Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1315




Introduction and Construction

A few weeks ago, we dangled a little DVD Dual Layer primer (teaser?) for all of you who are looking forward to the technology.

Even though we received a preproduction sample from Sony, we have a generally good idea which media will be bundled in the final version of the drive. To no surprise, most of the Nero Express suite will ship with the final drive. This includes Nero Express 6, InCD 4, ShowTime, ImageDrive, WaveEditor and the Nero Toolkit.

The faceplace of our preproduction drive looks identical to the DRU-530A. Our press guide claims that the final version of the drive will also ship with a black replaceable faceplate. Unlike the Gigabyte GO-W0808A, there is no forward headphone capability.

Our largest surprise came when we noticed the chipset in our DRU-700A was the same found in the Gigabyte GO-W0808A, the MT1818E. This little chipset has been with DVD burners for a long time; the only real upgrades that have occurred since DVD+R 2X has been upgrades to the analog controllers and pickups. The same innards are found in the Lite-On LDW-812S.

Below is a quick overview of specifications on the drive:

 Sony DRU-700A DVD-/+R DL Drive
Interface IDE
CD Write Speed 40X, 32X, 24X (P-CAV)
16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speed 24X (Z-CLV)
16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
HD-CD Write Speed 24x, 18x (CAV)
12x, 6x (CLV)
CD Read Speed 40X Max (CAV)
DVD-R Write Speed 8X (Z-CLV)
4X, 2X (CLV)
DVD-RW Rewrite Speed 4X, 2X, 1X (CLV)
DVD+R Write Speed 8X (Z-CLV)
4X, 2X (CLV)
DVD+RW Rewrite Speed 4X, 2.4X (CLV)
DVD+R DL Write Speed 2.4X (CLV)
DVD Read Speed 12X Max (16,620KB/s) (CAV)
Supported Modes DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
TAO
SAO / SAO 16 & 96
Packet Write
MultiSession
Supported Formats DVD+R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD+RW (random)
DVD-R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD-RW (restricted overwrite)
DVD+R Dual Layer

CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-DA,
Mixed Mode, CD Extra
Photo CD, CD Text, Bootable CD, UDF
Access Time CD: 160ms
DVD: 200ms
Buffer 2MB

Although the labeled access times are slightly higher than normal, most specifications on this drive are identical to the Gigabyte GO-W0808A shown from our roundup last week.





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DVDInfo Pro correctly identifies the DVD+R DL capabilities of the drive.




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Burn Tests CDR Media

We used the following configuration to test our burners:

Albatron 865PE Pro II
Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz 800FSB
2 x 512 DDR OCZ PC3200 EL
Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM 8MB PATA
Windows XP SP1

Below are the corresponding firmwares to each drive that we used:

Drive Firmware
ASUS DRW-0802P 1.13
AOpen DDW8800 1.4A
Gigabyte GO-W0808A USY1
Nu Tech DDW-082 B372
Sony DRU-530A 2.0A
Sony DRU-700A VYV3
Toshiba SD-R5272 1030

Higher burn speed averages are more desirable.

Ritek 97m31s01f - 52X CDR
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 27.13X 79:57.71 Z-CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 22.39X 79:57.71 Z-CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 31.65X 79:57.71 CAV
Nu Tech DDW-082 23.51X 79:57.71 P-CAV
Sony DRU-530A 29.39X 79:57.71 P-CAV
Sony DRU-700A 31.62X 79:57.71 CAV
Toshiba SD-R5272 22.89X 79:57.71 Z-CLV

Mitsubishi 97m23s24f - 24X CDRW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 16.00X 74:43.00 CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 22.26X 74:43.00 Z-CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A - 74:43.00 -
Nu Tech DDW-082 21.22X 74:43.00 Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 22.40X 74:43.00 P-CAV
Sony DRU-700A 22.35X 74:43.00 Z-CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 15.78X 74:43.00 Z-CLV

Almost to no surprise, the DRU-700A had the same very high CDR burn speeds found on the Gigabyte GO-W0808A.




Burn Tests DVD+R DL Media

Sony bundled some Mitsubishi DVD+R9 media with which to test the drive. We pulled the information below from DVDInfo Pro.




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The ugly 2.4X write descriptor shows up. So far as we can tell, here is one of the first published screen grabs of a DVD+R9 burn. Enjoy.




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Sure, it isn't the most interesting burn that we have ever seen, but it is surprisingly stable. Notice, however, that this 7.96GB burn took 45.23 minutes! Burning two 4.38GB discs takes less than 15 minutes.
Here is the read test on the same disc with the same drive. We did not have many problems.


Click to enlarge.




Burn Tests DVD+R Media

Higher burn speed averages are better.

RICOHJPNR01 - 4X DVD+R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.62X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.05X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.04X 4.38GB CLV

MCC 002 - 4X DVD+R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.14X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.62X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.10X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.04X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.11X 4.38GB CLV

MCC 003 - 8X DVD+R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 6.80X 4.38GB Z-CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 7.71X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 6.57X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.62X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 7.64X 4.38GB P-CAV
Sony DRU-700A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.51X 4.38GB Z-CLV

YUDEN000T01 - 4X DVD+R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 6.82X 4.38GB Z-CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.12X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 6.60X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.61X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.51X 4.38GB Z-CLV

YUDEN000T02 - 8X DVD+R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 6.82X 4.38GB Z-CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 7.72X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 7.16X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.62X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 7.66X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-700A 7.61X 4.38GB Z-CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.55X 4.38GB Z-CLV

The largest issue that we saw was the 4X DVD burn on MCC 003 media (Verbatim). During our tests, the drive would not find an 8X write descriptor. After consulting Sony, it seems that the final versions of this drive will support 8X write speeds on MCC 003 media.

Other media burn speeds seem fairly conservative. There are no burn speeds higher than what is labeled on the media.




Burn Tests DVD-R Media

Higher burn speed averages are better.

RITEKG04 - 4X DVD-R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.04X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.03X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 3.97X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.05X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 3.97X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.02X 4.38GB CLV

MCC01RG20 - 4X DVD-R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.04X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 3.96X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.05X 4.38GB CLV

MCC 02RG20 - 8X DVD-R
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 6.80X 4.3GB Z-CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 7.70X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 6.57X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 7.54X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-530A 6.85X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Sony DRU-700A 6.60X 4.3GB Z-CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.52X 4.3GB Z-CLV




Burn Tests DVD RW Media

Higher burn speed averages are better.

RICOHJPNW01 - 2.4X DVD+RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 2.48X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 2.42X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 2.48X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 2.48X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 2.48X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 2.48X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 2.47X 4.38GB CLV

RICOHJPNW11 - 4X DVD+RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 3.97X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.08X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.02X 4.38GB CLV

MKM A02 - 2.4X DVD+RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.13X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 - 4.38GB -
Sony DRU-530A 4.11X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.04X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.01X 4.38GB CLV

PHILIPS 041 - 4X DVD+RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.12X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.01X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 4.03X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.05X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.07X 4.38GB CLV

PVCW00V00245 - 2X DVD-RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 2.00X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 2.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 2.01X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 1.91X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 2.03X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 2.01X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 2.01X 4.38GB CLV

MCC 01RW4X - 4X DVD-RW
Drive Average Burn Length Mode
AOpen DDW8800 4.13X 4.38GB CLV
ASUS DRW-0802P 4.00X 4.38GB CLV
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 4.10X 4.38GB CLV
Nu Tech DDW-082 3.97X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-530A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Sony DRU-700A 4.02X 4.38GB CLV
Toshiba SD-R5272 4.07X 4.38GB CLV




Printed Media

Lower seek times are better.

Seek Times - Pressed CD 74:40.02
Drive Random Full
AOpen DDW8800 122ms 188ms
ASUS DRW-0802P 127ms 296ms
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 116ms 232ms
Nu Tech DDW-082 113ms 160ms
Sony DRU-530A 86ms 155ms
Sony DRU-700A 119ms 245ms
Toshiba SD-R5272 110ms 169ms

Seek Times - DVD 4.38GB
Drive Random Full
AOpen DDW8800 114ms 272ms
ASUS DRW-0802P 130ms 312ms
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 102ms 194ms
Nu Tech DDW-082 99ms 171ms
Sony DRU-530A 129ms 204ms
Sony DRU-700A 121ms 231ms
Toshiba SD-R5272 97ms 180ms

Even though they are more or less the same drive, the Sony DRU-700A had higher seek times than the Gigabyte GO-W0808A. This is most likely due to the differences in firmware right now. We also suspect that once Sony releases the drive to retail, seek times will descrease.

We used various DVD and CD media around the lab for this portion of the benchmark. We attempted to use discs that contained no errors or scratches. Higher read speed averages are better.

Read - Pressed CD
Drive Average Read Length
AOpen DDW8800 31.35X 79:57.71
ASUS DRW-0802P 30.89X 79:57.71
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 30.12X 79:57.71
Nu Tech DDW-082 33.22X 79:57.71
Sony DRU-530A 31.80X 79:57.71
Sony DRU-700A 31.06X 79:57.71
Toshiba SD-R5272 31.22X 79:57.71

Read - DVDR
Drive Average Read Length
AOpen DDW8800 3.75X 4.38GB
ASUS DRW-0802P 6.27X 4.38GB
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 6.16X 4.38GB
Nu Tech DDW-082 6.53X 4.38GB
Sony DRU-530A 5.79X 4.38GB
Sony DRU-700A 6.20X 4.38GB
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.61X 4.38GB

Read - Pressed DVD Video
Drive Average Read Length
AOpen DDW8800 3.44X 7.88GB
ASUS DRW-0802P 6.34X 7.88GB
Gigabyte GO-W0808A 6.31X 7.88GB
Nu Tech DDW-082 4.30X 7.88GB
Sony DRU-530A 6.45X 7.88GB
Sony DRU-700A 5.88X 7.88GB
Toshiba SD-R5272 6.44X 7.88GB




Error Tests

Although the write speeds are important, equally important is the drive's ability to write cleanly. We used one DVD+R (MCC 003) and one DVD-R (MCC 02GR20) for each burn test. Unfortunately, we had the issue of our standard MCC 003 media burning at 4X; we typically burn at the maximum speed for this test.

We used KProbe 2.1.0 with a Lite-On LWD-851S drive for our tests.

Sony DRU-700A MKM 001



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Update: We got an email from Karr Wang (designer of Kprobe2) claiming the tests we see from the PI/PO detection are 100% correct. Remember how DL technology works (see the primer if you need a refresh): the L1 layer sits behind the L0 layer. Thus, any errors on L0 are essentially amplified as we read the L1 layer. This disc read correctly in our Apex AD 2500, as well as every PC DVD reader in the lab.

Sony DRU-700A MCC 003



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Our MCC 003 burn went extremely well; although, it is hard to contest the validity of this burn, since we could only burn this media at 4X. We included it for reference anyway.

Sony DRU-700A MCC 02RG20



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The DRU-700A had some issues burning this disc cleaning, but consider the similar pattern we saw with the Gigabyte GO-W0808A last week in our roundup.




Bitsetting, Calibration, Firmware Hacks

Our immediate thought when we opened this drive was the similarity between this burner and the Gigabyte GO-W0808A. Although the Gigabyte drive is still not in full retail in the US yet, we could see that the two drives were built on the same design with the same chipset. You may recall that the MSI DR8-A(2) and the Sony DRU-530A shared identical components (and performance) in our previous DVD roundups. Sony has moved from a Sanyo chipset (used in the Plextor 708A) to the more widely used MediaTek MT1818E instead. To us, this implies two things. First, the MT1818E used in several burners including the LiteOn SHOW-812S and the TEAC DV-W58G-A may also support DVD+R DL with modified firmware - whether or not the pickup on those drives is capable of burning reliable error free DL media may be another issue. Second, the transition to DVDR-9 (DVD DL) may be "no big deal" at least as far as hardware is concerned. Remember, all DVD burners execute the necessary calibration techniques to read DVD-9; writing to DVDR-9 only requires the same strategies to the write laser. Could it be that all those rumors of firmware upgrade DVD DL capabilities were true?

In fact, several other MT1818E burners are capable of firmware upgrades to DVD+R9. In fact, using beta firmware upgrades, we actually got our Gigabyte GO-W0808A to burn DVD+R9 as well. Keep in mind that the GO-W0808A retails for less than $110, while the DRU-700A will hit shelves at $199. Although the Sony DRU-700A is a considerable step up from the DRU-530A, we would have to recommend the GO-W0808A if it costs $90 less and performs the same.

Another perk of the MT1818E chipset? The obvious booktype support of course! Lite-On's BookType Utility 1.0.6 (found here) works for just about any drive based on the MediaTek chipset, including the GO-W0808A and... the Sony DRU-700A. Whether or not this actually slips through the cracks in the final hardware revision is undecided. Since the upcoming LWD-832S is based on essentially the same components, we would be very surprised if the Lite-On BookType tool stopped working for only the Sony DRU-700A.


Bitsetting an MCC 003.



Bitsetting an MKM001 (DVD+R9).


You'll notice that we can go from "DVD+R DL" to "DVD-ROM" or "DVD+RW". This bodes well for those concerned with compatibility issues of DVD+R DL. Other sources claim this compatibility may become a large issue for DL, but since the book type utility clearly works, this becomes more of a non issue.




Final Thoughts

Does DVD DL make sense right now? We can already burn 12X DVD+R5 discs at less than 7 minutes a piece. Thanks to the lack of session closing, we can burn 2 DVD+R5 discs in less than 15 minutes, or one DVD+R9 disc in 45 minutes. Speed is not an issue to die hard DVD9 advocates, but casual enthusiasts may find the 3x in speed and increase in write errors an issue.

One misconception that we want to address is the notion that DVD DL software is not here just yet. Quite the contrary, pretty much any software we tried recognized the DVD+R9 disc properly and was quite capable. The bundled Nero software had no issues with software support. Other software like DVDDecryptor, Roxio Easy DVD Creator, and Alcohol 120% had no issues recognizing and burning the DL DVDs. In fact, software support seems almost transparent.

Unfortunately, even though the drives and software support are here, media certainly is not. We have heard from manufacturers that without decent media support, DVD DL will take a long road to adoption. Some drive manufacturers such as NuTech and MSI, claim that they will have DVD+R9 support in before July, but other manufacturers sound like they will not have reliable support or plentiful media until October.

There is no question that DVD+R DL (and DVD-R DL) will become the de facto standards for DVD recording eventually (before it is replaced by BluRay or HD-DVDR). We sit on a second cusp for Recordable Optical Storage technology; remember, only a year ago DVD recorders were still $250 items and 2X write descriptors were great. After media became more available, writing faster on discs was trivial. (We already write higher write descriptors than discs support with the Plextor 708A and NuTech DDW-082.) Once we see media start to hit shelves en masse, 4X and 8X DVD DL capabilities should come with relative ease. Kudos to Sony for solving the DVD+R9 "chicken or the egg" question.

Stay tuned for my Dual Layer madness. BenQ (Philips) has a dual layer drive on the way via the Nexperia chipset, and we will see if it can compete with Sony's latest offering.

Special Thanks to Sony and Verbatim for providing media for this review.


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