Holiday Shopping Roundup: Eight Dual Format Recordable DVD Drivesby Kristopher Kubicki on December 11, 2003 10:54 PM EST
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Sony DRU-530AEnter the sleeping giant, Sony. We would not be giving Sony enough credit if we didn't say they created effectively the dual format product category with the DRU-510A. Of course, it's easy to say that it was inevitable, as Sony happens to participate officially and unofficially in both the DVD+R and DVD-R forums.
In any case, on the heels of the success of the DRU-510A, we present the DRU-530A. Sony's experience in the DVDR market shines in both its software bundle and documentation. Sonic RecordNow, Sonic DLA, Sonic MyDVD, PowerDVD 5 and MusicMatch were all bundled with the drive. Documentation seems to cover everything, but troubleshooting. However, it should be mentioned that Sony has a technical support contact number plastered all over the box art and literature. Hopefully, Sony will also do well in our Technical Support portion of this roundup.
|Sony DRU-530A DVD-/+R Drive|
|CD Write Speed||40X (CAV), 32X, 24X (PCAV)
16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
|CD Rewrite Speed||24X (PCAV)
16X, 10X, 4X (CLV)
|CD Read Speed||40X Max (CAV)|
|DVD-R Write Speed||4X, 2X, 1X (CLV)|
|DVD-RW Rewrite Speed||2X, 1X (CLV)|
|DVD+R Write Speed||8X (Z-CLV)
4X, 2.4X (CLV)
|DVD+RW Rewrite Speed||4X, 2.4X (CLV)|
|DVD Read Speed||12X Max (CAV)|
|Supported Modes||DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
SAO / SAO 16 & 96
|Supported Formats||DVD+R (incremental)
DVD-R (DAO, incremental, multi-border)
DVD-RW (restricted overwrite)
CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-DA,
CD-ROM XA, Mixed Mode, CD Extra
Photo CD, CD Text, Bootable CD, Mount Rainer
|Access Time||CD: 160ms
The specifications on the DRU-530A look excellent, certainly comparable to the Plextor 708A. We noticed that the DVD read speed is not as quick as the MSI DR4-A, but everything else is a significant improvement over the DRU-510A.
The external design on the DRU-530A is identical to the DRU-510A, but the internal components are similar to that of the Plextor 708A. In true Sony fashion, there is no external headphone jack or volume adjustment. Regrettably, we noticed immediately in preliminary burns that the DRU-530A was not burning some of our 4X media at 8X, including the bundled media. This was very discouraging, particularly since the near-identical 708A burns the same media twice as fast.
Originally, the Sony DRU-530A debuted with a $300 price tag, but has since fallen to under $250 (and also has a $30 mail-in rebate). Still pricey, but competitive in price to the Plextor 708A. With identical chipsets and similar pickups, it's going to be a constant battle of price and support between these two drives.
Special thanks to Sony and Verbatim for providing us with lots of media for our benchmarks.