DVD-ROM Performance Results
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Unlike Pioneer's DVD-115, which conked out well below its rated 16X in our measures, we see the SD-M1401 come very close to its 10X rating, with a maximum DVD read speed of 9.64X at the outer edge of our test DVD. Minimum read speeds measure in at 4.38X. As many of you may now know, DVD movies play back at 1X speeds, so the extra speed offered in today's DVD-ROM drives is only useful when reading data DVDs. Unfortunately, though, there are very few software titles offered on DVD, and pundits have begun lamenting the demise of the format
as a replacement for the CD-ROM. Nevertheless, there are those out there with DVD-based software apps who crave all the read speeds they can get their hands on. Members of our Discussion Forums have been quick to point out the scarcity of SCSI DVD-ROM drives; for them, offerings such as the SD-M1401 and Pioneer's DVD-304S will be welcomed with open arms.
DVDSpeed99 CPU utilization at 1X measures out at 9% for our test unit. This compares to 6% for Pioneer's ATAPI DVD-115 and 7% for Toshiba's ATAPI SD-M1212. Perhaps the overhead incurred in the SCSI protocol keeps this drive a bit higher than the ATAPI units we've tested so far. Regardless, 9% is still quite low. We find no reason for concern.
Subjective Playback Observations
In movie playback, scenes were smooth and very crisp looking on our 21" Sony monitor. The "Morpheus/Neo Matchup" in The Matrix never skipped a beat, even during the most heated action. In Twister, chapter 2 played back smooth as glass as the crop duster passed above the SUV speeding through the spanning wheat fields.