Ten DVD-Burners Roundup

The top of the optical drives evolution is the DVD-burner combo, which combines the functions of all sorts of optical drives. These units cost quite a bit but will definitely be a very good addition to your system. Need some help on choosing the best solution? Then read our roundup of 10 most popular models!

by Andrey Kuznetcov
07/24/2003 | 11:12 PM

If there is anything “high-end” in the world of optical drives, it is the DVD-burner species. These devices are universal in the full meaning of this word. They are the last link of the optical drives evolution chain: from CD-ROM and CD-RW to DVD-ROM and DVD/CD-RW combos. It’s quite natural that we have to pay a price for this widest functionality. In our case, we had to sacrifice the fastness of certain functions, which are secondary for any DVD-burner: it is slower reading or burning ordinary CDs and mediocre DVDs reading. Anyway, these slight drawbacks should not obscure the main advantage of any DVD-burner: its ability to write up to 4.7GB of information onto one medium. This data amount corresponds to the total capacity of 6.5 standard compact discs. That’s quite a lot. Thus, you can use a DVD-burner for information backup, storage of MPEG-4 movies or your collection of audio files. You can even copy your favorite DVD-movies to your own discs.

 

However, there is another side to the picture. As usual, you have to pay for all good things in this world. In our situation the devices we have just mentioned are still pretty expensive. A typical DVD-burner will cost you about $200 or even more. And certainly, not every PC user is ready to spend so much money without weighing all cons and pros in advance. So, this review is intended to help those of you who have the money and are willing to exchange it for the ability to write DVD discs. Today, we will review ten models from several manufacturers. Before we start our roundup, we have to apologize for different level of detail in the models descriptions, because not all DVD-burner makers provide full technical info on their corporate websites.

DVD-Burners Specifications

First of all, take a look at a comparative chart including all the models we are going to review today. It will give you an idea of what the manufacturers actually promise us:

 

Mitsumi
DW-7801 TE

NEC ND-1100A/GEF

Pioneer
DVR-104/WB

Pioneer
DVR-105

Pioneer
DVR-105BK

Interface

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

Write speed

DVD+R: 4x
DVD+RW: 2.4x
CD-R: 16x
CD-RW: 10x

DVD+R: 2.4x, 4x
DVD+RW: 2.4x
CD-R: 4x, 8x, 16x
CD-RW: 4x, 10x

DVD-R: 2x
DVD-RW: 1x
CD-R: 8x
CD-RW: 4x

DVD-R: 1x, 2x, 4x
DVD-RW: 1x, 2x
CD-R: 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x
CD-RW: 4x, 8x

DVD-R: 1x, 2x, 4x
DVD-RW: 1x, 2x
CD-R: 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x
CD-RW: 4x, 8x

DVD-ROM
read speed

12x

12x

6x

12x

12x

CD-ROM
read speed

40x

40x

24x

32x

32x

Buffer size

2MB

2MB

2MB

2MB

2MB

DVD-ROM average access time

140ms

140ms

200ms

140ms

140ms

CD-ROM average access time

120ms

120ms

180ms

130ms

130ms

Supported media formats

DVD-ROM,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Video CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
CD-i,
Multi-session

DVD-ROM,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-Audio,
CD Extra,
Video CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
CD-i,
Multi-session

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
Multi-session

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-R,
CD-RW,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Photo CD,
CD Text

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-R,
CD-RW,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Photo CD,
CD Text

Weight

1.06kg

1.06kg

1.1kg

1.1kg

1.1kg

Dimensions, mm

148x42x198

148x42x198

148x42x198

148x42x198

148x42x198

Approximate price

$220

$187

$202

$250

$261

 

Pioneer
DVR-A05

RICOH RW5125A

Sony
DW-U10A

Sony
DW-U12A

TEAC
DV-W50E

Interface

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

ATA/33

Write speed

DVD-R: 1x, 2x, 4x
DVD-RW: 1x, 2x
CD-R: 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x
CD-RW: 4x, 8x

DVD+R: 2.4x
DVD+RW: 2.4x
CD-R: 12x
CD-RW: 10x

DVD-R: 1x, 2x, 4x
DVD-RW: 1x, 2x
DVD+R: 2.4x, 4x
DVD+RW: 2.4x
CD-R: 4x, 12x, 16x, 24x
CD-RW: 4x, 10x

DVD-R: 4x
DVD-RW: 2x
DVD+R: 4x
DVD+RW: 4x
CD-R:24x
CD-RW: 16x

DVD-R: 4x
DVD-RW: 2x
CD-R: 16x
CD-RW: 8x

DVD-ROM
read speed

12x

8x

8x

12x

12x

CD-ROM
read speed

32x

32x

32x

32x

32x

Buffer size

2MB

2MB

8MB

8MB

2MB

DVD-ROM average access time

140ms

140ms

200ms

200ms

140ms

CD-ROM average
access time

130ms

120ms

160ms

160ms

130ms

Supported media formats

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-R,
CD-RW,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Photo CD,
CD Text

DVD-ROM,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
CD-ROM XA,
Bootable CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
CD-i

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Video CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
Multi-session

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-DA,
CD Extra,
Video CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
Multi-session

DVD-ROM,
DVD-R,
DVD-RW,
DVD+R,
DVD+RW,
DVD-Video,
CD-ROM,
CD-Audio,
CD Extra,
Video CD,
Photo CD,
CD Text,
CD-R,
CD-RW

Weight

1.1kg

1.2kg

1.1kg

1.1kg

1.1kg

Dimensions, mm

148x42x198

146x41x196

146x41x192

146x41x192

148x42x198

Approximate price

$255

$247

$338

$350

$253

Now let’s check if the claimed specifications correspond to the real state of things.

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

 

The design of this model is rather standard. The front panel made of white plastic is covered with relief markings telling you the speed characteristics of the drive. There are also a rectangular eject button, headphones socket and volume control wheel next to it.

The cover has two printed grooves making the drive more robust to physical damage. Similar large grooves are made on the bottom part of the drive case. There are also a few tens of pretty big vent holes at the bottom of the drive. This is probably why there is no fan at the back side of the drive. This is the only eye catching peculiarity of the device. Other required things are all there: power and interface connectors, analog and digital audio outputs, a pin set with the jumper for drive positioning on the cable.

Mitsumi DW-7801TE, like all the other reviewed drives, supports the most widely-spread ATA/33 interface. It can burn DVD+R and DVD+RW discs at 4x and 2.4x speeds, respectively, and CD-R and CD-RW discs - at 16x and 10x. Read speeds are: 12x for DVD-ROM, 5x for DVD+R/+RW, 40x for CD-ROM/CD-R, 32x for CD-RW and Audio CDs in the DAE mode. Average random access time is 140ms for DVDs and 120ms for CDs. The buffer size is 2MB; the model supports buffer underrun protection technologies.

The drive from Mitsumi was the only one to come into our test lab in a retail box, although the package didn’t impress us at all: it was just a paper box. Still, its upper cover had a sticker leaflet listing the full characteristics of the model so that you know what you are going to deal with. The drive comes with a user’s manual, a program for DVD-Video playback (InterVideo WinDVD), a CD with Ahead Software’s Nero Burning Rom and InCD for burning various media and working in the packet mode. Besides, the package contains a blank Verbatim 2.4x DVD+RW disc and two cables (IDE and audio).

NEC ND-1100A

 

This drive looks very similar to the Mitsumi model. Its exterior is sober, without any external decorations: just two markings on the tray indicating that the drive belongs to the DVD-burners class. You can listen to audio discs with this drive, as its front panel carries a headphones socket and volume control wheel. The construction of the model case resembles that of Mitsumi drive, too. The bottom of the case also has special grooves and vent holes. The back panel of the drive has a space reserved for a fan, but the fan itself is absent. All other connectors are the same. At the back side of the drive you will find the power and interface connectors, as well as an analog and digital output ports, and of course a pin set with a jumper for drive positioning.

The technical specifications of ND-1100A are also similar to those of the above described Mitsumi drive: 4x DVD+R and 2.4x DVD+RW burning, 16x CD-R and 10x CD-RW burning. The drive can read DVD-ROM and CD-ROM discs at up to 12x and 40x speeds, respectively. DVD access time is 140ms; CD access time is 120ms. The internal buffer is 2MB big, which is the most popular solution for such devices.

The OEM version of the drive comes without any accessories.

Pioneer DVR-104WB

 

This model is actually an OEM clone of Pioneer DVR-A04. The black color of the front panel will match black or dark-gray system cases very nicely. The white markings on the tray say that this is a real DVD-burner. Besides the eject button and the LED labeled “busy”, the front panel has a horizontal slit to allow air intake. This slit also has a certain decorative effect making the front panel look not so gloomy. The black color of the tray should reduce the jitter. When the tray is open, you can see that in order to make the drive work in a vertical position, you should manually unfold two white catches.

There is a round plastic gag above the spindle on the upper cover of the drive case. The back side of the drive looks rather original due to the miniature fan nestled outside, in an isolated niche. It sucks the warm air from inside the case. Pioneer DVR-104WB has only one analog audio-output and no digital one. All other things are the same: the power and interface connectors, and the pin set with a jumper, which is provided with a small “tail” for easier mounting.

This drive can burn DVD-R and DVD-RW discs at 2x and 1x, respectively. CD-R and CD-RW burn speeds are 8x and 4x. DVD-ROM discs are read at 6x, while CD-ROM discs – at 24x. DVD access time is 200ms and CD access time is 180ms. The size of the internal buffer is 2MB.

Pioneer’s European website says that owners of older DVD-burners should update the firmware of their devices. The DVR-104 drive is also on that list. It is connected with September 17, 2002 when DVD Forum announced specifications for new high-speed media types. They are DVD-R 4x and DVD-RW 2x. The use of these discs in older burners may result in various crashes and failures. Firmware update is going to address this issue. So, the owners (actual and potential) of DVR-104WB should keep this in mind. You can check the necessity of making the update with the help of a special utility, available for free download on the European site.

The drive comes all alone, without any accessories.

Pioneer DVR-A05

 

The front panel of this Pioneer is purely white. The tray is covered with symbols, indicating the device type and telling the name of the manufacturer in black letters. The front panel is highly functional: the eject button, headphones socket and volume control wheel, LED and two slits that serve both esthetical and practical needs: they allow outside air to come to the electronic chips inside the drive.

The tray is made of black-colored plastic to reduce the jitter. The LED and the audio output have labels telling their function – for those who are not familiar with the traditional symbolic marks. The back panel of the drive boasts some features distinguishing this product from other optical drives. Namely, there is only one audio output: the analog one. The digital output is not there. Of course, there is a power and interface connectors and the pin set with the jumper. Also, the back panel is provided with slit-like vent holes forming a circle.

This drive is faster than the previous model from this company. It can write DVD-R and DVD-RW discs at 4x and 2x speeds, respectively. Write speeds for CD-R and CD-RW are 16x and 8x, respectively. Reading speeds are: 32x DVD-ROM and 6x CD-ROM. Average access time is 140ms for DVDs and 130ms for CDs. The size of the buffer is 2MB, as by all the previous models.

A number of innovations are packed up into the device to improve its high burning quality and reliable functioning. A liquid crystal skew technology ensures stable head positioning when the device is reading or writing data. Special construction of the laser helps to maintain the appropriate level of the record signal at high burn speeds, while absorbing components of the tray can imbibe the vibration of misbalanced discs. Of course, there are also buffer underrun protection technologies included.

The OEM version of the drive comes without any extra stuff.

Pioneer DVR-105

 

This Pioneer is nearly an exact copy of DVR-A05 intended exclusively for OEMs: you can guess it by its looks. The front panel is colored a slightly darker shade of white. There is no “Pioneer” label on the tray. The fa?ade of the drive has the same components on it: the eject button, headphones socket, volume control wheel, LED and two slits for air inflow. The connectors on the back panel are the same: the power and interface connectors, the analog output port and the pin set with the jumper. The digital audio output is missing. Besides, there are special vent slits in the form of a circle at the back panel of the drive case.

The technical specifications of the drive allow it to burn DVD-R and DVD-RW discs at 4x and 2x respectively. The CD-R and CD-RW discs can be burned at 16x and 8x. Maximum read speed makes 12x for DVD-ROM discs and 32x for CD-ROM discs. Average access time equals 140ms for DVDs and 130ms for CDs. The buffer size of this model is the same: 2MB.

The drive came to us with a brief user’s manual.

Pioneer DVR-105BK

 

This is a variation of the basic DVR-105 drive. Their only difference is the color of the front panel. In this model it is black and hence can go very well with system cases of dark colors. The only white part of the front panel is the volume control wheel located next to the headset socket. I don’t know why they made it white, maybe they wanted to make sure that you see it at once. Also the front panel features an eject button, a status LED, and two slits, one of which serves for case cooling purposes. At the back side of the case you will find power and interface connectors, a pin set with a jumper and an analog audio output port. The back panel is also provided with a circle of vent slits, like all other Pioneer models.

The speed characteristics of this model are the same as those of the basic DVR-105 model. DVD-R and DVD-RW discs can be burned at 4x and 2x respectively. The CD-R and CD-RW can be burned at the maximum of 16x and 8x. maximum read speed equals 12x for DVD-ROM and 32x for CD-ROM discs. The average access time for DVDs and CDs is claimed as 140ms and 130ms respectively. The drive supports ATA/33 interface and features a 2MB buffer.

The drive comes without any accessories.

Sony DW-U10A

 

Sony pioneered the development of universal, multi-format devices. The DW-10A drive belongs here, too. Its design suggests its main target: the OEM market. It has no elegance of its retail mate, DRU-500A. The light-gray plastic of the front panel is covered with symbols telling that we deal with a DVD-burner. The front panel only features an eject button with rounded corners and one status LED. There is no headphones socket and volume control: quite an ordinary thing for DVD-burners. The upper cover has a groove to make the device more robust. The back panel is pretty standard: it carries analog and digital audio outputs, power and interface connectors and the pin set with the jumper. There is also a small cut in the middle of the bottom panel. This must have been made for better cooling of the drive’s insides.

We had really hard tines trying to find some technical info about the drive on the company web-site. This ATA/33 drive provides 8x DVD-ROM and 32x CD-ROM read speeds. It can burn DVD+R and DVD-R at 4x. The burn speeds for DVD-RW and DVD+RW are 2x and 2.4x, respectively. CD-R and CD-RW discs are burned at 24x and 10x. Average access time is 200ms for DVDs and 160ms for CDs. Traditionally, Sony provides its drives with a large buffer: it is 8MB big. There are buffer underrun protection technologies included. 

This drive comes without any accessories.

Sony DW-U12A

 

One more all-in-one product from Sony follows the corporate style. This is an OEM version of the Sony DRU-500A drive. The solid-looking front panel has no extra markings, just the symbols indicating what kind of a drive this is. There are no headphones socket and accompanying volume control wheel on the front panel, so you will not be able to listen to music at work. In the front part of the upper cover there is a pretty deep imprinted groove that makes the device more robust to vagaries of life. The standard set of outputs and connectors is located on the back panel. The bottom of the case has a cut for better chips cooling.

The two drives from Sony have no great differences in speed characteristics. DW-U12A is a slightly “edited” version of the previous drive with somewhat better speeds: 12x DVD-ROM and 32x CD-ROM read, 4x DVD+R and DVD-R burn, 2x DVD-RW and 4x DVD+RW burn, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW. Average access time is 200ms and 160ms for DVDs and CDs, respectively. The drive has an 8MB buffer and features buffer underrun protection technologies (Power Burn).

No accessories come with this drive.

Ricoh RW5125A

 

The RW-marked model is an OEM version of the MP5125A drive. The design distinguishes this model from other devices of this class. This effect is achieved due to several factors. The tray is flush-mounted on the front panel. Besides two symbols indicating that this is a DVD-burner, there is the “JustLink” label. Beneath the tray there are the eject button, status LED, headphones socket and volume control wheel. The standard set of connectors and outputs is at the back panel. The only deviation from the norm is the second pin set with the jumper that was used for manufacture testing.

This drive allows burning DVD+R and DVD+RW at 2.4x speed and CD-R and CD-RW at 12x and 10x, respectively. It reads DVDs at 8x and CDs at 32x speeds. DVD access time is 140ms; CD access time is 120ms. The drive has a 2MB buffer.

Ricoh’s website contains a lot of info about this model. Ricoh RW5125A is equipped with a single-lens combo module with laser diodes for work with both CDs and DVDs. A special analog processor and an LSI digital controller ensure high precision when burning DVD+RW at 2.4x speed. Lossless linking technology helps to put the lens as low as possible (1micron above the surface of the disc) when adding or editing the data to the medium. This is possible due to the use of special auxiliary tracks as defined by the DVD+RW format. As a result, the data burnt on this device are highly compatible with various DVD-ROM types and DVD players. When writing to a DVD+RW disc, the drive uses the background formatting mode: it needs a little over one minute to start the procedure. It formats the leadin and record area first, and then keeps on formatting other areas when the disc is not accessed for read or write.

JustLink technology is the name of a buffer underrun protection system. Another interesting innovation, invited to increase stability and quality of media recording, is the varying angle of the recording laser module. This feature is activated if the disc has is not perfectly flat, with edges higher or lower than the central part. Controlling the situation with the sensor, the drive adjusts the angle of the laser so that the ray is perpendicular to the disc surface. The drive works on a high-precision dustproof motor that generates very low heat. Moreover, it is almost completely noiseless, as it has no fan.

The model comes without any accessories.

Teac DV-W50E

 

This drive looks similar to Pioneer DVR-105, but the word “Teac” on the front panel indicates its parentage. Anyway, we have the same eject button, headphones socket and volume control wheel, status LED and two horizontal slits (one of them for air inflow) as in the Pioneers. The back panel is equipped with the power and interface connectors, a pin set with the jumper and an analog audio output, but no digital audio output. Above the connectors, there are several ventilation holes forming a circle.

This drive can burn DVD-R and DVD-RW discs at 4x and 2x, respectively. CD-R and CD-RW burn speeds are 16x and 8x. Maximum read speeds for DVDs and CDs are 12x and 32x. Access time: 140ms DVD and 130ms CD. The drive is provided with a 2MB buffer and supports ATA/33 interface.

A definite advantage of this drive is its official support of DVD+ discs reading, which will make its owner’s life a lot easier. A low-vibration mechanism is used in the drive. The model supports quick formatting (Quick Format fucntion) and features a buffer underrun technology.

No accessories are enclosed with the drive.

Testbed and Methods

For our tests we used two kinds of programs: informational and benchmarking utilities. The first type of software was used to uncover technical specification of the drives. That is very important as many manufacturers don’t provide full info about their products. These programs can also confirm or refute the information provided by the manufacturer. Among these diagnostic-informational utilities we used:

The second group of programs serves to check the performance level and other parameters of the drives when working with CD and DVD discs:

All the drives were attached to the second IDE channel as “Master” devices and worked in UDMA mode.

Our testbed was configured as follows:

If you see some test results missing in the tables, diagrams or screenshots, it means the drive didn’t pass this particular test and the results couldn’t be taken.

Informational Utilities

So, we used four informational utilities to check the features of the reviewed drives more exactly. Three of them (Nero Info Tool, CD/DVD Device Capabilities Viewer and HWINFO32) are shown in the screenshots below, while the last one, EAC, was used to check the availability of hardware functions required for correct work with Audio CDs. The new version of this utility includes an option to check the support of C2 error returns by using a deliberately bad compact disc. The results of EAC are included into the table (see below).

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

   

NEC ND-1100A

   

Pioneer DVR-104WB

   

Pioneer DVR-105

   

Pioneer DVR-A05

   

Pioneer DVR-105BK

   

RICOH RW5125A

   

Sony DW-U10A

   

Sony DW-U12A

  

TEAC DV-W50E

   

The results of our tests with EAC utility are given in the following table:

Model

“Accurate stream”

Caching

C2 error return

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

yes

no

yes

NEC ND-1100A

yes

no

yes

Pioneer DVR-104WB

yes

yes

no

Pioneer DVR-105

yes

yes

no

Pioneer DVR-A05

yes

yes

no

Pioneer DVR-105BK

yes

yes

no

RICOH RW5125A

yes

yes

yes

Sony DW-U10A

yes

no

yes

Sony DW-U12A

yes

no

yes

TEAC DV-W50E

yes

yes

no

On the whole, you can see all information about the characteristics and qualities of the drives in the screenshots and the table. Still, there are certain nuances to be singled out. Nero Info Tool says that Mitsumi DW-7801TE and NEC ND-1100A can burn DVDs of both competing formats, although the manufacturers don’t mention it. The same program is wrong in determining speed characteristics for Sony DW-U12A. The Pioneer DVR-A05 drive identifies itself as DVR-105.

All the drives are made with RPC II regional protection system, meaning that the owner of the device can change the zone five times. After that, the last zone becomes permanently assigned to the drive. All the drives support Accurate Stream function. As for C2 Errors recognition, Nero Info Tool and EAC came to a disagreement. The latter utility says all Pioneer models and TEAC DV-W50E cannot react to such errors. Moreover, EAC finds the caching mode in the Pioneer drives, in TEAC DV-W50E and RICOH RW5125A. It may tell negatively on precision of audio track extraction.

Performance in CD WinBench 99

CD-ROM

CD-R

CD-RW

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

Graph

Graph

Graph

NEC ND-1100A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-104WB

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-105

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-A05

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-105BK

Graph

Graph

Graph

RICOH RW5125A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U10A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U12A

Graph

Graph

Graph

TEAC DV-W50E

Graph

Graph

Graph

As always, we used three discs for this benchmark: a CD with CD Winbench 99 itself, and its CD-R and CD-RW copies.

Mitsumi DW-7801TE looks worst of all here, with low Winmark ratings on CD-ROM and CD-R discs. If the problems with the first medium, which we clearly see on the graph, are quite understandable, as some other drives had the same problems reading the first medium, the CD-R result was absolutely the worst. The graph indicates that the drive starts reading the CD-R with a constant linear velocity and then enters the constant angular velocity mode. NEC ND-1100A, Ricoh RW5125A and Sony DW-U10A also encounter difficulties reading a large portion of the CD-ROM. The Pioneers, TEAC DV-W50E and Sony DW-U12A show stable results on all types of media. The highest WinMark rating is given to the NEC drive on the CD-RW (and it is just slightly worse on the CD-R). Mitsumi DW-7801TE shows a similar result on the CD-R. But these two models lack stability.

All the drives show similar access time, except those cases when they are at a loss reading discs of a certain type. In this case the access time considerably increases.

CPU workload coefficient varied across the drives in a small range from 1.2% to 1.3%. The only exception is Sony DW-U10A that demands not that much from the CPU when reading the CD-ROM.

Performance in Nero CD Speed

Basic Tests

 

CD-ROM

CD-R

CD-RW

CD-DA

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

NEC ND-1100A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-104WB

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-105

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-A05

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-105BK

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

RICOH RW5125A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U10A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U12A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

TEAC DV-W50E

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Nero CD Speed Benchmark Results

Nero CD Speed checked the speeds of the drives working with four types of media: a CD-ROM (enclosed with a computer magazine), Audio CD, and CD-R and CD-RW with data, written by the benchmarking CD Speed utility itself.

The Mitsumi and NEC that have the highest specified CD read speeds of all participating devices reached the promised 40x only on the CD-R. They are noticeably slower on the CD-RW and CD-DA. The rest of the drives show stable results reaching their maximum declared speed. Among other information gathered in the test we can point at the high CPU utilization coefficient of the Mitsumi on the CD-R disc. The drive from Ricoh becomes hungry for CPU resources at 8x speed, while Sony DW-U10A has 100% coefficient when reading CD-R and CD-RW at 4x and 8x speeds, respectively.

Advanced DAE Quality Test

This detailed test checks the drive’s ability to extract successfully soundtracks from audio disks. The test worked with a CD-R disk specially created by CD Speed for this purpose.

All drives come neck and neck in this test, with the exception of Pioneer DVR-104WB that did noticeably slower. Mitsumi DW-7801TE and NEC ND-1100 were the only ones that fell short of the 100% quality result because of numerous synchronization errors.

“On-the-fly” copying was limited by 12x speed for all the drives. Once again, Pioneer DVR-104WB was an exception, having performed slower than the others. Positioning precision of all drives that is determined by the offset parameter is rather average. Sony and Ricoh have poorest results here. As concerns extraction of specific auxiliary data, all drives were much alike: they all can read up the info from subchannel and cannot from leadout. The Sony and Ricoh were unable to read up the leadin data, but were the only ones to read CD Text.

Quality Check

This test is intended to check the drives’ ability to read up physically damaged discs. We used a specially prepared disc with multiple scratches on the working surface. As you see from the table, absolute champions are Pioneer DVR-105 and DVR-105BK. The both were fast and didn’t make any mistakes during reading. Their analog, Pioneer DVR-A05, performed a little bit worse. Going on at the same speed, it produced 70 errors. Probably, it owes these errors to an older firmware version. Ricoh RW5125A and Teac DV-W50E do quite well, too. Their owners can rely on their ability to read a bad disc.

Pioneer DVR-104WB was the least successful of all in this test producing over a million errors at the slowest read speed. Moreover, it hung up as soon as it reached the second half of the disc. Mitsumi DW-7801TE and NEC ND-1100A, as well as both Sony drives were just a little better: they all produced quite a big number of errors, which can become critical in some cases.

Performance in Nero CD DAE

This test shows the ability of a drive to rip an audio disc into WAV files. For this test we used a licensed CD-disk. The results are listed in the table above.

There were no faulty drives, and they all performed at similar speeds, except Pioneer DVR-104WB. That’s quite predictable considering its lower speed characteristics. On the other hand, it consumed less CPU resources. All other models loaded the CPU equally.

Performance in CDVD Benchmark

 

CD-ROM

CD-R

CD-RW

CD-DA

DVD-ROM

DVD-R

DVD-RW

DVD+R

DVD+RW

Mitsumi
DW-7801TE

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Graph

Graph

NEC ND-1100A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Graph

Graph

Pioneer
DVR-104WB

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer
DVR-105

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer
DVR-A05

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer
DVR-105BK

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

RICOH RW5125A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Sony DW-U10A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U12A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

TEAC DV-W50E

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

We used CDVD Benchmark, a program from German developers, to test the drives’ work with both CD and DVD media. So, we used a CD-ROM (enclosed with a computer magazine), CD-R and CD-RW with data written by Nero CD Speed, and a licensed audio disc. As for DVDs, we used a movie DVD-ROM and its copies written to DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW. Of course, we used only those DVDs for testing that were supported by a given drive.

We have already used CDVD Benchmark in our previous test sessions, but let’s add a few comments about its interface (for those who don’t know German). Each screenshot has two windows. The left window displays a yellow (white) line for the read speed and a green line for the spindle rotation speed. The right window displays the access time diagram: yellow dots stand for random access, while red dots indicate full stroke access. Below are the numerical results of the graphics representation, all in German of course, but you will have no problem understanding what the whole thing is about. For each drive you can see the read speeds (average, in the beginning and in the end) given in “X” and in KB/s. Besides, they also mention the working speed range of the given drive, the CPU utilization in percents at 1X speed, access times, burst data transfer rate. When audio CDs are tested, there is also some info about the drive’s ability to use “Accurate Stream” and “C2 error” pointers.

Now, let’s comment on the actual results. Mitsumi DW-7801TE practically hit its specified 40x read speed on the CD-ROM and CD-R, but was slower at reading the CD-RW and CD-DA (34x). As for DVDs, this drive only performed well on the DVD-ROM. The read graphs for the other two discs have irregular shape, especially the one for the DVD+RW. Maximum DVD read speed is 5x, falling short of the promised 8x speed.

NEC ND-1100A behaves much alike, showing 40x speed on the CD-ROM and CD-R and dropping it down to 34x on the CD-RW and CD-DA. DVD read speed didn’t exceed 5x. The drive had problems with the DVD+RW that look like big zigzags in the graph.

Pioneer DVR-104WB stands up to its word and reads CDs at 24x. DVD-R/-RW read speed is 2x, while DVD-ROM was read a bit slower than the specified 6x.

Pioneer DVR-105 feels confident at reading all four CD discs at 34x. It is higher than the specified 32x. This burner reads DVD-R and DVD-RW at a slightly higher than 2x speed, but in case of a DVD-ROM the speed exceeds 12x.

Its namesake, Pioneer DVR-105BK, behaves much alike, which is no wonder: the both are actually the same model with very little external differences. Still, unlike the other model, this one had a slump in the CD-DA reading graph.

The third model made on the same base, Pioneer DVR-A05, performs close to DVR-105. So, I don’t think you need any more comments here.

Ricoh RW5125A fully complies with its own specs. It demonstrates very stable performance with all CD media exceeding the nominal 32x speed. The same situation can be observed for all three DVD-discs: the read speed CD proved up to the claimed 8x.

The multi-functional Sony DW-U10A is stable at work with all CD media reaching 32x speed. As for reading DVDs, this model did well only on the DVD+RW (2.4x). With other discs, the read speed didn’t go beyond 2x.

The second Sony, DW-U12A, performs just like the first one. It is a variation of the DW-U10A model, so this result is quite expected.

Now, the last drive, Teac DV-W50E, showed high results with all CDs, reaching above its specified 32x speed. The situation with DVDs is much more diverse: 12x DVD-ROM read speed (slightly better than specified), 2x DVD “minus” read speed and 6x and 8x DVD+RW and +R, respectively.

Performance in Nero DVD Speed

 

DVD-ROM

DVD-R

DVD-RW

DVD+R

DVD+RW

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

Graph

 

 

Graph

Graph

NEC ND-1100A

Graph

 

 

Graph

Graph

Pioneer DVR-104WB

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer DVR-105

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer DVR-A05

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

Pioneer DVR-105BK

Graph

Graph

Graph

 

 

RICOH RW5125A

Graph

 

 

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U10A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Sony DW-U12A

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

TEAC DV-W50E

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Graph

Nero DVD Speed Benchmark Results

The read speed graphs and the numerical data summed up in the table show that only four drives, which managed to show the claimed speed with DVD-ROM discs are all the four solutions from Pioneer and Teac DV-W50E. The both Sony drives are surprisingly stable: they read any media, except DVD+RW, at about 2x speed. This is not very high, however. Ricoh RW5125A performs quite well in this test, too.

Performance in Sandra Standard 2003

CD-ROM DVD Benchmark

We ran Sandra on a CD-ROM and five DVD discs (a movie DVD-ROM and its copies on the DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW).

As for CD-ROM reading, Mitsumi DW-7801TE and NEC ND-1100A do best: they have the highest specified read speeds. By the same logic, Pioneer DVR-104WB was the slowest: it has slowest specified read speed of all participating drives.

The DVR-105 based Pioneers and Teac DV-W50E were the fastest on the DVD-ROM, while the sweet pair from Sony was the slowest. As for DVD-R/-RW reading, all drives performed equally fast. Still, the Pioneers and Teac were once again a little faster than the two Sony drives. DVD+R/+RW tests show that Ricoh RW5125A is the best of all at reading these discs.

Performance in Nero Burning Rom

With the help of Nero Burning Rom utility we checked the performance of our DVD0burners in real tasks. We copied a DVD-Video disc with a movie into an image file on the hard disc and burned it to rewritable media (Verbatim 2.4x DVD+RW and TDK DVD-RW). The time required for this procedure by each testing participant is shown in the table. The Nero Burning Rom settings were set to maximum copy and burn speeds.

The DVR-105 based drives from Pioneer took less time to create the image file on the HDD. Teac DV-W50E was a bit slower. These drives were considerably faster than all the others. The two drives from Sony turned to be the slowest at copying. The same Pioneers and Teac were the fastest at burning the DVD-RW disc. The Sony duo fell behind them on the DVD-RW, but were the fastest burning the DVD+RW disc.

Conclusion

So, our brief sally into the world of modern DVD-burners has come to its end. Now we will try to sum up all the information and point out advantages and bottlenecks of each of the participating drives. Our comments are based on the results of the tests performed with the given media.

Mitsumi DW-7801TE

Highs:

Lows:

NEC ND-1100A

Highs:

Lows:

Pioneer DVR-104WB

Highs:

Lows:

Pioneer DVR-105

Highs:

Lows:

Pioneer DVR-A05

Highs:

Lows:

Pioneer DVR-105BK

Highs:

Lows:

Ricoh RW5125A

Highs:

Lows:

Sony DW-U10A

Highs:

Lows:

Sony DW-U12A

Highs:

Lows:

Teac DV-W50E

Highs:

Lows:

Now we should only single out the today’s winner: the best and fastest solution of the 10 DVD-burners reviewed. Despite its pretty high price, we would recommend the SONY DW-U12A DVD-burner. It boasts very high performance and can be considered a true universal solution for all needs. While the battle of DVD-formats is still going on, you will feel absolutely independent and will be able to work with any types of discs if you make up your mind on SONY DW-U12A drive.