Sony Maximum Performance Upgrade Kit - Part 6

8. DVD-ROM Performance
I didn’t really bother to do a benchmark comparison. It wouldn’t have been fair, considering the Encore 2x is only rated as a 2x DVD-ROM drive and a 20x CD-ROM drive, whereas the Sony is rated at 5x and 24x for DVD-ROMs and CD-ROMs respectively.

What I can verify, however, is that Sony takes a lot less time to identify a new disc. When I place a new into the drive, it can usually ID it within 2-3 seconds, compared to about 5 seconds on the Encore 2x.

9. Overall Impressions
While I did not cover them here exhaustively, the Encore also has some strengths. Among them are:

  • excellent simultaneous TV output
  • great third-party/end-user Support, providing unsanctioned features such as:
  • disabling Macrovision
  • multiple format PAL/NTSC conversions
  • disabling Region Lockout
  • works brilliantly with the Desktop Theater 5.1

You cannot really discount the level of support the Encore has received since its introduction. The ability to disable Region Lockout and Macrovision (through a handy end-user written utility) is a great boon for most users, like me. I mainly get imported Code 1 (USA) titles eventhough I live in Singapore (Code 3). But occasionally, I also purchase Code 3 DVDs, and require the flexibility to change the region code as and when I need to.

Still, the strengths of REALMagic can’t be denied. It is hands-down, the BEST hardware-assisted DVD playback on the PC currently.

If you need:

  • Virtually transparent passthrough to monitor
  • Excellent (TV-quality) DVD and VCD playback on the PC monitor
  • AC3 SPDIF support for external amplifiers

... then the REALMagic offers an unbeatable combination.


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