DVD Burner round-up: Plextor, Panasonic & Pioneer drives tested


TechSpot has posted two updated DVD Burner round-ups:
Read our 8x / 12x drives coverage, or our latest comparison of 16x Dual Layer Drives.

Media storage has suddenly gone to absolutely insane levels. With 300 gig drives hitting pavement, the need for additional storage doesn’t seem to be sputtering down. How many newer games come in just 1 CD anymore?

If you depend on your hard drive to save critical information, you could be sail boating without a paddle. When things get sticky, you better have a backup plan. And what about that $30 DVD movie you purchased a few days ago? Yes, the one the dog has in its mouth. Wouldn’t have been a bad idea to spend a few bucks to back that one, too?

Gone are the days of storage floppies and zip drives… CD-RW drives do an excellent job in making cheap backups and just about every new computer is equipped with one. As computers and software evolve, so will media. DVD burner drives are already optional equipment on many computers, and will probably become a standard within the next year. Are you ready for a DVD burner? I am, but I want a damn good one, especially seeing that drives are selling in the $150-$300 range.

Luckily for me, I have three quality products on my desk to test, that is, until I’m finished and they have to be sent back. In this round-up we are going to take a close look at units from Plextor, Panasonic, and Pioneer, three heavy hitters.

I spent a lot of time with these drives, going through about 40 DVD disks in two months. This review will contain some data on each drive, a few benchmarks, and some personal experiences. If you are in the market, I hope I can provide some good information to help you in your decision process.



Panasonic LF-D512

Plextor PX-504A

Pioneer DVR-A05

DVD-R 2x - 4x
DVD-RW 1x - 2x
DVD-RAM 2x - -
DVD+R - 4x -
DVD+RW - 2.4x -
CD-R 12x 16x 16x
CD-RW 8x 10x 8x
DVD-ROM (read) 12x 12x 12x
CD-ROM (read) 32x 40x 32x
Price (click for details) $185 $210 $175


All three manufacturers included their own software applications for use with the drives. I took some time to load and use the bundled software but I opted to use other two programs I feel most comfortable with instead when benchmarking. A good reason for this is I wanted an accurate speed indicator when testing burning, not software speed. And yet another reason, I felt that it was a good compatibility test for the drives, since many of you use different software to burn.

In my case I picked Fireburner 2.1.7 for burning some .CUE files, and Record Now Max v4.5 from Stomped (Veritas) to burn a lot of backups. Note that all the burners tested in this review can read/write DVD-R/RW (Plextor does DVD+R/RW) media and CD-R/RW media.

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