Watch Blu-ray And Burn DVDs: Three Low-Cost Solutions

Test Results: DVD Reads

After trying various DVD movies and finding none suitable for taking read-speed measurements near the outer edge of the platter, we decided to perform Nero’s full-platter write test first. We then reused the ultra-clean disc for the read test without removing it from the drive. Using this method insures that any write errors that slow the read down penalize only the drive from which the data was written.

LGLG

LG reads a single-layer DVD-R at just over 12x average, with a maximum read speed well beyond its 16x rating.

Lite-OnLite-On

PlextorPlextor

Plextor’s PX-B320SA and Lite-On’s iHES208 show identical read performance, with average and peak read rates slightly lower than those of the LG UH08.

LGLG

The UH08 drops to just over 8x max when reading dual-layer DVD media, averaging 6.18x.

Lite-OnLite-On

PlextorPlextor

Lite-On's and Plextor's dual-layer read results are identical to each other, while LG’s read results come close to matching them.

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  • Crashman
    demonhorde665why bother with a blu ray reader /dvd burner combo ??? they now have blue ray burners if i really need a dvd burner i'll jsut get a blue ray burner/reader , and a seperate dvd burner/reader


    Because you'll generally pay around twice as much to get a Blu-ray burner as you would to get a combo drive? Because you can't afford the Blu-ray blanks anyway so that spending twice as much would give you no benefits? It's right there in the article intro, really.

    If you can afford Blu-ray media and don't mind paying around twice as much for the drives, this article isn't for you. Tom's hoping for Blu-ray media prices to fall a little more before doing a Blu-ray burner article this winter.
    19
  • Other Comments
  • Crashman
    demonhorde665why bother with a blu ray reader /dvd burner combo ??? they now have blue ray burners if i really need a dvd burner i'll jsut get a blue ray burner/reader , and a seperate dvd burner/reader


    Because you'll generally pay around twice as much to get a Blu-ray burner as you would to get a combo drive? Because you can't afford the Blu-ray blanks anyway so that spending twice as much would give you no benefits? It's right there in the article intro, really.

    If you can afford Blu-ray media and don't mind paying around twice as much for the drives, this article isn't for you. Tom's hoping for Blu-ray media prices to fall a little more before doing a Blu-ray burner article this winter.
    19
  • cangelini
    demonhorde665why bother with a blu ray reader /dvd burner combo ??? they now have blue ray burners if i really need a dvd burner i'll jsut get a blue ray burner/reader , and a seperate dvd burner/reader


    I personally run a Blu-ray reader/DVD writer on my workstation. No need to spend the money for a Blu-ray writer when I don't plan to burn Blu-rays at $3+ bucks a disc (especially with 4TB of network storage) and don't care to spend the extra money on the drive itself.
    3
  • TheDane
    What about noise levels during playback of movies using these drives (what's the point in having the "ultimate performance" BD/DVD deviceif it is unbearable loud while watching movies)?

    Some drives are VERY noisy but others (like LG's super-multiblue BD/HD/DVD/CD combo-drive) are very quiet during playback - a MUST for HTPC setups.
    8
  • Crashman
    TheDaneWhat about noise levels during playback of movies using these drives (what's the point in having the "ultimate performance" BD/DVD deviceif it is unbearable loud while watching movies)?Some drives are VERY noisy but others (like LG's super-multiblue BD/HD/DVD/CD combo-drive) are very quiet during playback - a MUST for HTPC setups.


    All three are similarly quiet during playback and all similarly noisy during full-speed reads and writes.
    0
  • dimitrik
    This article seemed mildly interesting but any comparison of disk burners that only looks at speed and not quality, i.e. recording errors, is not worth the time to read, let alone write. Really guys! You're supposed to be the hardware experts and you don't know this? Burners are judged on recording quality - you need to click the little "Disk Info" tab on NeroDiskSpeed and run the advanced tests. This is just meaningless. Thanks for wasting my time.
    -2
  • wuzy
    What's most amazing I found is slim BD combo drives pulled out of OEM laptops sold on fleaBay are dirt cheap (~$50) compared to a desktop 5.25" ones bought brand new. You can pick either 50pin IDE or slim SATA.
    Got a HL CA10N (slot loading) here which I use in my HTPC.
    1
  • Crashman
    wuzyWhat's most amazing I found is slim BD combo drives pulled out of OEM laptops sold on fleaBay are dirt cheap (~$50) compared to a desktop 5.25" ones bought brand new. You can pick either 50pin IDE or slim SATA.Got a HL CA10N (slot loading) here which I use in my HTPC.


    Yes, you can find Notebook drives used easier than you can find Desktop drives, because notebook manufacturers were the first to adopt Blu-ray on a broad scale. On the other hand, comparing new prices makes the notebook drives, which tend to be slower and more expensive, appear a bad value.
    1
  • nukemaster
    CrashmanAll three are similarly quiet during playback and all similarly noisy during full-speed reads and writes.

    I would have to say the slower disc spin rate would have to make the LG quieter. I know that with most DVD drives hitting fast forward will cause the drive to spin up to a much louder speed, The LG one does not do this. They also list that the drive has a feature that makes the drive max out at different(slower) speeds depending on what is on the media. CD/DVD/BD are supposed to run slower thereby quieter. Do you have a DATA BD disc to try?
    0
  • avatar_raq
    It's a shame that the LG drive looked better on paper while it's the worst of the three in real life! Cheating the costumers, aren't we?!
    1
  • Crashman
    nukemasterI would have to say the slower disc spin rate would have to make the LG quieter. I know that with most DVD drives hitting fast forward will cause the drive to spin up to a much louder speed, The LG one does not do this. They also list that the drive has a feature that makes the drive max out at different(slower) speeds depending on what is on the media. CD/DVD/BD are supposed to run slower thereby quieter. Do you have a DATA BD disc to try?


    No. I knew people would ask so I listened to the drives in play, rip, and write modes. I don't have a sound-proof room and firmly believe that giving numbers taken from a sound meter at anything other than 1 meter while in a soundproof room provides misleading results.
    1
  • avatar_raq
    CrashmanNo. I knew people would ask so I listened to the drives in play, rip, and write modes. I don't have a sound-proof room and firmly believe that giving numbers taken from a sound meter at anything other than 1 meter while in a soundproof room provides misleading results.

    I meant performance-wise!
    0
  • kremzeek
    A couple of comments...

    1. The PX-B320SA and iHES208 are based on the same drive design. I think you hinted at this but its worth mentioning that they're essentially the same drive.

    2. The jagged graphs when the UH08 is writing DVD's is not related to its buffer underrun protection. This is simply the drive's Optimum Power Calibration in action. The drive is monitoring the laser power and adjusting it to ensure the best writing quality possible.

    3. The UH08's read speeds are limited to 4x when reading AACS protected BD's. If you would have used a non-protected disc, it would have read it at 8x. You would have seen this as well if you bothered to try a BD-R disc.

    4. Where are the writing quality tests? These days this is just as important as speed.
    2
  • San Pedro
    I like my LG drive. I got it in Japan for around $160 last year. It burns BD, but the disc they gave me got bricked, and I haven't bought another one to try. What I like most about it, is that it plays HD DVD as well. I picked up Planet Earth series so cheap on the format.
    1
  • Anonymous
    usually those cheaper drives are limited to 200x burns or so...
    -2
  • dunklegend
    Even before reading the article, I would have gone for the Lite On
    1
  • Computer_Lots
    dimitrikThis article seemed mildly interesting but any comparison of disk burners that only looks at speed and not quality, i.e. recording errors, is not worth the time to read, let alone write. Really guys! You're supposed to be the hardware experts and you don't know this? Burners are judged on recording quality - you need to click the little "Disk Info" tab on NeroDiskSpeed and run the advanced tests. This is just meaningless. Thanks for wasting my time.


    Geez, calm down. It's just a DVD burner article. They're all about the same these days anyway.
    0
  • bunz_of_steel
    I think it was a good article for me. I am looking at building a HTPC and I need a good reliable DVD blu-ray player (not writer). Noise how fast it operates and cost are very important factors to consider. Write quality is of no concern right now. As dimitrik mentioned that all drives are about the same. Yes it's a generalization but it's true. I like the article - Watch Blu-ray And Burn DVDs: Three Low-Cost Solutions - makes sense to me and alota other people. Some people might have wanted a more in depth review on burning (DVD/Blu-ray) but it's premature since blu-ray burning is just cost prohibitive at this point. I just got a good review of three name brand blu-ray reader combo's for free! Not going to argue about that and I appreciate the expertise and service tomshardware.com has always provided. :) :) Kudos Thomas Soderstrom
    0
  • nerrawg
    demonhorde665why bother with a blu ray reader /dvd burner combo ??? they now have blue ray burners if i really need a dvd burner i'll jsut get a blue ray burner/reader , and a seperate dvd burner/reader


    ROFL - CLASSIC demonhorde quote as we have come to expect! I think he has got us all and posts these kind of comments intentionally (ones that are completely ignorant of the main point behind the article) just for the responses. I've looked back at some ol' goodies and I can't help but detect a sense of irony to them as they are quite consistent in their nature. ;)
    1
  • DrgnRebrn
    Thanks for the great article! I feel a lot better about picking up my LiteOn iHES208 online for $70 over the Black Friday sales weekend! The article was a little late for me, as I was trying to find valid reviews to help me in my choice prior to Black Friday/Cyber Monday; however I'm happy to know I ended up making the right choice! As far as burning quality goes, I fully intend to setup network storage using my 4x 1TB WD Green HDDs & I will be converting my entire collection into digital format, along with home movies, music, pictures, etc - no need really for physical media these days, in my opinon. I've got a 32GB USB drive, a fast internet connection, and a fully networked home - who cares about if the drive will throw out a coaster every now & then when you will only burn a few times per year!
    2
  • dhowie
    this past week, newegg had a LG Blu ray burner for a low 129.99, they even bundled a a black 25gb disc with it for free :D
    1