Those of you looking for an inexpensive double-layer DVD burner could consider Gigabyte's GO-W1608A - also a very fast single-layer DVD burner and one of the fastest CD burning and CD reading units on the market (48x).
In our CD tests it read 699MB of data in only 2min 17sec and wrote the same amount of data in 2min 43sec.
Writing 7.7GB of data to a DVD+R DL (double-layer) disc took 42mins. This is due to the drive only supporting a double-layer writing speed of 2.4x. Single-layer DVD+R discs can be burnt at 16x on this model though, and DVD-R discs at 8x.
As 16x DVD+R media wasn't available at the time of testing, we had to burn using 8x DVD+R Verbatim discs. Nevertheless, at 8x this drive burnt 4GB of data in 8min 20sec, which is 1min 28sec slower than the 16x burn accomplished during the testing of the Pioneer DVR-A08XL in last month's issue (page 18).
Performance aside, the GO-W1608A has a slightly noisy loading tray and is quite loud when spinning at full speed. But, it's also a bargain at $169.95 and the perfect drive for a budget-minded system upgrade. It ships with Nero Burning ROM and PowerDVD.