by October 11, 2003 0 comments

The hardware requirements for DVD-writers are higher than the regular optical drives such as CD-writers. The recommended specs are P III 800 with 256 Megs of RAM. But if you want to do real-time encoding of data, the hardware requirements increase further. 

Weightage assigned 
DVD-writing   30
CD-writing   25
Media reading  20
CPU utilization  10 
Drive load time  10
Drive eject time  5 

We used a machine based on the Intel P4 2.4 GHz processor on an Intel 845 motherboard having 256 MB RAM. OS used was Win XP Pro with SP1. The DVD writing software used was Nero Burning ROM 6 for burning, DVD +/-R and CD-Rs and Nero InCD for burst copy of data on DVDs as well as CDs. We used Nero CD/DVD speed for testing the transfer rates and other things in the drive.

The Tests
A DVD-writer, unlike a CD writer, is a multi-faceted personality. It writes DVDs and CDs and reads all the formats. DVDs and CDs are available in writable and re-writable formats. The tests are compounded even more so if the writer supports both formats in DVDs. Thus for clarity, the tests were divided into two parts, Writing and Reading

Writing tests
The writing tests included writing on both DVDs and CDs. These included writing data on DVDs both +R and —R. Packet writing speeds were tested by packet writing 4.5 GB of data using Nero InCD on both +RW and —RW disks. The DVD writing tests were subject to the support of a particular format by a drive. 

On the other hand the CD writing tests included writing an audio CD, a data CD from the hard disk, doing a disk-copy of audio as well as data on CD and packet writing on a CD-RW. We used a 12X CD-RW media, as this was the highest speed CD-RW media we found available in the market. 

Reading and other tests
All reading tests were done using Nero CD/DVD speed. These included read speeds, CPU usage, drive load and eject times. All tests were carried out on varied disks. Specifically the media used was a data CD, Audio CD, DVD-ROM, DVD+R and

Results and their interpretation
DVD-writers are very versatile in nature and thus need to be tested for a varied number of things. We used the Brown-Gibson model to arrive at the weightings for the different tests. The final scores were taken based on the performance scores for each drive and their individual prices. Based on the results, we declared three winners–for the best value for money, the best performer and the best external drive.

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