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In House Review - LG GSA-4163B 16x Super-Multi DVD±RW/RAM

DVD-R/W, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM

In House Review - LG GSA-4163B 16x Super-Multi DVD±RW/RAM

Postby Ian on Wed Apr 06, 2005 12:51 pm

Today CDRLabs brings you an in depth look at LG's new "Super-Multi" drive, the GSA-4163B. LG's new drive not only sports some impressive specs, it supports all major DVD formats, including DVD+R DL and DVD-RAM. 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW and 4x DVD+R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. On top of that, it can read and write to DVD-RAM media at 5x, the fastest speed currently available.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the GSA-4163B and see how it compares to some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Does LG's new "Super-Multi" drive have what it takes? Is it the fastest DVD writer around? You'll have to read the review to find out.

[url=http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=258]Image
LG GSA-4163B 16x Super-Multi DVD±RW/RAM[/url]

As usual, the Digital Dolphin has gone the extra mile when it comes to media testing. For this review, he has tested more than 100 different brands of media. Some of the results might surprise you. If you have any comments or questions about this review or the LG GSA-4163B, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
Last edited by Ian on Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Ian on Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:17 pm

If you have an LG drive, check out their auto update tool:

http://www.lge.co.kr/open_data/lgfw1.06.zip

Works with:

◆ CD-ROM Drive ☞ GCR-8522B, GCR-8523B
◆ CD-RW Drive ☞ GCE-8525B, GCE-8526B
◆ DVD-ROM Drive ☞ ???? (wouldn't translate)
◆ Combo Drive ☞ GCC-4521B
◆ Super Multi Drive ☞ GSA-4081B, GSA-4082B, GSA-4120B, GSA-4160B, GSA-4163B, GSA-5120D, GSA-5160D, GSA-5163D
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Postby HighTower85 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 5:22 pm

There seems to be a discrepancy between your review & CDFreaks/CDRInfo's review. They both say that bitsetting is supported for DVD+R but not DVD+RW.

CDFREAKS - http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/172/2

CDRINFO - http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/Reviews ... &PageId=22

Just Thought I point this out.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:18 pm

I'll double check that when I get back to my house, but I'm pretty sure it didn't support bitsetting. That was one of the things I checked right at the beginning.

As discrepencies go, that is not what I expected to hear questions/complaints about...
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Postby shaun on Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:57 pm

I am going to start a donation drive to collect a few bucks to send to DD so he can get outside and get a life! Geesh man...go out, breath the air, frolic in the daisies...

100+ test burns and quality scans are amazing enough..but the freaking .html coding you had to do (and don't get me started on the image formatting process...ugh) is simply something to be marvelled at. I take my hat off to you!! You da man.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:12 pm

LOL... I'm not sure what I would do with a life if I had one :P Actually, that isn't true, I start my vacation tomorrow! :D

Anyways, the bitsetting for DVD+R thing was incorrect as pointed out, and I fixed it in the conclusion. I think that's the only place it is mentioned.
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Postby Ian on Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:22 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:Anyways, the bitsetting for DVD+R thing was incorrect as pointed out, and I fixed it in the conclusion. I think that's the only place it is mentioned.


Features too.
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Postby rdgrimes on Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:04 pm

Rumor has it that if you run the new update utility, you can get FW version A104.

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=133458
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Postby jpuntel on Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am

"Doesn't support the Mt. Rainier format" ....................... I see this in reviews all the time. I can't recollect the last time I saw a dvd drive that did. My Plextor 708A does, though I think I've only used it twice for that.
Why is it still mentioned?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:30 am

rdgrimes wrote:Rumor has it that if you run the new update utility, you can get FW version A104.

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=133458


Confirmed, A104 is already out.... wow! 2 firmwares in a very short period of time. That's unusual for LG! :o
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Postby TCAS on Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:44 am

Ian Wrote:

"Reads single layer DVD-ROM's at 16x"

There is no indication about the reading speed of this drive for D/L DVD-ROM or D/L DVD-Video?.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:10 am

TCAS wrote:Ian Wrote:

"Reads single layer DVD-ROM's at 16x"

There is no indication about the reading speed of this drive for D/L DVD-ROM or D/L DVD-Video?.


If you actually look at the review.... :roll:

Page 2:

DVD Read Speeds:
16x Max (DVD-ROM)
8x Max (DVD-Video)
10x Max (DVD±R)
8x Max (DVD±RW)
5x, 3x, 2x (DVD-RAM)
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Postby TCAS on Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:57 am

dolphinius_rex wrote:
TCAS wrote:Ian Wrote:

"Reads single layer DVD-ROM's at 16x"

There is no indication about the reading speed of this drive for D/L DVD-ROM or D/L DVD-Video?.


If you actually look at the review.... :roll:

Page 2:

DVD Read Speeds:
16x Max (DVD-ROM)
8x Max (DVD-Video)
10x Max (DVD±R)
8x Max (DVD±RW)
5x, 3x, 2x (DVD-RAM)



Yes but 8X (DVD-Video) doesn't mean that is D/L, it could be means S/L DVD-Video, it should clearly indicated as you have done that for S/L DVD-Vidoe, what is the reading speed for D/L DVD-VIDEO disk. This is very important item in drive spec, people buy the burner based on whether it is a good ripper (reader) or not for copying DVD-VIDEO on D/L format.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:27 am

TCAS wrote:Yes but 8X (DVD-Video) doesn't mean that is D/L, it could be means S/L DVD-Video, it should clearly indicated as you have done that for S/L DVD-Vidoe, what is the reading speed for D/L DVD-VIDEO disk. This is very important item in drive spec, people buy the burner based on whether it is a good ripper (reader) or not for copying DVD-VIDEO on D/L format.


It's still 8x, regardless of S/L or D/L :wink: and yes, that is double and triple checked :D
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Postby Ian on Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:32 am

TCAS, those are the specs provided by LG. It does suck, but a lot of companies don't differentiate between SL and DL when listing specs.

Dolph did test both SL and DL discs, so if you check the performance page, you can see that it reads both at 8x.

In most cases, when people say "DVD-ROM" they mean a data disc. "DVD-Video".. that's a movie. It might be good if Dolph does add this in the conclusion though.
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Postby TCAS on Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:03 pm

Thanks Ian, and thanks to you dolphinius_rex for the fine job on the review and good analysis. I was just trying to make a suggestion that average none technical viewers or readers fully understand the premise of the review and the information trying to be given to the readers for their own benefit.
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Postby RJW on Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:04 am

First let me say you guys did a hell of a job.
Because this is what I call quality.
Okay less media can be used for future reviews to safe time because that's not the point which makes it standing out .
What makes this review standing out from earlier reviews is the fact that the triple combination of K-probe/Benq and plextor (transfer rate + jitter) was used. For this reason cdrlabs is so far the only source which I have seen that is able to give a fair review of this drive.

Not usseing a old firmware and hardly looking back on it (C't)
Not lookeing at just the error levels and saying burn quality is great.(some of the competitor sites.)

So it looks someone tooks over the pole position when it comes to dvd testing.

Hmm this makes me think this rise in quality again was big and with the current level it get's harder and harder to improve.
So I wonder if you guys are able to improve the quality even more with the next review.
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Postby Boba_Fett on Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:20 pm

In reference to dolphinius_rex's review: The supposed high "jitter" mentioned in the review certainly does not inhibit the many PS2 and Xbox backups I've made with the drive (most on A03 firmware). How exactly does jitter affect console backups anyway?
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Postby MediumRare on Sun Apr 10, 2005 3:46 pm

Super review, D_R. =D> I have some remarks and suggestions, though.

A couple of typos:
- Pheonix BIOS in your test rig (should be Phoenix- that's a very persistant one :wink:)
- reference to GSA-4160B in DVD-Video transfer rate test

Introduction wrote:CD-RWs can be recorded at an incredible 24x

That should be normal now- or are you being ironic? (but see below...)

I ran a few tests using some of the media available in my area.

Now that's an understatement if I ever saw one!! :o I hope that this didn't exhaust your enthusiasm so that you will continue to make reviews here! :D

In fact, there is so much information that the format for the reviews is inadequate. It's very difficult to get to the additional results (the images to which you link with transfer rate, jitter, beta, etc.), and that is a shame, considering the amount of data available and the work you've put into gathering it. Each link leads to a new window, and there is no possibility for easily viewing all results for a given media type. I ended up looking at only 4 or 5 media types in detail, and found it difficult to make comparisons. I did notice, though, that Plextor and BenQ seem to have completely different ideas as to what jitter is.

What I'd like to see is a simple link to a new page for each burn, e.g. with the 4 full-size images of results under one another or side-by-side. That should actually be less work than the detailled formatting you did and would make the results more accessible.

Ian- since D_R is on vacation, maybe you can comment on this. Is there a restriction in the review format that would prohibit sub-pages? I thought cfitz did something like this in his review of the AOpen COM4824 combo drive, but he actually made combined images with results from 2 scans.

I greatly appreciate seeing quality tests with rewritable media too! 2 things caught my notice with regard to rewritables:

You managed to write 32x rated CD-RW media (Daxon and Verbatim) with this drive, albeit at 24x. This is very significant because Ultraspeed+ media requires a different technology to write that normal 24x CD-RW. I have a single 32x test disc (Verbatim) lying around which is not supported by either my LiteOn CD or DVD burner.

Furthermore, the writing time to the Verbatim 8x DVD+RW disc was the fastest of all 8x burns (7:33 vs. ca. 8 min. for write-once media!) Were the data amounts different or is this a real effect?

I just got back from a wonderful week in Venice :D (which is why these remarks are so late in coming) and hope you enjoy your well-earned vacation too and come back with renewed energy!

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Postby Muchin on Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:47 am

RJW wrote:So it looks someone tooks over the pole position when it comes to dvd testing.

Hmm this makes me think this rise in quality again was big and with the current level it get's harder and harder to improve.

Ever since I learned from a thread that the Digital Dolphin was writing a review of LG 4163B about two months ago, I have been checking at this website frequently. Naturally I was more than eager to read it when it appeared five days ago. This review certainly is record breaking and has laid a new milestone. I marvel at the coverage and depth of writing quality tests, and wonder how much time has been taken to do the work. The combination of testing drives is also hard to beat. Although little room for improvement has been left, I think it is possible to inch in further in the future by using the newly developed PxScan. I believe this endeavor is underway or being planned.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:01 pm

Boba_Fett wrote:In reference to dolphinius_rex's review: The supposed high "jitter" mentioned in the review certainly does not inhibit the many PS2 and Xbox backups I've made with the drive (most on A03 firmware). How exactly does jitter affect console backups anyway?


Are you burning at 16x? The jitter issue was mainly only a problem when burning at 16x.

Basically, it causes problems for the laser to be able to follow along the track, and it can cause pauses, and other playback problems, and in the worst cases, total playback failure.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:06 pm

Muchin wrote:This review certainly is record breaking and has laid a new milestone. I marvel at the coverage and depth of writing quality tests, and wonder how much time has been taken to do the work. The combination of testing drives is also hard to beat. Although little room for improvement has been left, I think it is possible to inch in further in the future by using the newly developed PxScan. I believe this endeavor is underway or being planned.


Heh... it DID take a long time... but would have taken LESS time if I hadn't had several computer and harddrive failure problems while writing it! :o

As for the writing quality section... I *DO* have something planned for future reviews, which should please both yourself, as well as MediumRare. I won't promise it is going to be PxScan, but that is deffinately one of the options I'm persuing. I'm looking for one specific feature, which will make the viewing of my tests twice as useful, and 10x easier to display!! :D

Since the longest part of the review is writing the performance page, this, coupled with some new advancements in the picture upload function of the review editor, courtesy of Socheat, should make my reviews a little bit quicker in the making :wink:
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Postby RJW on Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:55 pm

I allready said befor some nice overview tables which state the most important data and a simple click to the actuall data would be nice.
This way you really limit bandwith for the modem people and for the people who want a quick peak you can see much faster what happens.
But Ohhwell I can live with it that I need to reserve time for a review to read as long as it's this quality.

About jitter.
Plextor jitter is useless.Compare it with any profesional analyzer and you see that it tells you nothing. Benq's jitter is a little to high compared to CATS and Datarius analyzers.
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Postby Ian on Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:36 pm

RJW wrote:Benq's jitter is a little to high compared to CATS and Datarius analyzers.


I've thought so as well.. but like any of these other results, they're there for comparison.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:14 am

Ian wrote:
RJW wrote:Benq's jitter is a little to high compared to CATS and Datarius analyzers.


I've thought so as well.. but like any of these other results, they're there for comparison.


However, unlike many other reviewers, I have personally compared my BenQ DW1620's Jitter results against CATS analyzers :D
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