by October 11, 2003 0 comments



Best Value for money: Liteon LDW-401S
Well one of our dark horses won the race. Though it supports only one format, the total performance-price bundle of the writer takes it to the tops. Lets go into the details as to why it is the winner.

Starting from the rated speeds, it has the highest speeds available in the market for the format it supports (DVD+RW), writing at 4X on both writable and re-writable disks. Furthermore, its CD writing speed is 40X, which is almost double that any other writer in the shootout (most being 24X). If all this has failed to convince you about it being a good buy, just take a look at the price. At around 12K, it is the cheapest thing around.

However it lacks the support for—R format, and writes only on +R/RW disks. It can however, read from all formats. The other shortcoming is the media support, which has been sorted out by a patch that is available at the Web site. It flashes the BIOS of the writer to make it usable with most of the available medias.

Going through the results, it writes the fastest, being second only to Sony in the DVD+R test. It tops almost all other writing tests, including CDs. It also supports 24X CD-RW, which we couldn’t test due to unavailability of the media. Altogether, it is the best you can get in this price.

Best overall performer: Sony DRU-510A 

If you want extensibility, good writing speeds, and reliability and are not too concerned about the price, then this drive is for you. Though, it may not be the fastest in all the tests conducted, it gives consistent performance throughout and has therefore emerged as the top overall performer among all drives tested. It supports all read/write formats and is the only internal dual writer that supports 4X DVD+RW (rewrite) speed. 

Again it may not be the winner in individual tests but is not much behind the leaders. It also comes with a good software bundle containing Music Match Jukebox, Cyberlink PowerDVD XP and Sonic My DVD. The only place it loses out is price, being the most expensive among all internal drives, at around 19K.

Best External Writer: HP External DVD300E 

HP had exited from the CD-ReWriter business but has made a come back with a DVD writer offering. It is an external writer with a price tag that will leave most internal writers ashamed. At around 14K, it is the cheapest of the lot. 

It offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire options for connecting to your PC. Getting into the tests, we found that it had slower rewrite speed than the Sony external writer and it does not support the —R/RW formats. During the tests, it was a good 7 points behind Sony in the performance, but the sheer options that it provides–being an external writer, and at half the price of the Sony drive, set the ball rolling in its favor. Subsequently, in overall standings, including price and performance, it came out trumps, leaving others behind by quite a margin.

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