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Lite-On LTD-163 - CD-ROM Performance Results

  September 12, 2001 Author: Tim Zakharov  

For an overview on methodology, click here.

CD-ROM Performance Results

Low-Level Measurements

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Ziff-Davis' CD Winbench 99 measures sustained transfer rates and random access times.

The LTD163 lives up to its 48X CAV read spec with a maximum transfer rate of 7320 KB/sec (48.8X). This distances the drive from 40X readers from Pioneer, Artec, Toshiba and Afreey.

Access times come in at 87 ms - a bit shy of Lite-On's <80 ms claim. Still, this is good enough for 3rd place in our comparison and bodes well for application level tests.

CD-ROM Winmark 99

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CD Winbench 99's CD-ROM Winmark test runs through a timed script of routines from a variety of popular software programs. The presented score averages results from four different test discs obtained from Ziff-Davis. This tests each drive's ability to read from a range of discs pressed with identical data.

Despite above-average low-level figures, the LTD163 only manages a score of 1243 KB/sec in this test...dead last. The Lite-On has trouble maintaining maximum spindle speeds through the various Winmark tests, undoubtedly contributing to lower scores. There is a 9% deviation between scores for the four test discs with a maximum of 1320 and minimum of 1075. This suggests that the LTD163 may have trouble reading various pressed CDs at maximum speeds.

File and Disc Copy

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The file copy test emphasizes sequential transfer rates by copying a single 634 MB file. The LTD163 completes the copy in just under 2:18, edging out the DVD-305S for the top spot.

The disc copy test introduces random accesses through the multiple files and folders on the test CD. Here the Lite-On finishes in 2nd place with a copy time of 2:52. Its score remains a scant 3% behind the DVD-305S. However, considering the former unit's superior transfer rates and equal access times, we expected the LTD163 to slide by the Pioneer. The drive's propensity to reduce spindle speeds during the test likely contributes to increased copy times here.

Digital Audio Extraction

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SR measures DAE using two programs: CDSpeed99 and CDDAE99. CDSpeed99 measures low-level DAE capabilities, while CDDAE99 is an actual audio ripping program that converts audio tracks on CD-DAs to .wav files on the hard drive.

In CDSpeed99, the LTD163 turns in the quickest audio extraction we've ever seen from a CAV reader with 48X speeds at the outer edge of our test disc. This leads to an average rate of 36X, outracing the next competitor by a whopping 47%! For those feeding their burners in on-the-fly audio copying, the Lite-On's minimum rates of 22X mean easy disc-to-disc burns on even 24X Zone CLV writers. Remember, even 24X burners begin writing at 16X, allowing plenty of headroom for the LTD163 to feed such writes. CDSpeed99 reports perfect extraction quality as well as support for accurate streaming.

We've recently commenced testing DAE quality with a 2nd set of discs: two identical audio CDs with different surface qualities. One is brand new and scratch-free while the 2nd is moderately scratched from years of normal wear. With these discs, the LTD163 does show some slowdown with the scratched version as seen in the screenshot below. However, reported extraction quality remains perfect.

CDDAE99 reports average speeds of 34X - slightly below the 36X potential that CDSpeed99 proclaims. Still, our 65-minute test CD extracts in only 1:55 with no detected errors. However, when the 2nd set of discs runs through CDDAE99, some slowdown arises on the scratched version. In addition, CDDAE99 reports some errors. In one case these reported errors produced audible pops and clicks but in all other areas there aren't any abnormal sounds - apparently the drive's error correction abilities mask most of these problem areas.

CD-DA Error Correction

Digital Recordings' CD-CHECK tests error correction abilities with audio CDs. CD-CHECK is a reference disc with five levels of error gap sizes, each isolated to its own track. Error size and other details may be viewedhere.

A continuous 20-second tone is plays in each track. The larger the error gap, the more difficult it is for the drive's error correction to mask the error without an audible pop or click occurring during playback of the tone.

All tested drives play each track five times with each successful playback (no audible pops or clicks) noted. A result of 5/5 indicates that no pops or clicks were heard in 5 out of 5 playbacks of a particular track. A result of 0/5 means pops or clicks occurred during all 5 playbacks of a particular track. Digital Recordings provides the following interpretation of results:

  • Level-1 Pass: Player meets minimum requirements
  • Level-2 Pass: Average error correction
  • Level-3 Pass: Good error correction
  • Level-4 Pass: Very good error correction
  • Level-5 Pass: Excellent error correction
CD-Check Performance
Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
Lite-On LTD-163 5/5 5/5 3/5 0/5 0/5
Pioneer DVD-116 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5
Lite-On LTR-16101B 5/5 5/5 3/5 0/5 0/5
Plextor PX-W2410TA 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5
Teac CD-W516EB 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5
Ricoh MP7200A 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5 0/5
Kenwood 72X 5/5 4/5 0/5 0/5 0/5

Like Lite-On's 16/10/40 burner, the LTD163 provides perfect error correction up to Level-2. From there, successful error correction drops to 60% for Level-3 before dropping to 0% for levels 4 and 5. A handful of drives from Plextor, Pioneer and Teac are able to provide perfect error correction up to Level-4 - the best recorded so far.

CD-R Media Compatibility and Performance

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Low-level performance measurements on duplicates of the pressed test CD assess a drive's ability to read from a variety of CD-R and -RW media.

With CD-R media the LTD163 maintains top read speeds. Transfer rates come in at 7450 KB/sec (49.7X) on the outside of the test CD-R. In addition, access times improve slightly to 86 ms. There are no problems reading from a variety of brands and speeds of media.

CD-RW Media Compatibility and Performance

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When it comes to CD-RW media, the LTD163 reduces read speeds to a maximum of 3443 KB/sec (23X). This betters DVD-ROMs from Afreey, Artec and Toshiba, but Pioneer's DVD drives are able to read CD-RWs at 32X CAV. The LTD163's access times drop to 123 ms here, but there are no issues reading from various brands and speeds of -RW media.

 DVD-ROM Performance Results...


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