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Lite-On SHM-165S6S

Today we will be looking at the Lite-On SHM-165S6S SATA DVDR drive. If you have read past MHW DVDR reviews here you know that unlike more traditional computer components such as video cards, processors, etc. we are more interested in the over-all user experience of DVDRs than whether brand A manages to shave a few seconds of the burning time of brand B. That is why we will show you some benchmarks but they won't be the main focus of this review. After all, playing CDs, watching DVDs, application installations, moronic drive disc checks before starting a game--the sort of things I do everyday with my Optical drive--don't benchmark well, if at all. So look for talk about compatibility, reliability, installation issues, and noise levels instead. The Lite-On SHM-165S6S SATA drive was provided by Geeks who stock a wide assortment of DVD Burners.

DVDR Package     DVDR Drive

Since the Lite-On SHM-165S6S SATA drive is an OEM/Bulk drive don't go expecting any fancy box with high gloss packaging here. The Lite-On drive arrived in a spartan pink colored plastic bag with Nero OEM Suite 6.6, and CyberLink PowerDVD 6 OEM housed in paper sleeves. Thanks to Geeks' good packing, though, everything arrived safe and sound. I wasn't able to find much in the way of extra specs. In fact I couldn't even locate this particular model (SHM-165S6S) on the Lite-On website, so for review purposes we will be relying mostly on the info provided from the Geeks product page for this item. One more item worth mentioning is that this particular model came with a beige bezel which IMO looks slightly odd in my black case, judge for yourself though.

DVDR Mounted

The bundled software was IMO a good choice. I am a big fan of Nero burning software and am somewhat disappointed when I buy an Optical drive that doesn't include it. CyberLink PowerDVD 6 is also included for your movie viewing needs.. If I had a complaint here it would be that the usual electronic users manual is of a generic variety and doesn't offer much in the way of Lite-On model specific information. While I guess a paper manual is too much to ask for these days, is a model- specific users manual? I personally think not.

DVDR Front     DVDR Rear

Specs/Features:

-Interface: SATA interface
-Access Times: 160 ms access CD/DVD time
-Buffer Cache: 2 Megabyte
-Buffer Underrun Proof
-Write Speed: CD: 48x, DVD+R: 16x, DVD-R: 16x, D+R DL: 8x, DVD-R DL: 4x
-ReWrite Speed: CD-RW: 24x, DVD+RW: 8x, DVD-RW: 6x
-Read Speed: CD-ROM: 48x, DVD-ROM: 16x
-Supported CD Formats: CD-Extra, CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM XA, Multi-Session, Photo-CD, Video-CD, CD Audio, Karaoke-CD, CD Plus, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-IFMV
-Supported DVD Formats: DVD-ROM, Multi-border, Multi-Session, DVD-9, DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW

In the last DVDR review we wrote I posted a screenshot from DVDInfo a fine program that comes in both free and professional versions which tells you everything you will likely ever want to know about your optical drive. While I still downloaded the new version and used it for testing, it seems to incorrectly identify this SATA drive as an Atapi/IDE model, so please keep this mind as you view the next screenshot.

DVDInfo

Since this was the first Optical SATA drive I have used I was curious about how installation--a virtual no-brainer with Optical IDE drives these days--would go. While no major issues were encountered there were a few minor ones to be aware of if this is your first SATA optical drive installation First, plugging in the SATA cable to the rear of the Optical drive was a bit more complicated than an IDE cable due to its small size (If you don't see well you might need some help doing this). Second, my sole SATA power supply cable was in use at the bottom of my case with my hard drive and for power I had to had use a four-pin molex to SATA power connector.

The BIOS in my ASUS A8N-E Motherboard correctly recognized and configured the Lite-On SHM-165S6S SATA DVDR. I also had no problems booting from this drive, something I have seen cause problems with other motherboard/DVDR. It looks as if I am finally free of my last bulky IDE cable. Not only does this make things look more tidy for you case modders, but depending on your current setup this may also increase airflow--especially if you have your case packed with multiple hard drives.

Living with the Lite-On SHM-165S6S SATA DVDR day-to-day has so far been mostly problem free. It handles nearly everything I have thrown at it, which includes CD, DVD, and DVDR, My BenQ didn't play nice with DVDRW that were recorded in my stand-alone DVDR hooked up to my TV, since I usually record to DVDR I didn't notice this the last time for several months. Unfortunately the Lite-On doesn't seem to handle this format either. One area the Lite-On bests the BenQ is that after a few minutes of inactivity the Lite-One spins down; while not terribly loud, the BenQ ran continually as long as a disc was present.

For DVD benchmarking I burned 4.4GB of mixed media files in Nero to two different burners using some cheap (Is it live or is it ) Memorex 16X DVD+R media. The first was a BenQ DW1620 reviewed earlier; the second is the Lite-On SHM-165S6S being reviewed today. The BenQ turned in a time of 6:46, while the Lite-On managed a best time of 7:00. Not that I was expecting to, but I didn't burn any coasters during testing either. Unlike the last review I didn't burn any CDs this time, since I don't have any left and DVDs have actually become so cheap now that I don't think that many people will be using their new DVDR to burn CDs. If I receive a significant amount of feedback on this issue I will go buy stack of CDR for future review testing.

Conclusion:

The IDE to SATA interface change from my last optical drive was less painful than I expected. BIOS support, at least, with my motherboard was flawless. DVD burning speed was actually slightly slower than the BenQ IDE model I tested it against. While this is not a big issue for me, you will have to decide for yourself how much weight that should merit.

Pros:

  • SATA hurray!
  • Handles wide variety of formats
  • Nero burning software
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Access times higher than some other drives
  • No second black bezel included
  • 20X SATA drives available

(Editor's note) Due to this review taking longer than expected it seems that Geeks now stocks a Lite-On 20X SATA DVDR drive, for virtually the same price as this Lite-On 16X SATA DVDR review model. The new model also has both black and beige bezels included (which this one did not). If there is any downside to this unit it is that I have yet to personally see any 20X DVDR media available so even with the faster drive you may be stuck burning your DVDs at 16X until 20X media goes mainstream.

Geeks

Added: September 16th 2007
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 8  
Related Link: Lite-On
Hits: 7788
Language: english

  

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