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Appeared on: Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW

1. Introduction

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 1

- Introduction

Philips was among the first companies who shipped a DVD+RW solution, as being a leading member of the DVD+RW consortium. The first generation of DVD+RW recorders supported only CD-R, CD-RW and DVD+RW formats, while the second generation added the promising DVD+R format. This adoption makes the drive directly comparable with Pioneer's DVR-A04 drive. The war between the DVD recording/re-wrtitable formats has started and no-ones known who will be the winner...We compare Philips proposal with a similar drive from Ricoh to see if there are any major changes in each drive's reading/writing performance.

- DVD+R: Physical format

Philips DVDRW228 supports both DVD+R and DVD+RW formats. The following table shows the main physical specifications for the DVD-R and DVD+R format, as taken from Verbatim's website:

DVD Media Specifications
DVD-R Authoring
DVD-R for General Use
Laser Wavelenght
Numerical Aperture
Recording Layer
Modulation Amplitude
Data Track Form
Wobbled Groove + Land pre-pit
Phase modulated wobbled groove
Track Pitch
0.74micro meter
Tracking Method (reading)
Minimum Pit Length
0.40micro meter
Data Modulation
8/16, RLL(2,10)
Error Correction
Channel Bit Rate
Scanning Velocity
Copy Protection

The DVD+R and DVD-R share the same physical specifications making both drives comparable in terms of compatibility with DVD players and drives. DVD+R at a glance:

- Single-sided (4.7 GB) and double-sided (9.4GB) discs option
- Uses a bare disc
- 650 nm laser (numerical aperture 0.65)
- Constant linear data density
- CLV recording
- Write speeds from 1x to 2.4x DVD-Video data rates
- ‘Lossless linking’ anti-buffer underrun technology for DVD format

- The drive

The DVDRW228 supports 12x (CD) and 2.4x DVD+R/+RW writing, 10x re-writing, 32x (CD) and 8x (DVD-ROM/+R/+RW) reading. The drive also supports "SeamlessLink" technology in order to avoid buffer underruns, for the CD format. Philip's Thermo Balanced Writing technology is also present to increase writing quality. Thermo Balanced Writing technology analises the quality of the recording media and adapts the writing strategy to reduce errors. The result is the fastest recording speed possible.

Its writing speeds are: 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x (CLV) writing and 4x, 10x (CLV) re-writing.

The writing speed for DVD+R/+RW format is 2.4X CLV (X factor is now 1385Kb/s) which is equivalent to 20x for CD-RW drives. Due to 'Lossless Linking' we don't have buffer underrun problems in DVD+R/+RW formats. The drive doesn't support Mt. Rainier in both CD/DVD formats. The next generation of DVD+RW recorders are supposed to support the DVD-MRW format (Mount Rainier at DVD format).

The following writing formats are supported:

1) DVD+R/+RW: DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Random Access Write
2) CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, CD-I, Mixed-ModeCD, VideoCD, PhotoCD, CD TEXT and Bootable CD.

- The package

We tested the European Retail package that included: the drive itself, 1 piece of Philips 74min CD-R media, 1 piece of Philips DVD+RW & DVD+R media, audio cables and mounting screws. The package includes a drive install guide+ a CD containing DVD Video Creation (Pinnacle Studio SE v7.11 Build 99), DVD Recording (MyDVD v3.55) and playback software (PowerDVD) and lastly CD recording software (Nero v5.5.8.2, InCD v3.27). The expected price of the drive will be around $400-450. The DVD+R media costs $8 and the DVD+RW media 12$. The European package will include 2 years of warranty.

The front of the drive contains the "DVD+RW", "Philips", "High-Speed RW" logos and of course the drive codename "DVD+RW200 Series". You will notice the 2 led, one for each format that lights up using a special "intense blue" LED. When the drive is reading in either of both formats the main led is in the blue state:

Drive is reading from DVD

Drive is reading from CD

Drive is writing to CD

Drive is writing to DVD+RW

When the drive records in either CD/DVD formats the main led lights up "red" giving the necessary information about the drive status. Lastly, you will find the eject button (again back lighted) and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select, the SPDIF output connector and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved):

- Installation

The Philips drive was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "PHILIPS DVDRW228". Under WinXP, DMA was activated automatically.

The drive is an April 2002 model, with an initial firmware revision v1.17 installed. We used Nero v5.5.8.2, InCD v3.31 and CloneCD v4.0.1.6 for the recording tests. Nero's "high compatibility" mode improves compatibility with DVD movies that contain less than 1GB data. The drive is RPC2, which means that you can change its DVD region only 4 times. Possibly there will be region free firmware from third parties in the near future.

2. CD/DVD Data Tests

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 2

CD Data Tests

- Pressed CD results: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

Using Nero CD Speed, we can see that both drives have almost the same performance. The Ricoh MP5125A gave a 24.82X, while the Philips DVDRW228 24.81X.

Ricoh MP5125A has better "Seek Time" results in the same test. The Philips drive has 111ms in the Random test, 141ms in the 1/3 and 236ms in the Full Stroke test.

- CDR Media Results: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

In the CDR media test, the Ricoh MP5125A has slight better performance with 25.38X. The Philips drive follows with 25.32X.

The Seek Times with CD-R media are a little worst for both drives. The Philips DVDRW228 gave 113ms with pressed (Random) and 116ms with CD-R media, and a bigger difference is shown at the Full Stroke test with 236ms and 253ms respectively.

- HS-RW Media Results: (Click here to see the CD Speed graph)

For the RW tests, we used Ricoh's HS-RW media. Philips DVRRW228 has a higher average reading speed than Ricoh MP5125A:

DVD Data Tests


- DVD Media Results: (DVD Speed graphs for DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW , DVD+R, DVD+RW)

The Philips drive supports 8X DVD reading speed, which is enough for user's daily needs. Ricoh is a little faster than the Philips drive.

The seek times of the Philips DVDRW228 are better than Ricoh's MP5125 with pressed DVD-ROM (single layer).

The Ricoh MP5125A is faster than the Philips DVDRW228 drive at the DVD ripping test. The drive reached the 8021Kb/s with DVD Decrypter using Matrix DVD title. The Philips follows with 7842Kb/s.

The Philips DVDRW228 read almost all the DVD recordable discs, except from the DVD-RW. Although the drive recognizes the disc, it refused to work with DVD Speed. Ricoh MP5125A didn't show such behaviour. Also the Philips drive reads at full speed DVD+RW discs, while Ricoh MP5125A doesn't. Future firmware upgrades could improve Philips DVDRW228 compatibility with the DVD-RW format.

3. CloneCD Reading Tests
Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v4.0.1.6) and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drives. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

The Philips drive needs 7 more seconds to end the task with PSX pressed media than the Ricoh MP5125A.

- SafeDisc 2 Results

Both Ricoh MP5125A and Philips DVDRW228 performed slowly with SafeDisc 2 protected discs.

- LaserLock 2 Results

Both pressed and backup LaserLock 2 media are hard for a drive to rip in respectable time. The Philips drive performed slightly better than the Ricoh one:

- SecuROM 2 Results

Both drives can read SubChannel Data from Audio/Data tracks. The Philips drive was faster with the pressed and slower with the CD-R backup.

4. DAE Tests

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 4

DAE Tests

- DAE features

- Pressed AudioCD results

Both Philips and Ricoh drives performed similar with pressed Audio discs. The Philips is a bit faster with 23.4X while the Ricoh MP5125A follows with 23.3X:

- CDR AudioCD Results

Philips DVDRW228 performs badly with Audio CD-R discs. The drive reduced its speed and gave only 10.3X average ripping speed. Ricoh MP5125A performed better with 17.9X:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

The following results come after each drive's build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Ricoh MP5125A
Philips DVDRW228

- Advanced DAE Quality

Both drives completed the Nero CD Speed "Advanced DAE test" with a "100" quality score. The Philips drive has 23.54X average reading speed, it can read CD-Text and Subchannel data and from the Lead-In area:

- Bad CDR Media results

The disc is dirty, and with some light scratches, enough in order cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results were very interesting:

Average Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Ricoh MP5125A
Philips DVDRW228

Both drives finished the test in the same average ripping speed. Philips DVDRW228 produced more errors than the Ricoh drive.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

Error Level
Ricoh MP5125A
Philips DVDRW228

The Philips drive did not manage to completely fulfil the 2nd level error correction requirements, and failed to successfully playback (no audible pops or clicks) the other level tones.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

The drive recognizes 90min AudioCDs but when 99 min CDs are inserted, it will stop reading at 86 min.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Ricoh MP5125A
Cannot recognize disc contents
Rips entire disc without problems
Philips DVDRW228
Cannot recognize disc contents
Rips entire disc without problems

Both drives can handle only CD200 protected audio titles. When Key2Audio discs are inserted, the drives will not recognize the disc contents.

5. CDR Tests
Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 5

CDR Tests

Philips DVDRW228 supports up to 12x (CLV) writing. The drive includes "SeamlessLink" as the main buffer underrun protection. We did our tests with Nero v5.5.8.2 and CloneCD v4.0.1.6 software. We created a DataCD (80:01:47) and used the same media for all burns:

Ricoh MP5125A is faster than Philips DVDRW228 by 6secs. Of course such time differences are not so important.

- Other features

Overburning Writing
Up to 99mins
CD-Text (Read/Write)
8cm CDs

- CloneCD Writing Tests

The CloneCD v4.0.1.6 reports that all drives support the DAO-RAW feature. For the EFM correction (SD2 test) we used 'Serious Sam - The Second Encounter" game titles. We performed both software/hardware EFM corrections test. Both Philips DVDRW228 and Ricoh MP5125A support software and not hardware EFM correction. The "Amplify Weak Sectors" setting can be used to backup such discs:

Tested Drives
DAO-RAW writing speed
Software EFM Correction
Hardware EFM Correction
Philips DVDRW228
Yes ( v2.50.021+)
LRicoh MP5125A

6. HS-RW/Packet Tests

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 6

HS-RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. Both drives support fully the HS-RW writing standard:

The Philips DVDRW228 is slower by two seconds than Ricoh MP5125A. The erase time is also 10 secs higher than the Ricoh drive.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used InCD v3.31 for all Packet Writing tests. We used Ricoh HS-RW media and we formatted it. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. After formatting, we tested all four drives for their packet writing performance. The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

Philips DVDRW228 has 6.98X average writing speed, the same with Ricoh MP5120A. At the reading part, the Philips DVDRW228 drive is slower than Ricoh MP5125A by 2.04X.

- Packet Writing Under DVD+RW

Packet writing under DVD+RW format is quite easy. We used InCD v3.31 and as we inserted a blank DVD+RW disc, the first window gives the chance to launch InCD or Nero Burning-Rom. We selected the InCD choice and after formatting, the disc is ready for use. We can fit up to 4.37GB in the DVD+RW disc, as we see from the drive properties:

7. DVD Tests

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 7

DVD Tests

- Writing Performance

We used Nero and wrote almost a full 4.38GB project. The writing speed is 2.4X (CLV) for both the DVD+R and DVD+RW media:

The results are listed in the following table:

DVD Tests
Writing Speed
Average Writing Time (min)
Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW
Ricoh MP5125A DVD+RW
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW
Ricoh MP5125A DVD+R
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+R
Pioneer DVR-A03
Pioneer DVR-A04

The Philips drive needs the same time as Ricoh MP5125A to finish the DVD+RW writing project. With DVD+R media, Philips is faster by 24secs and needs 24:23mins to end the task. Comparing those results with DVD-R/W drives we can see that the DVD+RW format is faster, due to its increased (2.4X) writing/re-writing speed. The "high compatibility" option inside the Nero software doesn't extend the writing time for the DVD+R/+RW formats.

Below we can see Nero burning a DVD+RW media completing the test at 23:05minutes.

The next picture shows the same amount of data, written at a DVD+R media. The drive now needs 24:43minutes:

- Erase Time Performance

Average Erase Time (mins)
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW
Ricoh MP5125A DVD+RW

Both drives have the same Erase time with DVD+RW media. The quick erase is fast with 30secs but the Full erase will take approximately 24mins to end.

- Packet Writing Performance

We used the same file/methodology we are using for our CD packet-writing test. The Philips DVDRW228 needs less than 2minutes to write the test file. The drive performs as the specification state:

Packet Writing/Reading Tests
Average Writing Speed
Average Reading Speed
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW (2.4x)
Ricoh MP5125A DVD+RW (2.4x)

- Compatibility Tests

We have already done some compatibility tests between the DVD-R and the DVD+R formats. We added one more result from PleXCombo PX-320A. The test results showed that the DVD-R format seems to have higher compatibility with DVD-ROM drives. Future firmware upgrades can improve DVD+R compatibility with various DVD-ROM drives. The PS2 console can playback both DVD-R and DVD+R discs without any problems.

AOpen RW5120
Ricoh MP5125A
Pioneer DVR-A03
Pioneer DVR-A04
Pioneer DCR-111
LiteOn LTR-163
AOpen 1648
Samsung SD-616F
Pioneer DVD-106
Toshiba SD-R1202
PleXCombo PX-320
PS2 Compatibility

8. Conclusion

Philips DVDRW228 IDE CD/DVD+RW- Page 8


Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Super Combo recorder supporting both CD and DVD formats
- Can playback DVD movies
- Supports "Just-Link" anti-coaster technology
- Supports 'LossLess Linking' avoids buffer underruns problems for DVD format
- Good data reading performance with CDs/HS-RW media
- Good reading/writing packet writing performance
- Good access times
- Very good DVD playback/reading performance
- Supports HS-RW standard (10x re-write)
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33
- 2 years of warranty
- Complete retail package

- Price is higher than DVR-A04
- DVD+R has less compatibility than DVD-R (with tested drives)
- Doesn't support defect management (DVD+MRW)
- Doesn't support hardware EFM correction
- Low DAE speed with CD-R media
- Bad DAE quality with dusted/scratched CDR media

After Ricoh, Philips is the second manufacturer that ships a second generation DVD+RW recorder supporting both DVD+ and DVD+RW formats. The drive is equipped with features that can directly compete Pioneer's DVD-R recorders. The test results showed that Ricoh MP5125A is faster in many tests that Philips DVDRW228, with however small performance differences.

Comparing the drive with Pioneer's DVR-A04 proposal we can say that the Philips drive is a faster recorder and reader in both CD and DVD formats and it is bulked with better Video Editing software. Both drives offer 2 years of warranty for European customers. The point where Pioneer DVR-A04 wins is the lower price of the package & DVD-R media and at the compatibility with DVD-ROM drives.

For sure Philips DVDRW228 complete package will not disappoint its possible buyer. If price was at the same levels as for Pioneer DVR-A4 we could suggest it without any doubt. A bare Pioneer DVR-A04 can be found at prices of 250-270$, while the second generation DVD+R/+RW drives are found at 400-450$.

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