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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders 8x

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Pacific Digital U-30201 (Mach-8)

1. Specs - Installation

Pacific Digital U-30201 DVD±RW recorder - Page 1

Pacific Digital is a well-known supplier of storage and multimedia solutions. Established in 1996, Pacific Digital Corporation provides complete solutions with a focus on CD-ReWritable optical technology. Located in California, Pacific Digital is developing technologies aiming towards the efficiency improvement of mass storage subsystems. The company expanded its product line lately with new storage controllers, Combo drives and DVD recorders. We present the new Mach -8 multi DVD recorder, supporting recording on all DVD/CD formats.

- Features

Mach-8 offers 8x DVD+R and 4x DVD-R writing speeds. Buffer Underun protection for CD/DVD as well as writing strategy controll mechanism are included in the drive's features, making your life easier when creating your CD/DVD compilations.

- Specifications
DVD Family
DVD-R 1x, 2x, 4x max.
1x, 2x, 6x, 8x max.
Rewriting DVD-RW 2x ( 2700KB/sec ) CLV
4x (5400KB/sec) CLV
Reading Speed

DVD-ROM (Single layer )

12x (16200KB/sec) maximum CAV
max. 8x
Access Time 160 ms
CD Family
Writing Speed CD-R
16x, 24x, 32x, 40x max.
ReWriting speed CD-RW 4x, 10x, 16x, 24x max.
Reading CD-R/-ROM max. 40x, CD-RW max. 32x
Access Time 140 ms
Buffer Size 2MB


E-IDE/ATAPI MMC compliant
Writing methods Track at Once, Disc at Once, Session at Once, Multi-Session, Packet Writing (Variable & Fixed), Multi-track Reservation
Supported media formats DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW (CD) CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, CD-I, Mixed-Mode CD, Video CD, Photo CD, CD-TEXT, Bootable CD, CD-R, CD-RW, Multi-Session
Transfer mode PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2 and Ultra DMA mode 2

From the specification table above, it can be seen that the Pacific Digital U-30201 supports writing of DVD±R/RW and CD-R/RW media. The new drive offers 8x DVD+R (6-8x Z-CLV) recording, DVD+RW and DVD-R at 4x CLV, while DVD-RW can be burned at 2x CLV.

The maximum CD writing speed for CD-R is 40x CAV and 24x P-CAV when using Ultra Speed CD-RW media. Reading of CD-ROM/-R/RW can be done at 40x CAV maximum.

Single layer DVD-ROM media can be read at 12x CAV, while DVD±R/RW discs can be read at 8x.

The drive uses a 2MB buffer. It also supports RAW DAO 96 writing (CD).

The Pacific Digital U-30201 uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe).

- The drive

The complete retail package, includes two CD-ROMs, containing the Sonic MyDVD CD/DVD authoring software, CyberLink PowerDVDXP player, installation drivers and a pdf manual. One blank CD-R discs is also included.

A quick installation quide, audio cable and mounting screws and warranty card complete the retail package contents.

The drive's front panel has the usual features. The tray door has the RW DVD+ReWritable, DVD R/RW, and Compact disc ReWritable logos located on the left, centre and right respectively. On the lower half of the drive's faceplate, below the tray door, starting at left there are the headphones jack, volume control and power/activity led, and on the right the eject button. The emergency eject hole is located just above the volume control. The activity LED lights up green when busy and red when reading/writing is in progress.

On the rear panel (schematic included above for clarity) 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.

Click for Higher Resolution!

The LSI chip shown above, located on the upper side of the controller circuit board, is from Kyoto-based semiconductor manufacturer ROHM CO., LTD. This IC contains a 3-phase Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) spindle motor driver, PWM driver for feed motor, and BTL driver for actuators. It is specifically designed for half-inch high disc drives which need to address the challenges of high speed and low heat generation in restricted spaces such as those imposed by notebook PCs.

The Pacific Digital U-30201 further incorporates (located on the underside of the controller circuit board), a high-speed DVD dual Optical Disk Controller chipset from MediaTek Inc. consisting of two CMOS ultra-scale integrated circuits, the MT1816E and MT1818E. The MT1816E is the front-end analog signal processor and MT1818E is the servo control and Endec IC.

- Installation

The Pacific Digital U-30201 was connected to our test PC and was identified as "LITE-ON DVDRW LDW-811S" under WinXP. This is not unusual as this drive appears to be exactly the same as the LiteOn drive, except that it is manufactured in China whereas the LiteOn is manufactured in Taiwan. All tests were done with firmware revision vHS0E.

Note that our drive has a serial number starting from 4323... This indicates that the drive is based on LiteOn LDW-811S. In different case where the serial starts with a P, then the drive is based on the BTC 1008IM burner.

The following pages include the test results for the Pacific Digital drive in comparison with two other dual DVD burners, the Optorite DD0401 DVD and the LiteOn LDW 811S. The comparison with the LiteOn drive should prove quite interesting, to see just how close the results between them are.

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