Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

How to evaluate a DVDROM?

Tags:
  • DVD Drives
  • Sony
  • CD-Rom
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
Share
November 25, 2002 3:34:00 AM

OK so my niece wants a DVDROM for Christmas. Last weekend I go to Newegg.com looking for a Sony DVDROM, because I hear they are quiet units. No Sonys in stock at the time or Newegg doesn't carry Sony DVDROMs. I had heard that an Artec 16X is a rebadged Sony so I order this instead. It's cheap enough at $37. I figure if it doesn't work out I'll send it back or keep it for my self.

When I get the drive I learn that the drive I have ordered is not one of the rebadged Sonys. I did some digging and learned that this model, DHM-G48, has a MediaTek chipset (I've never heard of it).

I did some testing but found very mixed results so I don't know how to decide if this is a keeper.

<b>Benchmarks

Nero DVD Speed</b>

Max read speed 15.99X, average 11.92 (DVD is 4.36GB).
CPU utililization at Max speed = 9%

<b>Nero CD Speed</b>

Pressed Audio CD - max speed ~10.5X [OUCH!] (~72 min CD)
Pressed Data CD - max speed ~44X [below rated 48X] (70 min CD)
Audio CD-R - max speed ~32X (72 min disc)
Data CD-R - max speed 47.7X, 36.3X average (71:50 disc)
CPU Usage at 8X = 5%

You can see this DVDROM doesn't quite reach the specified 48X at with data CDs and is horrible with DAE of pressed CDs. It does better with CDR media. (Didn't test CDRW media). It also does well with a DVD movie disc. I don't have access to DVD+R, DVD-R, and other such media.

The drive is very quiet when playing movies (except for about 1.5 minutes of high speed activity at the start playback). It was pretty loud at the begining of the DVD test and ridiculously loud during the seek tests.

I'll have to find out how my niece uses her system. The DVDROM would be replacing a CDROM in a Compaq box. If she just wants to watch movies and play games this DVDROM might be OK. However, if she does DAE this drive won't do at all. She has a CDRW but I don't know the performance of that drive.

I don't do DAE so perhaps the drive is better for me. I don't really need a DVDROM but since I only have a 24X CDROM in one system I thought I might keep it. Noise isn't a problem for my own systems.

Any thoughts?

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>

More about : evaluate dvdrom

November 27, 2002 1:19:56 AM

May i suggest a Liteon LTD-165H 16x dvd?
16x dvd (10-11 in practice).
Full 48x data cd read.
Fast CD-DAE (ive seen up to 42x on mine)
And nice and quiet when playing DVD's.


<b>The Intel Celleron 2.1 & 2.2Ghz processors provide consumers with a great way to get on the Internet. Which one of the 478 pins plug into the phone socket? - <i>Intel & The Inquirer</i></b>
November 27, 2002 4:27:20 AM

Quote:
16x dvd (10-11 in practice).

Is that 10-11 an average or a peak?

I spoke too soon about the DVD read speed of the Artec. I originally used a lower resolution DVD which I think is only single layer. I just tried "Contact" which I know is dual layer and it's seems is going to peak at 8X. (another "yuck"!)

Looks like impatience has gotten the best of me. Not the first time! LOL!

The Artec seems to be terrible for making game backups too. I gave up on a SafeDisc 2.51.021 disc. After 45 minutes the Artec hadn't even reached 1%. The Cyberdrive writer only took 12.5 minutes to read the same disc.

I guess I'm getting better at anwering my own question, "How to evaluate a DVDROM?"

My advice, <b>FORGET ABOUT THE ARTEC DHM-G48, 16X!</b>. It does have pretty low CPU utilization numbers, 8%-9%, max but there are apparently much better DVDROM drives.

Looks like I'll be a Liteon convert soon.

At least after a couple of days the Artec has quieted down quite a bit. I'll probably keep it for myself. I don't do any ripping. I have other drives for DAE, which I don't do very often.

I've always used a standalone DVD player to watch movies but I've noticed that the image is better from a DVDROM drive. This is despite the fact the I am now using the Viewsonic VB50HRTV TV tuner. I like the VB50HRTV because I don't need to turn on the computer to watch videos or TV and also because I can use a single 19" monitor in this room where I formerly had a TV and a seperate monitor for the computer. Saves space.

I guess I just don't want to go through the hassle of returning the Artec.

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
November 27, 2002 9:02:11 AM

Thats peak. Give or take a bit. No 16x dvd can actually rip at 16x yet. Dunno why they are called 16x dvd drives then.

As for ripping safeburn protected disks and other types, ive allways found it better using the cd-rw.

<b>The Intel Celleron 2.1 & 2.2Ghz processors provide consumers with a great way to get on the Internet. Which one of the 478 pins plug into the phone socket? - <i>Intel & The Inquirer</i></b>
November 27, 2002 5:32:38 PM

Well, I guess I figured out how they can make those claims of 16X. Get a single layer disc, I used "Fleetwood Mac: The Dance". It peaks at 16X at least in testing with Nero DVDSpeed. Don't know about actual ripping. I don't think I have the tools to test this nor the free disc space on one volume.

The Artec s*cks. It bencnches dual-layer discs at only 8X peaks and 6X averages. The previous generation DVDROMs did better than this.

The low CPU utilization is pretty good, though. I've just about got the drive working right on a K6-2 400. (The final home for the drive is a Celeron 667 but if I can make it work on the K6-2 I think I'm golden for the Celeron). Strangely, playback is continuous but with with some dropped frames when hardware acceleration is turned off. When I turn on hardware acceleration (nVidia Geforce256) playback starts and stops every 2 seconds but it doesn't seem to drop frames. Weird but I might have this figured out. I'm running AGP 1X for stability with a VIA MVP3+ chipset. Maybe it will work at 2X (the max for the chipset).

Do you know how to determine how many frames are being dropped by PowerDVD? Is there any better playback software (preferably free)?

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
November 29, 2002 12:52:36 AM

no sorry.
I dont experience dropped frames :smile:
And i havnt seen any free dvd playing software

<b>The Intel Celleron 2.1 & 2.2Ghz processors provide consumers with a great way to get on the Internet. Which one of the 478 pins plug into the phone socket? - <i>Intel & The Inquirer</i></b>
November 29, 2002 7:56:22 PM

The K6-2 system is full of ancient hardware. It turns out the sound card is the source of the problem. When I disable it then video runs smoothly. All my sound cards are old so I can't really determine if something better will actually fixed the problem. That's when nVidia hardware acceleration enabled.

In software mode I tried Fraps.exe. Video is running at only 18-22 FPS which is what I suspected. On my faster system video runs at a constant 24 FPS. I assume that's the DVD limititation. I don't notice any problems but this is where a dropped frame counter would help.

Fraps doesn't work when hardware acceleration is in use. Again, a dropped frame counter would be helpful.

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 1, 2002 5:13:19 PM

What do you recommend for ripping (backups of course)?

I just tried EasyDivX, one of those all in one apps. It was easy to use but I didn't get any sound. It seemed fast but sound would be nice. LOL!

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 1, 2002 8:05:24 PM

Well for acutal ripping i allways use smartripper.
For encoding i use divx 5.02 and xmpeg.
Many reccomend gordian knot over xmpeg, but whenever ive tried to use it i get wonderful video....but never any sound. I gave up in disgust.

Xmpeg is nice, but it has one annoying trait in that it cannot recognise vob files over 4gb in size, even when im using NTFS. But its not too much of an issue, as i just make two halves, and with the really big moves i put on two cd's.
Apart from that xmpeg is fast, easy to use and does nice two pass encoding.

<b>Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk. <i>Terry Pratchett</i></b>
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by lhgpoobaa on 12/01/02 05:09 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 3, 2002 9:54:07 AM

About that K6-2 of yours:

I too have a K6-system, a K6-3+ 550.
I found out that - when using PowerDVD 4 - the video actually runs SMOOTHER with hardware acceleration DISABLED.
(I also use an Nvidia video card: a Geforce 2MX)
I also found out that Powerdvd version 4 is the best for older computers. I've tried more modern versions on my K6-3, but with those it's not possible to get decent video performance.

So I suggest you do the following:
1. Try turning OFF video accelleration in you DVD-player.
2. Turn off all programs running in the background, like anti-virus stuff and such.
3. If your soundcard makes trouble, try giving it another IRQ-adress. That might solve the problem.

Greetings from Belgium;
Carl
December 3, 2002 4:29:59 PM

There is a big difference in performance between your K6-3+ 550 and my K6-2 400 but thanks for the tips.

Here is what I have found so far with my little system.

With hardware video acceleration off, sound enabled - about 18-20 fps, plays continuous (meaning it doesn't stutter) but frame drops are very noticible. Sound is clear and synchronized.


With video acceleration off, sound disabled - 20-22 fps. D dropped frames are considerably less noticible.

With video acceleration on, sound enabled - plays smoothly for about 2 seconds then stops completely for 1 second, repeats. FRAPS doesn't work with hardware video acceleration so I can't measure framerates. Sound is garbled

With video acceleration on, sound disabled- Plays smoothly, no noticeble frame drops. No stuttering.

It seems my system just doesn't have enough performance to maintain framerates with just software decoding.

I really think my old, old, old ISA sound card is the problem and I think it is because the newest drivers available for it are only Win95 drivers. I don't have a spare PCI sound card to test this but there is some sort of interaction between the sound card and hardware video acceleration.

Since configuring the K6-2 system was just an exercise (the DVDROM is actually going into a Celeron system) I probably won't pursue this any further at this time.

Thanks for your help.

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 4, 2002 1:55:16 AM

Yes. Bottom line is DVD's need a fair amount of cpu grunt for decoding, not that much video grunt as most of the work is done by the cpu and a decent sound card to handle the 2.1 or 5.1 dvd sound output.

<b>Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk. <i>Terry Pratchett</i></b>
December 4, 2002 2:16:43 AM

I just hope a Celeron 667 provides enough performance.

Don't want to buy a hardware decoder card if I can avoid it.

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 4, 2002 1:52:19 PM

Your Celeron should be more than enough.
Also, about my K6-3+ 550: It USED to be a K6-2 400 system, just like yours. On my K6-2 DVD playback used to be smooth most of the time (with hardware accell. OFF) , but the chip does not have enough power to calculate screen with lots of movement. As long as the screen is a close-up of something or with not too many moving objects, a K6-2 400 is fine. But don't expect the chip to handle Formula-1 video playback.

Also, on an older computer, playback depends upon the compression degree of the DVD. Some DVDs have a much higher Mb/s ratio than others. For instance, all "SuperBit"-editions of DVD movies have a much higher Mb/s ratio, they won't even play decently on a Celeron 600.

If you can find a second hand Radeon video card, that would solve the problem of your K6-2. With a Radeon, playback is perfect, even on a K6-2 300. So you can turn your K6-2 into a perfect DVD player with a Radeon.
IF you would do this, mind 1 thing:
Radeons don't like some older Socket 7 motherboards, so be careful to get a money-back guarantee.

And yes, an ISA-souncard requires more attention from the system than a PCI-model.
Finally, make sure that in the audio settings of your DVD player, you turn on STEREO or MONO, make sure SURROUND is turned off.

And finally finally: For audio playback, choose WAVE or something else, but NEVER DIRECTX-audio playback on an older computer. Turning off DirectX-audio playback can increase video-playback by as much as 25% !
The fact that you stated that with audio OFF, playback is much smoother, makes me believe that you are using DirectX audio playback. If that is the case, turn this OFF and turn on another playback method like Wave. This could well resolve the ISA-soundcard problem.
With wave playback, you could well turn your K6-2 into a good DVD player, so that you can use your faster Celeron for more interesting things!

Also, how do you count the FPS in PowerDVD? I can't find the option.

Greetz;
Carl

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Frisbee on 12/04/02 10:59 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 4, 2002 3:30:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. Lot of good information there.

Quote:
Also, about my K6-3+ 550: It USED to be a K6-2 400 system, just like yours. On my K6-2 DVD playback used to be smooth most of the time (with hardware accell. OFF) , but the chip does not have enough power to calculate screen with lots of movement. As long as the screen is a close-up of something or with not too many moving objects, a K6-2 400 is fine. But don't expect the chip to handle Formula-1 video playback.

Also, on an older computer, playback depends upon the compression degree of the DVD. Some DVDs have a much higher Mb/s ratio than others. For instance, all "SuperBit"-editions of DVD movies have a much higher Mb/s ratio, they won't even play decently on a Celeron 600.

This has me worried. The Celeron system is my niece's computer and the DVDROM is a gift. If not all DVDs will play smoothly then I will have to add a hardware decoder card.

Quote:
If you can find a second hand Radeon video card, that would solve the problem of your K6-2. With a Radeon, playback is perfect, even on a K6-2 300. So you can turn your K6-2 into a perfect DVD player with a Radeon.
IF you would do this, mind 1 thing: Radeons don't like some older Socket 7 motherboards, so be careful to get a money-back guarantee.

I would love to put a new ATI card in my niece's computer but it doesn't have an AGP port

As for me, the K6-2 is already back to the original configuration which includes a ATI AIW (original) PCI. I don't recall if this card has any hardware acceleration capability, though. Besides it's just PCI.

I used to use the K6-2 for television viewing but I have since purchased a Viewsonic VB50HRTV external box so that I can turn off all my computers and watch TV or a DVD or play a console game without the added noise. I can still use the second computer for TV viewing while browsing.

In the future, if they get cheap enough, I'll pick up a Radeon AIW or Radeon 7500 AIW or even a Radeon 8500DV. I'll build a home theater PC but I don't need this now. I wonder what it would take to build something that performs reasonably OK in games (only play the occasional game) and also has full multimedia capability but also, and more importantly, is nearly silent. Fan noise really annoys me when watching DVDs.

Quote:
And yes, an ISA-souncard requires more attention from the system than a PCI-model.
Finally, make sure that in the audio settings of your DVD player, you turn on STEREO or MONO, make sure SURROUND is turned off.

And finally finally: For audio playback, choose WAVE or something else, but NEVER DIRECTX-audio playback on an older computer. Turning off DirectX-audio playback can increase video-playback by as much as 25% !
The fact that you stated that with audio OFF, playback is much smoother, makes me believe that you are using DirectX audio playback. If that is the case, turn this OFF and turn on another playback method like Wave. This could well resolve the ISA-soundcard problem.
With wave playback, you could well turn your K6-2 into a good DVD player, so that you can use your faster Celeron for more interesting things!

I was looking for a way to use PowerDVD without DX Direct Sound but I couldn't find any such option. That was the first thing I suspected when I got garbled sound while using hardware acceleration.

Quote:
Also, how do you count the FPS in PowerDVD? I can't find the option.

PowerDVD doesn't have the capability (as far as I know). I use a third-party program called FRAPS.EXE. It works with software DVD decoding but it doesn't display anything when hardware acceleration is used. FRAPS main use is 3D benchmarking.

I would like to find some program that can count the number of dropped frames. This would be very useful for fine tuning DVD playback on lesser systems.




<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 4, 2002 3:48:32 PM

About my statement about high-Mb/s DVDs you replied:
"This has me worried. The Celeron system is my niece's computer and the DVDROM is a gift. If not all DVDs will play smoothly then I will have to add a hardware decoder card."

Let me tell you 1 thing: You shouldn't worry too much about this statement of mine! These High-Mb/s DVDs are very rare - such as the SuperBit-series I mentioned - and what's more: all movies in SuperBit-edition also exist in "normal"-editions.

So if I were you, I woul not purchase a hardware decoder yet: Just give your niece the DVD-ROM. If later she complains about bad playback of certain DVDs (which I seriously doubt on a Celeron 667) you can always buy her the decoder card for her birthday etc.

So once more, don't pay too much attention to this statement above. SuperBit-DVDs are rare, and you can clearly recognize them: they all have the same glossy-mirror-style of box which clearly states "SuperBit".
So, to avoid needing a decoder, maybe you can tell your niece NOT to buy DVDs which state SuperBit. She can always buy the same movie in a non-SuperBit version.

BTW: The higher Mb/s-ratio of SuperBits seems useless to me. I have 2 of them, and as far as I can see, a TV-screen has not enough resolution to see the difference anyway.
So if you buy a movie, don't buy the SuperBit-version: I don't see ANY difference.

Finally: You also wrote: "I would love to put an ATI-card in my niece's pc but it doesn't have an AGP port."
So what? ATI has several PCI-models. Hercules has them too. There's even a brand new Radeon 9000 PCI. For video playback, these are as good as AGP-cards.
And you don't need the latest ATI-card for playback: My dad's pc (a PII 450) has a 4-year old "ATI Rago Pro" PCI video card with just 4Mb of RAM, but DVD playback is PERFECT, because it has hardware decoding. Its playback is even better than on my mom's pc (an Athlon 1700+ with a Geforce 2MX !!!) because that card does not support full hardware decoding.

SO: if you really want to put an ATI card in your niece's pc, maybe you could look on EBay for a second hand ATI PCI video card. (But first make sure you can turn off whatever other video chip it is using now.), or buy the cheapest PCI-card ATI and Hercules sell currently.

I'll check back later, but I'm going to get myself a NICE PIZZA now.
Carl

Cheers;
Carl
December 4, 2002 5:07:16 PM

Thanks for the update. I was going to install the DVDROM first, anyway, but thanks.

If it comes to it I'll rethink the ATI video card option.

My niece plays games but none of them are 3D or at least not heavy framerate stuff. I probably could get an old Radeon PCI for about the same money as a hardware decoder. It's not great but it is better than Intel 810 graphics. (I once installed a Radeon PCI into a similar system).

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 4, 2002 10:06:35 PM

Yes. That should be sufficient.

<b>Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk. <i>Terry Pratchett</i></b>
December 10, 2002 1:01:31 PM

I'm such an idiot sometimes.

EasyDivx works just fine. Earlier I was trying to playback an intermediate AVI file which doesn't have any sound. The final files (with sound) are produced in a folder labeled CD1 (and CD2, CD3, etc if multiple discs are produced).

I didn't find the files because the CD1 and CD2 folders are at the same level as the EasyDivx folder and my hard disk is so cluttered.

EasyDivx does need a bit of room, enough for ripped files, interim files, and the output files.


<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 10, 2002 9:34:20 PM

LOL! I guess you are right. Storage is cheap enough. It's funny though. No matter how much storage you have, it's never enough.

<b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
December 10, 2002 10:16:54 PM

I used to believe that, but at the moment my storage needs are actually well and truly satisfied!
2 80Gb drives is more than enough for all my junk... even including my divx encoding and huge vob files.

<A HREF="http://www.ihatetelstra.com" target="_new">http://www.ihatetelstra.com&lt;/A>
<A HREF="http://www.telstraexposed.com" target="_new">http://www.telstraexposed.com&lt;/A>
<A HREF="http://www.antitelstra.com" target="_new">http://www.antitelstra.com&lt;/A>
<A HREF="http://www.whirlpool.net.au" target="_new">http://www.whirlpool.net.au&lt;/A>
!