DVD+/-RW Drive Round-up 2007 - HotHardware

DVD+/-RW Drive Round-up 2007

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While doing research for this review, we realized that we had to go back nearly three years - an eternity in the PC industry - to find the last HotHardware article on optical drives.  For a comparative look at technologies, back then we were using single core Pentium 4s in Intel 865/875 boards, GeForce 6800s and 1GB of blazing fast 533MHz RAM. One of the reasons for the lack of optical drives articles is that not much has rocked this area since that time.  There have been minor bumps in speed from 16x to 18x (and now 20x) and swapping of the interface from IDE to SATA, but nothing truly earth shattering has happened.  And until the next-gen HD optical format wars are settled and prices come down to reasonable levels, we wouldn't touch the current crop of recordable Blu-Ray or HD DVD drives with a stick.

This DVD burner round-up consists of some of the more well-known names out there: Plextor, Lite-On, and Asus, all of which have produced some fine drives over the years.  Plextor has been praised for their technological advancements in the area, Lite-On for their lower prices, and Asus for their quiet operation.  But, three years later, is there really any major difference between the three?  Is any one drive really that much better than any other?  With prices reaching all-time lows, we grabbed three of their latest models for some thorough testing to determine just how they stacked up.

Stacked Drives

Make/Model

Asus DRW-2014L1T 

 Lite-On LH-20A1H

 Plextor PX-810SA

Write Speed
(Max)

DVD+/-R:
DVD-RW:
DVD+RW:
DVD+/- (DL):
CD-R:
CD-RW:
DVD-RAM:



20X
6X
8X
8X
48X
32X
14X



20X
6X
8X
8X
48X
32X
12X



18X
6X
8X
10X
40X
32X
12X
Read Speed
(Max)

DVD-ROM:
DVD+/-R:
DVD+/-R (DL)
CD-ROM:
CD-R/RW

 

16X
16X
8X
40X
40X



16X
16X
8X
48X
48X
 


16X
16X
10X
40X
40X
Access Time

DVD / CD
 

140 ms / 150 ms
 

160 ms / 160 ms
 

130 ms / 120 ms
Lightscribe Labeling  1.6X     1.6X  N/A
O/S Compatibility Windows XP/NT/2K/Vista Windows XP/2K SP4 Windows XP/Vista
Interface SATA SATA SATA
Data Buffer 2MB 2MB 2MB
Writing
Formats:
DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW, Lightscribe DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW, Lightscribe DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-RW
Reading Formats: DVD-ROM, DVD±R/RW, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-Text, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM DVD-ROM, DVD±R/RW, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-Text, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM DVD-ROM, DVD±R/RW, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-Text, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM
Disc Diameter: 12 cm and 8 cm  12 cm and 8 cm  12 cm and 8 cm 
Dimensions: 148 x 42.3 x 172.4mm 145 x 41.3 x 170mm 146mm x 41.3mm x 180 mm
Weight: 690 g <900 g 900g



Looking at the specs from each drive, there really aren't any glaring omissions from any of the entries.  Each of them have 2MB of Cache, SATA interfaces, and the capability to write to just about all media types out there. Plextor's drive is the oldest of the three, bringing with it the slowest rated DVD and CD writing speeds at 18x and 40x, respectively, yet it also claims to have the quickest access times.  The PX-810SA also is the only one that doesn't support LightScribe, which allows the user to etch an image on the topside of the disc instead of affixing a label.  That may or may not be a huge-selling point for some buyers (we prefer printable discs ourselves over LightScribe).

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