In the July issue of PC World, we reviewed the Pioneer DVR-A04 DVD-RW drive, the first to market with -R writing capabilities. Now Hewlett-Packard, a member of the rival DVD+RW alliance, has released its competing DVD200e external DVD+RW drive (pictured) as well as an internal equivalent, the $1249 DVD200i.
The drive has a stylish dark grey and silver finish and comes with cables for connection to a Windows 98 SE/Me/2000/XP computer either via USB 2.0 (480Mbps) or FireWire (400Mbps). Unless you've purchased a PC recently, you probably won't have a USB 2.0 port. USB 2.0 devices are backwards-compatible with USB 1.1 (12Mbps), so the DVD200e still makes a sound future-proofed investment.
The DVD200e writes to DVD+R and DVD+RW discs at 2.4x, CD-R discs at 12x and CD-RW discs at 10x. Read speeds are 8x for DVD and 32x for CD.
Unlike its earlier effort with its DVD100I, Hewlett-Packard has included support for burning to single write media in the DVD+R format in this new unit. The company also supplies a utility to help increase +RW disc playback compatibility. You'll find advice and a list of DVD-ROM drives and DVD players compatible with DVD+RW and DVD+R discs at www.hp.com/support/dvd-compatibility.
The DVD200e ships with a fairly extensive software bundle including MyDVD for DVD-Video authoring, ArcSoft ShowBiz for video editing and Cyberlink PowerDVD for DVD playback. Recording duties are catered for by RecordNow DX and Drive Letter Access (DLA).
We tested the drive on a P4 2.53GHz system with 512MB of RAM and a 60GB 7200rpm ATA100 hard disk using RecordNow DX via a USB 2.0 connection. It took 25 minutes to burn 4.4GB of random video files (normally requiring roughly the equivalent of six 700MB CD-R discs) onto a supplied 4.7GB DVR+R disc. nIn brief: Hewlett-Packard DVD200e A slightly pricey external DVD burning drive using DVD+RW technology, the DVD200e comes with a good-sized software bundle and offers USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity.
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