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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD External

Thursday, April 21, 2005
LG GSA-5160D

1. Introduction

Since November 2000, when the joint venture between LG & Hitachi took place with a mutual target, the manufacturing of quality drives, the "HL-DS" series has provided the market with some good recorders, with the latest addition, the LG GSA-4163B. But the "HL-DS" series did not focus only in internal IDE drives.

In the following pages, we will be reviewing the GSA 5160D, an external drive of the "HL-DS" series. Both LG-GSA 4160B and 4163B, have offered a very good overall performance, so we wish to verify if the 5160D can do the same. Note that both drives mentioned previously, both internal ones, should not be used as a reference, the 5160D being an internal one. For the purposes of comparison, we will be reviewing this drive with two internal drives which we will see later on.

- Features

The LG-GSA5160D can burn a full single layer disc in less than 7mins. It can write +R media at 16X, -R at 8X and RW media at 4X. The drive, like most recent drives can also burn DL media at 2.4X burning speed, but unlike many recent burners, it can also read and write DVD-RAM media, thus making it compatible with all DVD formats.

Below are the full specs for the drive:

Access time  
CD-ROM 135msec
DVD-RAM 185msec
DVD-ROM 155msec
Buffer Memory 2MB with buffer under run technology
Data transfer rate  
CD Max 6,000KB/s
DVD Max 22,160KB/s
Dimensions W x D x H (mm) 161.8 x 242 x 51
Disc Loading Method Motorized Tray
Interface type USB 2.0 by USB 2.0 converter cable
OS-Compatability Windows 98SE, ME, 2K Professional, XP Home Edition, Professional
DVD-RW / +RW 8x Max
DVD-R / +R 10x Max
CD-R 40x Max
CD-ROM 40x Max
CD-RW 40x Max
2x (Ver.2.0), 2x, 3x ZCLV (Ver.2.1), 3~5x PCAV (Ver.2.1)
DVD-ROM 16x Max
Supported disc Formats  
Read DVD-RAM, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-ROM, CD-R/RW, CD-ROM Mode 1,2, CD-DA, CD-I FMV, CD-ROM XA, Mixed CD, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-Plus, Photo-CD, Video CD
CD-R 4x, 8x, 16x CLV, 24x, 32x, 40x ZCLV
CD-RW 4x, 8x, 10x, 16x CLV, 24x ZCLV
DVD+R 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x, 16x ZCLV
DVD-R 2x, 4x 8x CLV
DVD-RAM 2x(Ver.2.0), 3x ZCLV, 3~5x PCAV (Ver.2.1)
DVD-RW 1x, 2x, 4x CLV
Writing Method  
DVD+R Sequential Recording
CD-R/RW Disk-at-once, Track-at-once, Session-at-once, Packet write
D-RAM Random Write
DVD-R /RW Disk-at-once, incremental recording, Restricted overwrite(DVD-RW only)
DVD +RW Random Write

The drive uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times.

Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- The drive / Retail Package

The package we received in our labs, contains the External Super Multi DVD rewriter, a USB 2.0 converter cable, a Firewire IEEE 1394 cable (6 pin to 6 pin), a Firewire IEEE 1394 (6 pin to 4 pin), an AC Power Adapter (with power supply cable), a software CD ( Nero Express, InCD, Power Producer Gold and Power DVD). Last but not least, a quick guide for the Software CD, and of course, the manual.




The front panel is not particularly impressive, since LG used the same typical panel available on most LG recorders. You can see the "Super Multi", "DVD+RW", "US-RW" and "DVD Multi Recorder" logos. However, there is no DVD+R DL format logo.

On the rear panel, you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input.

- Installation

The device was connected in our test PC and was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-5160D" under WinXP.

As stated above, in this review, we will be comparing this drive with other two, both external drives, the Philips ED16DVDR and the Memorex F16, as all three drives have the same specs overall.

Since no further firmware release has been made by LG, the firmware used is the one that the drive came with, the A302 release.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.75
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. PlexTools v2.20
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  8. DVD Decrypter
  9. CopyToDVD

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