Which drive for scanning?

What would be a good choice for a drive to do quality scans? I already have an LG GSA-H55L IDE drive.

Lite-On seems to get mentioned frequently. But sometimes that’s in the same message saying that since Optiarc, Plextor or BenQ or other “oldies” are no longer available, Lite-On is basically the only choice.

I came across some drives that a store labeled as OEM Sony. Looking at the drives, the manufacturer’s sticker said “Sony NEC Optiarc Inc.” There were three different model number drives that I saw: AD-7200A, AD-7201A and AD-7220A.

I see comments that NEC AD-7200 models are good. And that some Optiarc models are the same as Lite-Ons. I have nothing against Lite-On, I just read that some people tend to favor the older drives and try to get replacements for them on eBay.

Are any of the “Sony NEC Optiarc” models I mentioned any good? Or is Lite-On still the way to go?

Depends on whether you want to scan DVDs or CDs, and whether scanning speed is important.

For scanning DVDs at a reasonable speed, a LiteOn DVD burner is the better choice IMO - especially the models that also support TA Jitter scanning.

For scanning DVDs where speed is irrelevant, a “real” Plextor DVD burner with a Sanyo chipset is hard to beat (although it’s very difficult to interpret normal Jitter reported by those drives - TA Jitter is much easier to interpret). Such drives are no longer in production and are very hard to find (e.g. PX-760/755/716/712).

For scanning DVDs “real” BenQ drives using Nexperia chipset are also good, although they have some quirks that make me trust them less than LiteOn scans. These are also out of production and hard to find (e.g. DW1655/1650/1640/1620).

Some other drives can also be used for scanning DVDs but provide less information (i.e. no jitter) and/or have other quirks. The Optiarc 5200/7200 series might be OK scanners, but don’t report jitter and report inflated PIE numbers (bytes instead of rows in error).

Some drives can scan DVDs but produce such varying or random results, that it’s better to ignore the scanning function of such drives. Optiarc 3550/4550 and 5170/7170 series drives would be examples.

If you’re interested in CD scanning, I’ll add my thoughts on that later.


I guess I should have specified DVD scanning. I didn’t know it would make a difference. Sorry about that.

Reasonable speed would be good. I’ve been playing with the LG drive which is really slow & I’m debating if I should save myself some aggravation & get another drive.

I’ll have to consider a Lite-On drive. The ones that I usually see advertised are: iHAP422-08, iHAP222-06 and iHAP122-04. You recommended the models that support TA Jitter scanning, do these models qualify?

I should ask, what is TA Jitter versus the Jitter that Nero DisicSpeed reports on the LG drive?

TA Jitter is a different way to measure and present jitter information.
It shows the distribution of pit/land (mark/space) lengths compared to the expected 3T…14T lengths and calculates the jitter and peak-shift of the distribution.

The LiteOn 6S, 20A1 and 20A4 series can perform TA Jitter testing (I don’t remember about the 5S series, but I think it might support it with the right firmware). You will need CDSpeed to be able to use TA Jitter with the 20A4 series.

The 20A3 series and current iHAP/iHAS series don’t support TA Jitter testing.

Here’s an example of a TA Jitter test:


I have seen the Lite-On 20A1 and 20A4 models listed on web sites & they appear to be 20X drives. My local stores carry 22X drives which I presume are newer. These are the iHAP422, iHAP222 and iHAP122 models. Are the 22X drives any good for scanning or should I look for a 20X version?

The LiteOn 22x drives don’t (currently) support TA Jitter scanning. If you want to be able to perform TA Jitter scanning, get one of the 20x drives (A1 or A4, not the A3) instead.

As for 22x vs 20x burning, In my opinion the difference is how fast you can make a bad burn. Anything faster than 16x is a wild gamble, and often even 16x is too fast to burn your DVD media.

From other people’s experience with the 22x drives, the 20x drives may actually on average perform better burns. As for scanning I’m not sure.

What I find readily available for Lite-Ons with an IDE interface are any of the new iHAP x22 series and the DH-20A4H model. The LH-20A1 or LH-20A3 seem older & harder to find.

I have seen comments stating that the LH firmware seems to be preferred over the DH drive’s firmware. And saw a couple postings about cross flashing a DH drive with LH firmware. I have no idea how that affects the drive, but it would tend to indicate having an LH drive or its firmware is preferable.

I know you explained TA Jitter & that the DH-20A4H can do it. But do you have any knowledge if there is an issue with its firmware? I tried to find out more about this & saw a couple comments that a DH drive was not recognized as a Lite-On if it had the DH firmware. Does that make any sense? However I still don’t know the advantage to changing it.

There have also been cautions noting that improper cross flashing could make a drive inoperable. While I don’t need a 22X drive because speed is not that critical for me, buying a current x22 model may be the simplest way to go.

Any further comments would be appreciated.
Thanks ahead of time.