-Video, while the second one was filled with data (Mp3, Mpeg4 movies). For all burning tests we used CopyToDVD v3.09.

For the DVD-Video Test, we used the "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First we transferred the move to the HD with DVD Decrypter (ISO format - single file):

Afterwards, we launched CopyToDVD. The friendly wizard welcomed us and here, we can select the main tasks:

For our test, we used the "Movie & Pictures" selection and furthermore the "Write DVD Video" option.

The software prompts us to select the Video_TS/ISO image folder. We select the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image (hard disk) and the DW830A burner:

The burning procedure started and finished after 39:14 mins. Unfortunately, CopyToDVD doesn't offer the final burning screen, but we were able to see the burning procedure at the log file. The disc was successfully written as CopyToDVD reports:

5/5/2004 8:32:01 info ********** Report session closed ***********
5/5/2004 8:31:53 info Write completed
5/5/2004 8:30:57 warning Padding 16384 bytes due to wrong image size
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Starting write buffer
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Starting to write...
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Buffer under-run proof not detected
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Optimal L0 boundary set to LBA 1797264 (3,43 Gb.)
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Writing speed selected 2,4x
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Open Image file "C:\GLADIATOR.ISO"
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Available sector size : 4173824
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Unknown medium type
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Detected media $002B: Dual Layer DVD+R
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Start Browsing file structures
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Supported Media: DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD-R, CD-RW, DL DVD+R
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Writing device used: 0:1:0 - BENQ DVD DL DW830A B4A8 [F] (Ide)
5/5/2004 7:52:42 info Using Patin-Couffin driver Version 1.22, Internal revision 22
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info Using single file/folder write mode.
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info ParamStr 1 = "C:\GLADIATOR.ISO"
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info ParamStr 0 = "C:\PROGRA~1\vso\COPYTO~1\copytocd.exe"
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info User default language : 1032 (0x0408h) - Greek
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info System default language : 1032 (0x0408h) - Greek
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info Version 3.0.9.20
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info Title : CopyToDVD
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info ExeName : "C:\PROGRA~1\vso\COPYTO~1\copytocd.exe"
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info OS : Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 (Build 2600)
5/5/2004 7:52:39 info ******************** Report session started ********************

The warning message "Padding 16384bytes..." isn't something worrying, as CopyToDVD explains "...some writer need to have an image size to be a multiply of 16kb block, so it is just a empty sector to respect granularity.We plan to change this warning message soon to something, less scary...".

We begin with a CD-DVD Speed transfer test of the recorded disc using the DW830A as a reader. The reading curve was perfect (CAV), started at 3.15X, ended at 7.14X while the average reading speed was 5.41X:

Click for full graph

The disc was scanned for PI/PO error levels with LiteOn SOHW-812S @ 4X reading speed:

As we can easily notice, the 812S drive reports high PI/PO error rate at Layer 1 (layer below disc label). A high spike reached the 320, but we are not so sure if the above results are correct. We used PowerDVD v5.0 and watched DVD-Video file at the SOHW-812S drive without any issues, even at 32X FF/FW. Below is the CD-DVD Speed graph using the LiteOn SOHW-812S drive. The reading curve is almost perfect as well:

Click for full graph

BenQ comments that high PI/PO errors as reported from LiteOn readers (at Layer 1) are not correct, since proper hardware adjustments should made in the reader in order to retrieve correct error information. Even the well known AudioDev CATS analyzers had to modify drives to properly measure L0 & L1. Don't forget that in order the laser to read the L1 data, it passes through L0 layer, affecting the error rate sum. Assuming that this statement is correct, there is a big question, if and how we can measure DL media with normal drives...

We created a Data project with CopyToDVD, sized 7.96GB. The data are Mpeg4 (XVid) and Mp3 files. In order to use the build-in file size measuring calculator you have to select the "DVD-9" tab. However not that the available space on the disk is7.96GB, and not 8.55GB as CopyToDVD allows you to add:

We pressed the "Write" button, and the writing process started. The duration of the recording was 47:27mins, while the log file gives us the useful details:

6/5/2004 12:37:29 info ********** Report session closed ***********
6/5/2004 12:37:26 info Write completed
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Starting write buffer
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Starting to write...
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Buffer under-run proof not detected
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Optimal L0 boundary set to LBA 2085664 (3,98 Gb.)
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Writing speed selected 2,4x
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Open Image file "C:\Documents and Settings\admin\Application Data\CopyToDvd\COPYTODVD_05052004_235207_681.cache"
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Available sector size : 4173824
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info 120mm DVD Single Layer
5/5/2004 11:52:08 info Detected media $002B: Dual Layer DVD+R
5/5/2004 11:52:07 info Number of files 204 - Number of folders 11
5/5/2004 11:52:07 info Number of files 204 - Number of folders 11
5/5/2004 11:52:07 info 120mm DVD Single Layer
5/5/2004 11:52:07 info Detected media $002B: Dual Layer DVD+R
5/5/2004 11:52:07 info Continue button pressed
5/5/2004 11:52:05 info Drive not ready - Code 06 28 00 [Unit attention, Not ready to ready change, medium may have changed]
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Finished browsing files - Data size 7,96 Gb.
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Start Browsing file structures
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Supported Media: DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD-R, CD-RW, DL DVD+R
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Writing device used: 0:1:0 - BENQ DVD DL DW830A B4A8 [F] (Ide)
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Using Patin-Couffin driver Version 1.22, Internal revision 22
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Using File/Directory list.
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ParamStr 4 = "/writespeed=2.0"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ParamStr 3 = "/writedevice=F"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ParamStr 2 = "/volumename=DL_Test_2"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ParamStr 1 = "/fl=C:\PROGRA~1\vso\COPYTO~1\~c2c_fl.tmp"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ParamStr 0 = "C:\PROGRA~1\vso\COPYTO~1\CopyToCd.exe"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info User default language : 1032 (0x0408h) - Greek
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info System default language : 1032 (0x0408h) - Greek
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Version 3.0.9.20
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info Title : CopyToDVD
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info ExeName : "C:\PROGRA~1\vso\COPYTO~1\CopyToCd.exe"
5/5/2004 11:52:03 info OS : Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 (Build 2600)
5/5/2004 11:52:02 info ******************** Report session started

The CD-DVD Speed transfer test of the disc is illustrated below. The reader here is the same BenQ drive. The reading curve was perfect, started at 3.15X, ended at 7.59X while the average reading speed was 5.68X.:

Click for full graph

The disc afterwards was scanned for PI/PO levels with LiteOn SOHW-812S @ 4X reading speed:

As we can easily notice, the 812S drive reports high PI/PO error rate at Layer 1. There are some spikes reaching 412 PI and several high PO spikes, but again we are not so sure if the above results are correct. Below is the CD-DVD Speed graph using the LiteOn SOHW-812S drive. The reading speed drops just before and after the 4GB mark (layer change), and this is where the drive reports high PI error rate.

Click for full graph


5. Booktype compatibility

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 5

- BookType Setting

The BenQ DW830A supports Booktype change with the BookType Management v8.2, that will be included at the retail package.:

After pressing the "Set to DVD-ROM Type" a warning message informed us that the BookType setting can be changed before burning:

Lets now see how the BookType changed:

Unfortunately, we cannot change the BookType setting of already burned media with BenQ DW830A. As BenQ said, the BookType setting highly improves the compatibility with DVD players. Due to limited amount of DVD+R DL media, we haven't got the chance, for now, testing how the Booktype setting affects compatibility..

- Compatibility matrix

For our compatibility tests, we used the #1st burned DVD-Video test disc (DVD+R DL BookType - Gladiator movie) and PowerDVD v5.0. We moved forward and backwards around layer change addresses to ensure that movie can be playbacked without any glitches or skips. The results are shown below:

Drive
Type
Firmware
Comments
LiteOn SOHW-812S
DVD Writer
vUSOJ
Reads the disc without any problems
LiteOn LDW-811S
vHS0K
Cannot recognize inserted disc
LiteOn SOHC-5232K
Combo
vNK07
Recognizes the disc as DVD+R DL, movie doesn't start with PowerDVD, can playback some Vob files, when laser reaches Layer 1 drive makes noises and denies continuing
Pioneer DCR-111
v1.26
Recognizes disc as DVD+R DL, playback is perfect
Panasonic LDF-511
DVD Writer
vA112
Cannot recognize inserted disc
Pioneer A06
v1.07
Cannot recognize inserted disc
BenQ DW800A
vB3D7
Recognizes the inserted disc, but not the content!
LiteOn LDW-431SX
vMS0J
Cannot recognize inserted disc
Optorite DD405
v1.50E
Cannot recognize inserted disc
Pioneer A07
v1.12
Cannot recognize inserted disc

Pioneer DVD-500M

DVD-ROM
v1.02
Cannot recognize inserted disc
BTC BDV-316B
v0.47
Recognizes ok, playback is good, however drive stops responding after FF/FW
LiteOn LTD-163
vGH5S
Recognizes disc as DVD+R DL, playback is perfect
LiteOn LTD-165H
vCH11
Recognizes disc as DVD+R DL, playback is perfect
Pioneer DVD-116/S2
v1.22
Recognizes disc as DVD+R DL, playback is perfect
TEAC DV-516E
v2.01
Cannot recognize inserted disc

It seems there are huge problems with DVD+R DL media as our short investigation showed. Most DVD Writers refused to recognize the DVD+R DL media. On the other hand, the newest LiteOn SOHW-812S didn't had any problems and read the whole disc flawlessly. It's interesting that even BenQ DW800A cannot properly recognize the DL media.

As for combos, the LiteOn SOHK-5232K did recognize the media, however it failed to read the Layer1. The situation with the DVD-ROMs is slightly better although only three (3) out of the six tested models managed to playback without any issues, two of them didn't recognize the media at all and the last one read the media with problems.

We didn't test the burned DVD+R DL media with any DVD players. BenQ advises to use the DVD+R DL DVD-ROM BookType for testing with both DVD players and DVD-ROMs.


6. Conclusion

BenQ DW830A DL Recorder - page 6

- Conclusion

Overall we can say that we have mixed feelings about the way DVD+R DL works.

The DW830A worked perfectly, even at engineering stage, with the Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R DL media. There is a major compatibility issue with DVD writers & combo drives, however DVD-ROMs and DVD players seem to playback the DVD+R DL discs just fine. The official announcement of BenQ states, "disc compatibility with DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives", doesn't mention anywhere DVD writers, so we can say the statement is more or less correct.

For sure, the increased 7.96GB will become handy to all those who wish to make 1:1 backups of DVD9 movies or even store two DVD movies at one disc (with the proper software). Users who wish just to store data, might find the DL solution not so good due to high incompatibility with DVD Writers ( & in general DVD readers for PC/MAC).

We don't know if the compatibility issues can be solved with firmware update or its just a media problem. We assume you wouldn't want to have a disc that can be read only by few drives, especially when includes 7.96GB of important data..

DL writers are expected to cost slightly higher than nowadays DVD recorders, the main question is how soon the prices will drop, especially concerning media. Everyday a new media manufacturer, besides Mitsubishi Chemicals, announces support for DVD+R DL format, but we will have to wait until we see the media at local stores and at which price range.

By that time more DL recorders will have arrived to our labs and more information will have become known about this new and exciting technology. Stay tuned!



Home | News | All News | Reviews | Articles | Guides | Download | Expert Area | Forum | Site Info
Site best viewed at 1024x768+ - CDRINFO.COM 1998-2014 - All rights reserved -
Privacy policy - Contact Us .