Liteon 52/24/52 - IntroductionIntroduction
We definitely like things to be fast and up-to-date around here. Whether it be the fastest processor or the most overclockable stick of RAM with ultra high timings or the largest hard disk drive on the market - we must have it in our systems. I think I was born with this hungry and often expensive desire, anyway.One type of product which is often overlooked by computer users is CD-RW burners. While it would nice for each and every one of us to have the latest DVD burners installed inside our systems, the fact remains they are still out of reach for most users with their high asking prices of around $300 - $400 US (upwards $600 AU). Until the time arrives when they become mainstream (which is still more than 12 months away), CD-RW burners will continue to sell well and we will see burn speeds continue to be ramped up by manufactures as much as possible - but with the amazing speeds already achieved today, we are slowly coming to the end of the road in this department.Back a few years ago when CD burners started appearing, I was envious of friends who had their very own brand new, speedy 4/2/12 burners. Over the past few years CD burners have increased in popularity immensely and unsurprisingly this has proved as the fuel required by manufacturers to keep improving on this technology with features such as "burn-proof" and of course, yielding much faster burn speeds for us end-users.A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to upgrade my aging 16x burner and lash out to what Taiwanese based company Liteon were claiming is the World's Fastest CD-RW Burner!
- We are talking about the 522446S to be exact with its stunning 52x write, 24x re-write and 52x read on-paper figures. How does it really perform though? How much noise does it make? Is the CD-RW media out there to actually make use of it?We answer these questions and more today in this review of Liteon's latest and greatest CD-RW burner!
Liteon 52/24/52 - SpecificationsSpecifications
Let's get the ball rolling with the list of specifications on the burner copied directly from the Liteon website. Not all that interesting I know, but all the same it's good to look over for a quick overview of the product.Speed :
52x Write CD-R24x Rewrite CD-RW52x Read CD-ROM Speed Interface :
ATAPI / E-IDE, support up to Ultra-DMA Mode2 (33.3MB/sec) Access Time :
80ms (typical) Buffer Size :
2MB System Requirement :
CPU Pentium 166MHz or faster, 128MB DRAM requiredHDD must have access time < 20ms, with a minimum of 100MB Free space Compatibility :
Windows 95/98/NT/ME/XP/2000 Disc Format :
CD/CD-R/CD-RW formats both 8cm & 12cm discs (up to 99 mins) MTBF (Life) :
70,000 Hours Dimension :
190.0 (D) x 145.8 (W) x 41.3 (H) mm Weight :
Liteon 52/24/52 - FeaturesFeatures- Package and Contents
The retail kit which we were sent from our local reseller includes everything you need to get your new burner up and running in no time. You get the drive itself (duh!), instruction sheet giving you simple step-by-step instructions to install the drive in no less than 12 different languages, four screws to attach the drive inside of your case, CD audio cable if you intend on using the burner to play music CDs and a retail copy of Nero Burning ROM by Ahead Software.- The Drive - Physical Appearance
The drive itself follows the same design approach we have seen from most of Liteon's previous optical drive products - simple yet stylish. It does the job just nicely.Front left side picture below showing headphone line in, headphone volume control and LED indicator which lights up orange when burning and green when reading...
Front right side picture below showing burner speed and eject button...
The final shot shows the reverse side of the drive, as you can see it is fairly standard with nothing out of the ordinary to make mention of...
Liteon 52/24/52 - Features ContinuedFeatures ContinuedThe Drive - Internal Features
The 522446S burner is quite deceiving actually. It puts off a very simple look with its neat and tidy design approach, which suggests, in my books, an equally simple product.However this burner includes a few trademark Liteon internal features which you may have not expected from a company which is known for their highly competitive pricing scheme. It is important not to let the affordable asking price of this drive fool you.Firstly let's see what Nero InfoTool had to say about this drive...
Now let's move on to the drives internal features...- SMART-BURN Technology
The first item we will pay attention to is the drives SMART-BURN technology. Using this clever technology, the drive is able to automatically check which CD-R or CD-RW media you are attempting to use and increase or decrease burn speeds accordingly to what the drive thinks the media is able to safely handle. Not all burning software supports this feature, but Nero Burning ROM for one, which is included with the retail package, does and very well at that.As far as practicality goes, I found this feature quite handy indeed. Being a 52x burner, initially I was not positive which media would be able to actually write at this super fast speed, without adding another CD to the coaster collection. As you will see later on in this review, the drive did an excellent job of setting which speed to write at for a whole range of different media which we gathered and tested especially for this review.- VAS (Vibration Absorber System)
No matter what, any mechanical device in the world which spins at 52 times per second is going to make a degree of noise as it shakes and vibrates and does its thing. Although I am happy to note that Liteon have done a tremendous job with the implementation of their VAS.This drive vibrates no more than my older Sony 16x burner. While it does make some noise (with an initial unnerving whining sound, as if an alien were trying to escape the drive) when it is burning at top speeds, there is little to no vibration from the drive.- Mt.Rainier Supported
Many of you will most likely be unfamiliar with Phillip's relatively new Mt.Rainier patented technology, so here is a quick summary for you.Mt.Rainier supported drivers are designed to take over where standard floppy disk drives have brought us so far. If a burner has Mt.Rainier support, no drivers are required for the device to be installed within the Operating System, in our case Windows XP.
Install the drive into your computer and boot into your Operating System and it will automatically be detected without the need of any manufacturer drivers - this is known as Native OS support, the basis behind Mt.Rainier. With Windows XP, no third party burner software is even required to burn CDs, as seen in the picture above of the CD Writing Wizard.Simply drag and drop through Windows Explorer as if it were a regular floppy disk drive, burn your data, then you're done - It is that easy.
Liteon 52/24/52 - Benchmarks - Test System and Nero Burning ROM and Sandra- Test SystemProcessor(s):
Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz (Supplied by Intel Australia
FIC VC19 (Supplied by FIC
512mb Crucial PC2700 (Supplied by Crucial
nVidia GeForce4 Ti4200 Reference (Supplied by nVidia
Seagate 80gb 7,200 RPM ATA100Sound Card(s):
Sound Blaster Extigy Operating System Used:
Windows XP ProfessionalDrivers Used:
Native OS - Sony 16/10/40 and Liteon 52/24/52Software Used:
Nero Burning ROM, Nero CD Speed, SiSoft Sandra 2003, CD Tach 98Please Note -
We used TDK 700mb 80min CD-R media capable of writing at 52x and 16x respectively on both of our test products. The 615mb data CD we used was Need for Speed - HP2 by EA Games. No firmware updates were applied to either drive.Nero Burning ROM
Nero Burning ROM is the best friend your recorder could ever have. Fast, ultra-stable, powerful, and user-friendly, Nero is the complete answer to your recording needs. Since 1995, Nero's development has been guided by users like you. - On The Fly (615mb)
For our first benchmark we burnt a 615mb data CD "on the fly" from our source drive Pioneer 16x DVD. The Liteon 52x drive certainly kept the Pioneer drive on its toes the entire time since the Pioneer drive could only read at a maximum speed of 40x - This did not seem to effect our burning procedure though with the Liteon drive beating the slower Sony drive by over three and a half minutes.Given 40x was the highest obtainable write speed in this test, the Liteon drive performed very well indeed.- Image from HDD - (615mb)
In this benchmark the 615mb source image from the Pioneer 16x DVD had to be copied to the HDD then results were recorded from each burner for the total time (including writing the image to HDD) required.The Liteon drive shows almost a three minute advantage in this test.SiSoft Sandra CD-ROM Benchmark
SiSoft Sandra (the S
iagnostic and R
eporting Assistant) 2003 is a synthetic windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
This test did not compare the burn speed capabilities from each drive. Sandra 2003 CD-ROM synthetic benchmark tested each of the drives to determine their performance when reading CDs with access times and so forth taken into consideration.We see that the Liteon drive takes a clear advantage over the Sony drive which is only able to read at 40x. This benchmark is useful for those intend on using the burner as their standard standalone CD drive as well.
Liteon 52/24/52 - Benchmarks - Nero CD Speed and CD Tach 98Nero CD Speed
CD Speed is a CD-ROM benchmark by cdspeed2000.com which can test the most important features of a CD-ROM drive. Tests include Transfer rate, Seek times, CPU usage, Burst rate, DAE quality, Transfer rate and Spinup/spindown time.- Liteon 52x
The results from Nero CD Speed are fairly self-explanatory. Pay careful attention to the average burn speed and low CPU usage figures.We had issues getting this program working properly with our Sony 16x burner, so these results were not included.CD Tach 98 Results
CD Tach is complete CD-ROM benchmarking software for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Tests include Sequential read tests at nine locations on the disc, Full stroke access time, Random access time, CPU utilization at 4X, 8X, 12X and drive max speed, User-selectable CPU utilization, Interface burst speed test, Multipass testing, Standard ASCII and comma-delimited test logging and Command line parameters for network and batch testing.- Liteon 52x- Sony 16x
Our CD Tach 98 results really made the Liteon drive stand up and take pride.The results were really nothing short of amazing. Pay close attention to the low access times and impressive CPU utilization - or lack of, as a matter of fact. Even when the Liteon drive was accessing 3 times faster than the Sony drive, it used 28% less CPU to perform the operation than the slower spinning Sony drive!The results show that Liteon has not only produced a wickedly fast burner but they have also paid close attention the inner workings of the drive and what influence it has on the computer when it is working at these fast-paced speeds.I have nothing but praise for Liteon from these benchmarking results. Media Testing
Earlier on in the review I told you about the drives SMART-BURN feature - the technology which allows this drive to automatically detect which CD-R or CD-RW media you are using and determine which speed it will safely be able to be written at.For your reference, we gathered and tested 8 different types of CD-R media from several different companies and noted how fast Nero Burning ROM in conjunction with the Liteon burner SMART-BURN technology allowed the media to be written at with "PASS" allowing 52x write speeds and "FAIL", obviously not.PASS:
- Included Liteon Multi-Speed = PASS (no problems)- TDK 40x = PASS (no problems)- TDK "Plus" Unknown Speed = PASS (no problems)- Pioneer 32x = PASS (no problems)FAIL:
- TDK 8x = FAIL (16x only)- Princo 16x = FAIL (40x only)- Verbatim 24x = FAIL (32x only)- Imation "CR-R Music" Unknown Speed = FAIL (40x only)As you can see only 4 of the 8 media disks were able to handle the 52x write speeds. Keep this in mind when you are considering your purchase - depending on your location, it may be difficult to source the required media for your drive.Conclusion
While we cannot give you a definitive answer if the Liteon 522446S burner is in fact the fastest CD-RW device on the planet
like the manufacturer claims, I can tell you it held up to all my hopes and expectations.I won't lie to you, when the drive starts spinning up at its top speed; it is not quiet and is noticeable above any other device inside of the computer. On the same token, if you're a person like me with many fans inside of your case, cooling your overclocked components, it will not be much of a nuisance for you - and like I did - you will most probably grow to accept it as a normal part of your day-to-day computing experience. You need to take the good with the bad with such a fast operating optical drive. It's the trade off YOU need to decide whether you wish to make or not.If you are after a super fast burner (and probably the fastest money can buy at time of writing this review...) and don't want to break the bank at the same time, you should definitely pay close attention to Liteon's classy yet affordable 522446S burner. Personally, from now on Liteon will be a brand I will be choosing for all future optical drive purchases and one I would have no problem recommending to potential buyers.Pros
- Ultra Fast- SMART-BURN Technology- Low Level of Vibration- Mt.Rainier Support- Inexpensive- Easy InstallationCons
- Loud- 52x media may be hard to findRating 9.5/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award