The class of slim combo optical equipment this drive belongs to has become widespread not long ago. Such drives are popular mostly with owners of compact and ultra-slim notebooks which have no space for internal optical drives but which have high-speed USB 2.0 or Firewire interfaces. A user can save a lot with a drive from third manufacturers because such products from notebook makers are very expensive. And today we are dealing with a drive from one of the largest Taiwanese optical drive makers - Lite-On.
The drive came in the retail package. Judging by the specs, such a small device accumulates a lot of Lite-On's own technologies: SMART-BURN® (avoiding Buffer Under Run error, Automatically adjusting writing strategy & running OPC to provide the best burning quality), SMART-X® (Smart Monitoring & Adjusting Read-speed Technology for eXtraction; for example, DVD-Video will be played at a low speed, and copied at the maximum speed) and DFS® (Floating Double Suspension System to reduce vibration & noise during recording & reading).
The box contains the drive itself, an external pulse power supply unit 2.5A 5V, a USB-miniUSB interface cable, an analog audio cable, blank CD-R and CD-RW, a diskette with drivers for Windows 98, a CD with Nero Burning ROM and InCD, and one more CD with a software DVD player Power DVD XP.
The drive turns on after you connect it to the power network and to the PC. In front the drive houses only an Eject button and a status LED.
On the backside you can see a Mini-USB connector (a 5-pin which is getting popular with manufacturers of mobile equipment), a power supply unit connector and an audio-out. There is also a power supply indicator on top near the backside (it works only when the drive is connected to PC).
If you open the tray you will see a standard pickup usually used in optical drives built in notebooks.
The label above informs when and where the drive was made.
The installation brought no problems to us. In case of the W2K and XP you don't need any drivers (the drive uses USB Mass storage device drivers) - just connect it to PC to make it ready for work. In case of the Win98 you must install drivers before connection or run the installation process at the moment of connecting the drive to PC (the PC may need to restart). To handle the drive I used NeroBurning Rom ver 184.108.40.206 which successfully detects this model.
And now I'm going to get more information on the drive using some utilities; for example, Nero Infotool which tells what formats and disc types the drive supports
As you can see from the screenshot, it's still impossible to turn the drive from RPC-2 to RPC-1 (according to www.firmware-flash.com). However, you can use the DVD Region free program which provides the regional protection.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find out whether the drive works with Audio CD with the EAC (EAC Configuration Wizard) simply because the EAC does not support USB 2.0 connected external drives.
CD-R and CD-RW recording
CD recording time
Traditionally, we used two types of media - with cyanine and phthalocyanine
coating. The number of the trade marks are 4, 2 of each type, to get more information
on how the drive treats discs of different trade marks. The burning results will
be partially represented in the graphical form.
The screenshot above is typical for all trade marks of the discs. The
write speed was almost the same for all trade marks and types of the media.
We also tested ability of the drive to record cyanine discs at the minimal
speed, - this mode is usually used by music lovers to get the highest quality
To extend the picture, I added the burn results of the Verbatim CD-RW 10x.
Although the disc used is certified only for 10X write speed, the drive could burn it at 12X.
Time of CD-RW full formatting in UDF with InCD ver. 3.5.2
CD-RW recording in UDF format, 530 Mb test packet in 3550 files.
|Formatting time (min.)||Burn time (min.)|
The drive reads and burns 80mm discs quite well.
The most important part of the tests, and we here used the device described
in this article.
The error level on the SKC media is very high, but in other cases it is acceptable.
KProbe is a new test utility developed for OS Windows with functions similar
to the earlier used WSES; it estimates a level of C1/C2 errors on a disc tested.
The results partially depend on whether the drive likes a given disc or not, but
some general information on a disc tested can be obtained.
The results on the last screenshot are in full conformity with the BLER
measurements in the previous test for the SKC disc. Later we will publish
the test results obtained with the professional equipment CDCATS SA3, and
then we will see who is right in this test.
|CD-RW drive||80 min CD-R||90 min CD-R|
In this test we used the 90min CD-R disc, but it failed several times, and we had to record three discs to get the data. Although there was an error at the end of burning, the data recorded were successfully read on other drives.
|Inside transfer||1510 Kb/s|
|Outside transfer||3320 Kb/s|
|CPU Utilization||3.06 %|
|Access Time||97.7 ms|
Test CD reading
|Average speed||18.74x CAV|
|Random Seek||108 ms|
|Full Seek||308 ms|
|CPU Usage 8X||49 %|
|Disc Recognition Time||5.0 sec|
Low-quality CD reading
|Licensed disc||Pirated disc|
|Average extraction speed||16.30x||15.40x|
Note that the drive correctly reads Subchannel Data. In general, the drive copes well with this test and demonstrates a good kit of tools for quality audio track extraction.
The detailed information on the tested parameters is given in the help file to the Nero CD Speed test program. If you don't want to download the utility, then here you can find the HTMl help file.
This test was made by the developer of the EAC, and it's called DAE Quality
(here you can find its description).
In short, it measures quality of audio data extraction and quality of C2 error
processing with a special test disc. In this case it's impossible to measure the
C2 processing quality, have a look only at general data of audiotrack extraction
The drive successfully copied contents of the 780MB disc without any errors.
|Average speed||5.97x CAV|
|Random Seek||103 ms|
|Full Seek||173 ms|
|CPU usage (Max Speed)||5 %|
|SpinUp Time||0.03 sec|
|SpinDown Time||1.38 sec|
|Disc Recognition Time||5.28 sec|
|Average speed||4.48x CAV|
|Random Seek||111 ms|
|Full Seek||204 ms|
|CPU usage (Max Speed)||4 %|
|SpinUp Time||0.02 sec|
|SpinDown Time||3.38 sec|
|Disc Recognition Time||4.59 sec|
|Layer Change Time||86 ms|
The drive doesn't cope well with DVD+R/RW media, but it correctly reads Multiborder discs.
|CD-RW drive||Average speed|
|Lite-On LSC-24081MX||4.6 X|
For this class of drives a noise level of this model is acceptable. Noise comes mostly from discs which are not properly balanced. The drive also noticeably vibrates at that. Although protection from such effects is said to be provided, we have to admit that this technology doesn't work in all cases. But in spite of vibration the drive managed to finish reading of such discs.
The drive doesn't get too hot even when used a lot. Its temperature didn't affect quality of reading the media.
Lite-on is known mostly due to CD-RW recorders from SONY which places OEM
order with Lite-On. But the whole line of optical drives from Lite-On is
already available on our market. The tests show that owners of notebooks
are offered a handy and compact combo drive which confidently works with
all optical discs. The only downside is that the vibration and noise reduction
system doesn't always work properly.
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