Multiformat DVD writer

Not that long ago, the debate among DVD enthusiasts was which writeable format would win out. LG’s new DVD writer is compatible not just with the major DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW formats, but also with the increasingly obscure DVD-RAM.

At first glance the addition of DVD-RAM would appear little more than a helpline thrown to those unlucky enough to have picked the wrong standard. Despite this being the fastest DVD-RAM drive available, its tri-speed write facilities come up short compared to the zippy quad-speed capabilities of the DVD+R/-R formats.

DVD-RAM does have its advantages — for a start, there’s no need for burning software. By loading up the small packet drivers, files can be copied across as though you’re working with a floppy disk or hard drive. And with 4.7GB (9.4GB using both sides) of storage space, DVD-RAM is clearly an economical solution. Then there’s the number of rewrites — you can write to DVD-RAM over 100,000 times, which gives it a potential lifetime 100 times greater than that of DVD+RW/-RW.

The drive connects to Ultra DMA33 as well as standard EIDE interfaces, but the 145ms access time and 2MB data buffer are acceptable rather than stunning. The installation routine is smooth and a DVD-RAM disc is included, although there’s no bundled DVD+R/-R media. LG’s burning software, B Recorder Gold 5.0, isn’t as good as Nero but users with a modicum of Windows knowledge should find it usable.

Despite having quad-speed DVD+R/-R facilities, the LG could only manage to copy our 3GB test files in 17 minutes 34 seconds. DVD-RAM was less impressive, requiring almost 22 minutes to perform the tests. The ease of use afforded by DVD-RAM makes the LG a great choice for those who value flexibility and seamless recording above speed.

In brief:LG Super Multi DVD Writer Plus GSA-4040B
Price: $499
Vendor: LG
Phone: 1800 643 156

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