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DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW Drives (Part 4)

April 30, 2003



The most aggressive players on the combo-drive markets, LG and Samsung, keep on fighting. Both have recently launched new combo drives. The new-comers got characteristics very close to modern CD-RW drives. The new summit they reached is the CD-R write speed increased up to 48x. Also, they deal with Ultra-Speed CD-RW at 24x. Well, the companies are still very interested in this market sector because Flex, Micro ATX and other Bare-bone computers are getting more and more popular, and such systems do not have space for two or more optical systems. 

Drives tested

Test results

CD-R and CD-RW recording

CD recording time

Two disc types are used for the tests - with cyanine and phthalocyanine coating. Since all the drives switch to the Z-CLV mode for the maximum write speed, the data are shown in the graphical form. 

Recording on LG GCC-4480B (cyanine)




Recording on SAMSUNG SM-348 (cyanine)



The LG drive copes with cyanine discs better, and the Samsung can't bear them at all. We tried two other cyanine discs from other manufacturers on the Samsung, but it didn't like them either.

Recording on LG GCC-4480B (phthalocyanine)




Recording on SAMSUNG SM-348 (phthalocyanine)



In case of phthalocyanine CD-R discs, the LG's drive performs better again. Although the write speed of the Samsung is a little higher, it took a lot of time for it to cope with Lead-In - Lead-Out. None of the drives managed to reach 48x specified, though the discs are certified for this speed. 

Operation with Ultra-Speed CD-RW

The write speed of 24x is quite significant for optical drives, and data are demonstrated in the graphical form. Although it's not specified that the Z-CLV mode is used in operation with Ultra-Speed CD-RW media, we decided to check it. 

Although the drives supporting Ultra-Speed CD-RW are growing in number, our local market has still a very modest offer of the respective media. We used the Verbatim disc 650mb in this test. 





Recording on LG GCC-4480B




Recording on SAMSUNG SM-348



LG's model reaches the maximum speed earlier, and as a result, wins 10 sec at this stage. 

Time of CD-RW full formatting in UDF with InCD ver. 3.3.7.0 

CD-RW recording in UDF, 530 Mb test packet in 3550 files.

Verbatim DataLifePlus 10x 
 

CD-RW drive Write time (min.) Formatting time (min.)
LG GCC-4480B 12:38 18:56
SAMSUNG SM-348 13:02 19:21

Verbatim Ultra-Speed 24x 
 

CD-RW drive Write time (min.) Formatting time (min.)
LG GCC-4480B 12:01 11:35
SAMSUNG SM-348 12:28 11:38

The LG seems to be fastest again. Although the UDF formatting time is much lower with Ultra-Speed CD-RW media, the write speed is almost the same. 

Operation with 80mm CDs (CD-RW disc tested), UDF formatting and recording.

Formatting and recording of 80mm CD-RW disc in UDF. 4x write speed. 
 

CD-RW drive Formatting time (min.) Write time (min.)
LG GCC-4480B 8:46 6:03
SAMSUNG SM-348 9:02 6:04

All the drives successfully read and recorded 80mm discs. 

BLER factor of the recorded CD-R

The tests were carried out with a device described in the this review. 
 

CD-RW drive  Philips (phthalocyanine)  SKC (cyanine) 
LG GCC-4480B 20-37 143-160
SAMSUNG SM-348 26-33 93-105

Although the write speed set was high, both drives performed well recording the phthalocyanine media specified for a high write speed. Although the results are not ideal, you won't have problems with quality. Recording of the cyanine media looks much worse, but the discs used in the tests were designed for a lower speed (16X). We also recorded cyanine discs specified for 32x on the Samsung, but the outcome was the same. Nevertheless, both drives and discs performed quite well in such a non-standard situation. The LG can burn discs faster, but it makes much more errors in this case. 

Overburn

CD-RW drive 80 min CD-R 90 min CD-R
LG GCC-4480B 82:29.20 95:54.17
SAMSUNG SM-348 82:30.70 96:53.26

The Samsung demonstrates the best results in this test with all media types. 

CD reading basic data

CDWinBench 99.

  LG GCC-4480B SAMSUNG SM-348
Winmark 515 2180
Inside transfer 2930 Kb/s 3560 Kb/s
Outside transfer 5650 Kb/s 6860 Kb/s
CPU Utilization  1.21 % 1.38 %
Access Time 128 ms 90.6 ms

The low scores of the LG in the Winmark can be accounted for by the drive's incompatibility with the test program. 

NERO CD Speed.

Test CD reading

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348




LG GCC-4480B SAMSUNG SM-348
Average speed  36.21x CAV 34.04x CAV
Random Seek 91 ms 100 ms
Full Seek 156 ms 187 ms
SpinUp Time 1.54 3.79
SpinDown Time 3.69 3.20
Disc Recognition Time 5.25 sec 8.71 sec
Accurate stream Yes Yes

CD-ROM Drive Analyzer

CD-R reading

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348



CD-RW reading

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348



Low-quality CD reading

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348



The LG lowers its speed and then makes no attempts to lift it again. In all other respects, both drives cope excellently with the low-quality CDs. No uncorrectable were noticed. 
 

CD audio track extraction (CDDAE 99, EAC)

CDDAE LG GCC-4480B
  Licensed CD Pirated CD
Average extraction speed 29.40x 24.54x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%


CDDAE SAMSUNG SM-348
  Licensed CD Pirated CD
Average extraction speed 30.80x 21.32x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%


EAC (highest quality mode), LG GCC-4480B
  Licensed CD Pirated CD
Average extraction speed 11.9x 11.7x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%


EAC (highest quality mode), SAMSUNG SM-348
  Licensed CD Pirated CD
Average extraction speed 11.8x 11.3x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%

Advanced DAE Quality(Nero CD-Speed)



LG GCC-4480B
Offset -96 bytes (-24 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 30.24 X 
Data Errors: 0 
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 159 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0 

Total Data Errors: 0
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0

On The Fly Copying Simulation Copying at 1 X
OK
Copying at 2 X
OK
Copying at 4 X
OK
Copying at 6 X
OK
Copying at 8 X
OK
Copying at 10 X
OK
Copying at 12 X
too slow
Copying at 16 X
too slow
CD Text Drive is capable of reading CD Text information
Subchannel Data Test 1
Track (01): 01
Relative position (01:05.00): 01:05.40 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (01:07.00): 01:07.40 -> incorrect!
Index (5): 5

Test 2
Track (17): 23 incorrect!
Relative position (01:33.00): 01:51.40 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (33:35.00): 51:53.40 -> incorrect!
Index (1): 1

Test 3
Track (36): 53 incorrect! 
Relative position (00:00.00): 02:30.40 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (70:02.00): 112:02.40 -> incorrect!
Index (1): 1

Leadin Drive cannot read data from the Leadin 
Leadout Drive cannot read data from the Leadout


SAMSUNG SM-348
Offset -96 bytes (-24 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 16.05 X 
Data Errors: 25 
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 154 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0 

Total Data Errors: 25
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0

On The Fly Copying Simulation Copying at 1 X
OK
Copying at 2 X
OK
Copying at 4 X
OK
Copying at 6 X
OK
Copying at 8 X
OK
Copying at 10 X
too slow
Copying at 12 X
too slow
Copying at 16 X
too slow
CD Text Drive is capable of reading CD Text information
Subchannel Data Test 1
Track (01): 01
Relative position (01:05.00): 01:05.00
Absolute position (01:07.00): 01:07.00 
Index (5): 5

Test 2
Track (17): 17
Relative position (01:33.00): 01:33.00 
Absolute position (33:35.00): 33:35.00
Index (1): 1 

Test 3
Track (36): 36
Relative position (00:00.00): 00:00.00
Absolute position (70:02.00): 70:02.00
Index (1): 1

Leadin Drive cannot read data from the Leadin 
Leadout Drive cannot read data from the Leadout

The Samsung copes with audio track extraction better though not very fast. 

The detailed information on the parameters tested is given in the help file of the Nero CD Speed test program.

CD-R 780MB (90min) reading
 

CD-RW drive Rostok Media 90 min
LG GCC-4480B 10:45 min
SAMSUNG SM-348 11:40 min

All the drives have read the test CD successfully. The LG is the champion. 

DVD reading: basic characteristics.

NERO DVD Speed.

DVD reading (one-layer)

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348




  LG GCC-4480B SAMSUNG SM-348 
Average speed  10.53x CAV 6.70x CAV
Random Seek 105 ms 96 ms
Full Seek 176 ms 182 ms
SpinUp Time 2.16 sec 1.86 sec
SpinDown Time 4.25 sec 2.25 sec
Disc Recognition Time 5.48 sec 3.15 sec

Both drives lowered the read speed. But still, the LG performs better. 

DVD reading (two-layer disc)

LG GCC-4480B



SAMSUNG SM-348




LG GCC-4480B SAMSUNG SM-348 
Average speed  5.68x CAV 6.53x P-CAV
Random Seek 134 ms 99 ms
Full Seek 204 ms 177 ms
SpinUp Time 1.64 sec 2.82 sec
SpinDown Time 3.16 sec 2.39 sec
Layer Change Time 108 ms 56 ms
Disc Recognition Time 5.88 sec 9.31 sec

2-layer DVD-Video copying with DVD Decrypter

CD-RW drive Average speed
LG GCC-4480B 5.3 X
SAMSUNG SM-348 3.8 X 

The Samsung read the second layer of the test DVD not very fast, in contrast to the LG's model. 

Recordable DVD reading.

DVD+R reading

LG GCC-4480B 



SAMSUNG SM-348 



DVD+RW reading

LG GCC-4480B 



SAMSUNG SM-348 



Both drives perfectly read discs of the DVD+R/RW format, but the LG's does it faster. 

DVD-R reading

LG GCC-4480B 



SAMSUNG SM-348 



DVD-RW reading

LG GCC-4480B 



SAMSUNG SM-348 



The drives confidently read all DVD types. Besides, we tested Multi-Border DVD-R discs (it's like multi-session CD-R), - the drives have read them and recognized all sessions recorded. 

DVD-Video playback with Cyberlink PowerDVD 4.0.

The DVD-Video was perfectly played by both drives, no artifacts. 

Drives' physical characteristics

Noise
 

CD-RW drive Tray CD-Seek CD general DVD-Seek DVD general
LG GCC-4480B 6/10 5/10 6/10 6/10 7/10
SAMSUNG SM-348 7/10 6/10 7/10 7/10 7/10

Both drives make quite a lot of noise at the maximum speed. The Samsung seems to be a little quieter. The LG's model can't reduce the maximum speed even with external programs. The Samsung allows reducing it in 1X steps but it seems that the speed doesn't actually fall down, because audio tracts were captured at the maximum speed after it was reduced on the software level. 

Thermal conditions
 

CD-RW drive T inside the PC case, C T of the upper surface, C T of the lower surface, C
LG GCC-4480B 36  48  49 
SAMSUNG SM-348 36  52  54 

The LG noticeably heats up, though the Samsung makes a real oven. It can be dangerous to install such drive in a compact poorly ventilated PC case. Besides, I'm not sure that such drive will last long. 

Vibration in case of badly balanced CDs

Both models work pretty well with the unbalanced discs. Although they made a lot of noise and vibrated much at a high speed, they managed to finish reading the discs. 

Summary

So, today we have tested two fastest and most advanced drives in their class. CD-RW writing at 24x is very impressive, and many will be really excited that it takes almost the same time to record CD-RW as for a CD-R. However, the speed increased lifted the noise produced by the drives, as well as the temperature. Each drive has its own pronounced negative factor - the LG's model is too noisy, while the Samsung is very hot. That is why it's for you to decide which drive to take. 


Roman Shelepov  aka SRL (srl@ixbt.com)

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