The Latest DVD Drives

Sony’s DVD Drive

Sony’s Sleek Combo Drive

A Well-priced DVD

HP’s DVD Writer

Samsung SD-616

Price: Rs 5,000
Meant for: Home and office users
Features: 90 ms access time, 512 KB buffer, supports Windows 9x/NT4.0/Me/2000, reads DVD-ROM/DVD-VIDEO/CD-DA/CD-ROM/
CD-ROM XA/Photo CD/Video CD/CD-R/CD-RW
Contact: Samsung Electronic India Information and Telecommunication. Tel: 011-6322517-19 Fax: 6322607. 47, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar III, New Delhi 110024
 

DVD, or Digital Versatile Disk, is a new kind of compact disk, which is similar in shape and size to a normal CD-ROM. But whereas a CD-ROM can hold up to 700 MB data, a DVD-ROM goes far beyond that limit. A double-sided, double layered DVD can accommodate about 17 GB of data, which is more than 24 times a normal CD. There are three basic differences between a DVD and a CD-ROM, which lets them hold so much more data. The size of pits on a DVD are smaller in size than a CD-ROM, so you can fit more in the same space. Pits are basically small depressions on the surface of the disc that is used by the laser to differentiate between a 0’s and 1’s. The smaller pit size means that a DVD can accommodate greater number of tracks on its surface and hence more data. Finally, a DVD disc can have up to 4 separate layers of data, two on each side of the disc, which also increases the amount of data it can store. Most DVDs we see these days are single sided single layered, which have a capacity of around 4.2 GB. The high price of DVD drives and unavailability of enough DVD-ROM titles, had till now kept people away from DVDs. But as the prices fall and DVD titles start showing up in stores, more and more people will opt for DVD drives. An advantage here is that a DVD is backward compatible, which means it can also read CD-ROMs, CD-R and CD-RW’s also. We’ll now take a look at two DVD drives, which we got for review.

Acer DVP 1640A

Price: Rs 5,490
Meant for: Home and office users
Features: 95 ms access time for DVD, 80 ms access time for 
CD-ROM, 256 kB buffer, supports Windows 9x/2000/NT 4.0/2000, reads DVD/DVD-R/DVD-RW/CD-ROM/
CD-DA/CD-R/CD-RW/Photo CD.
Contact: Acer CM India. Tel: 022-5705230-32 Fax: 5700535. 302, Omega, Main Street, Hiranandani, Powai, Mumbai 400072
 

The Acer DVP 1640A features a read speed of 16x for DVD’s and 40x for a normal CD-ROM. You can install it on any free IDE connector. The only thing to keep in mind are the drive jumpers. The front panel of the drive has a wheel volume control, a jack for headphones, and eject button and an LED to indicate a disc being read. The Samsung drive can read DVDs at 16x but has a higher CD-ROM read speed of 48x. This one too has an IDE interface so it is simple to install. The front panel has a volume control, a headphone jack, a translucent eject button, and a small green LED to indicate drive activity.

Most users buy a DVD drive to watch DVD movies, but a thing to remember is that these movies are played at only 1x DVD. The extra speeds which DVD drives offer come in handy only when forwarding or rewinding while watching a movie, and obviously while transferring data from DVD media. We did a few tests on both the drives involving data transfer from DVD media, CD-ROM’s and also checked for time taken to rip 59 minutes of audio form an audio CD. The Samsung took 3 minutes to transfer 651MB of data whereas Acer needed 4 minutes. There was no difference at all when we transferred the same amount of data from a CD-ROM. The Samsung drive also managed to rip an entire audio CD in 2 minutes 50 seconds, about 50 seconds faster than the Acer. These differences could be due to the larger buffer space of the Samsung drive.

Both drives are attractively priced, Samsung being cheaper by Rs 500. The two also come bundled with PowerDVD, which lets you watch DVD movies.

Sachin Makhija

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