Drives Get Faster, Pack More Features
All seven new drives we tested made our chart. Pioneer's DVR-R100
and LG's external Super-Multi GSA-2166D earn Best Buys. Ultrahigh-capacity discs, such as those promised by the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats, are enticing; but like any fresh technology, they're going to be expensive when they first reach store shelves. That doesn't mean, however, that you have to wait to pack extra gigabytes onto your discs affordably. Today's conventional DVD burners can deftly handle writing two layers of data onto a disc, and they can do so significantly faster (by nearly a third, if you pick the right drive) than they could just six months ago. In recent months, drive manufacturers have increased the write speeds of dual-layer DVD-R and double-layer DVD+R burners from their original speeds of 2.4X to 6X and 8X, respectively; and each type should eventually hit the same 16X maximum write-speed ceiling as write-once single-layer DVD drives. Just as important, prices for the two-layer media used in the dual- and double-layer drives are finally showing signs of dropping. For example, you can now purchase a five-pack of 2.4X DVD+R DL discs that sold for $25 six months ago for about a third of that price. And 8X DL media is coming this fall. read more..