LG GSA-4160B

LG always sparks our attention, since they design and build one of the few truly universal DVD burners available. 5X DVD-RAM support is an enormous addition to the DVD-RAM community, and the GSA-4120B introduced in May was the only burner capable of high DVD-RAM speeds. Unfortunately, media then (and now) still seems to plague the DVD-RAM community, although that hasn't stopped LG from producing a tri-format recording solution.

LG is completely unique in the sense that most of its components are designed around chipsets and servos exclusively used on LG-Hitachi burners. We don't see recorders with the same controllers for sale under different brand names, like we do with the Pioneer 108D (ASUS DRW-1604P) or the NEC 3500A.

 LG GSA-4160B 16X DVD-/+RW Drive
Interface PATA
CD Write Speed 40X, 24X
16X, 8X, 4X
CD Rewrite Speed 24X, 16X, 10X, 4X
CD Read Speed 40X MAX
DVD-R Write Speed 8X, 6X, 4X, 2X, 1X
DVD-RW Rewrite Speed 4X, 2X, 1X
DVD+R Write Speed 16X, 12X, 8X
4X, 2.4X
DVD+RW Rewrite Speed 4X, 2.4X
DVD+RAM Write Speed 5X, 3X, 2X
DVD+DL Write Speed 2.4X
DVD Read Speed 16X MAX (ROM)
8X MAX (-/+R, -/+RW)
Supported Modes DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
SAO / RAW SAO, RAW SAO 16 & 96
Packet Write
Supported Formats DVD+R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD+RW (random)
DVD-R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD-RW (restricted overwrite)

Mixed Mode, CD Extra
Photo CD, CD Text, Bootable CD, UDF
Access Time CD: 125ms
DVD: 145ms
DVD-RAM: 165ms
Buffer 2MB

Even though the GSA-4160B has slower DVD-R write speeds than most of the other drives in our roundup, the ability to write DVD-RAM discs sets it apart from all of our other burners. DVD readers are starting to adopt DVD-RAM reading much better than they have in the past. So, if you can find DVD-RAM media for cheap, it certainly makes an attractive feature addition.

Click to enlarge.

Unlike most of our other DVD recorders in the roundup, the GSA-4160B does not advertise 16X DVD-R write speeds. Although, we question how necessarily relevant that specification is, since no 16X DVD-R media exists yet anyway. Below, you can see what Infotools reports:

Inside, our GSA-4160B looks identical to the GSA-4120B, all the way down to the SKUs on the chips itself.

Click to enlarge.

The flash memory located on the left side of the PCB appears to be the only major change. You may recall that our older GSA-4120B utilized a 2MB Fujitsu flash solution, while the GSA-4160B incorporates a Macronix MX29LV160BT TSOP instead. The performance advancements in this drive almost certainly come from the more mature firmware, rather than newer components.

We had positive feelings for the GSA-4120B, and if LG-Hitachi corrected some of the minor write strategy issues while adding 16X DVD+R write capability, this drive will give all of the top tier manufacturers a run for its money.

Feel free to download the performance graphs for the GSA-4160B here.

Sony DRU-710A NuTech DDW-163


View All Comments

  • kellvarsen - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    I would like to congrtulate the Anandtech team for this DVD-RW roundup as they prooved once more that they are better and more thorough with the testing than Tomshardware.And by this i am reffering to the writing quality test mainly ,which in my opinion is the most important and eloquent of them all.Great HL2 review also!!! Reply
  • Tabajara - Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - link

    I've heard several people say that the new Plextor 716A drives are defective, and are mostly burning DVD coasters, specially dual layer ones. Pioneer Europe isn't selling them yet, and this also point to some kind of manufacturing problem. I was waiting for this drive, but now I don't know if I will buy a NEC or a Pioneer one. I would buy the DVR-108 if a new firmware version enables the user the choose the booktype to be used. Reply
  • JaRb0y - Thursday, November 4, 2004 - link

    Curious, did you get the NEC 3500AG to write Fujifilm 48X CDR media at 48X? It appears you did, but I heard NEC limited the speed on some types. My drive does 32X on the Fujifilm TY, am I missing something? Reply
  • DonB - Thursday, November 4, 2004 - link

    "ND-3500A is priced $10 lower than Pioneer's DVR-108D at $68" Prices are really coming down. I bought the same NEC 3500A just a few months ago for $95 + shipping (from NewEgg). Reply
  • eleewhm - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    you guys sure know how to review dvd writers???
    looks like you are good at opening up the drives only

    Since when does NEC 3500 overdrive MCC003?????? 6:72??...it only writes @8x speeds....

    pls relook at the way you guys post the results...and understand nero numbers before publishing the article...

    see how ppl are thrashing you guys here in singapore...we have a bunch of serious ppl here doing testing ...


  • Maverick215 - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    >NEC follows a pattern for each firmware revision: 2.xy, where:
    >X = Type (Retail, OEM, Rebadge)
    >Y = Revision number
    >Till today know patterns:
    >X = 0 (OEM)
    >X = 1 (Retail)
    >X = 2 (I-O Data)
    >X = 4 (Freecom)
    >X = 7 (TDK)
    >X = B (Ricoh)
    >X = F (MadDog)
    >Y = 6
    >Y = 7
    >Y = 8
    So what 2.26 really represents is the same generation of firmware with feature tweaks from an oem that rebadged the drive. The firmware wasn't released for the "retail" drive. We must distinguish OEM from rebadge now. OEM in the more "traditional" is a drive intended for resale, such as in a system(this is what you'll find at newegg and similar being sold as NEC). OEM rebadge would be a drive intended to be sold by another company with that company's logo etc if they desire, the insides of all these drives could very well be exactly the same, and often times are, since this saves the OEM a great deal of money. At most you'll get different revisions of the same line. (On the flip side you'll see companies such as HP that buy 16x drives from whoever is the cheapest, so Lite-On one month and BenQ the next)
    NEC does have more support than just the "official" there are several "hacked" firmwares
    that provide all kinds of features not in the official releases(bitsetting included), though I think they go beyond the scope of what you were trying to portray.
    So, more fairly you would represent that the drive being OEM(system) might come with a 2.x7 firmware most likely 2.17(see above). An important distinction. Since this would seem to give this drive the same flaw as the pioneer (bitsetting only in DL) that disqualified itfrom winning..
    But, I still don't need dvd-ram :)
    Picking and chosing features from untested firmware and not doing the same from another drive has introduced a clear bias(bias in a scientific sense, which is information/data which skews the results of your study/review due to a sytematic error in your study/review design; I am NOT implying you have a bias to one product or another) in the selection of the winner.
    as an aside, further confirmation that my assumption about the nutech drives is correct
    email correspondence with Chris Geerlings,
    Field Application Engineer from nutech I inquired to using any of the firmwares from the benq ftp. And he wrote back:
    "I know the (G7)K9 works, the others I haven't tested yet."
  • asteamerandy - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    In you review:

    "If LG had implemented bitsetting into their GSA-4160B, it would have helped their product climb the ladder ..."

    "The booktype setting feature offered in this unit also makes this a great drive. The GSA-4160B is a bit on the steep side ..."

    There are other instances if this abuigity. So which is it? Does the 4160B have the bit setting feature or not?
  • rcabor - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Why do you say "DVDR burn speeds are excellent, and the drive technically supports 4X DVD+DL burn speeds, even though it does not readily advertise such. You can see our original DL tests on the drive here." But then right below that you show an image of the box that Advertises 4x DVD+R dual layer? Reply
  • rcabor - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

  • Maverick215 - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Still not working, short story=NEC 2.26=2.16 with tweaks to rebadge specifications. they do not follow traditional revision codes 2.x6=are all same Reply

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