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Toshiba SD-R5002 6-in-1 DVD-R/RW Drive Review

Contrary to the  the DVD+R/RW standard, until now DVD-R/RW drives were produced only by Pioneer; their OEM versions were also available from some other big companies. However, some other manufacturers are gradually starting production of such drives as well. LG was first to make a DVD-R/RW-compatible drive; to all appearances, it used production facilities of the Hitachi's DVD-RAM department LG recently bought. But the new drive is not a pure DVD-R/RW drive as it also can write and read DVD-RAM discs. A bit later Toshiba released a classic DVD-R/RW product without any exotic peculiarities. Production of the DVD-R/RW drives makes the competition on the drive market harder making the prices lower and the DVD-R/RW standard more popular. 

Although the DVD+R/RW format has better speed characteristics than its competitor, the newly released 4x DVD-R drives must improve the situation. Well, the future of the competition between DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW is yet unknown. But nevertheless, there are two camps now, one with those who support the combination of these standards in one device (DVD Dual, such drives have started trickling into the stores), the other with those who want to add the DVD-RAM support to these formats (DVD Multi - such devices are still under development). Both directions will release customers from choosing one or another write standard. 

But now it's easier to buy a device supporting one of the formats. Today I will take a look at the DVD-R/RW drive from Toshiba - SD-R5002. 

Toshiba SD-R5002


  • Record formats supported. 
    • DVD: DVD-R(General Ver. 2.0), DVD-RW Ver 1.1 
    • CD: CD-R, CD-RW 

  • Read formats supported. 
    • DVD: DVD-ROM single layer/dual layer, DVD-R (all types), DVD-RW 
    • CD: CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM XA Mode 2 (form 1, form 2), CD-TEXT Photo CD (single and multiple session), CD-DA (Audio CD), CD-Extra, CD-R, CD-RW (Support AM2) 

  • Write speeds. 
    • DVD-R: 2X CLV, 1x CLV 
    • DVD-RW: 1X CLV 
    • CD-R: 16X ZCLV, 12-4X CLV 
    • CD-RW: 4-10X CLV 

  • Read speeds (max). 
    • DVD-ROM (Single): 12X CAV 
    • DVD-ROM (Dual): 8X CAV 
    • DVD-R, DVD-RW: 4.8X CAV 
    • CD-ROM/R: 40X CAV 
    • CD-RW: 20X CAV 
    • CD-Audio (CDDA): 16X CAV 

  • Access time (Random Average) 
    • DVD: 130 Msec 
    • CD: 110 Msec 

  • Interface: ATAPI (SFF8020i Rev. 2.6, SFF8090 Ver. 5 Rev. 1.4) 
  • Data buffer: 2 Mbytes 
  • Installation: horizontal and vertical. 
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 146 x 41.5 x 193 mm 
  • Weight: 0.92 kg. 

The drive arrived as an OEM version. This model is a direct competitor of the most popular today DVD-R/RW drive Pioneer DVR-104(A04). Its exterior reminds the Spartan features of other optical drives from this company. There is only one button on the front panel - Eject and one LED indicating the status. It doesn't have even a headphone jack. 

Contrary to the Pioneer's drive, this one doesn't use a fan for additional cooling. Judging by the above characteristics of the Toshiba SD-R5002, it outperforms its competitor in many aspects, especially in operation with CD-R/RW media. However, at present the market is getting involved into the speed race in recording DVD-R, and some companies are creating drives which can write DVD-R discs up to 4x, that is why the SD-R5002 drive can become just a short-lived king. 

Its installation was flawless. A user is offered a standard procedure typical of CD-ROM drives. The drive doesn't need any special drives. I used NeroBurning Rom ver which successfully detected the drive. 

Formats and disc types supported were defined with the Nero Infotool program.

EAC showed us capabilities of the drive in operation with Audio CD. 

By and large, the features of this drive will be enough even for the most demanding users. If you compare it with its direct rival PIONEER DVR-104, the latter will look paler. Now it's time to test all its characteristics. For comparison we will use the test results of the PIONEER DVR-104. 

DVD recording

The drive offers standard capabilities for recording DVD-R/RW media; it supports 2x for DVD-R and 1x for DVD-RW. This drive offers one tasty thing. The matter is that the PIONEER DVR-104(A04) can record at 2x only those DVD-R discs which passed the Pioneer's certification and are brought into the drive's firmware. The Toshiba SD-R5002 doesn't' have such a limitation. 

Of course, a user can damage a disc or lose key information when using media of unknown firms, but on the other hand, it's possible to save a lot. Besides, any restriction often produces a negative reaction. In the write tests we used TDK DVD-R47MS and TDK DVD-RW47 discs. 

DVD-R recording


Drive write time at 1x, min. write time at 2x, min.
PIONEER DVR-104 56:14 28:13
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 56:18 28:30

DVD-RW recording

Disc type recording time at 1x, min.
PIONEER DVR-104  56:14
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 56:28

The test results of the drives are almost identical, with the Pioneer's solution being a little ahead. 

I also tried to make the Toshiba record some discs which were not certified for 2x and noname discs forcedly setting the record speed at 2x. First of all, I bought 4 discs which differed one from other visually and had different marks on their inner rings. Then I tried to identified them with the ADVDinfo program. 

Well, according to the program, three of these drives seem to be produced by TDK, while the fourth is coming from Princo. 

Also, we used two licensed discs from Dysan and Smart Buy. 

Data in Lead-In  Manufacturer
00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 7A 0C 15 .B...@....P..Z..
77 78 90 00 03 54 44 4B 47 30 31 00 04 30 30 30 WX...TDKG01..000
30 64 39 00 05 CC C0 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 0D9.............
Noname (TDK)
00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 98 0C 13 .B...@....P.....
76 78 80 00 03 50 52 49 4E 43 4F 00 04 00 01 00 VX...PRINCO.....
00 00 00 00 05 88 80 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Noname (Princo)
00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 87 0D 12 .B...@....P.....
87 99 70 00 03 43 4D 43 30 30 52 00 04 47 32 30 ..P..CMC00R..G20
30 00 00 00 05 22 30 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 0...."0.........
00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 8A 0D 14 .B...@....P.....
88 88 80 00 03 50 52 4F 44 49 53 00 04 43 47 30 .....PRODIS..CG0
31 00 00 00 05 CC C0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 1...............
Smart Buy

The contents we used for recording was taken from he pirated DVD-Video disc which is quite big compared to a DVD-R - 4 613 470 208 bytes. 

Almost all the discs were successfully recorded at 2x. Only the Smart Buy's one failed - it's a pity as it's twice dearer than the "bold" discs. After that I played all successfully recorded DVD-R-Video discs on the Pioneer DCR-111 drive. The record quality was good, no artifacts peculiar to low-quality playback. 

It seems that it's worth carrying out a practical certification of the discs available on the market so that users can be sure that one or another disc type uncertified for 2x matches the Toshiba's drive. 

However, I can't say that the Toshiba SD-R5002 lets a user to set a write speed he/she wants. But at least, they can try to do it. 

P.S. In the tests of the licensed Princo's discs it turned out that they do not support the write speed of 2x. But the data in Lead-In are the same for the licensed and pirated discs... 

Testing main read parameters of DVD discs

NERO DVD Speed results

Test DVD reading diagrams

TOSHIBA SD-R5002 2-layer DVD

Average speed 6.24x CAV
Random Seek 123 ms
Full Seek 238 ms
SpinUp Time 1.34 sec
SpinDown Time 0.88 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.40 sec
Disc Load Time 1.49 sec
Layer Change Time 121 ms
Disc Recognition Time 7.85 sec

TOSHIBA SD-R5002 1-layer DVD

Average speed 9.20x P-CAV
Random Seek 126ms
Full Seek 267 ms
SpinUp Time 1.30 sec
SpinDown Time 1.47 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.40 sec
Disc Load Time 1.49 sec
Layer Change Time 121 ms
Disc Recognition Time 9.84 sec

Reading of recordable DVD discs

DVD+R reading


DVD+RW reading


The drive reads excellently discs of the competing standard - this is certainly an additional advantage. 

DVD-R reading


DVD-RW reading


All the obtained parameters of reading of DVD discs of all types correlate with the specification. The TOSHIBA SD-R5002 is far ahead the PIONEER DVR-104 in the read speed. 

Standard tests for operation with CD discs

CD recording time

For comparison we used the results of the PIONEER DVR-104 drive in the recording tests. 

CD-R SKC recording (cyanine, rated write speed - 16x)

CD-RW drive Time at 8x (min.) Time at 16x (min.)
PIONEER DVR-104 09:54 --:--
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 09:46 06:32

CD-R Philips Silver Premium recording (phthalocyanine, rated write speed - 16x)

CD-RW drive Time at 8x (min.) Time at 16x (min.)
PIONEER DVR-104 09:55 --:--
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 09:48 05:22

Both drives record the discs at 8x almost identically. At 16x the TOSHIBA's drives digs phthalocyanine discs and scores the best results with them. At the maximum write speed of 16x, the TOSHIBA's drive looks much better compared to its rival. Considering that the TOSHIBA SD-R5002 enables the ZCLV mode at the record speed of 16x, we carried out additional tests to find out how this mode influences parameters of the write speed. 

CD-R recording, cyanine

CD-R recording, phthalocyanine

Well, when the drive likes a disc, it can turn to the maximum speed at the early stage. Otherwise, it records such disc at a lower speed. 

Time of CD-RW full formatting in UDF with InCD ver. 3.24.3. CD-RW recording in UDF, 650 Mb test packet in 6500 files, Philips CD-RW74 4x disc

CD-RW drive Formatting time (min.) Record time (min.)
PIONEER DVR-104 29:54 1:06:32
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 28:23 57:20 

Verbatim DataLifePlus 10x 

CD-RW drive Formatting time (min.) Record time (min.)
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 13:18 27:11 

The TOSHIBA's drive remains the leader in all aspects in operation with CD-RW. The ability of the Toshiba's drive to work with 10x CD-RW media doesn't leave a chance for PIONEER to win. 

Testing ability of the drive to work with 80mm CDs by the example of a CD-RW disc, formatting and recording in UDF

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

CD-RW drive Formatting time (min.) Record time (min.)
PIONEER DVR-104 11:06 7:18
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 10:31 6:05 

Both drives read and and recorded the 80mm discs quite successfully. 

BLER factor of the recorded CD-R

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

CD-RW drive SKC  Philips Silver Premium 
PIONEER DVR-104 74-83 68-77
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 55-67 13-20 

The TOSHIBA's solution has the most stable results in quality of recording of different discs. The best results in both cases were obtained with the phthalocyanine discs. 


Unlike the PIONEER DVR-104, the TOSHIBA SD-R5002 supports Overburn and, I must say, the support is excellent. 

Testing main read parameters of CD discs

CDWinBench 99


Test CD reading diagrams


Average speed  31.27x CAV
Random Seek 136 ms
Full Seek 197 ms
SpinUp Time 1.56 
SpinDown Time 1.75 
Disc Eject Time 1.48 sec
Disc Load Time 2.40 sec
Disc Recognition Time 9.25 sec
Accurate stream Yes

CD-ROM Drive Analyzer

CD-R reading


CD-RW reading


Reading of low-quality CD


The drive works confidently with CD discs and carefully processes low-quality samples. 

Direct copying of imformation from 780 MB CD-R onto HDD

The drive managed to copy the 780MB discs flawlessly. Copy time is 7 min. 25 sec. 

CD audio track extraction (CDDAE 99)

  Licensed disc Pirated disc
Average extraction speed 15.2x 12.8x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%

Advanced DAE Quality(Nero CD-Speed)


Offset 344 bytes (86 samples)
Sequential Read Test Average Speed: 15.35 X 
Data Errors: 0 
Sync Errors: 0
Harmonica Read Test Average Access Time: 657 ms
Data Errors: 11
Sync Errors: 10 

Total Data Errors: 11
Total Sync Errors: 10
Quality Score: 92.5

On The Fly Copying Simulation Copying at 1 X
Copying at 2 X
Copying at 4 X
Copying at 6 X
Copying at 8 X
Copying at 10 X
Copying at 12 X
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 drive perfectly captures audio tracks. A few errors do not affect the results much or spoil the quality of audio track capture. 

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

DVD-Video playback with Cyberlink PowerDVD 4.0

The DVD video was played without any problems. No artifacts were noticed. 

We also estimated quality of playback of movies on DVD-R/RW on the home DVD player BBK931. The playback was nice. 

Physical characteristics of the drives. 


CD-RW drive Tray CD-Seek CD general DVD-Seek DVD general
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 7/10 7/10 7/10 8/10 8/10

On the whole, the drive works quietly except some cases of operation with badly balanced discs. 

Thermal conditions

CD-RW drive T inside the case, °C T of the upper surface, °C T of the lower surface, °C
TOSHIBA SD-R5002 36°C 48°C 48°C

The thermal conditions are ok. But I don't recommend to place any devices close to it to avoid thier overheating. 

Vibration in case of badly balanced CDs

In operation with the unbalanced discs the drive vibrated strongly and loudly. But there were no errors in reading this disc, though the read speed wasn't high. 

Possibility to make it multizone (RPC-1)

According to www.firmware-flash.com/ it's possible to change the status of the drive from RPC-2 (region locked) to RPC-1 (region free).


As you can see, Toshiba developed a very good multifunctional drive. It easily outperformed its competitor from Pioneer in almost all aspects. The only downside of this drive is that it came out into the market a bit late, as the market already offers new drives able to record DVD-R at 4x and DVD-RW at 2x. But until the situation with supply of 4x DVD-R media and requirements gets entirely clear, the Toshiba SD-R5002 will remain the best combined solution in this market segment.  

Roman Shelepov (srl@ixbt.com)

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