LightScribe aside, the LG will write to DVD+R at 16x, DVD-R at 16x, DVD+RW at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x, DVD+R DL at 8x, DVD-R DL at 4x, DVD-RAM at 5x, CD-R at 48x and CD-RW at 32x. However, despite being rated at 16x for DVD+R, when I came to do the testing the Nero reported that the LG would only burn at 12x, even though I was using 16x Verbatim media. Looking at the results, the LG was definitely off the pace when writing to DVD+R, so you may have to try various media types to get the best out of this drive.
Performance proved to be a mixed bag with the LG â€“ after turning in the fastest time when burning the 7.9GB MPEG/ISO files to DVD+R DL, the GSA-4166B then turned in a surprisingly poor time when formatting the CD-RW disc. The LG was the fastest performer using DVD-R media, but as already mentioned, this was offset by disappointing performance with DVD+R discs.
Looking at the total times without DVD-R DL and DVD-RAM, the LG is way behind the Toshiba and NEC drives, but manages to stay ahead of the Shuttle. But once you throw DVD-R DL into the mix, the LG is almost 25 minutes behind the NEC, and when you finally look at the whole total time including DVD-RAM, the NEC crosses the line half an hour before the LG.
The retail bundle is pretty comprehensive. In the box youâ€™ll find a disc with Nero Express, InCD, Power Producer Gold and PowerDVD â€“ thereâ€™s also an audio cable, mounting screws and an IDE cable. LG hasnâ€™t cut any corners with this drive, thatâ€™s for sure, but unfortunately the price reflects that fact. At the time of writing there were no retailers selling the GSA-4166B so I had to go with a suggested price from LG.
The price I got from LG was Â£69.99, which is very high for a DVD writer these days. Now I know that will have had to pay a license for LightScribe support, but that price is almost Â£30 more than the Toshiba retail box and almost Â£40 more than the NEC bare drive. If the LG had been fast as well as fully featured, the high price might have been easier to swallow, but as it stands the LG is just too expensive to recommend.
Once again, LG has produced the most fully featured drive on test, but this time it hasnâ€™t managed to stay competitive when it comes to price. Add to this the fact that the GSA-4166B is not a great performer, and the case becomes even weaker. Ultimately, if you absolutely must have full media compatibility and LightScribe support, the LG might be worth considering, otherwise, go for the NEC.