DVD+/-RW Drive Round-up 2007

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Performance Summary and our Conclusion

 

Performance Summary:  Admittedly, the Plextor PX-810SA would seem to be at a disadvantage when going head-to-head with the other drives, as both DVD and CD writing speeds are rated slightly lower than the newer Asus and Lite-On Models.  As it turns out, the PX-810SA not only held its own, but outperformed the Asus DRW-2014L1T and Lite-On LH-20A1L in most DVD burning benchmarks.  The LH-20A1L showed its strengths in much of the rest of the testing, as it had the lowest access times, highest burn speeds, and fastest audio ripping times.  


Asus DRW-2014L1T:  Asus' entry in this three way round-up leaves us a bit perplexed.  Although the box clearly states that it is a "20x" drive, in truth, we never came close to this touted speed.  As we pointed out in the SANDRA testing, this benchmark software warned us that everything might not appear to be what it seems, and it pegged it at a lower speed for DVD burning than the other drives.  In the real-world section of our review, we noted that the burn times were slower in CD-R and DVD-R burns when directly compared to the other 20x drive from Lite-On, although it did beat the same drive in DVD+R writing.  That last fact is almost ironic, as we had numerous issues reading and/or writing to DVD+R media during our few weeks of testing.  The Asus DRW-2014L1T retails at a low price, but it's worth spending a few more buck to get one of the faster drives.

  • Mostly quiet operation 
  • Cheap, capable drive
  • LightScribe support 
  • Problems with DVD+R media
  • Not the fastest drive 

Lite-On LH-20A1L:  Lite-On is a brand that many enthusiasts have typically chosen for the price vs. performance ratio they deliver, and the LH-20A1L really delivers here as well.  In almost all of the synthetic benchmarks, we found the Lite-On model leading the way with some of the lowest access times (typically single digits), highest average and top reading and writing speeds, and moderate CPU usage.  We also found that it had the quickest recognition of media times and ripping speeds.  Ironically, however, these "victories" didn't translate into the best burning performance.  True, it did put in the fastest CD-R burn time at 2:35, but DVD burning is where it's at, and the Lite-On finished second to the final drive in our conclusion.

  • Speedy Access Times
  • Overall fastest drive 
  • Price/performance ratio
  • Average DVD write performance
  • A little noisy when ripping 
  • LightScribe is slow

Plextor PX-810SA:  For what should be the slowest drive in the round-up, as far as rated speeds go, the Plextor PX-810SA pleasantly surprised us with the fastest DVD burning times.  That was the high point of the testing as in other areas, performance wasn't as hot.  Ripping audio and recognizing various types of media were the slowest on this drive, with the sole exception being the DVD recognition of the Asus DRW-2014L1T.  But also note, the Plextor PX-810SA is easily the most expensive drive in the group at more than double the cost of the others, while also being the oldest.  It's this mixed bag of results that makes it hard to determine whether this drive or the Lite-On LH-20A1L is the better buy, but with the huge price difference we're going to go with the latter.

  • Fastest DVD burning times 
  • Held its own against "faster" drives
  • Middling performance with CD media
  • Highest priced drive 
  • No Lightscribe support

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