Waitec MEGALUS IDE

Posted by G@M3FR3@K

 


Review: Waitec MEGALUS
Reviewer: G@M3FR3@K
Provided by: Waitec
Firmware: version 6.34

24x recorders aren’t that uncommon anymore and in fact most brands are already releasing a 32x model or are even planning to
release a 40x model. But still a 24x drive is nice to have Most people will however only know the top brand models like
the Plextor PX-W2410A and the Lite-On 24102B. But, since we already reviewed these drives we thought we would take a look at
a different brand named Waitec. Their 24x recorder is called the Waitec MEGALUS (24/10/40). In this review we will take a
look at the drive’s performance and how it compares to the mentioned Plextor and Lite-On recorders.

The Package:

Inside the box we find the the following things:

So nothing really special. Prassi PrimoCD is a good program but for the tests we’ll be using Nero Burning Rom (simply
because it’s our personal favourite). One remark on the IDE flatcable: it only had two connections so only one device could
be attached and the SLAVE position had to be left empty (since the other connection is used for the motherboard). Of course
you could just use a different flatcable.

On the front of the writer we find the MEGALUS logo, the Waitec
logo and the BPRec logo. Then we have a headphone jack, a volume control, busy/write LED’s and of course an eject-button.

The back of the writer is standard. We find the usual IDE and power connectors, the MASTER/SLAVE jumpers and the SPDIF
(analog/digital) output connectors.

Test Machine:

For the tests we’ll be using the following configuration:

Direct Memory Access (DMA) was enabled for every device.

Installing the Drive:

As mentioned above the Waitec was setup as MASTER on the second IDE. Let’s have a look how Nero Burning Rom identifies
the drive:

And CloneCD:

As you can see from both pictures the Waitec supports the reading and writing of CD-text (96 bytes of SubChannel Data), has
a buffer-underrun technique called SafeLink (although the box said BURN-proof), has a 2MB buffer and supports DAO-RAW
writing.


Now let’s start testing this baby!


 

For the write tests we used both “Arita Premium Line” 80min/700MB CD-R’s and “That’s Write!” 80min/700MB CD-R’s. Both
were certified up to 16x writing but we could write them at 24x without problems.

Basic write test:

Before getting into all kinds of technical tests we thought it would be nice to show you what 24x means in ‘real’ terms.
So therefore we wrote a 700MB .avi file to a CD-R using Nero version 5.5.6.4. Here’s a screenshot of the process completed
successfully:

In the screenshot you can see that the MEGALUS needs a little over 4 minutes (4:21) to write the entire disc. Like
other 24x writers the MEGALUS uses three stages to write a disc:

This is called Z-CLV which stands for Zone-Constant Linear Velocity and is used to reduce
the rotation speed of the CD-R inside the recorder and thus reducing noise and stress on the drive mechanism. The picture
below shows clearly the different stages of Z-CLV writing created with
Nero CD Speed:

The green line indicates the writing speed.
The yellow

You can clearly see when the drive switches between zones. During switching the drive’s buffer underrun technique
(SafeLink in this case) takes over preventing buffer underruns.

Because the drive switches between writing speeds and doesn’t start writing at 24x the average speed is lower than 24x.
In this case the average writing speed is 22.70x (see the picture on the left), slightly lower than the Lite-On
24102B (22.75x) and the Plextor PX-W2410A (22.76x).


Comparing:

Next we did some more tests comparing the MEGALUS to the popular Plextor PX-W2410A and the Lite-On 24102B. We based
our speeds on our previous reviews done by StevieB. You can find the Plextor review
here and the Lite-On review
here. Please note that the tests were done on different machines
so the achieved writing times can be a little off.

For our tests we used two .avi (DivX) files. One file of 700MB and one of 650MB. We wrote them at 16x, 20x and 24x. Below
you can see the results:

*: We did the 20x tests with CloneCD since Nero refused to write at 20x
   

As you can see the Waitec MEGALUS performs very well and falls between the Plextor and the Lite-On. As you can see this
is just a matter of seconds and not that important. We did test every CD-R created with the Waitec in different CD-ROMs
to see if the drive was able to read the burned CD-R properly and if there were any errors on the disc. Every CD-R passed
our tests and had no errors.

Overburning / 90/99 minute CD-R’s:

We did some ‘basic’ overburning with Nero Burning Rom. The MEGALUS supports overburning and had no problems writing 707MB
of data to a normal 700MB CD-R. The Waitec MEGALUS could recognize 90 minute CD-R’s but had problems with 99 minute CD-R’s.
The overburn test in Nero CD Speed showed the Waitec could overburn
up to about 93 minutes.

Produced noise:

During writing the Waitec MEGALUS was very quiet. The Waitec produces more noise when reading discs but not too much.

Now for the reading tests…


 

Of course a writer can be used for writing various types of discs but it can and will also be used to read them. First
we’ll start with the reading of audio discs like overall reading capabilities, audio extraction (DAE) and some advanced
tests.

Audio – Intro:

For the audio tests we used Exact Audio Copy (EAC) version 0.9 prebeta 11. EAC is a great (almost free!) program to do
various audio tests with the drive. You can find EAC on
www.exactaudiocopy.de
. Besides EAC we also used Feurio!® version 1.63, another great audio program which you can
download from www.feurio.com.

For the tests we used both original pressed discs and CD-R back-ups. We also did some tests with a
Key2Audio copy-protected disc.

Audio – Digital Audio Extraction:

For the Digital Audio Extraction (DAE) tests we started Exact Audio Copy (EAC) and simply extracted the files in WAV
format to our harddisk. The disc had 18 tracks and a total playing time of 73 minutes and 34 seconds. We used both the

Burst’ mode and the

Secure’
mode. Here’s a picture of the speeds the Waitec reached:


Waitec MEGALUS DAE speed – Burst Mode


Waitec MEGALUS DAE speed – Secure Mode

You can see the results compared to our previous Plextor/Lite-On reviews in the graph below:

As you can see the MEGALUS performs very well in Burst mode compared to the Plextor/Lite-On reviews done by StevieB. We
do think however that the Plextor and Lite-On should have been a lot faster… The MEGALUS is a little slower than the
Plextor in Secure mode but a lot faster than the Lite-On.

To conclude our DAE test we did the ‘Advanced DAE Quality Test’ with
Nero CD Speed
. This test is a very hard and intense test for any reader. Here are the results:

The MEGALUS performs well and is again faster than the Lite-On 24102B. The drive can read the SubChannel Data and CD-Text
and since it has a high DAE speed it can be used on-the-fly up copying to 12x. This drive can also read the Lead-Out Data of
a CD-R. We did get 4 data errors on the test CD-R but overall the quality was still 100. In the graph below you can see the
drive compared to both the Plextor and the Lite-On again:

Overall we can say that the MEGALUS is a little slower than the Plextor PX-W2410A but faster than the Lite-On 24102B.

Advanced:

To conclude our audio reading tests we’ll take a look at some of the advanced options this drive does or doesn’t support.
We’ll also test the reading of a protected (Key2Audio) disc.

First we used EAC to detect some of the more advanced options the MEGALUS supports:

As you can see the MEGALUS doesn’t support
Caching’ and
C2 Error Info’.

The ‘Caching’ feature that’s unsupported is a good thing while the unsupported ‘C2 Error Info’ feature is a bad thing..

The drive does produce an
Accurate Stream’.

To conclude our tests we tried to extract the audio from a Key2Audio protected disc:

We inserted the audio disc in the MEGALUS but Windows didn’t see any tracks (like the protection is supposed to do).
For the tests we used Feurio! and when inserting the disc again with Feurio! it saw 14 audio tracks and 1 data track. The
14 audio tracks could be extracted at full speed without problems. Please do note that this is not a special feature of the
MEGALUS but a special read feature of Feurio! which we just wanted to test… It passed with flying colours

Conclusion:

The Waitec performs very well with audio. It can easily keep up with the Plextor and even outperforms the Lite-On. It’s
too bad the drive doesn’t support ‘C2 Error Info’ because this could have really speeded things up.

Now we’ll start testing the reading of data discs…


 

Now we’ll start testing the reading of normal data discs. In the next page we’ll take a look at how the Waitec MEGALUS
can handle the various copy-protection out there. But first the reading of unprotected data. Let’s see how fast the MEGALUS
can read data and if it can really reach the claimed 40x.

Data – Intro:

For the data tests we used a program called Transfer Speed version 0.99.2 by Smart Projects
(www.Smart-Projects.net) and we’ll also be using Nero CD Speed
again (www.cdspeed2000.com) to verify the achieved results and
because this program is a little more advanced.

Data – Transfer Speed:

For this test we’ll be using Transfer Speed, a simple utility to measure the overall speed of the drive and the amount of
kbytes per second the drive can transfer. Below a screenshot of the program and the speeds the MEGALUS reached:

Below we compare these speeds with the Plextor PX-W2410A and the Lite-On 24102B:

Average KB/Second Test

The higher, the better

As you can see the Plextor is the better drive here. The Waitec MEGALUS falls just behind the Lite-On but not far. In
the table below you can see an overview of the achieved results compared to the Plextor and Lite-On:

 Transfer Speed   Average 
KB/sec
 Average 
read
speed
Highest
 measured 
speed
 Plextor PX-W2410A  4538 30,26 48
 Lite-On 24102B 4446 29,64 43,64
 Waitec MEGALUS 4422 29,49 43,64

The Waitec MEGALUS reaches about the same speeds as the Lite-On does but the Plextor is still the fastest reader.

Data – Nero CD Speed:

Nero CD Speed is a little more advanced than ‘Transfer Speed’ and we’ll be using this tool to do some verifying of our
previous results. First we’ll start with the basic Transfer Rate Test:

Below is a screenshot of the transfer speeds. The green line indicates the reading speed and
the yellow line indicates the rotation speed (rpm) of the disc:

And another picture of the achieved speeds:


As you can see the Waitec MEGALUS reaches nearly an average reading speed of 31x, a good result for a CD-RW drive. The end
speed reaches over 40x so the MEGALUS can read at 40x like claimed.

in the table below you can see an overview of the Waitec MEGALUS compared to the Plextor and Lite-On again:

 Nero CD Speed   Average 
reading
speed
 Average 
start
speed
End
 speed 
 Plextor PX-W2410A  32,01 19,01 42,17
 Lite-On 24102B 30,94 18,37 40,78
 Waitec MEGALUS 30,79 17,98 40,71

And again we have the same conclusion: The Waitec MEGALUS reaches about the same speeds as the Lite-On does but the Plextor
is still the fastest reader…

Seek Times:

The next test we did with Nero CD Speed was the ‘Seek Times Test’. In the graph below we compare the seek times of the
MEGALUS with the Plextor and the Lite-On:

Seek Times: Lower is better

As you the Plextor falls behind here and the Lite-On is the fastest drive. The Waitec performs well.

Conclusion:

The Waitec MEGALUS performs very well and can easily keep up with the Lite-On 24102B but the Plextor PX-W2410A is the
true ‘king’ here. It outperforms both drives with ease. But when it comes to seek times the Plextor still has some work
to do..

Now we’ll start testing the reading of protected data discs…


 

Now we’ll start testing the reading of copy-protected data discs. Copy-protections are used on almost every game nowadays
so it’s important a writer can handle the various protections out there. For the tests we used CloneCD version 3.3.4.1 from
Elaborate Bytes (www.elby.org). We’ll test the following, most common,
copy-protections:

Protected Data – LaserLock:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘Desperados’ protected with LaserLock 2. We scanned the disc with the German
ClonyXXL (home.arcor.de/bejot) and it indeed finds the LaserLock
protection:

LaserLock 2 is hard to read for a lot of recorders and the Waitec MEGALUS finished the job in 1 hour and 30 minutes
when reading from the original disc! The back-up disc took only 20 minutes to read though. Here’s a screenshot of CloneCD
reading the original LaserLock protected disc:

Since our previous reviews done by StevieB were done with a LaserLock 1 protected disc we can’t really compare the
drives. There’s no real need to either since, like said before, LaserLock takes a long time to read with every drive..

Protected Data – SafeDisc:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘Beavis and Butthead: BungHole in One’ protected with the normal SafeDisc. We
scanned the disc with the German ClonyXXL (home.arcor.de/bejot)
and it indeed finds the SafeDisc protection. Note that ‘Alt’ means ‘Old’ since SafeDisc is a rather old protection:

Here’s a screenshot of CloneCD reading the original SafeDisc protected disc:

The Waitec MEGALUS performs very bad here and needs 1 hour and 32 minutes to read the disc while my old Plextor PX-W1210A
only needs 3 minutes tops! The Plextor PX-W2410A and the Lite-On 24102B really are a lot faster here. Again the Plextor
writer is ‘king’ here blasting away both the Waitec and the Lite-On.

Protected Data – SafeDisc 2:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘The Sims: House Party’ protected with SafeDisc 2. We scanned the disc with the
German ClonyXXL (home.arcor.de/bejot) again and it indeed finds
the SafeDisc 2 protection:

Here’s another screenshot of CloneCD reading a SafeDisc 2 protected disc. This time we used a back-up disc to see if the
SafeDisc (2) errors were skipped faster than with an original SafeDisc protected disc:

Like expected SafeDisc 2 also takes a long time to read with the MEGALUS. It needs around 46 minutes to read the disc
and is again way behind both the Lite-On and the Plextor.

Besides reading SafeDisc 2 we also need to check if the drive can write SafeDisc 2. Unlike the other protections
SafeDisc 2 back-ups depend on whether or not the drive support ‘Correct EFM Encoding’ which is needed to write ‘regular
bit patterns’. For more info on SafeDisc 2 read this article.

Unfortunately the Waitec does not support this feature and fails to make a working back-up. The disc wouldn’t
even work in the recorder. This is a big disadvantage for people who want to use the drive to back-up their games since
SafeDisc 2 is (one of) the most common protections used nowadays.

Next we tried to write the disc with CloneCD’s ‘Amplify Weak Sectors’ option enabled. This is a new CloneCD feature which
is supposed to help writers like the MEGALUS produce better (read: working) back-ups of SafeDisc 2 protected discs. For more
info on this new feature read this article.

With CloneCD’s ‘AWS’ the Waitec MEGALUS again failed in making a working back-up. We tested the back-up disc in
both the Waitec and a Toshiba SD-M1502 DVD-ROM.

Protected Data – SecuROM:

The final tests we’ll do is with a game called ‘V-Rally 2 Expert Edition’ protected with SecuROM 2. We scanned the disc
with the German ClonyXXL (home.arcor.de/bejot) again and it indeed
finds the SecuROM 2 protection:

The MEGALUS supports the reading and writing of 96 bytes of SubChannel Data and will read the disc very fast (less than
3 minutes) which is faster than both the Plextor and the Lite-On.

Protected Data – PlayStation:

An extra test we’ll do is with a LibCrypt protected PlayStation disc called ‘Final Fantasy VIII’. We scanned the disc
with the German ClonyXXL (home.arcor.de/bejot) for the final time
and it indeed finds the LibCrypt protection:

The MEGALUS needs about 12 minutes to make an image with CloneCD. Since stated before the MEGALUS can read the full
SubChannel Data, copying PlayStation discs is no problem. The Plextor drive however is again faster with creating the
image.

Protected Data – Conclusion:

The Waitec MEGALUS can’t really handle the various copy-protections. It’s most of the time too slow to keep up with the
Plextor PX-W2410A or the Lite-ON 24102B. It can’t handle SafeDisc 2 properly and that’s a big disadvantage since SafeDisc 2
is the most used copy-protection nowadays. The Waitec MEGALUS does support the reading of the full SubChannel Data so it’s
not all bad..

Now for the CD-RW tests…


 

In this section we’ll take a look at how the Waitec MEGALUS peforms with CD-RW media. For the tests we’ll use 74
minutes/650MB CD-RW discs manufactured by CMC Magnetics, the same discs that were delivered with the MEGALUS. To format our
CD-RW discs we’ll use Ahead’s InCD (www.ahead.de) version 2.32.

CD-RW Media – Formatting:

We formatted the CD-RW disc with Ahead’s InCD and got a free useable disc space of 536MB.

CD-RW Media – Packet Writing:

Then we measured the time it took the Waitec MEGALUS to write a 411MB (420.934Kb) file to the CD-RW disc with InCD. The
file was copied in roughly 5 minutes and 34 seconds resulting in an average writing speed of 7.16x, slightly slower
than the Lite-On 24102B (7.23) and the Plextor PX-W2410A (7.20x). Please note these speeds were reached on different
machines so the achieved times can be a little off. Roughly we can say the Waitec MEGALUS reaches about the same speeds
the competition does.

CD-RW Media – Normal Writing:

Next we used a Quick Erase to clean the CD-RW disc and used Nero Burning Rom version 5.5.6.4 to write the same file
as a normal data compilation. The disc was recognized as CD-R disc and the write speed was automatically set to 10x.
Below a screenshot of the process completed successfully:

As you can see the process was finished in 5 minutes and 32 seconds, about the same results we got with the Packet
Writing Tests above.

CD-RW Media – Read Tests:

To conclude our tests we used Nero CD Speed to test how well
the Waitec MEGALUS could read the created disc. Below some screenshots:


As you can see the Waitec MEGALUS produces an excellent result here! The speed keeps climbing and it’s slightly faster
than the Plextor PX-W2410A and a lot faster than the Lite-On 24102B (which only reached 13.16x)!

Now we’ve done our tests it’s time for the final conclusions…

Positive Points:

  • Supports 24x Z-CLV Writing
  • SafeLink Anti-Coaster Technology
  • Good read performance with data discs
  • Good write performance
  • Good DAE quality
  • Good seek-times
  • Excellent DAE speeds
  • Excellent read speed with CD-RW discs
  • Supports DAO-RAW writing
  • Supports overburning (up to 93 minutes)
  • Supports writing of CD-Text
  • Supports reading and writing of full SubChannel Data

Negative Points:

  • Failed with 99 minute CD-R’s
  • Very bad reading performance with protected discs and CloneCD
  • Failed to backup SafeDisc 2 protected discs (even with AWS)

Total score: 85.2%

The Waitec does what it’s supposed to do. It can read and write discs at high speeds and does that well. It has excellent DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) speeds and is fast when reading and writing CD-RW discs. The main bottleneck with
this Waitec is clearly its poor reading abilities when it comes to copy-protected discs. The Lite-ON 24102B and the Plextor
PX-W2410A are clearly a lot better in this department. The Waitec MEGALUS cannot copy SafeDisc 2 even with CloneCD’s
‘Amplify Weak Sectors’ option. A big disadvantage since SafeDisc 2 is currently the most common copy-protection around.

Fortunately the drive does support the reading and writing of 96 bytes of SubChannel Data so PlayStation discs, CD-Text
and protections based on this data shouldn’t be a problem.

The price of the Waitec MEGALUS is €144,- VAT ($130,-) so it can’t compete with the Lite-On or the Plextor when people
are looking for the cheapest drive with the most options or with the best quality.

Regards,
G@M3FR3@K

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