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Appeared on: Thursday, May 20, 2004
Artec VPP-8D24Q


1. Package - Installation

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 1

 

Ultima is a company with a monthly output of approximately 3.5 million optical storage devices. The company has a wide range of product lines including CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, Combo, External Combo, External CD-RW, DVD Dual and DVD recorders for home use, as well as home theatre sets.

The latest internal DVD recorder is the VPP-8D24Q. According to the manufacturer, this burner supports dual format recording, 8x for DVD+R and 4x for DVD-R. The recording speeds for rewritable media is 4x and 2x for DVD+RW and DVD-RW respectively. Below are summarized the features and the specifications for the drive.

- Features

- Specifications

The drive uses 8MB buffer memory. RAW DAO 96 writing (CD) is supported.

The Artec drive uses the RPC-2 Region Control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 4 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe).

- Retail package

The retail package includes a quick installation guide, IDE and analog audio cables and mounting screws.

Packaged software includes two CD-ROM discs with Sonic RecordNow(v.6.7.0), Sonic DLA(v.4.60) and InterVideo WinCinema along with multilingual guides.

 

- The drive

On the rear panel there are the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input.

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures.

- Installation

The Artec drive was connected to our test PC and was identified as "DVD DUAL 8X4X12" under WinXP, which is the same as BenQ's DW822A recorder. All tests were performed with firmware revision ATC1.

The following pages include test results for the Artec drive in comparison with two other dual 8x/4x DVD burners, the Teac DV-W58G and the Optorite DD0401.

 

 

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2. Data CD Reading Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 2

Data CD Reading Tests

Below you can see the behavior of the drive while reading various CD media types. In the first case we use a pressed disc and in the second a copy of the pressed CD. Lastly we examine US-RW media.

- Pressed CD results (Click for CDSpeed results)

The reading speeds for start, average and end speeds for the Artec drive were the fastest among the three drives. However, its seek times were the slowest and quite a bit slower than the Optorite DD0401 which had the best seek times overall.

- CD-R Media results (Click for CDSpeed results)

Here again, the Artec drive exhibits the fastest reading speeds, but is second to the Optorite with seek times. Interestingly, the Artec and Optorite drives display marginally better seek times with the copy CD than they do with the original, pressed disc.

- ReWritable Media (Click for CDSpeed results)

As with the previous media types, so with HS-RW media the drive reported the fastest reading speeds, but we feel that overall, the seek times could be better.


3. CD Error Correction Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1028697
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 52916
Avg: -73.7 dB(A)
Max:-24.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3217
Avg: 1.7 Samples
Max: 1140 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
76.2 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The total error count is quite low, as are the number of loudness and muting errors, while there were no skipped samples. The average loudness level is also low at -73.7 dB (A). The performance is very good and the score of 76.2 indicates this.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 4
Avg:-94.0 dB(A)
Max: -87.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 1
Avg: 185 Samples
Max: 185 Samples
Total Test Result
83.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

This test disc is usually a lot easier for drives to read and as such the final score awarded is much higher than that from the previous test disc. While the score of 83.6 is good, the better drives normally manage a perfect score 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 reading music abilities and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a progressively difficult sequence. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks 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 drive.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Artec VPP-8D24Q
5/5
5/5
5/5
4/5
0/5

Inspite of the fact that the drive didn't manage to play the fifth track, it performed well. Note that the fifth track is very difficult for all but the best of drives to play, while most drives can't even read the fourth track.

- Summary

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
76.2
ABEX TCD-726
83.6
Average Score
79.9

The average score for the Artec drive with the Abex test discs is 79.9 points. Overall, the performance is good.


4. DVD reading tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 4

DVD reading tests

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

To check the reading performance of the Artec drive with single layer DVD-ROM, we used NeroCDSpeed and the 820A test disc from Abex.

Comparing the three drives, the TEAC has the fastest reading speeds and fastest seek times. The reading speeds for the Artec drive are marginally slower that those of the TEAC DV-W58G, while in the seek times it is the slowest. However, the results are quite satisfactory and the drive appears to be a comparatively fast reader with DVD-ROM media.

- Dual Layer PTP DVD-ROM (Click for CDSpeed results)

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially, with the drive starting the read process from the inner tracks on the disc, where lies the beginning of each layer and progresses outwards towards to the outer tracks for each layer. The tools for this test are Nero CDSpeed and the Abex 840 test disc.

As with DVD-ROM media, here too the Artec drive was the slowest reader in both reading speed and seek times. The final reading speed did not reach 8x, falling well short of the mark at 7.6x.

- Dual Layer OTP DVD-ROM

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer on the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks inwards towards the inner tracks of the disc.

 

 

The resultant graph shows smooth, linear CAV reading without any unusual deviations, reaching a final speed of 7.54x. The seek times are quite good with a very fast 102ms for random seek.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD-Video ripping speed for the Artec VPP-8D24Q using the latest version of DVD Decrypter and a pressed DVD-Video movie.

The reported 6.1x average ripping speed for the Artec drive is very good.

- DVD Recordable / Rewritable reading Tests

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

Overall, the drive exhibited good performance but we would like to see slightly faster seek times.


5. DVD Error Correction Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the TEAC 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 of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The thickness of the line indicates the changes in speed during reading, while the dispersed dots at the half way mark show some difficulty reading larger scratches. There are also speed changes towards the end, during the last quarter of the disc, but overall, there were no errors reported.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with 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 the surface but instead defective areas ranging in dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also artificial fingerprints with height between 65 and 75 micrometers.

As with the previous disc, the action seems to be concentrated in the middle and in the last quarter of the disc's surface. Surprisingly, at least with this disc, in the middle where we have the narrow rectangular patch, there are no defects, as is also the case with the last quarter of of the disc although here, the fluctuations start a little earlier with the artificial fingerprints. Again however, there were no errors generated.

- 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.

Again there are no errors and the drive seems to behave consistently regardless of defects.

ABEX TDR-845

This 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 have height sized from 65 to 75 microns (micrometers).

In all four tests so far, the Artec drive reveals that it has very good DVD error correction capability. All the defected discs were read without problems or read errors.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO 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 disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches sized from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

 

The specified disc was read successfully with a very smooth transition from one layer to the other.

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 disc's surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometers high fingerprints.

 

 

DVD error correction is very good for the Artec drive. It managed to read the contents of all of our test DVDs, without reporting any read errors.


6. Protected Disc Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 6

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create an image of the various protected titles onto a hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% v1.4.8.1222 and the appropriate settings, depending on the protection type of the inserted discs. Below the capabilities of the Artec drive summarized, according to CloneCD software. The summary below shows that the drive supports CD+G writing under RAW DAO:

The game titles we used to test the reading speed for each protection scheme are presented in the table below:

Game Title
Protection Scheme
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
PSX Pressed Media

SafeDisc v.2

SecuROM v.2

In all cases, the Artec drive seems to be a fast drive for ripping.

- Writing Tests

Artec supports DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc versions and with the latest software patches installed. After making the image files of the various titles to the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120%. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they work (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive
Game Title
SD2 Build
Settings
Bypass EFM error On
Bypass EFM error Off
Artec VPP-8D24Q
Max Payne
v2.51.020
Yes
No
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
v.2.60.052
No
No
The Sims Unleashed
v.2.8
No
No
The Sims Superstar
v2.9
No
No
Fifa 2004
v3.10
No
No

The Artec drive failed to make working backups of the protected games. Only with the oldest version of SafeDisc and EFM enabled could we make a working backup, but then again, this game is can be backed up with almost all drives we have tested.


7. DAE Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 7

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

According to Nero CDSpeed the drive supports 40x DAE speed.

 

 

 

 

Nice smooth performance with very steady velocity (CAV).

We ripped the contents of the same audio disc to our hard disk, using the CDDAE software.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The average reading speed of the Artec drive according to Nero's CD Speed Advanced DAE test, is 29.86x. The quality score of the drive is 100, while no data or sync errors were reported during the test. Thus the drive can safely be used for on the fly copying at up to 16x reading speeds. In addition, the drive supports Leadin reading, CD text and Subchannel Data information, but not Leadout.

- Support of 90/99mins AudioCDs

The Artec drive managed to playback successfully the 99min test disc, while with the 90min disc, it produced read errors and pauses during the last song, after the 86min mark. We then ripped the same discs to our Hard Disk. The drive managed to rip up to 94min out of 99min where it had problems with the last track, while there were no problem with the 90min disc.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used two audio discs with different audio protection schemes. We tested both recognition and ripping to the hard disk. The software used was 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
Artec VPP-8D24Q
OK
OK
Teac DV-W58G
NO
OK
Optorite DD0401
OK
Recognized the disc. Ripped and played all tracks on the disc except the first.

The Artec VPP-8D24Q managed to successfully read and rip both of our protected Audio CDs.


8. CD Recording Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Writing Tests

The Artec recorder supports a maximum CD-R writing speed of 24x. To confirm this we used a blank 80min CD-R disc from TY and NeroCDSpeed to emulate the writing process.

After the end of the test, CDSpeed reported an average speed of 23.57X under P-CAV. The ending speed at 24.94X confirmed the drives specifications.

 

 

 

 

- Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The difference burn times between the drives was expected, due to the different maximum supported speeds for each.

Below, two graphs are presented where you can compare times for all the supported speeds for the Artec drive, and writing times with different media brands.

Media
ID code
Taiyo Yuden Professional ULTRA 48X
Taiyo Yuden 97m24s01f
HiSpace 48X
unknown 97m25s07f
MAM SG ULTRA 48X
Mitsui 97m27s58f
Creation 48X
Plasmon 97m27s18f
BenQ 48X
Acer 97m22s67f
Maxell XL-S 48X
Ritek 97m15s17f
Ritek 40X
Fuji 97m26s45f
- CD-RW Writing Tests

The drive also supports 10X CLV for HS-RW media. To test the writing speed and method used for the Artec drive we used CDSpeed writing simulation test with a blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Once again our test confirmed the drive's specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

Below we provide a comparison of the three drives where we used Nero Burning Rom software to burn a 651MB data compilation onto 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

The difference between the Artec and the other two drives is logical due to the different supported speed for this type of recording.

- Packet Writing Tests

For the packet writing test we used the InCD packet writing software from Nero and a Mitsubishi Chemicals 24x US-RW media. The tested file is a 403 MB file (412.822 KB) and we used the drag and drop method with Windows Explorer to write the file from our hard disk onto RW media.

 
Operation
Duration
Average speed
Read
2:39 min
17.3 X
Write
5:38 min
8.14 X

- Other features

Overburning
Up to 99 min
CD text reading/writing
Yes


9. 3T Jitter Tests - Page 1

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

As was mentioned before, the Artec drive supports 24x maximum writing speed. We burned three Taiyo Yuden media, in order to test the writing quality at all the available writing speeds.

- 3T Pit results

At all speeds, the Artec drive overshoots the 35ns RedBook limit, with 12x being the worst.

- 3T Land results

Again, at all speeds the drive goes over the 35ns level, although with 16x and 24x the performance is a little better. Certainly, 12x appears to not give such good results.

Recording Speed
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max 3T jitter values (ns)
12X
35.80
37.05
Yes
38 Pit, 40 Land
16X
34.00
33.32
Yes
37 Pit, 36 Land
24X
34.51
33.34
Yes
36 Pit, 36 Land

Generally, the drive revealed consistent writing quality and although the 35ns mark was breached, with 16x and 24x it is not by much for both Pit and Land jitter. The 12x levels are slightly high, so it may be advisable to avoid writing at this speed.


10. 3T Jitter Tests - Page 2

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

Here we examine the writing quality of the drive at the maximum allowed speed, 24x, using this time media from different brands.

- 3T Pit results

These are extremely good results with all media. The average values, especially with BenQ and Ritek media are very low.

- 3T Land results

Again very good results, with only HiSpace media going over the 35ns limit.

Media Brand
Average 3T Pit Jitter (ns)
Average 3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max 3T jitter values (ns)
HiSpace 48X
32.63
31.22
Yes
33 Pit, 38 Land
Creation 48X
29.88
28.83
No
33 Pit, 31 Land
Ritek 40X
28.37
27.24
No
30 Pit, 28 Land
Mam 48X
31.29
29.29
No
34 Pit, 32 Land
BenQ 48X
28.56
27.78
No
32 Pit, 34 Land
Maxell 48X
31.49
29.22
No
34 Pit, 32 Land

The jitter levels are low with all the tested media. The writing quality is high in all cases.


11. C1 / C2 Error Measurements

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 11

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

The C1 / C2 error rate was measured for the recorded discs, burned during the previous writing tests (jitter). The software used was Plextools v2.11 and the reader is the Plextor Premium drive.

MEDIA
C1
C2
CU
TY 12x
Avg/Sec 0.7 0.6 0
Max/Sec 29 86 0
Total 3505 3061 0
TY 16x
Avg/Sec 0.4 0 0
Max/Sec 17 0 0
Total 1735 0 0
TY 24x
Avg/Sec 1 0 0
Max/Sec 19 0 0
Total 4671 0 0
BenQ
Avg/Sec 1.6 0 0
Max/Sec 18 0 0
Total 7680 0 0
Creation
Avg/Sec 3.7 0 0
Max/Sec 29 0 0
Total 17874 0 0
HiSpace
Avg/Sec 3.7 0.1 0
Max/Sec 43 52 0
Total 17603 589 0
Mam
Avg/Sec 1.2 0 0
Max/Sec 27 0 0
Total 5889 0 0
Maxell
Avg/Sec 2.9 0 0
Max/Sec 180 6 0
Total 13787 14 0
Ritek
Avg/Sec 0.6 0 0
Max/Sec 23 0 0
Total 2653 0 0

  • HiSpace 48x recorded at 24x

The CD writing quality of the drive is good. The C1 levels are low and there were few C2 errors reported.


12. DVD Recording Tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The Artec drive supports DVD+R and DVD-R writing. The maximum supported speed is 8X and 4X respectively. With the RW format, Artec supports 4X for DVD+RW and 2.4X DVD-RW.

8x DVD+R

4x DVD-R

According to the manufacturer's specifications the drive should be capable for 4x DVD-R recording. This was not confirmed from our tests with several media brands. The drive can only record DVD-R discs up to 2.4x.

4x DVD+RW

4x DVD-RW

- Burning Tests

The following graphs show the maximum writing speed for all available DVD formats. For comparison, we also include the writing times of the TEAC DV-W58G and Optorite DD0401 drives.

The drive had good writing times for the +R format. On the other hand, since the drive failed to burn -R media at the expected 4X speed, the writing times were somewhat high.

The following screenshots were taken from Nero, after successful burnings. The recording project is the same DVD-Video compilation for all tests.

Media
Code
Speed
Mitsubishi Kagaku 8x DVD+R
MCC 003
8x
CMC Magnetics 8x DVD+R
CMC MAG E01
8x
Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD+R
YUDEN000 T02
8x
Philips 8x DVD+R
PHILIPS C08
8x
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+R
MCC 002
8x
Maxell 4x DVD+R
YUDEN000 T01
8x
Ritek 4x DVD-R
Ritek G04
2.4x
Maxell 4x DVD-R
TYG01
2.4x
CMC Magnetics 4x DVD-R
CMC MAG AF1
2.4x
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
2.4x
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-RW
MCC 01RW4X
2.4x
TDK 2x DVD-RW
TDK502SakuM3
2.4x
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+RW
MKM A02
4x
Maxell 4x DVD+RW
PHILIPS 041
4x

The table above presents writing speeds of the drive, for various media brands and formats.

- Packet Writing Tests

For this test we copied a 403 MB file (412.822 KB) from Hard Disk (on the same PC as the recorder) in to formatted RW media, through Windows explorer (drag and drop).

DVD-RW
Duration
Average speed
Read
2:26 min
2.09X
Write
2:08 min
2.38X

DVD+RW
Duration
Average speed
Read
2:25 min
2.1X
Write
1:22 min
3.72X

13. KProbe PI/PO quality tests

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 12

KProbe PI/PO quality results

The following screenshots show the PI/PO scans for various DVD-/+R and DVD-/+RW media, recorded with the Artec VPP-8D24Q at the maximum permitted speed.

The software used for the measurements was KProbe v1.1.29, the ECC was set to 8 and the reading to 4X with a LiteOn LDW-811s. The specific methodology is very dependent on the drive used as a reader, while the reliability of the PI/PO provided output is also not technically confirmed. Hence, we cannot safely come up with conclusive results, although we do make a comparison of the drive behavior when using various DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The recordable discs we use, came from TDK, Taiyo Yuden, CMC, Maxell , Mitsubishi Kagaku, Philips and Ritek. Further details about each disc type are presented at the bottom of this page.

Unable to be read with several drives

Unable to be read with several drives

The DVD-RW media was not playable with LiteOn players, so we couldn't measure the writing quality for this type of format. Strangely, the media could not be played in other drives either, from different manufacturers.

Media
Code
Mitsubishi Kagaku 8x DVD+R
MCC 003
CMC Magnetics 8x DVD+R
CMC MAG E01
Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD+R
YUDEN000 T02
Philips 8x DVD+R
PHILIPS C08
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+R
MCC 002
Maxell 4x DVD+R
YUDEN000 T01
Ritek 4x DVD-R
Ritek G04
Maxell 4x DVD-R
TYG01
CMC Magnetics 4x DVD-R
CMC MAG AF1
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-RW
MCC 01RW4X
TDK 2x DVD-RW
TDK502SakuM3
Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+RW
MKM A02
Maxell 4x DVD+RW
PHILIPS 041

In most cases, the PO level was very low except for Ritek 4x -R and Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x +RW media. Furthermore, Mitsubishi Chemicals 4x +RW and Maxell 4x +RW media produced unrecovered read errors. The PI levels were also in the main at acceptable levels. In general, the DVD writing quality of the drive is satisfactory.


14. Conclusion

Artec VPP-8D24Q - Page 13

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

  • 8MB buffer
  • Fast reading speed on DVD/CD
  • Very good DVD error correction
  • DAE speed
  • Fast DVD-Video rip
  • Quality CD writing
  • Quality DVD writing (low PI/PO)
  • Fast DVD+R writing
  • Can playback/rip audio protected discs
  • BookType change feature
  • 2.4x DVD- R writing
  • 24x CD-R writing
  • 10x CD-RW writing
  • RW Writing
  • Cannot backup protected Safedisc2 games

The drive is a good and fast CD/DVD reader with high reading speeds for both CD and DVD media and seek times, which while acceptable, could be faster.

The CD error correction is good with both ABEX TCD-721R and ABEX TCD-726. We venture to say that although the drive performed well, the final score should have been higher. This is due to the 83.6 score for the 726 test disc, which is not the best we have had. As for its performance with the CD-Check Audio Test Disc, we can characterize it as better than average where it read 4 out of 5 for the fourth track, and failing to read the fifth track, which is difficult for all but the best drives.

In the DVD error correction tests, the Artec drive had very good performance. It managed to read accurately all of our test discs without reporting any read error. No matter what the scratch or the defect, the drive managed to read the disc.

One of the disappointments was the inability to backup protected games. This is definitely not the strong point of the drive.

Fortunately, the audio protections, such as CDS200 and Key2Audio, were not a problem for the drive which also had good and accurate performance in the DAE tests.

According to our writing tests, performance with 10X for rewritable CD media is low. Apart from this, the most important thing is that the drive did not confirm the manufacturer's specifications for 4X DVD-R recording, producing 2.4X CLV for this format. Maybe with the release of a firmware upgrade, that we believe may already exist, this will change. Another strange thing however, is that our written RW media had problems. For the minus format, the discs could not be read with most drives, so we didn't manage to measure their writing quality, while for the plus format, CDSpeed reported unrecovered read errors.

The CD writing quality of the drive is one the strong points. While recording at 12x will yield reasonable quality, we recommended using 16x and 24x instead, where low jitter levels will give much better quality. All of the media brands we tested confirmed this.

As for the DVD writing quality, in general it was good. There were some cases of increased PI/PO, but with most media the levels were very good. We still have a question mark hanging over the -RW format, where the disc could not be read with the LiteOn drive (and not only).

We would like to add, that the booktype management from BenQ is working properly with the drive. So, very simply and easily, you can change from the DVD+R to DVD-ROM format for highest compatibility.

The drive, already available on the market, is priced from $75~$109.

 

 

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