MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Lite-on 4x BD-ROM (DH-4O1S)
A speedy Blu-ray reader
- Affordable; reliable high-def playback; SATA interface; fast reading speeds
- Does not write to Blu-ray, DVD or CD; no DVD-RAM support
If you're on the lookout for a cheap Blu-ray drive to watch high-def movies on, the Lite-on 4x BD-ROM (DH-4O1S) is one of the best options on the market. However, the lack of burning options — even for CDs — is sure to grate with some.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
The Lite-on 4x BD-ROM (DH-4O1S) is a read-only Bu-ray optical drive compatible with BD-ROM, BD-R (single/double layer) and BD-RE discs. It also provides playback support for most major DVD formats, along with CD-R and CD-RW. Its main claim to fame is probably its price tag: at $169 it is currently the cheapest internal Blu-ray drive on the market. It’s also blisteringly fast, with reading speeds that match many of its top-tiered rivals. However, with zero burning capabilities its appeal is strictly limited to creepy consumers who ‘like to watch’.
In today’s liberal age of digital procreation, we can’t for the life of us understand why anyone would want a read-only optical drive. Apparently, there’s still a market for this stuff, because manufacturers keep making 'em (check out our review of Sony’s BDUX10S for another recent example). While we can accept the (DH-4O1S)’s read-only status when it comes to Blu-ray discs, the lack of writing options for standard-def media is a bit of a drag. It means you’ll need to install a secondary disc drive for all your burning needs. For consumers who prefer a bare-bones setup, this will be less than ideal.
Now that we’ve got that off our chest, let’s concentrate on what the 4x BD-ROM (DH-4O1S) can actually do, rather than things it can’t. As mentioned, the (DH-4O1S) is a BD-ROM drive that supports playback for most BD, CD and DVD media; it apparently even works with BD-RE (DL) discs, which have yet to hit the market. Naturally, the main reason for this drive’s existence is to watch high-definition Blu-ray movies on your PC. (To achieve this, you’ll need a computer that meets the minimum recommended specifications, including a graphics card that supports HDCP.)
In addition to the drive itself, the sales package includes a SATA cable, mounting screws, an additional silver face plate and Cyberlink’s Power DVD software — a video player that supports Blu-ray media. As bundled extras go, this is a bit on the scant side, but for the asking price it remains a pretty good deal.
Being a high-definition drive, the (DH-4O1S) uses a Serial ATA interface rather than IDE. In addition to offering a faster and more reliable performance, this also helps to reduce clutter in your computer chassis. We had no problems installing the device, which was instantly recognised by our PC without the need to install additional drivers or software.
As soon as your drive is plugged in, you’ll be able to experience high-def movies in all their shimmering glory. In this regard, the (DH-4O1S) gave us no problems whatsoever. Video quality was naturally excellent, and the drive itself exhibited swift response times when it came to chapter selections, rewinding/fast-forwarding and powering up. We also experienced no freeze-ups, which is always an encouraging sign.
In terms of physical operation, the (DH-4O1S) was relatively quiet; we certainly didn't notice it over the sound of our monitor's speakers, and any vibrations were kept to a minimum. We can’t attest to the drive’s error-correcting abilities, but it did manage to play our fingerprint-smeared copy of Finding Neverland with minimal hiccups.
The 4x BD-ROM (DH-4O1S) delivered impressive reading speeds across all supported media. It’s twice as fast at reading HD content as Sony's BDUX10S, which only offers 2x read speeds for Blu-ray discs. Its 32x CD-R and CD-RW reading speeds are also noticeably faster (compared to 24x from the BDUX10S.) DVD reading speeds, meanwhile, remain perfectly adequate at 12x (for single layer discs) and 8x (for double layer/RW/DVD-9). However, unlike Sony’s BDUX10S, the (DH-4O1S) does not support DVD-RAM.
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