LiteOn SOHW-1673s

Mar 30th, 2005 | By

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LiteOn SOHW-1673s

: 03/30/05 – 06:42:43 PM


: Optical Devices

Page 1 : Introduction

Manufacturer: LiteOn

Lite-On is a name in optical storage that most hardware enthusiasts know well. Known primarily in the hardware community as an optical storage drive maker, Lite-On also has products in Cases, Motherboards, Monitors, Scanners, Printers, PDA's, Digital Cameras, Tablet PC's, Modems, Wireless Connections (such as 802.11x and bluetooth) and many others!

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In the past we have taken a look at the SOHW-1633S, which was a 16x DVD+R and 8x DVD-R and before that we looked at the SOHW-1213S, which was a 12x DVD+R and still an 8x DVD-R! Today we are going to explore the SOHW-1673S, which boasts speeds of 16x for both DVD±R/±RW and hopefully show why Lite-On is always a great choice for any of your optical drives!

Page 2 : Package

The SOHW-1673S comes in what seems like the standard Lite-On box. You have plenty of awards displayed towards the top that LiteOn drives have received, and of course LiteOn clearly shows some of the features of the product.

The front of the box:[/quote]
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The back:[/quote]
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And the two sides:[/quote]
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Inside the box, we have manuals, registration info, our Nero software, our PowerDVD software, and the Audio Cable:

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Let's move on and take a look at the drive and its features.

Page 3 : Features

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* ATAPI/E-IDE Half-Height internal DVD+R / DVD+RW / DVD-R / DVD-RW / DVD+R9 / DVD-ROM / CD-R / CD-RW / CD-ROM combination drive
* Support Double Layer DVD+R DLRecording Function
* SMART-BURN® avoiding Buffer Under Run error, Automatically adjusting writing strategy & running OPC to provide the best burning quality(*1)
* SMART-X® Smart Monitoring & Adjusting Read-speed Technology for eXtraction(*2)
* VAS® to reduce vibration & noise during recording & reading(*3)
* Support Fixed Packet, Variable Packet, TAO, SAO, DAO, Raw Mode Burning & Over-Burn
* DVD read compliant: DVD single/dual layer (PTP, OTP), DVD-R(3.9G/4.7G), DVD-R multi-borders, DVD+R, DVD+R multi-sessions, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW
* CD read compliant: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, Phto-CD, Multi-session, Karaoke-CD, Video-CD, CD-I FMV, CD Extra, CD Plus, CD-R, and CD-RW
* Support both 8cm and 12cm disc of CD and DVD family
* Conform to Orange Book: Part 2 CD-R Volume 1, Part 2 CD-R Volume 2 Multi Speed, Part 3 CD-RW Volume 1 (1X, 2X AND 4X), Part 3 CD-RW Volume 2: High Speed, Part 3 CD-RW Volume 3: Ultra Speed
* Supported transfer mode : PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2 and Ultra DAM mode 2


SMART-BURN® : Smart Monitoring & Adapting Recording Technology for BURNing.
SMART-X® : Smart Monitoring & Adjusting Read-speed Technology for eXtraction.
VAS® : Vibration Absorber System

As with the previous Lite-On reviews, Simon did some excellent research on some of the features these Lite-On drives have.


SMART-BURN is the abbreviation of ‘ Smart Monitoring & Adapting Recording Technology for BURNing ‘, innovated CD-RW technology by LITE-ON IT, will be introduced to other products in the future.

Users always want to successfully burn a disc at higher speeds in the CD-RW drive. You may know, there are so many brands of CD-R / CD-RW media in the market with irregular quality & still being cost down in the price war.

If your CD-R / CD-RW media quality is really poor or working environment is too hot to induce the Laser Power over margin, the CD-RW drive detected, the burning speed will be forced to decrease to get more reliable Laser working power to secure the life of CD-RW drive & burning quality. Strategy parameters plus the outstanding running Optimum Power Calibration ( OPC ) function to provide you the best burning quality.

The buffer under run error is also no longer happening to your drive anymore, SMART-BURN also can allow drive to be suspended during writing, than continue to burn from last point when enough data get in the buffer.

SMART-BURN features :
1. Buffer Under Run Error Free
2. Running Optimum Power Calibration
3. Automatic Writing Strategy & Burning Parameters
4. Automatically decrease burning speed when Laser power over margin due to poor media quality or high temperature


SMART-X is the abbreviation of Smart Monitoring & Adjusting Read-speed Technology for eXtraction, which is LITE-ON innovated technology after being verified & improved for a long period before get into mass production.

People ask ‘Whatâs the DAE speed?’, ‘ Whatâs VCD play speed of the drive? ‘â¦etc. People want to know this to choose party drive. As you know, removable optical media is so open & unable to control the media quality. Drives need to burn a disc with higher speed & quality as possible. So the drive need to be very smart!

Itâs more difficult for a drive to rip the Audio & VCD disc than a data disc due to there are only 2 levels error correction for Audio & VCD disc but data discs got 3. For limited un-recoverable error, data can be fixed by estimation & calculation due to itâs only for music & movie application. These tolerance ripped data are acceptable & can not be detected by human eyes & ears during playback because there is no pop-noise, interrupt or mosaic on the screen. Of course zero error is preferable for zero tolerance.

SMART-X technology is the drive will rip the music / VCD data as fast as possible with less error, even on a poor quality media ( like dirty, scratched ) , the drive will estimate if the ripped data will result audio noise, interrupt or mosaic on screen, the rip speed can be reduced to get more correctable data. SMART-X provide you as fast rip speed as possible, on the other, if you just want to listen music or watch movie directly, itâs not necessary for the drive to keep high speed to read data. It will work under lower speed automatically to get better playability & lower acoustic, so smart !


The vibration absorber is designed to the resonance frequency of the drive rotating speed, the most of the traverse vibration will be inducted into the absorber to get the minimum vibration on Traverse & cover.
Name: Isolated Absorber System
Slogan: VAS
Similar design: Pioneer
Advantage: Small vibration on Traverse / Pickup & Cover
Disadvantage: Space limitation, hard to design the isolated absorber

The following image shows the physical components required for this feature:

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ABS – Auto Balancer Spindle

Steel balls as balancer within spindle motor will be settled into right positions during spin up period ( thatâs the reason why a little noise during drive spin up to read a disc ) to compensate imbalance of the disc when rotating at very high speed.
The ABS mechanism can fit from CD-ROM 32x design up to 56x or higher speed that the spindle motor can even works over 10000 rpm with very small vibration generated.


A feature I haven't seen on any other drive is the LiteON BookType BitSetting. This little feature is great if you own old DVD Players that may not support DVD+R or DVD+RW. By using the BookType software utility, you can change the BookType to DVD-ROM in hopes it is supported by your player. You can also change the BookType to DVD+RW. There are various other features incorporated with this piece of software, and if you have further interest click here to view the entire PDF and information therein.

Page 4 : Specifications/Drive exterior

First we'll take a look at the exterior, which is a pretty standard 5.25′ optical drive. LiteOn was nice enough to send the Black bezel drive for us to review, and it looks pretty sharp. Optical drives have not changed much in their short history, and this one is no exception. We have our basic tray drive.

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But it's not what is on the outside that we're interested in! Let's look at the specs for this drive.

DVD Family:
Write : DVD+R 16X(21600KB/sec) by Z-CLV
DVD-R 16X(21600KB/sec) by Z-CLV
DVD+/-R DL 4X(5400KB/sec) by CLV
ReWrite : DVD+RW 8X(10800KB/sec) by CLV
DVD-RW 6X(8100KB/sec) by CLV
Read : 16X(21600KB/sec) maxmium by CAV
Access Time : 160ms
CD Family:
Write : CD-R 48X(7200KB/sec) maxmium by P-CAV
ReWrite : CD-RW 24X(3600KB/sec) maxmium by Z-CLV in UltraSpeed disc
Read : 48X(7200KB/sec) maxmium by CAV
Access Time : 160ms
Buffer Size :
PC Required :
Pentium III 450 MHz or faster CPU, 128MB or higher RAM are Required
650 HDD available capacity; and 5GB free space for creating DVD image file
Compatibility :
Windows 98/NT4.0/ME/2000/XP
MTBF (Life) :
70000 Hours
S/N Ration >75dB
Environment :
Operating 5°C to 45°C; Relative Humidity : 10% to 80%, Non-Condensing
Non-Operating -40°C to 60°C; Relative Humidity : 10% to 95%, Non-Condensing
Dimension :
145.0(W) x 41.3(H) x 170.0(D) mm
Weight :
Voltage Requirements :
+5V +/-5% and less than 100 mVp-p ripple voltage
+12V +/-5% and less than 200mVp-p ripple voltage

Page 5 : DVD Types

So you may be wondering what the differences of DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, etc are as I certainly was before this review! I had a vague idea, but a little bit of research definitly helped clear up my knowledge. I found a great website called VideoHelp and they explained it very well.


DVD-R was the first DVD recording format released that was compatible with standalone DVD Players.
DVD-R is a non-rewriteable format and it is compatible with about 93% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.
DVD-RW is a rewriteable format and it is compatible with about 80% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.
DVD-R and DVD-RW supports single side 4.37 computer GB* DVDs(called DVD-5) and double sided 8.75 computer GB* DVDs(called DVD-10).
These formats are supported by DVDForum.


DVD+R is a non-rewritable format and it is compatible with about 89% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.
DVD+RW is a rewritable format and is compatible with about 79% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.
DVD+R and DVD+RW supports single side 4.37 computer GB* DVDs(called DVD-5) and double side 8.75 computer GB* DVDs(called DVD-10).
These formats are supported by the DVD+RW Alliance.


DVD+R DL or called DVD+R9 is a Dual Layer writeable DVD+R. The dual layered discs can hold 7.95 computer GB* (called DVD-9) and dual layered double sides 15.9* computer GB (called dvd-18).


DVD-RAM has the best recording features but it is not compatible with most DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. Think more of it as a removable hard disk. DVD-RAM is usually used in some DVD Recorders.
This format is supported by DVDForum.

Page 6 : Installation/Software

Optical drives are not much of a challenge to install. Depending on your case, you would take a different approach! In my situation, I am using the Aerocool Spiral Galaxies case, which comes with tool-less rails that are used for 5.25′ drive installation.

I Just snapped on my tool-less rails and was ready to go![/quote]
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Once the drive was installed, we match perfectly, and look very professional.

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The back of the drive looks like a pretty standard optical drive, this one is quite nice because of it's shorter length, it won't stick into your case quite as far.

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The included software with this drive was the full Nero package, which includes:

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- Nero Express 6
- InCD 4
- NeroVision Express 2
- Nero BackItUp
- Mpeg-2 SVCD/DVD Plugin

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And also included was PowerDVD 5 which you can use for viewing DVD's.

So now you've seen the software for the DVD Burner, let's take a look at how the drive can perform in our own tests.

Page 7 : Benchmarks

For the benchmarks we will be using the following system:

AMD Athlon64 3000+ @ 2.0ghz
Epox 8KDA3J
512mb Corsair Value PC3200
WD Raptor 36.7gb SATA

Driver versions
- Chipset: nForce 3.13
- Liteon 1673s: 5.1.2535.0 (Microsoft)

Operating system
: Windows XP Professional w/ SP2
For the write speeds, transfer rates, seek times, CPU usages, and burst speeds, Nero's toolkit was used. For the Error PI/POF tests, KProbe was used. Again the link for this software is here in case you want to grab yourself a copy. For the testing, we'll be using both a single layer 16x DVD-R (left) and a Dual Layer 4x DVD-R (right).

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For comparison to the 1633s reviewed here by Tony, his graphs of the same exact tests, with the same media are being overlayed onto my graphs.

Eject Time: 1.39
Load Time: 1.27

DVD+R 16x

The information on the disc:

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Write Speed

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The 1633s performed negligablly higher with an average of 11.99x, Start of 6.68, and a ending speed of 16.03.

Transfer Rate, Seek Time, CPU Usage, Burst Speed

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In this test, the speed differences were also negligible, about .02 difference in speed. However the CPU usage was 3% lower for both 2x and 4x.

Error PI/POF

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I could not overlay the graphs for the PI/POF error tests, because they were on different scales. The newer 1673s blew away the older 1633s in PI errors, with the 1633s getting 1,687,067 errors and the 1673s getting 449,948. However the older 1633s beat the 1673s in PIF errors 16,361 to 100,476 respectively.

Dual Layer DVD+R 16x

The information on the disc:

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Write Speed

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In the dual layer test, the 1673s was considerably faster. The older 1633s is reflected in the graph by the dark green and yellow lines. The 1673s are the brighter green and yellow lines. The 1673s finished the test almost 20 minutes faster than the 1633s as well.

Transfer Rate, Seek Time, CPU Usage, Burst Speed

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The only differences in these tests was in the seek time. The seek time for the 1673s was consistantly about 10ms faster than the 1633s.

Error PI/POF

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Similar results with the 16x DVD+R error tests, the 1673s got less errors than the 1633s 86,462 and 121,525 respectively. The 1633s beat the 1673s again with PIF errors, 1,721 to 4,948 respectively.

We'll take a little aside to the CD-R world. Even though this is not our primary focus here, this drive even supports the fastest burning for CD-R and CD-RWS.

24x CD-R

Information on the disc:

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And the write test:

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I was able to overlay the graphs again, and it looks like the 1673s fixes the issue that Tony was having with the CD-R not reaching the 48x capably speed. Again the 1633s is the darker green and yellow, and the 1673s is the bight green and yellow.

Page 8 : Conclusion

LiteOn is a very well known company when it comes to optical drives. When buying a LiteOn drive, you know you're buying one of the best. The SOHW-1673s is another addition to LiteOn's award winning arsenal.

Although I did not have 16x DVD-R to test with the drive, you know that it is going to be fast given the blazing 16x speed capability of the drive. The 1633s performed the write speed test for the dual layer DVD in 43 minutes and 45 seconds, whereas this newer 1673s performed the same test, with the same Dual Layer DVD in 26 minutes 51 seconds. This is quite a performance gain.

There are a ton of other tests that could be performed with this drive, with a huge variety of DVD and CD types. However, I do not own all these types of media. But for this price and the name like LiteOn behind it, you can't go wrong with the LiteOn 16x DVD±R / ±RW Double Layer. This is my new favorite storage devices, that's why it earns my
Overclockers Online Editor's Choice Award

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- Fastes speeds on the market for all types of media
- Great error checking and buffer underrun prevention features
- Nero software bundle is always a plus
- Excellent price


- Umm, what con??

We'd like to send a special thanks to LiteOn for supplying us this sample!

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