DVD-ROM Performance Results
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DVDSpeed99 measures sustained transfer rates and CPU utilization a 1X.
You may recall that in our Pioneer DVD-116 review we added a data DVD to our benchmarking arsenal since some of the Pioneers do not read DVD Video discs as fast as data DVDs. With the Artec, the situation reverses somewhat. When testing with a DVD Video ("Twister"), the Artec yields consistently clean transfer rates ranging from a minimum of 6.3X to a high of 14.2X. Its 10.7X average is 25% faster than Pioneer's 16X drives. We'd like to note that Artec's engineers measure nearly identical maximum speeds for this drive, so it appears it can't quite hit 16X.
However, the Artec can't turn in smooth transfer rates on data DVDs. Our attempts with three scratch-free 4+ GB single-layer DVDs consistently yield jagged transfer rates starting from about the middle of the disc outward (see the screenshot for an example). In the end, there's an average transfer rate of 9.8X, about 8% slower than what the drive can do with our DVD Video disc. Maximum transfer rates, despite the dips in the graph, appear to have a similar potential to what we measure with the DVD Video disc. However, in the end the erratic transfer rate pulls down the average speed and the Pioneer bests the Artec by 7% in this comparison.
With both data and movie DVDs, the benchmark software reports 6% CPU usage at 1X (1350 KB/sec) speeds. This is typical of other ATAPI DVD-ROMs tested in the past.
Subjective Playback Observations
No playback quality issues arose during intense portions of two movies (Twister and The Matrix). Remember, DVD movies play at 1X (1350 KB/sec), so any modern DVD-ROM drive should do a good job provided it is installed in a system with decent CPU speeds (greater than 300 Mhz) and sufficient memory (at least 64 MB, preferably 128 MB). Systems with hardware-based DVD decoders can often get away with slower CPU speeds. Video card and decoding hardware/software typically play a much greater role in playback performance than the drive itself.