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

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
NEC ND-4551A

5. Protected Disc Tests

At this point we will check the drive's ability to read and backup protected CDs.

- AudioCD protections

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 v0.9 beta5.

The protected Audio discs tested, were:

Audio Discs Protection
Celine Dion - New Day Has Come Sony's Key2Audio
Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island Cactus Data Shield 200
Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a

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:

- Recognition of the inserted disc (Yes/No).

- Ripping all wav files(with EAC's Burst Mode) to the hard disk through copy&compare function.

- Listening to the produced wav files to detect any possible click/skips.

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track in the CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, the drive recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio CDS200
NEC ND-4551A 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 successful for all tracks

The NEC ND-4551A managed to read/rip both of the above AudioCD protections without any problem.

- Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a (Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter)

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors which create problems 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 to specific chipset weaknesses.

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
NEC ND-4551A Reading performed without any errors.

- Games Protections

To create an image of the various protected titles onto the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, in accordance with 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.

SecuROM and PSX ripping posed no problem for the NEC drive. The Safedisc protection proved to be quite a handful for all of the tested drives, with the NEC drive being the fastest of the three drives. Overall we could say that the performance is similar for all three drives.

- Writing Tests

The NEC ND-4551A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To check 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% v1.9.2.3105. Two different discs were recorded for each title - one with the "Rectify Sub-Channel Data" enabled and one with the function disabled.

- Fifa 2004 - Safe Disc v3.1x

- The Sims Superstar - Safe Disc v2.9x

- The Sims Unleashed - Safe Disc v2.8x

The table below displays the results of the attempted backups including 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
EFM OFF EFM ON EFM OFF EFM ON EFM OFF EFM ON
NEC ND-4551A No

Like most NEC based drives, the ND-4551A still cannot produce working backups with the v2.8x, v2.9x and v3.1x builds. We have stopped tests with pre v2.8 versions since we believe there are no more games available that use those versions.




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