Introduction

It seems as if prices are on the rise across the entire PC technology board lately. Recent jumps in prices on CPUs, long-term upward trends in memory, and now, hard drives are following suit. DVD burners, fortunately, seem to be on a somewhat lower incline at least for the time being.

Be certain to take a look at our RealTime Pricing Engine to see some of these trends for yourself and to find the absolute latest pricing information for optical and magnetic storage alike.

DVD Burners

Since our last guide covering the subject at hand, we have seen a few new DVD burners hit the market promising speeds of up to 16X. Regrettably, it seems that these drives suffer in a similar fashion as their Dual Layer counterparts in that media supporting speeds of up to 16X is difficult or impossible to find at most retailers. This, of course, will change rather quickly while it does not seem that dual layer media intends to make a hot pursuit. Dual layer discs, when found, tend to cost upwards of $12 for quality, brand-name blanks. That price is a bit difficult for most to swallow considering the ideal capacity is only 8.5 GB. To top that off, it's still too early to say whether or not DVD media suffers from the same gradual data loss that CD-R media has been proven to have in some cases. The market still has a bit of work ahead to bring media up to spec and prove itself to be a reliable and cost-effective data transfer and backup solution, specifically in the dual layer area.

However, don't let the stiff words of 16X and Dual layer media turn you off from buying a good 16X drive. In fact, the two best drives we have seen at the AnandTech labs are the NEC 3500A and the Pioneer DVR-108D. Our Pioneer review will show up tommorow and, as a bit of a teaser, it completely dominates the PX-712A in burn speeds and write quality. The Pioneer definitely gets our recommendation for this week's Optical Storage Price Guide.



Hard Drives: Parallel ATA
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  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, August 28, 2004 - link

    @sprockkets: unless your Maxtor drives are really ancient and use a stepper-motor to move the heads, you have no need to worry about them. All drives these days automatically move the heads by default to a safe place simply by removing the power.

    I'd personally be more concerned about the fact that you treat HDs in a way where that causes them to make any noise while handling them. Handle them like eggs once out the protective foam and you'll have a lot less failures.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Saturday, August 28, 2004 - link

    The only thing about those Maxtor drives that worry me is the fact I was moving it around to another computer and I could hear the drive heads scratching the surface of the platters. Why IBM/Hitachi is the only HDD maker who have the heads move completely off the platter when off is beyond me.

    Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, August 28, 2004 - link

    Outpost.com has a 250GB Maxtor drive for $119.

    http://shop4.outpost.com/product/3700356

    Got one for myself, its a heck of a deal and man is that drive nice...
    Reply
  • SpamMagnet - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    Nice to know I wasn't as confused as I thought I was... ;-)

    Looking forward to the Pioneer DVR-108D review!
    Reply
  • AdamRader - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    Sorry folks for the mixup. This guide was actually supposed to come out tomorrow with two totally different drives. (The part of both drives being dual layer was also a brain lapse on my part.) This should be resolved shortly. Reply
  • SpamMagnet - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    The section on DVD burners mentions the NEC ND-2510A and Plextor PX-712A, then goes on to say "both drives here are ready to go out of the box for dual layer burning".

    I don't know about NEC, but I'm pretty sure the Plextor won't even read DVD+R9 much less write to it.
    Reply
  • Shalmanese - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    Any chance of including a $/gig coloumn for the Hard Drives? Would make comparing different sized drives a bit easier. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    SCSI drives... do enthusiasts still buy those? Anyway, the prices on the Maxtor and Seagate 10000RPM 73 GB drives seem to have swapped places, making the Seagate the better buy at $220. Too bad SCSI controllers and cables still add substantially to the cost, as I would wager the 10000 RPM 73 GB SCSI drives offer slightly better performance and scalability than the Raptor 74 GB. Reply
  • Degrador - Friday, August 27, 2004 - link

    The Pioneer DVR-108 just got released, and is a wonderful 16X dual layer burner at a pretty good price, yet isn't on your pricing engine... I'd be recommending that above the others... Reply

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