And so the latest speed race in optical drives gathers pace. It all kicked off in the mid-1990s with read speeds of CD drives, moving onto CD burning, DVD reading and DVD burning. The current race surrounds dual layer burning, and Toshiba’s new SD-R5472 is one of the quickest.
It claims to burn DVD+R dual layer discs at 6x, and DVD-R dual layer DVDs at 4x. It further claims to burn CD-Rs at 48x, DVD-RWs at 8x, DVD+RWs at 8x and DVD+/- Rs at 16x. Phew. To sweeten the deal further, it’s got 2006 World Cup packaging, which actually amounts to little more than a competition and a few pictures. But, er, it looks nice enough. Ahem.
The retail box of the drive (it’s also available in OEM form) comes with a decent package that includes Nero OEM Suite, Musicmatch Jukebox and a few scattered bits of demo software. There’s also, commendably, printed instructions (even though adding an optical drive is one of the most straightforward of upgrades), along with the traditional IDE cable, screws and audio lead. No sign of any blank media to get you started though, which is a disappointment.
Still, it’s the drive that’s of real interest, and here Toshiba has delivered. We tried a variety of different burns on different media, and overall performance was admirable. A 79-minute music compilation CD was completed in under three minutes, for instance, while a 4GB backup data DVD was completed on DVD+R media in just short of six minutes (using DVD-R media made a difference of a matter of seconds).
Utilising the dual layer feature, a 6.5GB burn took around 18 minutes, which undoubtedly makes it one of the swiftest drives in its field. The coaster count throughout the twenty or so test burns we ran was a big fat zero. Each disc worked perfectly once written, so no complaints on that front.
Toshiba’s SD-R5472 is a highly efficient, speedy optical drive. Its ability to cope easily and efficiently with the main formats (save for DVD-RAM, for which no support is offered at all) is a real asset, and it stands as a resolutely good quality addition to any PC system. It may not be the most exciting piece of hardware you’ll buy, but when you couple the all-round good package, the decent enough software bundle and the quality of the main drive itself, it’s hard to find too many quibbles.
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