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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Thursday, March 03, 2005
Pioneer DVR-109

1. Introduction

Pioneer DVR-109 Burner - Page 1

Introduction

has been leading the DVD recording race, especially when we consider that almost all of the previous models supported the fastest DVD-R writing speeds. The A07 was the only recorder that supported 8X±R recording speeds while the A08 continued the tradition by supporting 16±R writing speeds along with 4X DL writing. At the end of January 2005, Pioneer started shipping the DVR-109, which supports the fastest available writing/re-writable speeds, making the comparison with NEC ND-3520A and Plextor PX-716A real interesting for most users.

- Official press release

According to the posted press release on 06/01/2005:

"...The DVR-109 offers Dual/Double Layer support for DVD-R/+R media types at 4X along with 16X writing to DVD-R/+R, 8X writing to +RW and 6X to DVD-RW. The drive's combined specifications deliver the highest level of all-round DVD-writing performance currently available.

The DVR-109 can write 4.7GB of data to write-once media in seven minutes on either DVD-R or +R media, complemented by the capability to store up to 8.5GB on Dual/Double Layer discs. The product is ideal for a wide range of applications including the authoring, editing and storing of video files*, developing digital music catalogues, building image libraries and backing up data. It is among the first drives to offer 16X write speeds on DVD-R in line with the October approval of the speed enhancement to DVD-R by the DVD Forum.

Pioneer created the DVD Forum's preferred specification - DVD-R - which reigns supreme as the most-purchased media format. Our track record for innovation is further underlined by the fact that we are usually first to market with write-speed enhancements. However, while most manufacturers tend to focus on write speed as the key selling points of their drives, Pioneer has also invested in enhancing core technologies. Our drives offer a range of features to improve writing quality and compensate for media irregularities and the DVR-109 represents the optimum evolution in DVD writing performance, observes Chris Tampsett, Senior Manager, Pioneer Europe Multimedia Division.

The DVR-109's embedded hardware features - "Precision Recording Technology" to enhance DVD writing performance. This technology includes a "Liquid Crystal Tilt/Thickness Compensator" to ensure precise writing by automatically adjusting for Single and Dual/Double Layer media that are warped or of uneven thickness. An "Ultra Dynamic Resonance Absorber" (Low Vibration Mechanism) is also provided to reduce the instability and vibration caused by imbalanced or damaged media to achieve and maintain the integrity of the recording and playback performance. "Reduced length": DVR-109 has reduced its outer casing length by 18mm for easy installation into compact towers.

The drive will offer DVD-R Dual Layer compatibility through a firmware upgrade once the DVD-R Dual Layer specification has been officially approved by the DVD Forum. The write speed for selected DVD-R Dual Layer and +R Double Layer media types can also be increased to 6X through this firmware upgrade. The +RW Alliance is now finalising the +RW 8X format and the product can be enhanced to support this media through a firmware upgrade once the +RW 8X specification has been officially approved by the +RW Alliance..."

- Specifications

DVD DVD-R*1, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-R DL (Dual Layer), DVD+R DL*3 (Double Layer) DVD+RW
CD CD-R 700(type 80), 650MB(type 74), CD-RW, Ultraspeed CD-RW, Highspeed CD-RW
Read Support
DVD DVD-ROM (single layer and DL), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-R DL (Dual Layer), DVD+R DL*3 (Double Layer), DVD+RW, DVD-RAM (Non-cartridge DVD-RAM Version 2.0/2.1 only)
CD CD-ROM(Mode 1), CD-ROM XA Mode 2 (form1, form 2), CD-DA, CD-Extra (CD Plus), Video CD, PhotoCD (single/multi-session), CD-Text, CD-R, CD-RW (High-speed CD-RW, Ultra Speed CD-RW)
Write Speed
DVD-R 16x, 12x, 8x, 6x, 4x, 2x, 1x
DVD-RW 6x, 4x, 2x, 1x
DVD-R DL 6x, 4x, 2x
DVD+R 16x, 12x, 8x, 6x, 4x. 2.4x
DVD+RW 8x, 6x, 4x, 2.4x
DVD+R DL *3 6x, 4x, 2.4x
CD-R 40x, 32x, 24x, 16x, 10x, 4x
CD-RW 24x, 20x, 16x, 10x, 4x
Read Speed
DVD-ROM (single) Max 16x CAV
DVD-ROM (dual) Max 12x CAV
DVD-R, DVD+R Max 12x CAV
DVD-RW,DVD+RW Max 8x CAV
DVD+DL MAX 8x CAV
DVD-RAM Max 2x CLV
CD-ROM, CD-R Max 40x CAV
CD-RW Max 32x CAV
Mounting Orientation Horizontal and Verticle
IDE Interface ATAPI PIO Mode 4, Multi word DMA Mode 2 16.6 Mbytes/sec. Ultra DMA mode 4
66.6 MBytes/sec.
Data Buffer (size) 2 MBytes (Write, Read)
Dimensions (W x H x D) 148mm x 42.3mm x 180mm

*Cautions
*1 DVD-R Version 2.0 for Gerenal only
*2 Media specific feature. Use speed certified media. An 80 wire IDE cable is required to achieve maximum writing speed
*3 DVD+R Double Layer Media

As Pioneer suggests "...To achieve the specified writing and reading performance it is important that the DVR-109 is connected to the IDE port via an 80 way ribbon cable and that the IDE port is at least UDMA 66 or above...". Lets now see the drive's main characteristics as given by NeroInfoTool. and DVDInfoPro:

- The package

The Pioneer DVR-109 is the bulk version of the DVR-A09XL series, meaning you will simply get the bare drive and a disc with software. There are physical differences between DVR-109 and DVR-A09XL, as far we know, the DVR-A09XL series won't sold around Europe, since the price is quite higher than the DVR-109 and the competition is very rough. The DVR-A09XL series have the advantage of a much nicer front bezel and the "QuietDrive" software that can reduce/speed up the reading/ripping speeds with CSS DVD-Video discs.

The front of the drive is rather simple, without the Pioneer logo but with the DVD-R, DVD+RW and USRW logos. As you can see, we got two drives, one with white and one with black bezel:

On the rear you can find the analogue audio output, the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input. As we discussed earlier, you should really use 80pin IDE ribbon cable to get the maximum performance of the drive..

The top of the drive includes the identification sticker with code number, serial number, manufacture date and place of manufacture ("Made in China"):

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. Click on the photos for an enlarged view. The drive uses more or less the same chipsets as found over NEC ND-3520A, of course the board design and firmware developed by Pioneer:

Below is a close up photo of the drive's pickup/lens system:


Click to enlarge

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109" under WinXP.

The drive shipped with v1.09 firmware revision, which was updated to the latest available v1.17, that used to perform all the writing tests.

The reading tests were performed with the v1.09 firmware.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.61
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. PlexTools v2.20
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.51
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.6
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.2.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.42




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