Spring 2004 DVD Performance Roundup: More DVD Dual 8Xby Kristopher Kubicki on April 28, 2004 7:00 AM EST
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ConclusionsOur recent roundup made us think long and hard about the performance of many of today's drives. We were mildly surprised on how few designs really exist in the DVD recorder market; the choices are fewer than you think.
Like with any roundup, the ultimate equalizer is always the price. Is there a need to buy a $300 burner if a $100 one performs almost the same? The newest drive in our review, the Gigabyte GO-W0808A, has not even hit store shelves yet, but when it does, it is expected to cost around $115. The Toshiba SD-R5272 cost us $93 last week, while the NuTech DDW-082 and the NEC 2500A cost about $85. Our most expensive drive, the Sony DRU-530A retails for about $140. Obviously, the lower priced drives have a slight edge over the more expensive drives. In the case of Sony, we proved that while their cost is high, it clearly pays off in the Tech Support benchmark.
When we first set out to do this roundup with NuTech DDW-081 firmware upgraded to a DDW-082 (with the B364 firmware), the drive was almost unusable. We went out and bought a DDW-082 instead, and then flashed our drive to the B372 firmware. The difference was night and day concerning media support and errors. Incredibly, this drive went from one of our worst performers to our best performer with simple firmware upgrades. Another great feature of this drive is the supported 8X write strategies on 4X media. The fact that this drive is also the cheapest drive in our roundup makes NuTech's DDW-082 a true underdog champion. The DDW-082 deserves our editor's choice award for this roundup.
There are some exciting drives on the way. 16X NuTech drives should be here before the summer (Dual Layer compatible). Plextor's 12X drive is already starting to show up here and there (CyberDrive already has a 12X drive based on the same Sanyo chipset). MSI and Plextor both have SATA drives on the horizon, and Philips and Sony both have Dual Layer DVD recorders of which we should see samples in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned for more DVD reviews!
Special Thanks to Sony and Verbatim for providing media for this review.