What's in the box?:
- Lite-On iHAS422 20x "Super AllWrite" DVD±RW/RAM Drive
- Nero Software CD
- User's Manual
- Quick Installation Guide
- Front Panel Replacement Guide
- Beige Replacement Bezel
- SATA Cable
- Warranty Information
The drive Lite-On sent us for this review was manufactured in October of 2008 and had firmware 4L11. For this review I used firmware versions 4L11 and 4L17.
From the front, the iHAS422 looks very similar to Lite-On's previous DVD writers. It not only shares the same basic bezel design, but has many of the same logos. Along the front of the tray you can see a few showing support for the DVD+ReWritable and DVD Multi specifications, as well as HP's LightScribe technology.
Below the tray you can see the iHAS422's single LED. Off by default, this LED lights up green whenever the drive is reading or writing.
If black isn't your color, you're in luck. The retail version of the iHAS422 also comes with a beige replacement bezel.
The rear of the AD-7240S is fairly straight forward. By looking at the picture below you can see the drive's SATA interface and power connector.
The specs below have been taken from Lite-On's website and the documentation that came along with the drive.
|Lite-On iHAS422 22x DVD±RW/RAM|
|DVD+R Write Speeds||20x, 18x, 16x, 12x (CAV)
6x, 4x (CLV)
|DVD+RW Write Speeds||8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
|DVD-R Write Speeds||20x, 18x, 16x, 12x (CAV)
6x, 4x (CLV)
|DVD-RW Write Speeds||6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
|DVD+R DL Write Speeds||8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
|DVD-R DL Write Speeds||8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
|DVD-RAM Write Speeds||12x, 8x, 6x, 5x (P-CAV)
3x, 2x (CLV)
|CD Write Speeds||48x (CAV)
40x, 32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 8x (CLV)
|CD Rewrite Speeds||32x, 24x (Z-CLV)
16x, 10x, 4x (CLV)
|DVD Read Speeds||16x Max (DVD-ROM)
16x Max (DVD±R)
12x Max (DVD±RW)
12x Max (DVD±R DL)
12x Max (DVD-RAM)
|CD Read Speeds||48x Max (CD-ROM/CD-R)
40x Max (CD-RW)
|DAE Speed||40x Max|
|Buffer Size||2 MB|
|Random Access Times
||140 ms (CD)
160 ms (DVD)
|CD Recording Modes||Track At Once
Session At Once
Disc At Once
Fixed And Variable Packet Writing
Raw Mode Burning
|DVD+R Recording Modes||Incremental Write
|DVD+RW Recording Mode||Random Write|
|DVD-R Recording Modes||Incremental Recording
|DVD-RW Recording Modes||Restricted Overwrite
Rigid Restricted Overwrite
|DVD-RAM Recording Mode||Random Access Write|
The iHAS422 is one of the latest drives from Lite-On to feature LightScribe technology. Developed by HP, LightScribe lets you burn durable, silk screen quality labels directly onto your CD's and DVD's using the same drive that burned the data. According to HP, it's as simple as burning the data, flipping the disc, and then burning the label.
Of course you can't do this with just any drive, media or software. While LightScribe capable drives use the same laser when burning both the data and label, they have to be able to accurately control the laser's focus and position as well as the spindle speed. They also must be able to recognize LightScribe media. These special discs have a thin dye coating on the label side that absorbs laser light. This triggers a chemical reaction that produces a color change, allowing the user to print text, artwork or graphics.
Even if you have a LightScribe capable drive and media, you will need software that supports it. Most major software companies have pledged support for the technology. However, at the time of this review, the list of compatible software is still relatively short. For the iHAS422, Lite-On turned to Nero. Using the bundled software you can both create and burn LightScribe disc labels.
Once you've created your LightScribe label, you're ready to print it. Before you can do this, though, you will need to choose the contrast. Keep in mind this option not only changes the level of detail, it also affects the amount of time it takes to print the label. The higher the quality, the longer the process will take.
How long does it take to print a label? For testing purposes, we printed a disc using Memorex's LightScribe v1.2 color CD-R media, and the quality was set to "best". The results are shown below.
|Memorex CD-R v1.2 - 31 minutes|
The iHAS422 features what Lite-On calls SmartWrite technology. Previously known as HyperTuning, SmartWrite automatically creates writing strategies for unknown, or unsupported, DVD±R and DVD±R DL media. Simply enable SmartWrite, insert your disc and burn. The new writing strategy is then created on-the-fly.
SmartWrite also works with supported media. When enabled, the drive will ignore the writing strategy stored in the firmware and instead create a new one. This is very useful if you are trying to record a disc that uses another company's MID code (I.E. fake TYG02 code discs).
The iHAS422 supports Lite-On's OverSpeed function. When enabled, the drive will try to write to your DVD±R media at a speed higher than what would normally be supported. To do this, OverSpeed relies heavily on SmartWrite. When a disc is written at a higher than normal speed, SmartWrite will automatically create a new writing strategy for it.
While the OverSpeed function on the iHAS422 is a bit more flexible than previous incarnations, it still has some limitations. To prevent people from writing to all DVD±R media at 22x, the writing speed can only be bumped up by two levels. For example, if your disc was normally supported at 16x, the iHAS422 would now give you the option to write to it at 20x.
The iHAS422 is one of the first drives to support Lite-On's SmartErase technology. Similar in concept to Plextor's PlexERASE technology, SmartErase gives users the ability to destroy the data on CD-R, DVD±R and DVD±R DL media without physically damaging the disc itself. To do this, it uses the drive's laser beam to "re-record" over the lead-in and data sectors, rendering the disc unreadable and unrecoverable.
By looking at the picture below, you can see that Lite-On's new DVD writer is identified as an "ATAPI iHAS422 8."
Nero also shows that the iHAS422 has a maximum CD writing speed of 48x and a 2048KB buffer. This buffer is backed up by Super-Link buffer underrun protection as well. According to Nero, the iHAS422 can also write CD-Text and overburn. When testing the drive's capacity, it had no problems overburning up to 99 minutes with our CompUSA media.
Using Alex Noe's Weak Sector Utility we were able to determine that the iHAS422 is a "two sheep" burner and is capable of backing titles protected by SafeDisc 2.90. Like most drives, it did not pass the "three sheep" test.
Here is a screen shot from Nero's InfoTool. This program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. InfoTool had no problems detecting the iHAS422's maximum reading and writing speeds, recording modes, buffer underrun protection and 2MB buffer.
InfoTool also shows that the iHAS422 is an RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore. While there isn't an RPC-1 firmware available for the drive, there is a utility available that can make the drive region free.
While InfoTool gives us a quick glance at the iHAS422's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities. By looking at the screenshot above you can see that while Lite-On's new drive can read and write to DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL and DVD-RAM media, it does not support the Mt. Rainier format.
The iHAS422 also supports a feature called "bitsetting." Using Nero, CD Speed or Lite-On's BookType Utility, you can set the book type for DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD+R DL media. By doing so, your recorded discs will identify themselves as "DVD-ROM." This feature comes in handy if you have an older DVD player that has problems playing recordable media.
I should point out that the iHAS422 can also set the book type of DVD+RW media after the data has been burned to disc. This "Write Now" feature is available in both KProbe and Lite-On's BookType Utility.