iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail

Platform

Video

Multimedia

Mobile

Other

Starforce CD-R Copy Protection System

August 28, 2002






StarForce CD-R is a software complex meant for copy protection of your software distributed on CDS in home conditions which does guarantee real protection. For reliable protection the engineers from StarForce have developed special StarForce CD-R media which can be used in usual CD-RW drives. The StarForce CD-R discs are an essential part of protection though they look similar to discs of other manufacturers and have the same consumer properties except a disc size which makes 615MB. The recommended maximum write speed is 12x. 




The StarForce CD-Rs are produced according to a special technology which, when an application is started up, allows the protection system to determine whether an original CD or its illegal copy are used. In the latter case operation of the application will be interrupted. If a given disc is original, the protected application will work as it should and a user won't notice any traces of protection. These recordable discs can be used only with the StarForce CD-R protection system. In course of installation the protection module gets into executable files of an application which is then recorded onto StarForce CD-Rs by usual CD-RW drives or CD-R duplicators. 

According to the developer, none of other developers of protection technologies has anything similar. 

An idea of the StarForce CD-R protection system appeared a long time ago, but the development of the finished commercial product ready for the market and meeting the latest requirements of reliability and soft hardware compatibility took over a year of intensive work. Protection Technology first demonstrated this unique protection system at COMTEK 2002: from insertion and recording of the StarForce CD-Rs to start-up of a protected application. 

Even at that time the protection was so functional that copies of StarForce CD-Rs with a protected application, cloning with such programs as CloneCD, CDRWin, BlindWrite and others didn't work. A protected disc couldn't be launched with CD-ROM emulators (such as Virtual CD-ROM and others). 
 

StarForce CD-R 1x-16x for recording protected information
  • ATIP: 
  • Disc Manufacturer: 
  • Assumed Dye type: 
  • Media type: 
  • Recording Speeds: 
  • nominal Capacity: 
  • Target Writing Power: 

  •  
  • 97m 27s 19f 
  • Plasmon Data Systems, Ltd. 
  • Dye (Short strategy; e.g. Phthalocyanine) 
  • CD-Recordable 
  • min. unknown - max. unknown 
  • 599.85MB (68m 17s 00f / LBA: 307125) 

  •  



It's quite important that the StarForce CD-R media is compatible with various models of CD/DVD-ROM devices. It's because the disc surface is not covered with uncopied marks or artificial defects. 

The process of StarForce CD-R protection is quite simple and consists of two stages: 

  • With the StarForce CD-R Wizard the developer implements encryption of executable files of an application on the StarForce protection remote server. 
  • When a distributive of a protected application is recorded onto a StarForce CD-R the developer extracts the key with the help of the protection remote server, using the Wizard. This key will correspond only to the StarForce CD-Rs with given software. When a given disc is duplicated, the key is recorded on each disc. 
The following picture shows how the disc protection system works: 




Remember that an end user doesn't need an Internet access to run a protected application. It is needed only for the developer when he sets the protection. 

However that may be, any protection is a fine system and needs careful testing. And taking into account that a CD-R is a source of potential problems with reading/recording our lab iXBT.com together with Protection Technology carried out a large-scale test of most modern (and not very) CD-RW drives, CD-ROM, DVD and combo drives for compatibility with the StarForce CD-R protection. 

Testbed:

  • Duron 1100 Mhz 
  • 512 Mb PC133 SDRAM Samsung 
  • Soltek 75KAV (KT133A) 
  • 40 Gb HDD Maxtor ATA100 7200rpm 
  • ATI Radeon LE 32 Mb DDR 
  • SCSI Tekram 395UW 
Testing technique:

Each CD-RW drive records a StarForce CD-R at the recommended speed of 12x. No secret that some drives do not support 12x write speed: - only 8x and 16x. In this case we made the conditions tougher for the StarForce CD-R and recorded it at the closest speed higher than 12x. As a rule, it was 16x. But there were some exceptions as well. For example, for the ASUS DVR-104 DVD-R/RW drive the maximum speed was 8x. 

After the burning process each recorder had to read not less than 5 test discs recorded on the other drives. The speed and quality of recording were measured with the Nero CDSpeed 0.85e beta and CDROM Drive Analyzer 2.31 test utilities. 

Quality of the recorded discs was estimated with the help of the professional test station CDCATS SA3 the access to which was provided by the Urals Electronic Plant. 

The CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives were to read the recorded media. 

CD-RW drives used for recording and reading the CD-R StarForce:

Nero CDSpeed

CD-RW drive Diagrams of reading the discs recorded on the following drives:
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A 
June 2002 Made in Taiwan
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, BTC CCE 128IE, LG GCE-8240B, LG GCE-8320B, Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200-VK, Sony CRX185E3
ASUSTeK CRW-4012A 
April 2002 Made in Taiwan
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, Sony CRX185E3, TEAC CD-W512S, Yamaha CRW3200
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A 
May 2002 Made in Taiwan
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, DVD-ROM LG GCC-4120B Combo, NEC NR-9100, Plextor PX-W4012TA, TDK CDRW401248B
BTC CCE 128IE 
January 2002 Made in Taiwan
BTC CCE 128IE, LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX185E3, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200-VK
LG GCE-8240B 
March 2002 Made in China
HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W1210TA, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
LG GCE-8320B 
April 2002 Made in China
LG GCE-8240B, LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX185E3, TDK CDRW401248B
Sony CRX185E3 
April 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, LG GCE-8240B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX185E3, TDK CDRW401248B
Sony CRX175A1 
April 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8320B, Panasonic UJDD410, Sony CRX175A1
CyberDrive CW038D 
February 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, CyberDrive CW038D, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Plextor PX-W4012TA, Sony CRX185E3
Panasonic UJDD410 
March 2002 Made in China
BTC CCE 128IE, LG GCE-8320B, Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
Plextor PX-W4012TA 
February 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, BTC CCE 128IE, LG GCE-8240B, LG GCE-8320B, Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX185E3, Plextor PX-W4012TA TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
Plextor PX-W1210TA 
August 2001 Made in China
HP dvd200e DVD+RW,Mitsumi CR-480A, Plextor PX-W1210TA, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX175A1
Plextor PX-W124Tsi 
February 2001 Made in Japan
DVD-ROM LG GCC-4120B Combo, LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Plextor PX-W4012TA, TDK CDRW401248B
Ricoh MP7240A 
March 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8320B, Ricoh MP7240A, Sony CRX185E3
Ricoh MP7320A 
April 2002 Made in Korea
Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W4012TA, Ricoh MP7320A, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
NEC NR-9100 
May 2002 Made in China
LG GCE-8320B, NEC NR-9100, Plextor PX-W4012TA, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
Mitsumi CR-480A 
March 2002 Made in Philippines
LG GCE-8240B, Mitsumi CR-480A, Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W4012TA, Ricoh MP7240A
TEAC CD-W512S 
March 2002 Made in Japan
CyberDrive CW038D, LG GCE-8240B, Plextor PX-W1210TA, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Plextor PX-W4012TA
TEAC CD-W540E 
March 2002 Made in Malasya
NEC NR-9100, Plextor PX-W1210TA, Sony CRX185E3, TEAC CD-W540E
TEAC CD-W552E 
June 2002 Made in China
Acer CRW2410A, ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, NEC NR-9100, Ricoh MP7240A, Yamaha CRW3200
TDK CDRW401248B 
June 2002 Made in Japan
Acer CRW2410A, TDK CDRW401248B, Yamaha CRW3200
Yamaha CRW3200 
March 2002 Made in Malaysia
HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8240B, Plextor PX-W4012TA, Yamaha CRW3200, Yamaha CRW-F1
Yamaha CRW-F1 
July 2002 Made in Malaysia
BTC CCE 128IE, Plextor PX-W1210TA, Plextor PX-W4012TA, TEAC CD-W540E, Yamaha CRW-F1
HP dvd200e DVD+RW 
May 2002 Made in China
CyberDrive CW038D, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8240B, Ricoh MP7240A, Sony CRX185E3
ASUSTeK DVR-104 
Aug 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK DVR-104, CyberDrive CW038D, Ricoh MP7240A, Sony CRX175A1, Yamaha CRW-F1
Acer CRW2410A 
March 2002 Made in China
Acer CRW2410A, ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, ASUSTeK CRW-4012A, Panasonic UJDD410, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Sony CRX185E3, TEAC CD-W512S

CD-ROM and DVD drives used for reading the recorded CD-R StarForce:

Nero CDSpeed

CD-ROM/DVD drive Diagrams of reading the discs recorded on the following drives:
CD-ROM ASUSTeK CD-S400/A 
April 2002 Made in Taiwan
BTC CCE 128IE, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, Panasonic UJDD410, Sony CRX185E3, TDK CDRW401248B
CD-ROM ASUSTeK CD-S500/A 
April 2002 Made in Taiwan
LG GCE-8240B, LG GCE-8320B, NEC NR-9100, Ricoh MP7240A, Sony CRX175A1
CD-ROM ASUSTeK CD-S520/A 
May 2002 Made in Taiwan
ASUSTeK CRW-4012A, ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, CyberDrive CW038D, Ricoh MP7240A, Ricoh MP7320A
CD-ROM CyberDrive CD486D 
January 2001 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-4012A, LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi
CD-ROM Samsung SC-152 
June 2002 Made in Indonesia
Acer CRW2410A, BTC CCE 128IE, LG GCE-8240B, Plextor PX-W124Tsi, Yamaha CRW3200
CD-ROM Sony CDU5221 
March 2002 Made in China
ASUSTeK CRW-4012A, ASUSTeK CRW-4816A, HP dvd200e DVD+RW, LG GCE-8240B, TDK CDRW401248B
DVD-ROM LG GDR-8160B
January 2001 Made in Korea
LG GCE-8320B, Plextor PX-W4012TA, TDK CDRW401248B, TEAC CD-W512S, Yamaha CRW3200
DVD-ROM LG GCC-4120B Combo 
March 2002 Made in Korea
ASUSTeK CRW-3212A, ASUSTeK CRW-4012A, CyberDrive CW038D, DVD-ROM LG GCC-4120B Combo, LG GCE-8240B, Plextor PX-W4012TA
DVD-ROM NEC DV-5800B 
March 2002 Made in China
Acer CRW2410A, LG GCE-8240B, Mitsumi CR-480A, Panasonic UJDD410, TEAC CD-W512S
DVD-ROM Sony DDU1621 
January 2001 Made in China
Acer CRW2410A, CyberDrive CW038D, LG GCE-8240B, Panasonic UJDD410, Sony CRX185E3
DVD-ROM ASUSTeK DVD-E616 
January 2001 Made in Korea
Mitsumi CR-480A, Panasonic UJDD410, Sony CRX185E3, TEAC CD-W540E, Yamaha CRW-F1

The data on testing the discs with the CDROM Drive Analyzer 2.31 and printouts of the CDCATS SA3 test station will be published later, on a separate page. 

The tables given above will also be updated as new drives arrive in our lab. 

Conclusion

The StarForce CD-R has no problems in recording. At least, the discs are recorded and read on most other drives. Nevertheless, among all tested drives there are four models we wouldn't recommend for working with the StarForce CD-R: 
  • TEAC CD-W552E (firmware T016) - this latest drive from TEAC reads data on a very high quality level, but it refused to record any data on the disc. The recorder can't identify the disc as suitable for recording. 
  • DVD-ROM LG GCC-4120B Combo (firmware 2.02) - it identifies blank StarForce CD-R media only every two times; its reading is unstable and slow. 
  • CD-ROM CyberDrive CD486D (firmware 150J) - it reads StarForce CD-R discs quite slow, the speed doesn't make operation comfortable.
One more CD-RW drive - BTC CCE 128IE - also have stability problems when reading data, but the tests later showed that it read all kinds of CD-ROM and CD-R media this way. 

The StarForce CD-R is highly compatible with most modern (and not very) CD-RW, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD+RW/-RW drives. Quality of the StarForce discs is also very high - it's high enough to entrust your data to this media type for long protected storage. 

Here you can find results of testing the StarForce CD-R recorded on the Plextor PX-W1210TA CD-RW drive at 12x. 
 

Alexander Vorobiev (vorobiev@ixbt.com)
 

Write a comment below. No registration needed!


Article navigation:



blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook


Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.