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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > Combo

Friday, March 05, 2004
LiteOn SOHC-5232K combo

1. Package - Installation

LiteOn combo SOHC 5232K - Page 1

LiteOn announced about 1 month ago its new Combo drive SOHC 5232K. We were very pleased when the drive arrived a few days ago. Without any unnecessary lose of time we immediately put our hands on the unit and started the scrutinizing tests.

The recorder is capable burning at speeds of 52x for CD+R media and 32x for CD+RW. Being a combo drive, it can also read DVD-R and DVD+R media at 16x (21,350KB/sec Max), apart from the CD-R reading at 52x.


The SOHC-5232K recorder uses the Smart-Burn feature to prevent buffer under-run errors, and Smart-X which is used to adjust the read-speed for more stable results. Bellow are presented the specifications for the drive, as they have been declared by the manufacturer:

Product specifications 52x32x52x CD-RW & 16x DVD-ROM
Tray type Electrical load / eject, with emergency eject
Supported CD Media

CD-R & CD-RW discs ( up to 99min. ) DVD single / dual layer DVD+R / RW, DVD-R / RW

Recording modes

Orange-Book part 2,3
Volume 2 : High Speed & MMC2 commands

Disk at once
Track at once
Multi Session
Support Fixed and Variable packet
Raw Mode Burning & Over-Burn
VAS to reduce vibration & noise during recording & reading


Optical Drive: Standard IDE Interface

MTBF 70.000 hours
Physical specifications Height 4,1 cm x Width 14,5 cm x Length 17 cm - Weight 900 gr
Environmental specifications

Operating +5° to +45° C
Storage -30° to +60° C
Humidity 15 - 80 % (no condensation)

Package includes:

•Nero Express version 5.5
•Power DVD XP 

• Manual
• Quick Install Guide
• Cables & Screws
• Free helpdesk support
• 2 years manufacturers warranty

System requirements

The minimum system requirements for the drive and complementary software:
Pentium 166 MHz or faster CPU and 64 MB or higher RAM are required
Compatibility with Windows 95 / 98 / NT4.0 / ME / 2000 / XP

The drive has a 2MB buffer memory, and supports Mount Rainier but it doesn't read or write DVD-RAM media.

The drive uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 4 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe).

- The drive

The package includes Ahead's Nero Express burning software and Cyberlink's Power DVD XP for DVD playback.

The warranty, a quick start guide, an IDE/ATAPI cable, soundcard connection cable and mounting screws complete the retail package contents.

The drive's front panel has nothing unusual or revolutionary. The plain white colored front with the Ultra Speed ReWritable and DVD ROM logos on the right and center respectively. Below from left to right are the headphone jack, the volume control, the power led and the eject button. The activity led turns orange during playback and blinking orange while burning. Also the emergency hole is above the volume control button.

On the rear panel 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, so don't try this at home. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. Click on the photo for an enlarged view.

- Installation

The LiteOn SOHC-5232K was connected to our test PC and was identified as "LITE-ON COMBO SOHC-5232K" under WinXP. All tests were executed with firmware revision VNK06.

The following pages include the test results for the LiteOn SOHC-5232K drive in comparison with 4 other drives of similar specifications. For the CD reading tests we used Freecom FC-1, TEAC DW-548D for the DVD reading tests and finally we compared the drive's CD writing speed and quality with the Optorite CW5201 and the Aopen CRW5232. We used these drives, to have a more realistic and concluding comparison.

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