Lite-On SOHW-1673S

Lite-On drives generally cut the mustard quite well in our reviews, even though they can be loud and clumsy looking. They are, however, the enthusiast's drive of choice due to the availability of a utility that lets users change the booktype of DVD media, forcing DVD-R, DVD+R or DVD+R DL discs to be burnt as DVD-ROM discs in a bid to make them readable in players that generally don't accept those discs. This utility looks like it will need to be downloaded if you plan to use this drive for DVD+R DL burns, as the one we burnt could not be read in our old Pioneer 106D DVD burner. It was picked up without problems in our Zensonic Z330 media player, though.

If you plan to burn DVD+R DL discs with this drive, then you will also require a lot of patience. Our 2.4x DVD+R DL discs took over 44min to complete, even though Nero reported a 4x transfer rate during the burn.

Single-layer burns were also quite slow, and this drive was the only one in the review not capable of burning to our 8x DVD-R at 8x, instead the maximum transfer rate it could use on these discs was 6x. Nero CD/DVD Speed reported this drive to be using the CAV method for writing and reading. It was also the only drive in the review to produce a "coaster" during the DVD+R test.

It wasn't all gloom for this drive though, as it produced some of the finest CD scores in the review. It led the field in CD read performance and was among the top three in audio CD ripping. Its 48x CD-ROM rating no doubt helped it achieve these impressive results.

Verdict: We recommend this drive if you are after excellent CD-based performance. DVD writing was sluggish in all our tests, especially for double-layer discs and it was also the only drive in the review that was unable to burn our 8x DVD-R discs at their top speed. If you're looking for fast DVD writing performance, then you need to look at one of the other drives in the review.

Specifications: 2MB buffer, 170mm depth, 16x DVD+R, 4x DVD+R DL, 16x DVD-R, Nero Express 6.
Price: $99
Phone: 1300 100 100
URL: www. liteonit.com

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Elias Plastiras
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