LiteOn SOHW-1633S 16x DVD Writer

LiteOn SOHW-1633S 16x DVD Writer

  1. VelocityReviews
    In this review I’ll be taking a look at Lite-On’s SOHW-1633S 16x DVD±RW drive, which features DVD Plus (+) burning of DVD Recordable discs at 16x and Minus (-) burning of DVD Recordable discs at 8x and DVD Rewritable discs at 4x. The drve also has a Write/Rewrite/Read speed at 48x24x48.


    Before I get to the review, I would like to provide some background on Lite-On. Lite-On I.T. branched off from Lite-On Group in 1999 in a highly successful attempt to create a division to focus solely on the manufacturing of optical storage devices. Now, five-years later, Lite-On I.T. is the number-one CD-ROM drive manufacturer in Taiwan and the number-three CD-ROM drive manufacturer in the world. Lite-On makes a wide-variety of optical storage devices, including DVD±RW and CD-RW drives, as well as combination drives. Although, probably most recognized for their CD burners, Lite-On is quickly becoming a contender for the DVD burner crown.


    Contents, features and specifications can be found on LiteOn's website.

    • Write:
      • DVD+R 16X(21600KB/sec) maximum by CAV
      • DVD-R 8X(10800KB/sec) maximum by Z-CLV
      • DVD+R9 2.4X(3240KB/sec) maximum by CLV
      • CD-R 48X(7200KB/sec) maximum by P-CAV
    • ReWrite:
      • DVD+RW 4X(5400KB/sec) by CLV
      • DVD-RW 4X(5400KB/sec) by CLV
      • CD-RW 24X(3600KB/sec) maximum by Z-CLV in UltraSpeed disc
    • Read:
      • DVD - 16X(21600KB/sec) maximum by CAV
      • CD - 48X(7200KB/sec) maximum by CAV
    • Access Time: 160ms
    • Buffer Size: 2MB
    • Compatibility:
    • MS-Windows 98 / NT4.0 / ME / 2000 / XP
    • MTBF (Life): 70000 Hours
    • S/N Ration: >75dB
    • 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+R9 Recording Function
    • SMART-BURN(*1) avoiding Buffer Under Run error, Automatically adjusting writing strategy & running OPC to provide the best burning quality
    • SMART-X(*2) function adjusts CD-DA / VCD / DVD data extraction to a fastest allowable speed according to both data request rate from host and disk quality
    • VAS(*3) system reduce vibration and noise during recording and reading
    • Support Fixed Packet, Variable Packet, TAO, SAO, DAO, Raw Mode Burning & Over-Burn
    • DVD read compliant: DVD single/ dual layer (PTP/ OTP), DVD-R(3.9GB/ 4.7GB), 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, Photo-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 Volume2: High Speed, Part 3 CD-RW Volume 3: Ultra Speed
    • Supported transfer mode: PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2 and Ultra DMA mode 2



    The Lite-On SOHW-1633S comes perfectly packaged, in a well designed box. The drive itself is held in the middle of the box by two cardboard peices to prevent any damage. The design on the box showcases the SOHW-1633. The side of the box lists the features, package contents, system requirements and awards Lite-On has recieved. The back displays the specifications.



    • DVD±RW Drive
    • Quick Installation Guide
    • Nero OEM Suite (Nero Express 6, InCD 4, NeroVision Express 2, Nero BackItUp, DOS driver)
    • CyberLink PowerDVD XP
    • User’s Manual
    • Audio Cable
    • Mounting Screws
    • DVD+R / DVD-R Media (one each)Testing

    Testing of the SOHW-1663S was done with the following system:


    16x DVD-ROM Performance

    While most DVD writers fail to offer decent read rates due to optimizing the laser for burning, the Lite-On SOHW-1633S delivered an impressive average rate of 12x when testing with singe layer pressed media. First up was a single layer DVD movie, Twin Warriors. The movie Mission Impossible 2 was used to determine read rates for pressed dual layer DVD media.

    16x DVD+R Performance

    In DVD+R mode, the Lite-On SOHW-1633S provided superb performance. Nero CD-DVD reported an average burn rate of 11.91x, making the 1663S the fastest DVD+R drive I've yet to see. There were a few minor bounces in rotational speed during the burn, but the actual burn curve was smooth with no problems to note. Lite-on supplied Verbatim 16x DVD+R discs with our media review sample. The discs are recognized as "MMC 04" by Nero. Read quality for our burned Verbatim 16x media took a severe hit around 8x. In contrast, pressed media, which offers greater reflectivity than burned discs, proved reliable enough for data extraction up to the drive's top-rated speed (shown earlier).

    8x DVD+R Performance

    I used consumer-grade media currently available on store shelves in order to test 8x DVD+R performance. The discs were branded Philips, but the actual media manufacturer was CMC with a "MAG E01" identifier. Performance testing with 8x media was inline with expectations. Burn quality was superb, and the overall process went without a single problem.

    2.4x DVD+R Dual Layer Performance

    Dual layer testing consisted of manufacturer-supplied Verbatim 2.4x DVD+R DL media, recognized as "MKM 001" by Nero. Performance was acceptable, and burn quality passed our tests with no notable problems.

    4x DVD-R Performance

    Just like the DVD+R testing, the Lite-On SOHW-1633S proved more than capable of producing quality DVD-R media. Generic, Ritek "G04" discs were used during this portion of the testing phase.


    In all honesty, the SOHW-1633S isn't for everyone. While the drive's DVD-RAM capabilities will be appreciated by some, most consumers probably won't ever use this feature. For these people, there are better DVD writers out there. What might sway some consumers though, is its price. Available in both black and white, the SOWH-1663S can be found for under $80, which is a steal with bundled software.


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