Gigabyte GO-W0404A

Gigabyte might be better known for its motherboards and graphics cards, but it’s a company with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. The GO-W040A is a dual format DVD writer that’s got most bases covered.

Obviously there’s no point in allowing your buying decision to be swayed by packaging, but the Gigabyte does come in a pretty cool box. There’s a Velcro fixed flap on the front of the box that reveals all the drive specifications when you open it. We know that it’s a little sad to be impressed by the box, but when you’re used to all the packaging being the same it’s nice to see something a little different.

The Gigabyte will write DVD+R at four-speed, DVD-R at four-speed, DVD+RW at 2.4-speed, DVD-RW at two-speed, CD-R at 40-speed and CD-RW at 24-speed. Although the DVD write speeds are pretty much par for the course, the CD write performance is pretty impressive. For many users the CD write speed is enough not to warrant a separate CD writer.

In the box you’ll find the drive, an audio cable, a copy of Nero 5.5 and a Cyberlink multimedia pack including PowerDVD, Power Producer and MediaShow. The lack of an IDE cable was disappointing, although there was a pack of mounting screws to fix the drive in your case.

The front of the drive looks a bit busy with a Gigabyte logo on the drawer and DVD-R/RW, +RW and CD-R/RW logos all nestling next to the buttons. There are two buttons which allow you to use the drive for CD playback without the need for software. The buttons control play/skip and stop/eject functions, while a headphone socket and volume wheel round off the hardware multimedia features. There is also an indicator light and a manual eject hole in case you leave a disc in the drive after you turn your PC off.

The Gigabyte is by no means the fastest drive on test, and looking at the DVD+RW performance it fell a fair bit behind the competition. However its fast CD writing specification shines through with the GO-W0404A leaving all the competition behind, especially with regards to CD-RW writing.

So, the Gigabyte is a reasonable performer, especially when it comes to CD media, and it also comes with a decent, although not perfect, bundle in its well designed box. But what about the price? Well, Gigabyte doesn’t have any stock in the UK at the moment, but we’ve been assured that it will be available after Christmas. Although there are no suppliers as yet, Gigabyte has given us a suggested price of £86.95.

Considering the low price, the Gigabyte’s mediocre DVD writing performance can be forgiven to a certain degree. The fast CD writing performance will please people that don’t want multiple optical drives in their PC, and the CD play and volume controls also add some appeal.

Verdict

The Gigabyte isn’t the fastest DVD writer around, but it is dual format and does make short work of CD writing. The package is solid and the price is lower than any other retail package on test. If you want dual format functionality and decent CD performance at a bargain price, the Gigabyte is definitely worth a look.

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