Pioneer recently released the fastest DVD-Rom on the market: It supports 16x DVD reading and 40x CD-Rom reading speeds. Having already owned Pioneer's 10x DVD-Rom model (DVD-104S), we decided to put the new and the old model down the benchmark arena and see if the advertised 16x reading speed really makes any difference to the end user or not.
As you may know, all DVD-Rom drives produced after January 1st 2000 are RPC2 compliant. This means that now the region lock is based on both hardware (drive) and software (player) and it gives the user the chance to change the region only 5 times. After that the player is locked to the last region change. Read more about it over here.
- Package :
We received the OEM version of Pioneer 16x DVD Rom (DVD-105S), which included only the drive. As you can see in the pictures, this model has a slot-in system for loading discs. The drive is also available with a traditional tray mechanism, as DVD-115. For the time being, the drive is released only with an IDE interface, and no info has been announced about a SCSI model. The front of the drive is identical to the 104S:
- Installation :
We installed Pioneer DVD-105S as master on the secondary IDE bus. The drive identified itself as Pioneer DVD-Rom DVD-105 from both DOS and Windows. We enabled DMA under WinME and after that we were ready to start the test. We also installed the latest PowerDVD version (3.0) for measuring the DVD performance.
The supplied drive was an August 2000 model with v1.22 firmware revision. You must specify one region when you first try to use the drive as a DVD player. We selected Region 2 for our tests and we had another 4 hardware changes left before the drive locks forever.
However users have found ways to overcome this problem. There is a site called Pioneer's Region Free Heaven which has *patched* region free firmware (RPC1) for almost all Pioneer DVD-Rom models. If you need to change regions frequently visit this site. You will find something interesting there for sure.
If you decide to use the region free firmware read the instructions very carefully. Of course the drive can be flashed back with future original Pioneer firmware updates but the region-free status will be lost.
Test Machine :
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
WD 18GB UDMA 66
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
CL GForce2 GTS
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.04
Pioneer DVD-105S firmware v1.22
Pioneer DVD-104S firmware v2.02