We are done with CD media. The second part of my tests is about the DVD-ROM aspect of the combo drives. Let’s try reading molded CDs:
The read graph for a single-layer molded DVD-Video disc
This time AOpen’s new firmware left an ambiguous impression: the read speed remained the same, but firmware 1.09 had pulses at the end of the disc, which version 1.05 had not. They are not as annoying, however, as to prevent you from changing the drive’s firmware.
Both models from Samsung had similar problems at the end of the test disc, but the pulses were stronger and the drives lost more speed. The SM-352N recovered faster than the TS-H492A and finished reading the disc earlier.
The read graph for a dual-layer molded DVD-Video disc
Again, the AOpen drive is indifferent to the firmware update. Firmware 1.09 had a minor and short speed slump when transitioning from the first to the second layer. This accounts for the difference of 3 seconds between the two firmware versions.
The Samsungs work better with dual-layer media than with single-layer discs, producing smooth read graphs. The TS-H492A model stumbled at the end of the second layer. The SM-352N is the only drive that dropped the DVD-Video read speed to 8x; the other two drives reached a speed of 10x.
Being done with the test of reading molded DVDs, I would like to say that the AOpen drive was the best here. The drives are all good at reading dual-layer media, but single-layer discs provoked some troubles for the Samsungs.