It’s pretty hard to come to any sort of conclusion from this roundup, since no one drive really stood out from the others.

The four-speed DVD+RW performance of the BenQ is commendable, but unfortunately it only writes to +RW media making it less versatile than the other drives. Also, despite its lack of versatility, it’s the second most expensive drive on test.

The Gigabyte isn’t the fastest DVD writer we’ve ever seen, but it is very fast at CD writing which will appeal to anyone who doesn’t want two drives in their PC. This will be especially applicable to small form factor PCs. The price is low, but it should be remembered that this drive will not be available until January, by which time the cost of the other units on test will no doubt also have dropped.

The Iomega is quite simply too expensive to consider. It’s an identical drive to the NEC and the bundle doesn’t offer enough to justify a price difference of over £50. It’s also over £30 more expensive than the LG GSA-4040B.

If you’re just looking for a cheap basic drive the NEC has got a lot going for it. The performance is reasonable and the price is very low. Of course you can get a bare LG drive for only £10 more, but if you’re on a really tight budget and you only need a bare drive, the NEC is worth a look.

So that leaves us with the MSI DR4-A. Well, it’s a decent enough bundle and a reasonable DVD writer, but there’s nothing to make it rise about the competition. The price is pretty good, and you do get some good software in the box, but there’s not quite enough there to make it worth an award. That said, we’re looking forward to getting hold of the new MSI drive in the next few days, which could well be a different story.

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