One piece of technology that we often neglect in our systems is the very useful optical drive. Even as a professional system builder, I find myself often simply getting whatever DVD burner drive looks coolest at the time, with no real research going into my selection. After all, many of us assume that 16x DVD-R means that it does indeed peak at 16x. Not always the case. THG has a great look at various new DVD drives in order to rate exactly how fast they can rate as oppose to their claimed speeds.

Some of the results are quite surprising. On a DVD-R disc, there was a write time difference of nearly three minutes! That's a 50% difference in write times. And, despite 16x media being available in and + formats, only + was able to achieve anywhere close to that actual speed. Though in most tests the drives were on par with each other, there are a few cases where it's simply not so.