Blast from the past: originally posted May 31 2001.

It’s tough to review optical drives, like CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. Once you get past the model number, it’s pretty much a look at some benchmarks and a picture of the front, top, back and packaging of the drive. Factor in that almost every computer has a CD-ROM drive that does the basics, installing and running software from CD, and you’ve got the whole picture. What I’ll try and do here is present basic observations to go along with the benchmarks and pretty pictures.

This time around we’re looking at the LG 8120B CD Rewriter. It writes at 12x, rewrites at 8x and reads at 32x. “X” represents a multiple of the original CD spec of 150 kb per second. It supports all major writing formats, and has an 8 MB buffer. LG drives are only available with an ATAPI interface, the 8120B working up to ATA33 speeds. It has a 110 ms access time and a 4800 KB/s transfer speed, according to the company’s specs.

I purchased the retail package, as I couldn’t get an OEM model. Upon opening the flashy box I examined the contents: a 40 pin IDE cable, three pin audio cable, four mounting screws, Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.0 standard, a multi-language manual, one CD-R, one CD-RW and the drive itself.

Installation was straight forward, as the drive was set to Master. I plugged it onto my Promise Ultra100 ATA controller and everything was working. For testing I used CD Speed 99 v0.80, which is the most common benchmark. As well I ran Nero 5.5, Direct CD 3.0 and Clone CD 2.8.5.2; the drive wrote CD-Rs and CD-RWs at it’s rated speed. I put in a blank, selected 12x recording and burned a full CD. As well it copied every disk I threw at it in Clone CD without difficulty. Let’s take a look at the CD Speed results; since this is my first optical drive review I don’t have a comparison, other than the company’s specifications.

One other point about the 8120b’s performance; throughout testing I found the drive to be fairly quiet.

CD Speed 99

26 May 2001 – 15:06:31

CD-ROM drive information
VendorLG
ProductCD-RW CED-8120B
Firmware Version1.02

CD information
TypeData
Length73:55.13

Test results

Transfer rate
Average22.20x
Start14.50x
End24.43x
Reading typeP-CAV

DAE quality
ScoreN/A
Accurate streamNo

As you can see, it’s seek times are a little better than advertised, with the random seek at 97 ms. The transfer rate falls short at 24.43x being it’s best; not really 32x now is it. Respectable scores none the less. Let’s turn to the DAE ( digital audio extraction ) scores.

———————————————————————————————–
Offset
———————————————————————————————–
2764 bytes (691 samples)
———————————————————————————————–
Sequential Read Test
———————————————————————————————–
Average Speed: 13.26 X
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0
———————————————————————————————–
Harmonica Read Test
———————————————————————————————–
Average Access Time: 147 ms
Data Errors: 0
Sync Errors: 0

Total Data Errors: 0
Total Sync Errors: 0
Quality Score: 100.0
———————————————————————————————–
On The Fly Copying Simulation
———————————————————————————————–
Copying at 4 X
OK
Copying at 6 X
OK
Copying at 8 X
OK
Copying at 10 X
OK
Copying at 12 X
too slow
Copying at 16 X
too slow
———————————————————————————————–
CD Text
———————————————————————————————–
Drive is capable of reading CD Text information
———————————————————————————————–
Subchannel Data
———————————————————————————————–
Test 1
Track (01): 01
Relative position (01:05.00): 00:57.14 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (01:07.00): 01:05.14 -> incorrect!
Index (5): 3 -> incorrect!

Test 2
Track (17): 01 incorrect!
Relative position (01:33.00): 00:57.14 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (33:35.00): 01:05.14 -> incorrect!
Index (1): 3 -> incorrect!

Test 3
Track (36): 01 incorrect!
Relative position (00:00.00): 00:57.14 -> incorrect!
Absolute position (70:02.00): 01:05.14 -> incorrect!
Index (1): 3 -> incorrect!
———————————————————————————————–
Leadin
———————————————————————————————–
Drive can read max. 150 sectors (-00:02.00) from the Leadin
———————————————————————————————–

Elapsed Time: 0:20:37

A not too bad score of 13.26x for DAE, with 100 % on the quality. That’s about all there is to say about that.

All around the LG 8120B is a good buy, and performs well. I’d easily recommend it to those looking for a bargain, but it’s lack of disc protection such as Burn Proof takes away. The 8 MB buffer certainly provides ample room against buffer underruns, and to be fair I didn’t burn any “coasters” while testing.