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DVD-ROM Drives Roundup

November 28, 2001



The number of DVD-ROM drives keeps on growing, and now the most of them work at a maximum of 16x. But there is also a DVD drive based on the TrueX technology which provides a speed of 25x due to a multibeam disc reading. Such a speed growth resulted in some negative consequences. Apart from loud noise, low-quality CDs got broken inside the drives because of high reading speed. Today we are going to examine the most popular DVD drives, and we will compare them within their speed categories. With time we plan to gather test results of all DVD-ROM devices currently available on the market.

Testing technique

The most important part of the test is estimation of quality of CD reading as CDs still prevail on the today's market:

  • Tests of key parameters of CD reading with the following programs:
  • Tests of reading of CD-R, CD-RW and low-quality discs with the CDROM Drive Analyzer.
  • Additional tests of audio track extraction with the Nero CD Speed (Advanced DAE) with a test CD-R created by this program.
  • Estimation of the highest soundtrack extraction speed and appeared errors with the CD DAE 99. For comparison we used two discs: licensed and pirated.
  • Estimation of reading of a CD-R 780 MBytes (90min) by complete copying onto a hard disc and measurement of time of complete copying of data. Rostok Media 90 min/780 MBytes 1x-12x was used in the test
    • ATIP: 97m 21s 45f
    • Disc Manufacturer: Optical Disc Manufacturing Equipment
    • Assumed Dye type: Dye (Short strategy; e.g. Phtalocyanine)
    • Media type: CD-Recordable
    • Recording Speeds: min. unknown - max. unknown
    • nominal Capacity: 785.98 MBytes

The second part is testing of operation of the drives with DVD discs:

  • Tests of key parameters of DVD reading (a two-layer DVD disc was taken) with the Nero DVD Speed.
  • Estimation of quality of DVD-Video playback with the Cyberlink PowerDVD 2.55.

In the third part we considered physical characteristics of the drives:

  • Noise in operation (tray, seek). Noise parameters were estimated out of 10. Higher score is better.
  • Vibration while working with a badly balanced CD.
  • Thermal conditions after two hours of testing and video playback. The measurements are conducted with a thermo-chip integrated into the motherboard and an external sensor.
  • A possibility to make a multizone drive (RPC-1).

*The tests with the Nero CD Speed, CDROM Drive Analyzer, Nero DVD Speed were carried out 5 times. We have taken a value of the parameters which is the closest to the average since when testing optical media it is difficult to get precise results as there are a lot of factors that affect the results.

Data on the tested 8x drives

Date on the tested 12x drives

For those who like to compare tests results straight away:

CD WinBench 99 and Nero CD(DVD) Speed results and brief characteristics of operation of the 12x drives

Data on the tested 16x drives

CD WinBench 99 and Nero CD(DVD) Speed results and brief characteristics of operation of the 16x drives.

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