The specifications of LG GSA-H22N state that the drive is able to write DVD±R at 18x, DVD+RW at 8x, and DVD-RW at 6x. In this part of the review, we will measure writing time for various types of DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW discs. We will also focus on writing quality and media compatibility.
DVD writing performance:
First, let us see how long the drive needs to create a disc using Nero Burning ROM. We have created a UDF/ISO compilation containing 4482Mb (4.38GB) of data, and started the write process. We used the Disc-At-Once writing method.
The DVD+R disc was completed in 5 minutes and 20 seconds, while the DVD-R disc was completed in 5 minutes and 13 seconds.
The LG GSA-H22N is at least as fast as any other 18x drive we have tested to date. Now let us see how good the writing quality is.
You should first notice that this is not a scientific and professional way to test the discs. But according to our testing done in recent months, we would conclude that there is a clear link between the quality reported when scanning the disc and the playability of the disc in different devices. Also notice that different drives report different amounts of errors. K-Probe was designed to work with Lite-On DVD-Writers. So we recommend using a DVD-Writer from Lite-On, in this test we use a Lite-On LH-18A1P DVD-Writer, as already said; remember that scans done with a Lite-On DVD-ROM or Lite-On combo drive can’t be compared with the results obtained with a Lite-On DVD-Writer. Also remember that different PI/PO ECC sum settings along with different reading speeds in K-Probe will affect the result, we use these settings; PI (Parity Inner) set to summarize 8 ECC blocks, PIF (Parity Inner Failures) set to summarize 1 ECC block, reading speed: 4x CLV (Constant Linear Velocity). Setting the PI sum to 8 and the PIF sum to 1 will give a result that we may compare to the standards for DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW.
But what is a good scan? That is a discussion that we don’t think will end soon, as different drives report different amount of errors, some players are more picky about media than others, and so on. But as a comparison we present you with a scan from two pressed DVD discs:
This scan above shows the results from a pressed, Single Layer DVD-Video disc (Widow on the Hill).
This next scan shows the result from a pressed Double Layer DVD-Video disc (Monster in Law). Notice the error jump when shifting to the second layer (the error levels jump from the end of the first layer to the beginning of the second layer).
If you read below you will see that both the pressed DVD-discs above are well within the standards.
If you want to look at the standards for yourself, download the ECMA 267 Standard for DVD-ROM, the ECMA 337 Standard for DVD+R/RW and the ECMA 338 Standard for DVD-R/RW at http://www.ecma-international.org. Here is some data from the ECMA standards (same for DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW):
A row of an ECC Block that has at least 1 byte in error constitutes a PI error. In any 8 consecutive ECC Blocks the total number of PI errors before correction shall not exceed 280.
Here we see that a PI error is defined as a row in an ECC block having 1 byte or more containing errors and that the sum of PI errors in 8 ECC blocks after each other should not exceed 280 PI errors.
But what is a row and what is an ECC block? Again we refer to the ECMA standards. We do not copy and paste everything, but if you’re interested, look in the ECMA standards. A row is 182 bytes long where the last 10 bytes contain PI (Parity Inner) information. An ECC block is 208 rows long where the last 16 rows contain the PO (Parity Outer) information. This gives us a maximum possible PI error amount of 208 errors per block and for 8 blocks after each other this sum is of course 8 times higher, giving a maximum possible amount of 1664 PI-8 errors. In practical use, a disc with 1664 PI-8 errors is unreadable.
According to our tests the specified max PI-8 sum of 280 for good discs seems to be a good guideline, as some readers have problems reading discs when the PI-8 errors is over 300 and most players starts to have problems when the PI-8 error level reaches 600 or more.
But what are the PIF errors that K-Probe reports? They are Parity Inner Failures, meaning errors left after PI correction. Only the ECMA 337 standard describes the Parity Inner Failures. So how is a Parity Inner Failure defined? Here is what the ECMA 337 states:
"If a row of an ECC Block as defined in 13.3 contains more than 5 erroneous bytes, the row is said to be "PI-uncorrectable"."
In theory, an ECC block may in the worst case have 208 PIF since every ECC block is 208 rows long. But the ECMA 337 standard goes further and specifies the max amount of accepted PI Failures (uncorrectable errors) allowed on a good disc:
"In any ECC Block the number of PI-uncorrectable rows should not exceed 4."
This means that when the PIF sum is set to 1, the maximum error value should not exceed 4. The theoretical maximum value for PIF is 208 errors.
But what makes a disc unreadable? A POF (Parity Outer Failure) error will make the disc unreadable, but K-Probe does not display the POF’s.
Notice that there are other aspects such as disc reflectivity, tracking errors and so on that also will affect the readability of a DVD disc – but for this we do not have measuring equipment available.
Also, another note is that we have scanned the discs at 4x CLV speed, by lowering the speed to 2x(DVD-R/RW)/2.4x(DVD+R/RW) or 1x the amount of reported errors may drop on some discs. We scanned at 4x CLV due to lower speeds taking too much time.
To see if there is a connection between the reported amount of errors and readability of the discs we also include the reading curve from a NEC ND-4570A or BenQ DW1655 DVD-Writers which by default are able to read DVD±R media at 16x speed. A small speed reduction near the end is still accepted on good discs, but serious reading problems or reading failures is a bad sign.
Easier explanation on how to read the test results.
Maybe this got too technical, and you are wondering what to look for in KProbe reports?
Use this as a guideline for good discs:
- PI (Parity Inner): No larger areas on the disc should exceed 280 PI-8 errors, do not worry too much about high single spikes that exceed 280.
- PIF (Parity Inner Failures): No larger areas on the disc should exceed 4 PIF-1 errors, do not worry too much about high single spikes that exceed 4.
And as always: lower is better.
Also look at the reading curve; if it looks clean with no dips it should be good, a small slowdown near the end is accepted.
DVD+R media compatibility and writing quality:
In these tests we will be using a Lite-On LH-18A1P drive along with KProbe 2 to measure disc quality. We will also be using a BenQ DW1640 and Nero CD-DVD Speed for our transfer rate tests.
Verbatim/Mitsubishi media is so good, very few drives have problems burning it. But this is no average drive.
The LG GSA-H22N sets a new burn time record, 5 minutes and 10 seconds, burning this DVD+R disc faster than any other drive we have seen so far.
Disc quality is amazing, considering the speed at which it was created.
This disc burned in 5 minutes and 15 seconds, with outstanding quality as well. Another 18x success.
CMC media sometimes gets undeserved criticism, in our opinion. The LG GSA-H22N handled this 16x DVD+R disc very well, producing a good quality burn.
This is another example of outsourced media. The scan shows excellent burn quality.
Another 16x CMC DVD+R disc under a different brand, same good burn quality.
This 16x burn was completed in 5 minutes and 40 seconds. Burn quality is outstanding.
Another 16x burn, completed in 5 minutes and 40 seconds. A wonderful result with Optodisc 16x DVD+R media.
An excellent-quality Taiyo Yuden burn, as expected.
However, the drive’s Z-CLV writing strategy begins 8x DVD burns at 4x, spending two full minutes burning at 4x, which results in total burn time close to 9 minutes. This 4x-8x Z-CLV strategy seems to be carried over from earlier LG models.
The LG GSA-H22N supports writing to DVD+RW discs at up to 8x speed.
Quality-wise, this is a very good result, similar to write-once media results, but 8x DVD+RW media is burned a little slower than it could have been, due to the 4x-8x Z-CLV burning strategy we earlier observed with DVD+R media.
This is an unusual result with thousands of PIFs forming a nearly solid red area. However, because PIF levels are so low, the burn should be considered very good. The smooth reading curve confirms this.
Extremely high PIE and PIF levels in the 4x area suggest that a laser power adjustment may be needed for this media, but it’s hard to argue with a perfectly readable result.
A very good burn with a slower, 4x DVD+RW media.
Writing quality is excellent with DVD+R and, with one exception, appears to be good with DVD+RW too.