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Teac DVW50D DVD±R/RW Drive
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Date: Aug 28, 2003
Section:Storage
Author: HH Editor
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The Teac DVW50D DVD±R/RW Drive - Page 1

 

The Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW Drive
The Best of Both Worlds on a Budget

By, Jeff Bouton
August 28, 2003

As DVD burners have gone mainstream, they've also evolved into an economical burning solution, but this wasn't always the case.  When DVD writers were first introduced a few years ago, they got everyone's attention with their functionality and their high price.  We saw initial offerings in excess of $600 yet today the prices have dropped below the $200 mark.  With pricing becoming less of an issue, the only thing left to decide is which format is the best choice for you.

Since the first DVD writers were introduced there has been a format war raging.  The two choices, DVD-R and DVD+R have become embroiled in a tug-o-war similar to the one we saw between VHS and Beta 25 years ago.  The only difference today is that there will most likely be no clear winner like there was with VHS.  In fact, the two formats are surprisingly similar in technology, although each has its own merits.  DVD-R/RW was initially introduced by Pioneer while DVD+R/RW has the backing of Philips, Ricoh, Dell, Sony, Yamaha, HP and Microsoft.  The DVD-R/RW format offers a slightly wider range of compatibility with set top DVD players, while DVD+R/RW offers support for Mount Rainer which will be native to future Operating Systems.  The DVD-R/RW format is the only one of the two that has been standardized by the DVD Forum, although this is not an ISO standard, but rather a private standard.

As we can see, each format has its virtues, but with the growing popularity of Dual Format drives, the main issue of compatibility is essentially a moot point. This will be further backed as the technology continues to evolve and newer set tops supporting both formats are introduced to the masses.  We've seen a number of Dual Format drives appear from the like of Sony, Pioneer, and Lite-On, but today we are going to focus on the latest offering from Teac, the DV-W50D DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW Dual Format Drive.  Lately, Teac has been in the hunt for a larger piece of the burner market by introducing drives at very attractive price points.  The question is, did they have to trim too much to make the DV-W50D a cost effective solution?  Let's take a look.
 

Specifications of the Teac DV-W50D
All This and a Great Price!
Specifications:

Model: DV-W50D
Interface: IDE/ATAPI
DVD Write Speeds: DVD+R: 4X CLV; DVD+RW: 2.4X CLV
DVD-R: 4X CLV; DVD-RW: 2X CLV
DVD Read Speeds: DVD-ROM: 12X CAV
DVD-R/-RW: 6X CAV
DVD+R/+RW: 6X CAV
CD Write Speeds: CD-R: 16X CLV
CD-RW: 10X CLV (High Speed)
CD Read Speed: 32X CAV
Access Time: DVD: 160msec
CD: 150msec
Buffer Size: 2MB
Buffer Management: Buffer Underrun Prevention
Write Methods: Track at Once; Disk at Once;
Multi-Session and Incremental
Read Compatibility: 8cm/12cm; Audio CD; CD-ROM
Mode-1;Mode-2 (Form 1, Form 2);
CD-ROM XA; CD-R; CD-RW;
Video-CD; CD Extra/CD Plus;
CD-I; CD-DA; CD-ROM; CD-TEXT;
DVD-ROM, single/dual layer; DVD+R;
DVD+RW; DVD-R; DVD-RW

Write Verification: Running Optimum Power Control to Dynamically Adjust Laser Write Power
Drag and Drop Recording: EasyWrite (Mount Rainier) Supported
Disc Loading: Power Loading Tray
Front Panel: Built-in Power Eject/Load Button,
LED Indicator
Power Requirement: +12V DC and +5V DC
Mounting Orientation: Horizontal or Vertical
MTBF: 60,000 POH
Dimensions: 5.83?(W) x 1.67?(H) x 7.78? (D)
Weight: 2.4 lbs.

 



 

Quality & Setup of the Teac DV-W50D
Hmmm...Something Looks Different

The unit we received for review was an OEM version that did not include any additional hardware and the only software provided was Nero 6.  We suspect that the retail version of this drive will include the same components as the Teac CD-W552E we reviewed earlier this month.  The drive itself is nothing striking to look at.  The bezel is a familiar beige and sports most of the common functions one would expect to find on the face of a CD or DVD drive.  There is one exception, however, that makes the Teac drive a little different.  With the DV-W50D, Teac opted not to include a separate headphone input and volume control.  We've been wondering when manufacturers were going to start moving away from that feature since most users don't use them anyway.  This is also another way for Teac to keep costs down, by removing features that the everyday user would not likely miss.

 

The front of the drive has an activity light, eject button and emergency eject hole for when things begin misbehaving.  The rear of the drive offered an IDE connection for data transfer, jumpers for setting the drive priority from Master, Slave or Cable Select, and an analog audio connection.  We also found that the drive included a rear mounted fan to keep temperatures in check.  Aside from that, the Teac DV-W50D is a fairly plain vanilla drive on the outside, but then again, it's what's on the inside that really matters with this drive.

HH Test System and Benchmarks

 

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The Teac DVW50D DVD±R/RW Drive - Page 2

 

The Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW Drive
The Best of Both Worlds on a Budget

By, Jeff Bouton
August 28, 2003

HotHardware Test Systems
It's Snappy

 

DFI KT400A LAN Party Motherboard
AMD AthlonXP 2500+ (Barton)

512MB GEiL PC3500 (2-2-2-5-2)

2 IBM ATA100 7200RPM 80GB HD (RAID-0)

ATi Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB

Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW

Plextor PX-504A DVD+R/RW CD-R/RW

Standard Floppy Drive

Windows XP Professional SP-1

DirectX 9a

ATi Catalyst 3.6

VIA Hyperion 4.48v

Utilities and Media Used For Testing
 

  • SiSoft SANDRA MAX3!

  • Nero InfoTool

  • Nero CD-DVD Speed

  • Nero Burning ROM 6

  • Nero DAE

  • Music Match 8.0 for MP3 Encoding

  • An audio CD 63:33:02 in Length

  • 4.0GB of MP3 files for all DVD Data Tests

  • 703MB of MP3 files for all CD Data Tests

  • The Patriot on DVD for all DVD Movie Tests

  • 698MB AVI File

  • Media Used:
    -Philips 48X CD-R
    -Generic 2.4x DVD+R

 

CD-ROM Performance Tests - Teac DV-W50D
Speeding Things Along


Nero InfoTool:

Before we get started with the benchmarks, we like to run Nero InfoTool to show the scope of the drive's capabilities.  For this review we've included information from the Plextor PX-504A DVD+R/RW drive we reviewed back in April for a frame of reference.

Teac DV-W50D
PLEXTOR PX-504A

While the two competitors share the same DVD write speeds, the Teac slips a few points with its 32X Read speed, compared to the Plextor 40X rating.  The Teac drive also shares most of the supported read features of the Plextor except for CD+G, which is a format for Karaoke CDs.  On the supported write format side of things, the Teac has all the capabilities of the Plextor with additional support for DVD-R/RW formats.

We found it interesting that the Teac drive reported a 2000KB buffer while the Plextor listed a 2MB buffer.  Either the Teac drive is not calculating the size properly or the drive has slightly less cache than 2MBs.  When calculating data amounts in regards to RAM and hard drive space, 1024KB equals 1MB.  When calculating bandwidth, 1MB is equal to 1000KB.  It seems that there is a minor calculation issue with this drive and Nero Info Tool, but the drive does in fact have a full 2MBs of cache.


SiSoft SANDRA MAX3!:

Another utility we like to run is the CD/DVD module within SiSoft Sandra MAX3!.  We ran the module with a CD data disk in the drive and then with a DVD data disk to test the read performance of each drive.

Read Performance - CD Data

Teac DV-W50D - CD
PLEXTOR PX-504A - CD

Each drive's read performance was on par with the comparison systems of the Sandra MAX3! database.  You may have noticed that the Benchmark Breakdown system lists the Teac as a 14X drive while the Plextor was listed at 17X.  It appears that Sandra MAX3! reports the beginning speed of the drive rather than its peak rating which may confuse some people.  This will become clearer in the Nero CD Speed tests on the next page.

Read Performance - DVD Data

Teac DV-W50D - DVD
PLEXTOR PX-504A - DVD

With the Data DVD performance we saw a different anomaly.  While the Teac DV-W50D is rated for 12X DVD, Sandra MAX3! lists the Benchmark Breakdown at 20X.  The Plextor was listed as 16X even though, like the Teac, it is rated for the same 12X DVD-ROM read speed.  We're not quite sure what the problem is with the benchmark, but the end results were on target for the drives.

More Nero Tests

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The Teac DVW50D DVD±R/RW Drive - Page 3

 

The Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW Drive
The Best of Both Worlds on a Budget

By, Jeff Bouton
August 28, 2003

In the next round of tests, we ran a few real world examples of CD/DVD recording performance.  We focused on CD-R and DVD+R recording to give a few examples of each drive's performance.  DVD-R tests were not done because we did not have a comparison drive capable of writing to DVD-Rs, which would leave the test results a bit ambiguous.  With each test we compared performance of each drive while writing data CD-Rs and DVD+Rs.  Each one of the write tests was completed using Ahead Software's Nero v6.0

CD/DVD Write Tests - Teac DV-W50D
The Burning Question...

Nero CD-R Write Analysis:

The first test we ran was a CD-R write test.  With this test we recorded 703MBs of MP3 music files from the hard drive to Philips media rated for 48X.

Each drive completed the burn in less than 5 and a half minutes, burning at their rated 16X CD-R write speed.  We would have liked to see a higher speed rating than the paltry 16X at this stage of the game.  16X used to be a decent speed, but as drives have improved, it is becoming a bit low end.  We feel at this point 32X should be the bare minimum.


Nero DVD+R Write Analysis:

Next we recorded 4.0GBs of MP3 music files to DVD+R media rated for 2.4X.  While the drive is capable of writing at DVD+R at 4X, we've found media rated at 4X is still hard to find.  So we settled for 2.4X media and let the tests ride.

Once again, the two drives returned virtually identical results.  Once 4X media becomes more available, this time should drop to around 13 minutes to burn 4GBs of data!


MP3 Encoding with MusicMatch 8.0

In our last test we loaded MusicMatch 8.0 and a 63 minute audio disc to test the drives capabilities while ripping MP3s.  We set the quality to 128Kbps and turned off error correction to show the best possible performance attainable with each drive.

This is where the Teac 32X CD-ROM speed becomes evident compared to the 40X Plextor.  Again, we are splitting hairs a little here and really can't complain over these times, but if you want the fastest ripping times you can get, the Teac DV-W50D will leave you yearning for more.


It seems that Teac's goal of an affordable drive that has everything you want, while trimming the features you may not miss has its pluses, but along with those pluses are a few minuses.  Overall, the Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW Dual Format Drive performed fairly well in all of our benchmark tests, but we feel there is room for improvement.  The main problem being the drive is a little slow with reading and writing of CD-ROMs.  That isn't to say that Teac hasn't put together a quality drive, in fact they have.  The drive covers all of the bases in regards to compatibility and plans ahead for the future with support for Mount Rainier.  Nonetheless, this only goes so far since Operating System support for Mt. Rainer is a long way off and by then, newer faster solutions will be available.

In the end, our experience with the Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW Dual Format Drive was good and we found it to be a worthy replacement for our Plextor PX-504A.  We've seen this drive selling at several retailers for roughly $190, which is in the ballpark of the Plextor PX504A that is limited to the DVD+R/RW format.   

We give the Teac DV-W50D DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW drive a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of a 9.

Discuss This Article in Hardware's PC Hardware Forum!

 

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