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Appeared on: Tuesday, August 03, 2004
LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder


1. Introduction

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 1

LaCie has been a manufacturer of storage peripherals for over 12 years, and has consistently maintaine its innovative spirit over this time. Back in 2002, LaCie launched the first d2 casing that was a success worldwide. LaCie had taken its first steps into the retail arena.

Their latest d2 drive is a DL DVD±RW recorder, capable of writing up to 8.5GB on double layer DVD+R9 media. The multi-format DVD rewritable drive supports both + and - format media, and the new double layer DVD+R9 media. This all-in-one rewritable drive also features FireWire and Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports for easy connection to any Mac or PC.

- Features

The LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW recorder can read DVD-ROM discs at 12x max and CD-ROM discs at 40X max. As a CD recorder, it can record at 32X max when CD-R discs are used, and 16X max with CD-RW discs. It can write at 8X for both -R and +R DVD formats, and can write/rewrite at 4X, -RW and +RW discs. The recording speed for DVD+R9 discs reaches 2.4X. Unfortunately, this drive does not support DVD-RAM media.

When a double layer disc is inserted into the drive, the laser will focus on one of the layers and attempt to read an ADIP (Address in Pregroove) signal. From this signal, the drive is able to detect if the disc is a double layer DVD+R disc, and which layer it is focusing on. Once the media type and layer are determined, the laser can adjust its range of focus to read/write one of the two recordable layers.

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

The LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW recorder takes advantage of NEC's "high resolution writing strategy" and an improved version of NEC's "Active Optimized Power Control" (Active OPC), the "high resolution writing strategy".

- Specifications

Drive:
LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW (USB2 & FireWire)
Item Number:
300757
Capacity: 
4.7GB / 8.5GB*
Interface: 
Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and FireWire
Technology: 
DVD+R9 (Double Layer),DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW
Digital Audio Extraction: 
40x CAV
DVD speeds (Write, Rewrite, Read): 
DVD+/-R: 8x DVD+/-RW: 4x DVD+R9 (DL): 2.4x DVD-ROM: 12x
CD speeds (Write, Rewrite, Read): 
CD-R: 32x; CD-RW: 16x; CD-ROM: 40x
Writing Methods: 
DVD-R: Disc-at-Once, Incremental recording, Multi-border recording
DVD-RW: Restricted Overwriting
DVD+R: Incremental recording
DVD+RW: Random recording
CD-R/RW: Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Packet Writing
Writing Compatibility: 
4.7GB DVD±R / DVD±RW, 8.54GB DVD+R9 (Double Layer), 700MB CD-R / CD-RW
Disc Format: 
CD: CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-DA, Photo CD, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-Extra, CD-Text
DVD: DVD-ROM, DVD+R, DVD-R (General Use only), DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD-Video
High-speed CD-RW Compatibility: 
Yes
Buffer: 
2 MB
Access Time: 
CD: 130 ms
DVD: 140 ms
Dimensions (WxHxD): 
6.3x1.7x10.6 in. / 17.3x4.4x26.8 cm
System Requirements: 
Minimum: PC: Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000,Windows Me, Windows XP
Macintosh: Mac OS 9.1 and 10.1.2 or later, Power Mac G4 500 Mhz; 64MB RAM
Double Layer recording:
Macintosh: 10.2.3 or later / PC: Windows 2000 or XP
Loading System: 
tray
Box Content: 
6-to-6 pin FireWire cable & USB 2.0 cable, Power supply, DVD Utilities CD containing User's manual, 1 piece DVD-R media
Bundled Software: 
Easy CD & DVD Creator 6.2, Easy Media Creator 7, DVDMax Player, Toast Lite 6.0** and 5.2.2
Comments: 
*Double Layer disc required
**Including DVD video authoring (Mac OS 10.2.3 or greater)

The drive does not support Mount Rainier and it uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. In Microsoft Windows XP, the drive is recognised as the NEC ND-2510A drive (firmware version 2.04). Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool, VSO Inspector and DVDInfoPro:

- Retail Package

The European retail package includes an installation guide, one USB 2.0 cable, one firewire IEEE-1394a cable and the external power supply unit. Also included is Easy Media Creator 7 (supports DL Recording), Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 for PC users. Mac users will be pleased to know that Toast Lite 6.0 (Mac OS 10.2.3 and higher) and Toast Lite 5.2 (Mac OS 9.1 and higher) software is included. Double Layer recording is only supported by Mac OS 10.2.3 or higher. It should be noted that the drive comes with a 2 year warranty for Europe, and 1 year warranty for US.

 

 

On the front panel, there are the CD-RW, DVD±R/RW and DVD DL logos. Under the loading tray there is the activity led, emergency eject hole, phone jack, volume level control and the eject button.

The rear side has the analogue audio output connectors (Left-Right), two firewire IEEE 1394, one USB 2.0 and the DC in. You can see that the power on/off switch is missing. The drive turns itself on or off when it detects that the computer that it is connected to is turned on or off

On the drive's label located topside, we can see that the drive is indeed the well known NEC ND-2510A.

click to enlarge!

The drive uses the same chipset as the ND-2500A and ND-2510A, namely the D63630 chipset. Clicking on the image above will reveal a high resolution image.

The following photo shows the laser lens of the LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW recorder. Clicking on the photo will open a higher resolution image.

click to enlarge!

The drive comes in the d2 case, a stylish durable aluminum design from LaCie. Removing the screws reveals the IEEE 1394/USB2.0 to IDE/ATAPI Bridge.

Oxford Semiconductor's OXFW911 chipset is also used. This chipset supports the SBP-2 protocol, making the drive compatible with all generic Windows and Mac operating systems. MacOS support further allows booting from this device.

The IEEE 1394/USB2.0 to IDE/ATAPI Bridge used is very important for an external device, since the drive's performance is affected by this native bridge. For example, the external Memorex True 8Xn drive, that is in fact a NEC ND-2500A drive inside the stylish casing, reported different recording performance and quality performance results than the ND-2500A itself.

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "NEC DVD_RW ND-2510A" under WinXP. Since the drive has no power switch, it turned on automatically when we plugged in the firewire (or USB) cable. This smart approach from LaCie is very convenient for users, since they don't need to remember to turn off the drive everytime they power off their PC. An easy installation with no problems at all. We even tested the firewire link with several external firewire devices attached, and again there were no problems.

The drive came with firmware version 2.04. Although NEC's latest firmware version is 2.16/2.06, we did not flash the drive to this version. The LaCie d2 drive is shipped with firmware version 2.04, and no firmware update is yet available by LaCie. Users that need to flash the drive to the latest NEC firmware version must unscrew the case and use the drive as an internal recorder to do the flashing. However, most end users will not bother doing so, and wait for an official firmware update from LaCie. So, we believe that the performance of the drive should be investigated with the official LaCie firmware, which is what customers will get, out of the box.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the SONY DRU-700A since both drives have similar specifications.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.12
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.24
  5. KProbe v2.2.3 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S13, LiteOn XJ-HD165H firmware CH11, and LiteOn LTD-163 firmware GH5S, Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.15 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.01, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v3.05
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.17
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.2.2.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.19.33

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW recorder supports up to 40X reading speed. Below are the transfer rate graphs, along with a comparison with the SONY DRU-700A:

The LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW and SONY DRU-700A recorders reported similar results with CD format discs. The NEC ND-2510A also had similar values as LaCie's drive, as would be expected.

- DVD Format

When pressed single layer DVD media was used, the SONY DRU-700A drive was faster than the LaCie d2 DL. LaCie 's drive again had speed values similar to the NEC ND-2510A, as well as the Plextor PX-708A.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, advancing towards the outer range for each layer. The LaCie d2 DL drive was again slower than the Sony drive, and this time the speed differences were greater than before.

click to enlarge!

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW recorder with OTP dual layer media. 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 toward the inner part of the disc. The average reading speed was 5.40X (ND-2510A had 5.41X) with a minimum value of 2.98X (2.87X for ND-2510A) and a maximum value of 7.20X (7.21X for ND-2510A).

As shown above, the LaCie d2 DL drive continued to be slower, even if only slightly so, than the SONY DRU-700A drive with DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW as well.

NEC's official firmware for the ND drive series incorporates rip lock. Since the same firmware is used for the LaCie d2 drive, while the drive is capable of higher speeds, the firmware prevents it from ripping at speeds higher than the imposed upper limit of 5.2~5.5X. This explaines the difference in ripping speed shown above. Although the ripping speed has been increased in the 2.15 firmware version, rip lock is still active. There is no official firmware up to now to disable this speed restriction.

-Appendix

Seek Times

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

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

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 3136019
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 135875 Avg: -74.3 dB(A) Max:-22.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 9598 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max: 17 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 13 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
65.9 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.7 %

The performance with this disc is not good. The total error count was very high, even higher than with the ND-2510A, as was the maximum level of the loudness errors at -22.3dB (this was similar to ND-2500A) and the number of skipped samples. The final score of 65.9 is rather low and is indicative of the poor performance of the drive.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 15028
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 23061 Avg: -82.3 dB(A) Max: -15.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 227 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 467 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
71.4 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.7 %

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. This is why the LaCie d2 DL performed better than with the previous CD. The drive achieved a total score of 71.4 but again this is a low score (here too performance is similar to ND-2510A).

- 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 music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

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

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW
5/5
5/5
3/5
0/5
0/5

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. Once again the drive showed poor performance. Usually, all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level, and a good drive can read 4th level. But most drives will pass at least the third level without any problems.

- Summary

The drive offers poor error correction with CD media. LaCie should look into it and solve this issue with newer firmware updates...


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests, we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the LaCie d2 DL drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used the latest version of Nero CD/DVD Speed . The reference test media comes 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 Nero CD/DVD Speed transfer rate test.

click to enlarge!

The drive can normally read DVD media up to 12X. The scratched area had an affect on the reading performance. However, LaCie 's drive managed to read the media, and no errors were produced.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 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 defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

click to enlarge!

The LaCie d2 DL drive had no problems reading this test disc, although here also the defective area had an affect, albeit smaller this time, on reading performance. No errors were reported during the reading process. Again, the drive could not pass the 10X speed mark, just as with the TDR-821 test media.

- 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.

.

click to enlarge!

As seen above, the drive had no problems reading this test disc. The test was completed by the drive with no errors. Small glitches in speed are produced when the areas with the scratches were read. It should be noted that the NEC ND-2510A drive produced read errors with this test disc and with NEC 's v2.15 firmware version.

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 upon 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 from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

click to enlarge!

As is evident in the snapshot above, the drive read this test disc, but here also it recorded small fluctuations in speed when the area with the scratches was read. Again, it should be noted that the ND-2510A with this test disc and with firmware version v2.15, was incapable of completing the reading process.

ABEX TDV-545

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 meter fingerprints.

Click to enlarge!

LaCie 's drive reading speed was not as high as other 8X DVD recorders but we were happy to see that no read errors were produced. Similar behaviour to the ND-2510As.


5. Protected Disc Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.
Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
01:07 min
1349 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
33:21 min
167.8 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:02 min
1867 sectors/sec

The LaCie d2 DL drive was very fast with the PSX disc (Lybcrypt). Sony 's drive proved to be a lot faster than the LaCie drive when it comes to SafeDisc v2 discs however. When SecuROM v2 disc was used, LaCie's performance was only slightly slower than Sony 's. However, all discs were read successfully, regardless of the ripping speed.

- Writing Tests

The LaCie d2 DL drive supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (at maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. 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 worked (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.51.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
No
No
Yes
No
Creative CD5233E
No
No
Yes
No

LaCie d2 DL

Yes
No
Yes
Yes

The LaCie d2 DL drive doesn`t produce working backups with the newest v2.8x, v2.9x and v3.1x builds. Partially working backups were produced for SafeDisc version v2.51.051 & v2.51.020. We observed exactly the same behaviour with the NEC ND-2510A drive. This is something we were expecting to see, since the ability to read/rip protected discs is chipset dependent.


6. DAE Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The LaCie d2 DL drive supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

The drive was slower than the DRU-700A with both Pressed CD and CDR media. DAE speed was the same for both pressed CDs and CDR media. We hope to see DAE speed improvement with a future firmware update.

LaCie 's drive can report C2 errors, but caching is not supported.

- Advanced DAE Quality

Good recorders can achieve a perfect quality score of 100, and LaCie d2 DL managed to achieve this score. Sony 's drive was again faster than the LaCie d2. We remind you that the NEC ND-2510A achieved a quality score of 99.1 and reported several data errors.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

Click to enlatge!

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 90min Audio CDs at an average speed of 23.38X (33.12X max speed, exactly the same as the ND-2510A). Reading speed was automatically reduced near the end of the reading process, from 77th min to 89th min, but the drive read the disc with no errors.

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

The LaCie d2 DL could not even recognize the 99min Audio CD we used for this test.

It should be noted that 99mins Audio CDs were also a problem for the ND-2500A and ND-2510A drives. These discs could not be ripped but at least they were recognised by the ND-2500A.


7. Protected AudioCDs

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session, causing problems for readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The LaCie d2 DL drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, it also recognized the 13th Data track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
LaCie d2 DL
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

For Key2Audio CDs, the LaCie d2 drive rips 100% accurately, EAC did not report timing problems and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for all tracks. The drive could not rip 100% accurately CD200 discs since Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same for all tracks.

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected with specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the wav file produced from the Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a disc with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors and for BETA/Jitter errors with PlexTools software using Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.03) and LiteOn LDW-811S (firmware vHS0Q).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
LaCie d2 DL
Reading performed without any errors, writing produces only two C2 errors.

The C1/C2 error graphs show that the drive managed to produce a 100% error free disc.

We then tried to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712SA and PlexTools with DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files. The drive can backup the disc, 100% accurately. We noticed the exact same behaviour when the NEC ND-2510A was tested.


8. CD Recording Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

We made some test burns with the LaCie d2 DL drive and we discovered that the reported results are exactly the same as the NEC ND-2510A results. This was expected since the CD writing strategies are the same for both 2.15 and 2.04 firmware versions. However, we had to make several test burns to see the affects of IEEE1934 or USB2.0 connection on burning results. We noticed that there was no difference at all. Taking this into account, there is no need to present CD recording times and jitter tests, since they are exactly the same as the ND-2510A. Please refer to the NEC ND-2510A drive's results to see CD recording performance.

For reference reasons you can see writing strategies versions in different firmware versions later on this review.

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 4X, 8X, 16X (CLV), 20X, 24X and 32X (Zone-CLV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive reached the maximum 32X speed. The test started at 16X and finished at 32.05X having an average speed of 27.36X.

click to enlarge!

- Other features

The LaCie d2 DL drive supports overburning, writing up to 90min and can read/write CD-Text.

Unfortunately, the drive is incapable of overburning up to 99min, giving the following error.

- CD-RW Format

The drive supports 4X, 8X and 16X rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

click to enlarge!

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

It doesn`t support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. DVD Recording Tests

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 9

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The LaCie d2 DL drive supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for the DVD±R is 8X Z-CLV and 4X CLV for DVD±RW media. Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below.

Below are listed the media codes supported for the ±R/RW formats at the various recording speeds, as supported with v2.04 firmware:

DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
FUJIFILM02
2.0
4.0
6.0
TYG01
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
TTG01
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
PVCR001002
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
PVCR002001
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
PVCR002002
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
TYG02
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
SONY08D1
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
MXL RG03
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
FUJIFILM03
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
FUJIFILM04
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
MCC 02RG20
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
MCC 03RG20
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
TTG02
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
TTG03
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
ProdiscS04
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
ProdiscF01
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
NAN YA A01
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
DVD-RW
JVC0VictorD7
2.0
4.0
MCC 01RW4X
2.0
4.0
DVD+R
RICOHJPNR00
2.4
4.0
6.0
RICOHJPNR01
2.4
4.0
6.0
YUDEN000T00
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
YUDEN000T01
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
TDK 001
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
MAXELL 001
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
YUDEN000T01
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
YUDEN000T02
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
YUDEN000T03
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
RICOHJPNR03
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
MCC 003
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
SONY D11
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
PRODISC R03
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
MAXELL 002
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
CMC MAG E01
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
Philips 081
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
TDK 002
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
TDK 002
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
RITEK R03
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
NANYA CLX
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
PHILIPS C08
2.4
4.0
6.0
8.0
DVD+RW
RICOHJPNW11
2.4
4.0
MKM A02
2.4
4.0
PHILIPS 041
2.4
4.0
SONY S11
2.4
4.0
RITEK 004
2.4
4.0
CMC MAG W02
2.4
4.0
INFODISCA10
2.4
4.0
DAXON D41
2.4
4.0
PRODISC W02
2.4
4.0
DVD+R9
MKM 001
2.4
00000000000
2.4
RICOHJPNR00
2.4
RICOHJPND00
2.4

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 8X Z-CLV recording technology being used by the recorder.

Click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge!

The drive's writing performance was the same for both formats. The recorder started to write at 4.13X and reached a maximum value of 8.28X, with an average speed of 6.79X.

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc.

Recording times seems to be different for different media brands. The drive's support list for DVD-R 8X media seems to be rather limited. Only TY and Verbatim media could be written at 8X, and other 8X discs were recorded at 4X. The best performance came with TY media (9:21mins).
Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
TY 8X
TYG02
8X
9:21
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
9:23
OPTODISC 4X
OPTODISCR0004
4X
14:02
BenQ 4X
SONY04D1
4X
14:02
CMC 4X
CMC MAG, AE1
4X
14:03
3A 8X
POMS3A
4X
14:00
MMORE 4X
MBI O1RG20
4X
14:00
PRINCO 4X
PRINCO
4X
14:03
Traxdata 8X
RITEKG05
4X
16:58
MAM 4X
MAM4XG02
4X

14:51

With DVD+R media, the best recording time came again with Plextor (TY) and Verbatim 8X media, at 9:16mins. It should be noted that TraxData 4X media was recorded at 6X (as with the NEC ND-2510A) and 3A 8X media was recorded at 2.4X.
Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
MMORE 4X
MBIPG101 R03
4X
13:47
MKM/Verbatim 4X
MCC 002
8X
13:47
CMC 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
9:31
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
9:15
Traxdata 4X
RICOHJPN R01
6X
11:13
Plextor (TY) 8X
YUDEN000 T01
8X
9:16
MKM/Verbatim 8X
MCC 003
8X
9:16
OPTODISC 8X
OPTODISC OR8
4X
14:00
3A 8X
Plasmon1 C01
2.4X
25:25
BenQ 4X
DAXON AZ1
4X
13:49
Maxell 8X
MAXELL 002
8X
9:14
Intenso 8X
PRODISC R03
8X
9:27

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed , we tested if LaCie 's drive can overburn using DVD+R and DVD-R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning, giving the following error with all inserted media.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The LaCie d2 DL drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


10. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 10

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD-R media we burned with the LaCie d2 DL drive. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.3, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but only PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712SA v1.03 using PlexTools v2.15 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

- Summary

The PI/PIF scans show that the LaCie d2 DL drive performed well with the DVD-R media used. NEC drives have a reputation of being very good quality recorders, and the LaCie d2 DL drive further confirms this. Very good quality burns, especially with TY, Verbatim and CMC media, but with some small exceptions, as with MAM media.

There are no Plextools scans for BenQ and Optodisc media. The Plextor 712SA recorder could not recognise these discs because of firmware limitations/bugs (firmware version 1.03).

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
TY 8X
TYG02
8X
9:21
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
9:23
OPTODISC 4X
OPTODISCR0004
4X
14:02
BenQ 4X
SONY04D1
4X
14:02
CMC 4X
CMC MAG, AE1
4X
14:03
3A 8X
POMS3A
4X
14:00
MMORE 4X
MBI O1RG20
4X
14:00
PRINCO 4X
PRINCO
4X
14:03
Traxdata 8X
RITEKG05
4X
16:58
MAM 4X
MAM4XG02
4X

14:51


11. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 11

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD-R media we burned with the LaCie d2 DL drive. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.2.3, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but only PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712SA v1.03 using PlexTools v2.15 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

- Summary

Again, the LaCie d2 DL drive performs brilliantly with DVD+R. Very good quality scans were produced with low PI/PIF error levels. The only blemish with its performance was the 3A DVD+R media that could be written only at 2.4X. However, LaCie 's drive proves to be a good quality recorder.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
MMORE 4X
MBIPG101 R03
4X
13:47
MKM/Verbatim 4X
MCC 002
8X
13:47
CMC 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
9:31
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
9:15
Traxdata 4X
RICOHJPN R01
6X
11:13
Plextor (TY) 8X
YUDEN000 T01
8X
9:16
MKM/Verbatim 8X
MCC 003
8X
9:16
OPTODISC 8X
OPTODISC OR8
4X
14:00
3A 8X
Plasmon1 C01
2.4X
25:25
BenQ 4X
DAXON AZ1
4X
13:49
Maxell 8X
MAXELL 002
8X
9:14
Intenso 8X
PRODISC R03
8X
9:27

12. DVD+R DL - Page 1

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 12

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned some DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content. The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter in ISO format (single file). The following snapshot shows the media code for the Double Layer disc we used.

LaCie 's drive produced the same bug that was witnessed and discussed in the ND-2510A review. The Double Layer discs we used came from RITEK and MKM, and in both cases the drive recognised them as Single Layer discs. We then used Nero CDSpeed, and again the disc was recognised as Single Layer media.

However, disc capacity, media type and book type seems to be correct. Looks like NEC has to work on their next firmware release on this one.

Afterwards, we used CopyToDVD v3.0.0.16. The friendly wizard prompts us to choose from among the main options:

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

The software prompts us to select Video_TS/ISO image folder. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the NEC ND-2510A burner (which is in fact the LaCie d2 drive).

After pressing "OK", the burning procedure started, without any unexpected delays. It should be noted that the Booktype setting could not be changed. The writing process was finished after 37:17minutes. The average speed was 2.38X as reported by the CopyToDVD software. The recorded disc was in DVD+R9 format.

For comparison reasons, we post some burning results from other DL writers, which all burned the same content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1), using CopyToDVD software:

Drive
Time (mins)
LaCie d2 DL

37:17

LG GSA-4120B

38:08

NEC 2510A
37:17
BenQ DW1600A DL
40:16
BenQ DW830A
39:14
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A

38:39

The LaCie d2 DL and NEC ND-2510A drives were the fastest. Very good performance with Double Layer media from NEC.


13. DVD+R DL - Page 2

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 13

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the LaCie d2 DL drive's writing quality, we used not our usual readers (LiteOn LDW-811S/Plextor PX-712A) but the LiteOn SOHD-167T, firmware 9S13.

Using KProbe v2.2.3, we got a rather good scan, indicating again, good quality performance from the drive with the DL media recorded. Notice that the disc is not read at 3~8 CAV, but at 2.5X~5X CAV (DVD+R DL media).

Using the Plextor PX-712SA and PlexTools, we were able to scan the DVD+R DL media:

The reported PI error rates were well below the 280 limit, except in the areas close to the layers break-point where the values are higher than the 280 limit. However, KProbe reported different results, all giving good quality scans!

- Compatibility

Unfortunately, we were not surprised to see that the DVD+R9 media was not compatible with most stand-alone dvd players, since there is no official booktype setting utility provided by NEC. The Double Layer is recorded with DVD+R DL booktype.


14. BookType Setting / Firmware versions changes

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 14

BookType Setting / Firmware versions changes

LaCie d2 DL drive doesn't officialy support BookType Setting for DVD+R/+RW formats. Same issues like the NEC's drives here as well. We used the latest DVDInfoPro software to change the booktype setting of the inserted media, and we got the following error:

We checked the recorded DL disc just to discover that it has DVD +R DL booktype.

However, we contacted Lacie and we were informed that LaCie will release a new firmware version in the next couple of weeks, that will have the DVD-ROM bitsetting as default, improved DL write strategies, and add support for more media. This shows that LaCie is "hearing" users' demands for DVD-ROM booktype support... Very clever approach by LaCie.

In the NEC ND-2510A review we discussed several ways to enable DL booktype change for this drive. Unfortunately, in order to enable booktype change support for LaCie 's drive, you will have to uncrew the case and use your drive as an internal NEC drive. There is no other way to flash the drive for now.

The firmware versions numbers confuses most users that do not know which firmware is the latest. For example, the 2.15 firmware version is older than 2.05 firmware version, and the same as 2.04 firmware version. In order to see which firmware is the latest, the writing strategies should be reported for every firmware. In order to help users know which firmware is the latest, we present in the following table the firmware 's writing strategies versions for NEC ND-2500A firmwares, ND-2510A firmwares, LaCie d2 firmware, TDK 880N firmware (ND-2500A) and TDK 882N firmware (ND-2510A). Only official firmware are shown below.

Drive Model
Firmware Versions
Writing Strategies Versions
NEC ND-2500A
1.05:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.19
DVD-RW version
1.22
DVD+R version
1.22
DVD+RW version
1.23
DVD+R9 (DL) version
-
1.06:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.23
DVD-RW version
1.23
DVD+R version
1.26
DVD+RW version
1.23
DVD+R9 (DL) version
-
1.07:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.30f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
-
NEC ND-2510A
2.15:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.31f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.13f
2.16:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.34f
DVD-RW version
1.27f
DVD+R version
1.34f
DVD+RW version
1.25f
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.15f
2.04:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.31f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.13f
2.05:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.31f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.13f
2.06:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.34f
DVD-RW version
1.27f
DVD+R version
1.34f
DVD+RW version
1.25f
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.15f
LaCie d2 DL
2.04:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.31f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.13f
TDK 880N
1.31:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.24t
DVD-RW version
1.25
DVD+R version
1.26
DVD+RW version
1.23
DVD+R9 (DL) version
-
1.33:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.30f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
-
TDK 882N
2.35:
CD-R version
1.15
CD-RW version
1.14
DVD-R version
1.28f
DVD-RW version
1.26t
DVD+R version
1.31f
DVD+RW version
1.24
DVD+R9 (DL) version
1.13f

ND-2510A 2.15 and 2.04 firmware versions are the same. Version 2.04 is the same as 2.05, but their difference is in default booktype setting. 2.05 firmware version sets DVD+R9 (DL) booktype to DVD-ROM booktype by default. LaCie 's 2.04 firmware version is of course the same as NEC 's 2.04 version. ND-2510A firmware version 2.16 is exactly the same as version 2.16.

It seems that NEC is releasing two series of firmwares. The 2.0X series seems to be for OEM drives, and 2.1X series for all the rest.

There is a newer version for TDK 880N drive (1.34 firmware version) but we do not have any official information about this firmware until now. TDK 's firmware versions will be discussed on a future TDK drive review soon enough.

The latest firmware version is 2.06/2.16.


15. Conclusion

LaCie d2 DL DVD±RW Recorder - Page 15

Conclusion

External recorders are a very convenient choice for notebook users, or for users that just don't have any more space in their PC case. The first thing that end users will notice on this drive is the stylish aluminum case. The heavy aluminum shield with the black front panel with a small blue led that lights up when the drive is connected to a PC or Mac. The external enclosure has no fan, but the drive's temperature is not that high to make it necessary the use a cooling fan.

After the success of NEC 's ND-2500A drive, the ND-2510A aims to take its place. LaCie 's choice to use the ND-2510A drive makes the drive behave more or less like the NEC internal drive itself. However, we noticed some improvements regarding the reading process since the LaCie d2 DL drive does not produce any read errors with our DVD test media, as was the case with the ND-2510A. The LaCie d2 DL drive continues to be a rather slow reader, compared with other devices available on the market.

Looking at writing performance, the drive offers 8X DVD ±R/±RW recording. This is not the highest speed a user can find, since there are several 12X recorders available, but it still is a fast recorder, completing a successfull burn in almost 9:20mins. However, the supported media list should be extended. Many 8X -R media are burnt only at 4X and 3A -R media is burnt only at 2.4X.

The drive provides double layer media support at 2.4X, which is something new to external recorders. The recording performance at this speed was exactly the same as the ND-2510A. Booktype setting support is a minus for this drive, but LaCie will release a new firmware version to support bitsetting, along with better writing strategies and a wider media support list.

Following NEC's reputation, the LaCie d2 DL is a very good quality recorder. The quality scans we got were similar to those of the ND-2510A, with minor improvements.

CD-R recording performance was exactly the same as for the ND-2510A.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed



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