Lite-On is one of the first Taiwanese drive makers to release a line of DVD recorders of its own design. This might initiate a wide transition from CD-R/RW drives to DVD recorders as Lite-On always offered mainstream solutions at affordable prices. If the trend keeps on, DVD recorders might get cheaper than $100 which is a certain psychological barrier. Today we are testing a DVD+R/RW drive from Lite-On, the first drive in the rewritable DVD line of this company.
The box also contains: 4x DVD+R(Ricoh), 4x DVD+RW(Ricoh), 2 software CDs (Power DVD XP player and Sonic DVD creation software), user guide, screws and analog audio cable. Fortunately, the drive's bundled with a 4X DVD+RW disc because it's still hard to find such discs on sale - as a rule, disc makers release respective media a couple of months later.
Like all latest models from Lite-On, this one is shorter than standard models: it's 170 mm long instead of 192 mm. It can be a good choice for those PC cases where lower 5" bays can't be used for drives because of mainboards installed. The design of the drive and its front panel is standard.
The front panel houses an Eject button, a headphones-out, a volume control and a three-color LED. On the back you can find an operable audio-out.
The drive's equipped with a standard packet of Lite-On's technologies.
SMART-BURN® is a kind of the buffer underrun error prevention and record quality monitoring technology.
SMART-X® adjusts the speed of operation with media of different contents. For example, the speed will be automatically reduced in case of playing DVD-Video and lifted up in case of its copying.
VAS (Vibration Absorber System)® reduces vibration and noise during the drive's operation.
Below you can see its elemental base.
So, it's based on MediaTek's chipset. And now you can look at how the components are arranged inside.
The installation caused no problems. A user is offered a standard procedure,
like that for an ordinary CD-ROM drive. The drive needs no special
drivers. You can use, for example, NeroBurning Rom v184.108.40.206.
Now let's use other utilities to get more information on the drive; for example,
Nero Infotool, which tells what formats and disc types the drive supports:
As you can see from the screenshot, the drive is RPC-2 and according to http://www.rpc1.com/ it's possible to turn it into RPC-1 with a special utility.
EAC (EAC Configuration Wizard) tells us about Audio CDs.
All DVD discs were flawlessly recorded. We used several media types to estimate
its operation with +R/RW discs. It's interesting that the drive agreed
to burn Imation 2.4x at 4x, though the burn time made 18 min. 37 sec.
against 14-15 min. expected.
The DVDs recorded were successfully read by the reference DVD-ROM drives Toshiba SD-M1712 and Pioneer DVD-117LJ.
Now let's see how the Lite-On DVD-ROM drive deals with the discs recorded.
The KProbe utility will help us estimate a level of C1/C2 errors.
Although the results also depend on whether the drive favors a given
disc, some general information can be anyway obtained.
Lite-On LDW-401S, DVD+R 2.4x Imation (Ricoh)
Lite-On LDW-401S, DVD+R 2.4x (burning at 4x) Imation (Ricoh)
Recording at 4x causes much more errors at the end of the disc, that is why
it's not recommended to burn Imation's media at a high speed. However,
the most DVD drives are able to read the data recorded.
Lite-On LDW-401S, DVD+RW 2.4x Philips
Lite-On LDW-401S, DVD+RW 4x Ricoh
DVD media reading
NERO DVD Speed
Test DVD reading
Reading of recordable DVD
Unfortunately, the drive can't read multisession DVD-R media.
DVD Video copying with Smart Ripper
CD media tests
CD burning time
Traditionally, we used two types of media, with cyanine and phthalocyanine coating. The number of the trade marks were lift up to 4, 2 of each type, to provide more information of how the drive treats discs of different trade marks. Below is the ATIP for the discs tested.
The burning results will be partially represented in the graphical form.
Recording of the Verbatim 48x and Philips 32x delivers a similar diagram.
We also tested the drive's ability to burn cyanine discs at the minimal
speed as this mode is often used by audiophiles to ensure high record quality.
Unfortunately, the minimal speed the drive is able to burn CD-Rs is
To extend the picture, I added the results of the eproformance CD-RW.
Reading of the recorded discs on the Lite-On drive with KProbe
Reading of the Verbatim CD-R recorded on Lite-On LDW-401S
Reading of the Mirex CD-R recorded on Lite-On LDW-401S
Reading of the SKC CD-R recorded on Lite-On LDW-401S
Reading of the eproformance CD-RW recorded on Lite-On LDW-401S
Reading of the Verbatim CD-RW recorded on Lite-On LDW-401S
The discs used have the following ATIP.
Intenso 99 min
Time of CD-RW full formatting in UDF with InCD
The eproformance 10x CD-RW recorded in UDF format, 550 Mb test packet in 4500 files.
The Verbatim 24x CD-RW recorded in UDF format, 550 Mb test packet in 4500 files.
Operation with 80mm CDs (CD-RW disc used), formatting and recording in UDF
Formatting and recording of the 80mm CD-RW disc in UDF, 4x write speed.
CD reading parameters
CDWinBench 99 for Lite-On LDW-401S
NERO CD Speed
CD-ROM Drive Analyzer
CD-RW reading on Lite-On LDW-401S
Reading of a low-quality CD on Lite-On LDW-401S
Direct copying of information from 780 MB CD-R to HDD
The drive successfully copied the contents of the 780MB drive without any errors.
CD audio track extraction (CDDAE 99, EAC)
Advanced DAE Quality(Nero CD-Speed)
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.
DAE Quality (EAC)
This test was made by the developer of the EAC, and it's called DAE Quality (here's 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 C2 processing quality, just look at the general data on quality of audiotrack extraction.
Drive's physical characteristics
There's no much noise if the drive doesn't work with CDs which are not properly balanced or when it doesn't work at the maximum speed.
The drive gets pretty hot when used a lot. Be careful when placing other devices close to it as they can burn.
Vibration in case of unbalanced CDs
The drive vibrated when it worked with such disc; nevertheless, it managed to finish its reading without errors at high speed.
The first Lite-On's DVD recorder made a good showing. This is one of the
first DVD recorders that have a normal high-speed CD-R/RW part. However,
the drive is not perfect: on the Kprobe screenshots you can see that the
level of errors on high-speed CD-RWs recorded is very high. Besides, not
all DVD drives read well. But such problems can be often solved on software
level. Taking into account Lite-On's prompt support service it's quite
possible that improved firmware versions will be released very soon.
Roman Shelepov (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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