Price Guides July 2004: Optical and Magnetic Storageby Kristopher Kubicki & Larry Barber on July 16, 2004 12:00 PM EST
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DVD BurnersWith dual-layer media still nearly non-existent, not to mention being very expensive if you can find it, we won't place too much emphasis on DL capability with this guide, even though many drives now come with it as a standard feature or are easily flash-upgradeable to have that capability. Until media for DL burning starts hitting store shelves, and in meaningful numbers, we won't be too concerned about this.
Since our last guide covering DVD burners, not too much has changed, nor have many new or better models hit the market. For this reason, the NuTech 8X DDW-082 gets this week's recommendation for its nearly rock-bottom price and for its burn quality. The NEC-2500A is also a good burner - we use both as our burners of choice in the lab. If speed is an issue for you and you'd like to move up to 12x burning, the Plextor 12X PX-712A is a great choice, but you will pay a premium for that speed boost.
Since there will always be early adopters, Dual Layer drives still need to get a fair mention in this guide. Sony's DRU-700A (or the idential LiteON SOHW-832S) still stands out from the crowd with its media compatibility, speed, and ability to burn dual layer DVDs. Again, only if you are able to procure the prerequisite media. In any case, this drive will future-proof you for a quite bit longer than non-DL capable drives, which is something to keep in mind when looking at the price tag associated with the DRU-700A.
Many have asked why we do not recommend the ND-2510A. As far as our tests have shown, the dual layer capabilities of the ND-2510A are not very great. The drive does not write dependably to dual layer discs yet.