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Appeared on: Friday, February 6, 2004
LG GSA-4081A

1. Retail Package - Installation

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 1

Most people know of LG as a consumer electronics manufacturer. It is among the top Electronics manufacturers in Korea, and one of the largest worldwide. Lately, LG has also managed to become a leader in the optical storage industry, offering fast and affordable CD/DVD recorders, and is among the few companies supporting the DVD Multi Recording standard.

The first "Super-Multi" drive, the GMA-4020B, was announced last year. The drive was born from the joint venture between LG and Hitachi. Although the company initially supported only the DVD-R/-RW and DVD-RAM formats, the next step towards the "plus" camp was not late in coming. The GSA-4040B added DVD+R/+R writing while also boasting of recording speeds of 4x DVD±R, 2.4x DVD+RW, 2x DVD-RW and 3x DVD-RAM.

LG upgraded the specifications of its processor drive (GSA-4040B) offering 8x DVD+R and 4x DVD+RW writing. Of course, the drive supports 3x DVD-RAM and 4x DVD-R writing.

- Specifications

The specifications for the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder from LG Electronics are given in the following table.

Interface E-IDE / ATAPI
Buffer 2MB with buffer under run proof technology
Write DVD-RAM: 2x (Ver. 2.0), 3x (Ver. 2.1)
  DVD-R: 2x 4x CLV
  DVD-RW: 2x CLV
  DVD+R: 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV
  DVD+RW: 2.4x, 4x CLV
  CD-R: 4x, 8x CLV, 16x, 24x ZCLV
  CD-RW: 4x, 8x, 12x, CLV, 16x ZCLV
Read DVD-RAM: 2x (Ver. 1.0/2.0), 3x (Ver. 2.1)
  DVD-RW/-R/+RW: 8x max
  DVD-Video: 8x max
  DVD-ROM: 12x max (single), 8x (dual)
  CD-RW: 24x
  CD/-R/ROM: 32x max
Access Time DVD-RAM: 185 ms
  DVD-ROM: 155 ms
  CD-ROM: 135 ms
Writing Method CD-R / RW: Disc at once, session at once, track at once, packet write
  DVD-R: Disc at once and incremental recording
  DVD+R: Sequential recording
  DVD-RW: Disc at once, incremental recording & restricted over
  DVD-RAM/+RW: Random write

The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports DVD+R writing at 8x ZCLV and DVD-R at 4x CLV . For the DVD-RAM format, the supported writing speeds are 2x CLV (Ver. 1.0/2.0) and 3x CLV (Ver. 2.1). The DVD+RW discs can be burned at 4x CLV maximum, and2x is selected for DVD-RW. The maximum reading speed for DVD-ROM and DVD Video is 12x CAV for single layer and 8x CAV for dual layer discs.

For CD-R media, you can select among 4x, 8x, CLV and 16x, 24x ZCLV writing speeds, and 16x Z-CLV writing for CD-RW format. The CD-ROM-R reading speed is 32x CAV, while CD-RW media supports 24x reading.

The drive has 2MB of buffer store, and technology to protect from “buffer underrun errors” during the writing process.

The supported RPCII region control allows the user to change the region code a maximum of 4 times.

The drive offers the following writing modes: TAO, packet writing, SAO, multisession and according to Nero InfoTool, DAO RAW 96.

- The package

The retail package does not include any blank DVD or DVD-RAM media. What you can find is a multilangual quick start manual and two CD-ROMs containing application software and DVD-RAM drivers.

The application software comes from BHA. It includes “B's Recorder Gold 7 Ver7.10” software which offers increased recording and editing functionality for CD/DVD media. For easy DVD authoring there is the "neoDVD Ver5.1" software, while packet writing is offered through "B's Clip Ver5.38". “Power DVD v5” is also included, allowing playback of all DVD and CD formats.

Finally, in the retail package you will also find included an internal audio cable, IDE interface cable and mounting screws.

Looking at the front panel, on the disc loading tray are from left to right, the "super multi" and "DVD+RW" logos, the "LG" brand logo at centre, and finally the "DVD multi recorder" and "compact disc rewritable" logos. The emergency eject hole is located just below the tray door right of centre, while on the very right is the eject button, and lower still and left of centre is the power/activity LED. The LED lights up when a disc is loaded or the drive performs a read/write task. There is no headphone jack or volume control.

On the rear panel we have the analog audio output for connecting to you PC's sound card, the device configuration pins and jumper, ATAPI interface, and power input.

After removing the screws and opening the case, we photographed the internal components of the drive, the photos of which are presented below. It was immediately discernible that the main chips of the drive are manufactured by Hitachi and NEC.

Click to enlarge!

The drive shares the same mainboard and chipsets with the LG GSA-4040B Multi recorder.

- Installation

The drive was identified as "HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4081B" under the WinXP opersting System. The drive was installed as the master device on the secondary IDE channel of our test PC using the Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode. The model came with firmware version vA028 installed, which was throughout all the tests.

2. Data CD Reading Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 2

Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results
(80min CDSpeed graphs)

The LG drive supports a maximum reading speed of 32x for the CD-ROM format. The reading method used is CAV and in our tests, the disc was read successfully, reaching a final speed of 33.07x with an average of 25.06x. We feel that the LG drive could offer higher reading speeds in roder to compete with the other burners available on the market.

The seek times for the pressed disc are a little on the slow side, especially the full seek time which took 238ms.
- CDR Media results
(80min CDSpeed graphs)

The pressed disc used in the previous test was copied onto CDR media and the drive was tested again for reading speed and seek times. The final speed reached was 33.24x and the average speed was 25.16x.

The CDR media seek times for the LG GSA-4081B produced figures similar to those for pressed media, where the random and 1/3 seek times were average, but a full seek needed a hefty 255ms. With both types of media, the performance is very similar, there not being much between them in either speed or seek time.

- HS-RW media

(HSRW CDSpeed )

For the RW media reading test we used a 24x MC HS-RW disc. The LG drive supports 24x reading speed for CD-RW media and as can be seen from the following graph, it confirms this reaching a final speed of 25.16x.

3. CD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the error correction capabilities of the LG GSA-4018B Multi DVD Recorder, when reading artificially damaged CD-R media. For this series of tests we used the Almedio ABEX pressed discs, and the EAC test disc.


Errors total
Num: 2233459
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 116003
Avg: -75.1 dB(A)
Max: -35.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 6747
Avg: 1.2 Samples
Max: 582
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0
C2 accuracy
Total Test Result
75.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The total score for the LG drive is 75.0 points out of 100. The total errors reported from this test are 2233459 which is a little on the high side. The drive also produced errors over a greater area of the disc's surface than we have come to expect as can be seen from the graph. However, the average error loudness is -75.1 dB(A), which is quite acceptable. With an average number of 1.2 samples muted and no samples skipped, all in all it performed quite well. The C2 accuracy score for the drive is 99.8

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 127449
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 18628
Avg: -81.3 dB(A)
Max: -47.8 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 461
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 2
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
C2 accuracy
Total Test Result
79.6 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read, or so we thought. The LG drive proved that there is always an exception to the rule. We have become used to seeing graphs with nothing on them for this test, but the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder changed that. The final score of 79.6 is woeful when compared to other drives that manage scores in th ehigh 90s and even 100.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level
LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder

The drive had severe problems with this test disc. At worst, all drives have passed at least the first two levels. The LG drive could only pass the first level, and managed just one in five attempts from the second level where the drive produced audible clicks. The error size on the 2nd track is 0.500mm.

- Summary

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

Combining the two scores from the ABEX tests gives an average total score of 77.7 points out of 100. This score is certainly not one of the better scores we have seen from a drive and certainly indicates that there is room for improvement here. What is obvious is that while the drive can probably handle minor defects on a discs surface, it does have problems with anything more serious.

4. DVD Reading Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 4

DVD reading tests

- Single Layer DVD-ROM reading

(CDSpeed graph)

The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder, which supports a maximum reading speed of 12x for DVD media, read the single layer DVD-Rom using CAV mode. The results of the CdSpeed tests show that the drive had a start speed of 5.10x, a value that is about par with the other two drives used in the comparison here. The end speed for the LG drive was 12.35x while it had an average speed of 9.22x, times which are equivalent to those of the other two drives.

The seek times for single layer dvd media show that while the LiteOn had the fastest times, the LG drive was not far behind with 90ms, 120msec and 178ms for random, 1/3 and full seeks respectively.

- Dual Layer DVD-ROM reading

(CDSpeed graph )

With dual layer DVD-Rom media, all three drives returned almost identical results. The dual layer DVD-Rom was read by the LG drive using CAV mode at an average speed of 6.19x

The LG's seek times for this media are quite good with the LiteOn drive producing the best times.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD Ripping speed using the "Matrix" DVD Video title and DVD Decrypter.

The drive ripped the DVD at an average speed of 9047KB/sec. The performance is quite fast and is quite close to that of the LiteOn which was the fastest of the three drives.

- DVD reading Tests

The chart below shows the Nero CDSpeed results with the following media.

The drive had a consistent speed of 6.10x to 6.20x regardless of the media type used, making it overall the fastest in this test amongst the three drives.

- DVD-RAM reading

Ver. 1.0/2.0 (2x)

For this test we used a 2x DVD-RAM disc (Ver 2.0 / 4.7GB). LG GSA-4081B supports 2x CLV reading with such media, while it is 1x faster with Ver. 2.1 / 4.7GB. In the second case, we used 3x media (120min Video, 4.7GB) from Maxell. Below you can see the CDSpeed transfer rate graphs with recorded DVD-RAM (reading).

The Panasonic disc was read at 1.95x average, and needed 190 msec for a full seek. Note that the specifications of the drive indicate a 185msec for access time with DVD-RAM.


Ver. 2.1 (3x)

The Maxell DVD-RAM disc was read at 3x CLV. This time, the seek times were incresaed over previously, especially in the 1/3 mode (164msec) and the full stroke, with 241 msec. The transfer rate graph is illustrastrated in the screenshot below



5. DVD Error Correction Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD error correction capabilities of the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark v1.21 and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, in which there are scratches with dimensions ranging from 2.6 to 4.8 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from CDVD Benchmark v1.21.

The graph shows that the drive had a few problems reading the disc, especially towards the end. This is a little strange as the defects are located mostly in the first half of the disc.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on the surface and instead defective areas ranging in dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints with height between 65 and 75 micrometers.

The resultant graph here is almost the same as the one from the previous test. Once again, the performance is not particularly good and the drive certainly shows problems reading this disc.

- Dual Layer media

This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided, DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 4.8 mm, on both layers.

With this disc, the drive manages to produce a linear speed increase for both layers without any major glitches. The thickness of the lines however indicates the number of attempts required to read each point, while the random dots intersperesed above and below show major speed fluctuations. These fluctuations are common as the drive tries to overcome the defective areas. What is more puzzling is, as was the case with the tests above, that the major problem appears to be in the areas where there are no defects.


This disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes both defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints have height sized from 65 to 75 micrometres.

Again, there seem to be more problems away from the defective areas, towards the end of each layer. As for the defects, while not the best results we have, seen, the drive seems to bypass defects without any major problems.


The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches sized from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.


The drive shows a major problem when switching to the second layer in this test. Both velocity and reading speed are dramatically affected and it takes quite a while before the drive recovers.


The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer Video/S-2 disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the disc's surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometre high fingerprints.


 Black dots and fingerprints were not a problem for the drive. The test was successfully completed, with an average reading speed of 6.14x. It appears that defects are not so much the problem with this drive since in virtually all of this series of tests with defective media, the drive performed admirably over the defective areas. The problems seemed to manifest themselves in regions on the disc's surface where there were no defects, and if there is a pattern, it seems to be that the problem is at the end of the layer or layers.

6. Protected Disc Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 6

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Reading Tests

To create an image of the various protected titles onto a hard disk, we used CloneCD v. software and the appropriate settings, depending on the protection type of the inserted disc. Below are summarized the capabilities of the LG drive, according to CloneCD software. Notice that the drive supports writing of CD+G under RAW DAO:

The game titles we used for each protection scheme are given in the table below:

Game Title
Protection Scheme
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
PSX Pressed Media

SafeDisc v.2

SecuROM v.2

The drive, while a little on the slow side, nevertheless managed to produce satisfactory ripping speeds.

- Writing Tests

The LG GSA-4081B supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions with the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles to the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with CloneCD. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Amplify Weak Sectors" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they ran (game installed / played normally), or not.
Game Title
SD2 Build
Amplify Weak Sectors On
Amplify Weak Sectors Off
LG GSA-4081B
Max Payne
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
The Sims Unleashed
The Sims Superstar

The drive performed as well as any of the DVD drives we have tested, being able to rip all but the SafeDisc v2.9 protected discs.

7. CD-DA - DAE Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 7

DAE Tests

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the DAE speed of the drives. The drive ripped the audio files at an average speed of 18.56x.




The graph above shows that while the speed increase is linear and the velocity remains fairly constant, there are a lot of undulations. The maximum speed reached was 24.48x and the average 18.56x

We ripped the contents of the same audio disc to the hard disk with CDDAE software. The drive was not all that fast with an average ripping speed of 17.4x.

The results of the BTC DRW1008IME and LiteOn LDW-811S are also given here for comparison, where it can be seen just how slow the LG drive is.

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping speed remained the same as in the previous test, as indeed it did more or less for the other two drives as well.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The snapshot Below shows CDSpeed's Advanced DAE test result for the LG drive. The average reading speed is 17.59x, and the quality score is 99.4. Note that the drive gave back 18882 data errorrs. InI addition, the drive can read Leadin (but not Leadout data), CD-Text and Subchannel data.

- Ripping of 90min and 99mins AudioCD's

Disc Capacity
Ripping up to

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCD's

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

LG GSA-4081B

The drive can handle both "Key2Audio" and "Cactus Data Shield 200" protected audio CDs. Ripping was achieved at the maximum supported ripping speed.

8. CD Recording Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

We tested the drive using the latest version of Nero. The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder uses ZCLV (Zoned Constant Linear Velocity) when writing at speeds of 16x or higher and plain CLV for speeds below 16x for CD-R and CD-RW media.

The multiple steps shown on the following graph are characteristic of Z-CLV where reading befan at 12.01x and finished at 24.03x with an average of 19.44x.


Recording Times

For the burning tests we created an 803Mb data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded the data onto a disc. The LG drive completed the task in 5:01 minutes, writing at 24x. Compared to the other two drives, it is quite a good deal slower.

Below are the writing times at 8x, 16x and 24x.

The recording times for various media brands at 24x are given in the following chart.

-CD-RW Writing tests

We tested the drive using the latest version of Nero/CloneCD. The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports 16x ZCLV maximum writing speed for CD-RW media. The drive is also capable of writing at 4x, 8x, 12x, CLV, 16x ZCLV with this media type.




As the resultant output graph above shows, the drive begins writing at 12x and then steps up to 16x, maintaining this speed up to the end. Again, this step is a characteristic of the ZCLV method of writing.

Below are the times required for the LG, BTC and LiteOn drives for burn and quick erase of rewritable media.

- Packet Writing Tests

Using InCD and Mitsubishi Chemicals 24x US-RW media for all Packet Writing tests, quick format took 32sec. The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (412.822 KB) from Hard Disk (on the same PC as the recorder) to the formatted RW media through Windows explorer (drag and drop).

Average speed
- Other features

Up to 82:38
CD text reading/writing

9. 3T Jitter Tests - Page 1

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 9

3T Jitter Tests

On an 80min 48x CD-R disc from Taiyo Yuden we burned the same AudioCD project at 8x, 12x, and 16x. The 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs are presented here.

- 3T Pit results

The 3T Pit Jitter values start off at acceptable levels for all three speeds, but soon rise above the 35ns Red Book limit. There are also some very disturbing peaks along the way which rise to very high levels (56ns).

The average 3T Jitter values for all recording speeds are illustrated in the following table.

The higher the speed, the higher the average jitter. As averages go, these are not the worst we've had, but considering the first graph further above, the drive does not appear to be a good performer.

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results are very similar to those for Pit Jitter, perhaps a little higher overall, but again with some nice peaks. The average values presented in the graph below simply confirm this.

- Summary

The average 3T Pit values were just within limits while those for Land jitter were not. In any case, at no speed did the drive manage to stay within limits and in fact the maximum values are very high.

Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)
55 Pit, 55 Land
55 Pit, 55 Land
55 Pit, 55 Land

The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder did not produce particularly good results, and at least at this point does not appear to be a quality writer.

The following page where we check the jitter levels produced on various manufacturers discs, should give a better indication of the writing quality level of the drive.

10. 3T Jitter Tests - Page 2

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 10

3T Jitter Tests

As in the previous test, we used Taiyo Yuden 80min 48x CD-R media and burned the same AudioCD project at all available recording speeds. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

No particular media brand managed to stay within the 35ns limit, although with TDK media, the jitter level was acceptable and really only went ove the limit towards the end. Ritek media could also be considered as acceptable.

The average 3T Jitter values for all media brands are illustrated in the following table.

The average values also show that TDK and Ritek media are the best performers.

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results are all well over the limit with TDK, Ritek and also Creation media having the best values. The average values presented in the graph below simply confirms this observation.

- Summary

The average 3T Pit and Land jitter values reach very high levels, there not being one manufacturer's media that performed within the 35nsec standard for both Pit and Land jitter, although TDK and Ritek are probably the best choice. However, the drive here, as in the previous set of quality tests, does not present itself as a good writer.

Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (ns)
> 35ns
Max value (ns)


37 Pit, 41 Land
41 Pit, 40 Land
44 Pit, 44 Land
37 Pit, 40 Land
55 Pit, 55 Land
41 Pit, 40 Land

On the following page we check the C1 and C2 error rates for the same discs. These are the last of the quality tests.

11. C1 / C2 Error Measurements

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder- Page 11

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

The C1 / C2 error rate was measured for the recorded discs burned during the previous writing tests (jitter). The software used was UMDoctor Pro II, and the reader the Optorite DD0203 drive.

The charts below present the resultant C1/C2 error measurement graphs produced when reading various manufacturers media, previously recorded at the indicated speeds with the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder. The tests include Taiyo Yuden 48x media with recording speeds of 8x, 12x and 24x, TDK 48x, MC 24x, MAM 48x, HiSpace 48x, Fuji 40x, and Creation 48x media all recorded at 24x.


  • TDK 48x recorded at 24x

  • MC 48x recorded at 24x

  • MAM 48x recorded at 24x


Below is presented information on the CD-R media used in this test.

ID Code
Media ID
Taiyo Yuden 48X
Taiyo Yuden Company Limited
97m24s 1f
Creation 48x
Plasmon Data Systems Ltd
MAM 48x
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc
TDK 48x
MC 48X
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
Moulage Plastique de l'Ouest
97m25s 7f
Ritek Co.
- Summary

The C1/C2 levels are quite good for all the discs. MAM, Hi-Space and Creation produced some high peaks, representing higher C1 error rates on specific areas.

12. DVD Recording Tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 12

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance
8x DVD+R

The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports writing speeds of 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV with DVD+R media. Unfortunatelly, the drive did not record at 8x with any DVD media we trialed.




4x DVD-R

The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports writing speeds of 2x 4x CLV with DVD-R media.







The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports writing speeds of 2.4x, 4x CLV with DVD+RW media.






The LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder supports writing speeds of 2x CLV with DVD-RW media.





Apart from DVD-RW writing at 2x, the remaining writing graphs all show a number of glitches during the writing process. The odd glitch now and then is not uncommon even with the best of drives, however the LG drive has been consisten in this respect.

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on Verbatim 4x DVD+R and 2.4x DVD+RW media. The recording times are illustrated in the following table:

DVD Recording Tests
Writing Speed
Average Writing Time (min)
LG GSA-4081B

The writing times are steady and consistent and appear to be quite good. Keep in mind that the DVD+R time for the LiteOn drive which is given here for comparison, was carried out at 8x ZCLV, a time that was considered to be very good.

The following snapshots come from Nero, after successful DVD burning for each of the DVD formats with the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder. The amount of data written is the same for all tests.

In the following case a 4x DVD+R media by Mitsubishi Chemicals was not recorded successfuly.

Mitshubishi Chemicals 8x DVD+R
CMC Magnetics 8x DVD+R
Philips 8x DVD+R
Plextor 4x DVD+R
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+R
N-Tech 4x DVD+R
Ricoh 4x DVD+RW
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+RW
CMC Magnetics 4x DVD-R
Ritek 4x DVD-R
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
N-Tech 4x DVD-R
Pioneer 2x DVD-RW
CMC Magnetics 2x DVD-RW

Maybe the latest firmware upgrade, released by LG, will allow for 8x DVD+R recording.

- InCD Packet Writing Tests
Average speed
3:52 min
5:59 min

Average speed
3:59 min
4:04 min

13. DVD-RAM tests

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 12


DVD-RAM Features

The RAM part of DVD-RAM name stands for Random Access Memory, which means that the drive works in a similar way to a hard drive where content can be placed anywhere on the disc and is indexed. This means that video editors can cut, splice and edit video straight to DVD-RAM without having to worry about where or how the data is being organised. This certainly allows for a more flexible method of working with data when compared to the other formats.

A main advantage of the DVD-RAM format is the high reliability it offers. In simple words, DVD-RAM detects off-tracking caused by defects during the recording phase, and reduces laser power in order to avoid pre-recorded data destruction. Subsequently, data writing is going on after the affected addresses have been read and reallocated.

The defect management feature monitors the zones on the disc while writing and when a defect zone is found, the DVD-RAM automatically replaces the sector and completes writing. In addition, data verification and sector management is carried out during the data writing process.

The land track and wobbled groove track are allocated like a single-spiral track to achieve the seamless recording and playback. A DVD-RAM disc has a Zoned Constant Linear Velocity (ZCLV) format to maintain a higher constant data transfer rate over the whole disc surface by changing its rotation speed, zone by zone. The land and groove track structure enables the use of a stable tracking system, essential for achieving an affordable and highly reliable DVD Video Recorder and DVD-RAM drive.

Data is recorded consecutively on the land and groove tracks by units of 16 physical sectors (32 KB). The error correction code (ECC) system is the same as that of the DVD-ROM format. The data encoded by the ECC system is scrambled and is modulated by the same 8-16 RLL modulation code as in the DVD-ROM case. A channel bit is converted to a multiple-pulse signal.

One of the most interesting features of DVD-RAM is data reliability and security measures such as rewriting without data-loss, high overwriting cycle, built-in defect management, and a secure copy protection scheme. In addition, random accessibility, ending operation free, and 3X-speed recording are also notable. DVD-RAM provides conceivable copy protection features such as Media-type Identification, Content Scrambling System (CSS) Key suppression, Media Unique ID, and Media Key Block (MKB). These features enable to implement a Copy Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM) 5 scheme for the data encryption, which makes DVDRAM disc a secure digital medium.

Bundled Software

The software bulked in the retail package of the LG GSA-4081B includes DVD-RAM drivers for the latest Windows operating systems, and some other very useful utilities for performing several tasks. The installation of the driver pack is essential in order to make full use of the DVD-RAM drive's features.

DVD-RAM drivers allow reading and writing to formatted discs under the Windows 9X/NT/2k/XP environment.

After installing the driver pack, Windows will recognize the GSA-4081B as a removable drive and you will be able to start backup your important data with simple drag&drop moves.

In addition, user is able to record on DVD-RAM through B's Gold 7 CD/DVD authoring software.

Format software (DVDForm)

You must logically format a DVD-RAM disc before writing files on the disc. Once you have logically formatted a DVD-RAM disc, it can be used to write files just as you would do with a floppy disk or hard disk.

Such a disc can be formatted using either UDF (Universal Disk Format) or FAT32 file format. The DVDForm utility allows formatting of DVD-RAM discs. A user should choose the format most appropriate to his own needs. Please note that you must format 2.8 GB (8 cm) / 5.2 GB / 9.4 GB double-sided DVD-RAM discs one side at a time.

- UDF (Universal Disk Format): UDF has been recently finalized for the DVD family products. This new format is optimized for big capacity files, such as Video and Audio capture and playback, being able to keep constant, high transfer rates.

You can select the UDF 1.5 or the UDF 2.0 formatting modes. Select “Universal Disk Format (UDF 2.0)” when you are going to use the DVD-RAM disc to write audio-visual data. Select this format only if the disc is to be played in a DVD Recorder that uses the DVD Forum's video recording standard or with the recording software designed for personal computers that is based on the above standard, or if an 8-cm DVD-RAM is to be used in a DVD video camera.

The UDF 1.5 format is appropriate when you are going to use the DVD-RAM disc to write PC data. This format allows the transfer of the data between different operation systems, such as between Windows and Mac OS.

- FAT Format: FAT32 is the Windows OS embedded file system and used for hard disk drives.


The WPTool enables you to take full advantage of the characteristics of non-cartridge DVD-RAM discs. You are able to Write-protect setting/release of DVD-RAM discs. With non-cartridge DVD-RAM discs, you are unable to use the write-protect tab on the cartridge to protect your data. This software allows you to protect data on non-cartridge DVD-RAM discs. Once a DVD-RAM disc is set to the write-protected mode, it is valid until this setting is canceled by this software. This software can only be used with 4.7GB DVD-RAM/R drive. The Write-protect Setting is not applied to 2.6 GB DVD-RAM discs.

The software DVD disc also contain stwo other utilities. The first one enables users to use the DVD-RAM under WindowsXP OS. The utility justs disables the built-in CD recording feature of the OS in order to achieve flawless compatibility with the DVD-RAM format.

The second utility is used to perform a "Dust Check" on the surface of non-cartridged DVD-RAM media. Unfortunatelly these utilities are not compatible with the LG GSA-4081B drive, and thus they cannot be used.

The software bundled is developed by Panasonic. However, LG chose not to include the utilities above for this drive.

- DVD-RAM Recording

The LG drive supports 3x and 2x CLV writing when using Ver 2.1 DVD-RAM 4.7GB discs and 2x in the case of Ver 2.0 media. For the following tests we used a Panasonic DVD-RAM Ver.2.0 (2x) disc and a Maxell DVD-RAM Ver.2.1 (3x) disc. Below you can see the CDSpeed transfer rate with blank DVD-RAM discs (writing).


Click for large image!



Click for large image!

With the 2x disc, average recording speed was 0.95x, while with the Maxell 3x DVD-RAM disc, average recording speed was 1.41x.

We should mention the fact that data verification and sector management is carried out during the data writing process with a DVD-RAM disc. Although the process maintains highly reliable data write, preventing data loss from scratches, dust etc, the overall writing times are increased over the corresponding for DVD recordabe/rewritable media (for the same speed). For this reason, the CDSpeed writing test average speeds are also lower than expected.

Below, we check the writing speed with actual recording tests through Nero Burning Rom and the B's Gold 7.

We recorded a 4.316GB data video file with Nero Burning Rom. The discs we used were the same Panasonic 2x and Maxell 3x DVD-RAM media.

Click for large image!

Click for large image!

The burning process with the 2x media took 1:03:08 hr, which is approximatelly equal to 0.85x writing speed. In the second case, the Maxell disc was succesfully burnt at 3x, but the total duration of the process was 38:39min, which corresponds to approximately 1.37x. As was mentioned previously, the increase in burning times is due to data verification and sector management carried out during the data writing process. Nero Burning Rom does not offer any option to disable the verification feature before burning.

In our past reviews of Panasonic DVD-RAM drives, we had used the The "B's Gold 5" software in order to disable the verification function, and thus achieve lower recording times. Unfortunatelly, this function is not available in the B's Recorder 7, bundled in the retail package with the LG GSA-4081B.

In the following screenshot you can see the B's Gold 7 recording properties window. The options here are either to check "On-the-fly" recording or the "Comparison" option, in the event that you record from image files. Notice that the verification feature cannot be disabled:

We recorded the same amount of data on both Panasonic (2x) and Maxell (3x) DVD-RAM discs. In the table below you can see the recording times provided by Nero Burning Rom and B's Gold 7:

DVD Recording Tests
Writing Speed
Average Writing Time (hr)
Nero Burning Rom
B's recorder Gold 7
LG GSA-4081B
DVD-RAM Ver. 2.0
1:03:08 (0.85x average)
1:03:18 (0.84x)
DVD-RAM Ver. 2.1
0:38:39 (1.37x average)
0:38:43 (1.375x)
- Drag&Drop Writing

We formatted a Panasonic DVD-RAM Ver.2.0 and a Maxell DVD-RAM Ver.2.1 disc under the UDF1.5, UDF 2.0 and FAT 32 modes. The procedure was a simple drag'n drop through Window Explorer afer a quick format of each disc. The size of the file was 403MB. All reading/writing times are available in the table below.

2x DVD-RAM Ver. 2.0
3x DVD-RAM Ver. 2.1
FAT 32
UDF 1.5
UDF 2.0
FAT 32
UDF 1.5
UDF 2.0
3:48min / 1.3x
4:01min / 1.24x
3:58min / 1.25x
1:38min / 3x
1:40 min / 3x
1:37min / 3x
7:11min / 0.69x
5:18min / 0.94x
5:13min / 0.95x
5:24min / 0.92x
3:38min / 1.36x
3:34min / 1.39x

14. KProbe PI/PO Error Measurements

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 13

KProbe PI/PO quality results

The following screenshots show the PI/PO scans for the various DVD-/+R and DVD-/+RW media, recorded with the LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder at the maximum permitted speed.

The software used for the measurements was KProbe v1.1.28, the reader was LiteOn LDW-811s and the ECC was set to 8. The specific methodology is very dependent on the drive used as a reader, while the reliability of the PI/PO provided output is also not technically confirmed. Hence as a result, we cannot safely come up with conclusive results, although we do make a comparison of the drive's behaviour when using various DVD recordable/rewritable media.

The recordable discs used came from Mitsubishi Chemicals, CMC Magnetics, N-Tech, Plextor, Ritek, Philips, Pioneer, and Ricoh. Further details about each disc type are presented at the bottom of this page.

Mitshubishi Chemicals 8x DVD+R
CMC Magnetics 8x DVD+R
Philips 8x DVD+R
Plextor 8x DVD+R
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+R
N-Tech 4x DVD+R
Ricoh 4x DVD+RW
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD+RW
CMC Magnetics 4x DVD-R
Ritek 4x DVD-R
Mitshubishi Chemicals 4x DVD-R
MCC 01RG20
Pioneer 2x DVD-RW
CMC Magnetics 2x DVD-RW

15. Conclusion

LG GSA-4081B Multi DVD Recorder - Page 14


LG GSA-4081B



  • 3X DVD-RAM writing
  • Support DVD-RAM reading
  • Fast DVD Video ripping
  • Supports CDS 200 and key2Audio audio protections
  • Good DVD seek times
  • High DVD writing quality
  • Good error handling with defected DVD-ROM discs
  • Good writing speeds
  • Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
  • Supports ripping 90/99min discs
  • Working SafeDisc v.2.80 backups
  • Low C1 error levels, no C2 with CD
  • Questions for 8x DVD+R recording
  • Does not support Mount Rainier
  • DVD-RW/+RW reading speed could be higher
  • CD reading speed should be higher
  • Increased 3T jitter
  • Very low DAE speed
  • Low CD writing
  • Overburn only up to 82min
  • Low CD error correction

The latest recorder from LG Electronics, the GSA-4081B, is indeed a multi DVD writer. It managed to burn all the media formats we tested, including the DVD-RAM.

In the CD reading tests, the drive was slower than the other two drives we used as comparison, due to its 32x supported maximum reading speed. The seek times were good except for the full seek times which where were a little high.

The maximum CD writing speed of 24x is lower than we excpected, however the drive supports DVD-RAM writing and this more than makes up for any speed deficiencies. The drive burnt all of media brands we tried without reporting any problems. In the quality tests the C1 levels were low for almost all the discs, while no C2 errors were reported. However the the jitter levels were high, especially at 8x and 16x recording. Only TDK and Ritek media had acceptable jitter levels.

With the CD error correction test, the drive ranks somewhere in the middle, being neither one of the best nor among the worst drives we've tested. The performance with the ABEX TCD-721R test disc was acceptable, however the ABEX TCD-726 test disc which is normally a much easier disc proved a bit of a problem for the LG drive. The CD-Check Audio Test Disc, where the drive could not read even the second level was a major downfall. Obviously the drive is going to have problems with anything other than the small scratches or defects on a disc's surface.

The drive managed to make working backups for all SafeDisc protected game titles except for v2.9, which however has proven to be a problem with almost all drives.

In the DVD reading tests the drive performed well with good speeds and low seek times. It is also had high DVD-Video transfer rates. The GSA-4081B showed high DVD writing quality and according to Kprobe, the PI/PO measurements were low. However we didn't manage to burn at 8x with DVD+R media, and this is not good for the drive. However LG released a new firmware upgrade that might solve the problem. Unfortunately the firmware was released after the end of this test.

The drive's main advantage however is its ability to read and write DVD-RAM media. DVD-RAM recording speed is 3x. There are currently few drives on the market that support this format. Although LG assumes that the drive is capable of 3x DVD-RAM recording, according to our tests, the drive was slower at 1.3x due to data verification.

Finally, the drive is priced at around $135, which is an attractive and competitive price, especially for anyone wanting DVD-RAM capabilities.

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