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Summary

Our Score

10/10

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LG drives have always offered ultimate flexibility and features, but how does this new unit perform? Well, the simple answer is very well indeed. Looking at the dual layer performance first, the LG lags behind the NEC ND2510A when writing two files totalling 7.9GB. That said, a one and a half minute difference hardly seems an issue when you’re having to wait over 40 minutes for the disc to burn anyway. Writing 8.1GB of mixed digital images took a whisker under three quarters of an hour, so you better make sure you have some other stuff to get on with if you’re going to burn a lot of dual layer discs. The good news is that dual layer media is now freely available and I tested the LG drive using the shipment of discs I received from Verbatim a few weeks ago.

Although there was no 12-speed DVD+R media available at the time of testing, the GSA-4120B turned in some excellent times using eight-speed media of both DVD+R and DVD-R flavours. I can only assume that the tweaks that LG has made to this drive have improved performance across the board rather than just allowing 12-speed DVD+R writing.

The LG managed to burn the 4.3GB MPEG2 file to DVD+R in an astonishing seven minutes 35 seconds compared to nine minutes seven seconds on the NEC. Now, in case you’re thinking that the LG is just squeezing more out of the eight-speed DVD+R media because of its 12-speed capability, think again. Turning to DVD-R media, the LG still managed to burn the 4.3GB MPEG2 file in seven minutes 53 seconds compared with nine minutes 12 seconds on the NEC. So, whether you’re using DVD+R or DVD-R, you’re going to be very happy with this latest drive from LG.

Unfortunately the lightning fast performance isn’t carried over to the re-writable media. Looking at both DVD+RW and DVD-RW shows that the LG is a little slower than the NEC in all but one of the tests, although not by a significant margin.

The faster CD writing specs implemented in the GSA-4120B really show through though. Writing a 700MB file to CD-R took three minutes 18 seconds on the LG compared with three minutes 29 seconds on the NEC. With CD-RW media the LG managed to write 600MB of MP3 files in three minutes and 26 seconds; a task that took four minutes 41 seconds on the NEC.

The LG GSA-4120B is definitely an impressive DVD writer - the performance is very strong and the flexibility unparalleled. This drive really does have every base covered – you can write to dual layer discs, you can burn DVD+R at 12-speed when the media becomes available, the eight-speed DVD-R performance is the best I’ve seen, CD writing performance is first rate, and you can use DVD-RAM discs (at five-speed no less) as well. But most amazing of all is that, yet again, LG has managed to bring all this to market at an unbelievable price. The retail box is good value, but if you can live with just the bare drive, this LG is a serious bargain.

Verdict

What can I say? The LG GSA-4120B represents the pinnacle of DVD burning. This drive will burn every type of DVD disc on the planet, and it doesn’t waste any time doing it either. Yes, there are 16-speed drives on the horizon, but right here, right now, this is the best DVD writer that money can buy.

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