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LG GSA-4163B

LG has consistently made excellent DVD writers and the GSA-4163B is no exception. The main feature that has set the LG drives apart from the competition is media compatibility. While pretty much every drive around will support both DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW media, LG decided to go one step further and also support DVD-RAM.

Now, although DVD-RAM isn’t as popular a format as the other re-writable DVD standards, it has a lot going for it from an IT point of view. A DVD-RAM disc can be treated just like a removable hard drive, and files can just be dragged, dropped and deleted without the need to use burning software. I’ve used DVD-RAM for years and will continue to do so, because it’s a convenient way to store data off my hard disk, without having to worry about burning an entire disc. Of course you can use packet writing with DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs, but due to their sequential write methods, you will eventually have to reformat if you’re doing a lot of writing and deleting – with DVD-RAM, a large file can be written to several small empty areas on the disc, just like a hard drive.
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In the past however, it seemed that LG’s support for DVD-RAM had meant that its drives were sometimes a step behind with the writing speeds on other formats. Also, whereas other drives from the likes of NEC and Plextor were able to write “overspeed” to slower media, the LG drives couldn’t – but this issue has been addressed with this drive. Like the NEC ND-3520A, the LG GSA-4163B is rated at 4x for DVD+R DL media, and also just like the NEC, this LG drive can write at 4x to 2.4x media – that’s quite handy considering there is no 4x media and never will be as the next ratified media speed will be 8x.

The rest of the specs are pretty much up there with the best – you get 16x performance with both DVD-R and DVD+R media, while re-writable speeds are rated at 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW. Of course you’ll have to wait for the faster re-writable media before you can take advantage of 8x and 6x speeds, but it’s good to know that the drive is ahead of the game. The LG will write to DVD-RAM discs at 5x, so you won’t be hanging around too long when you’re offloading that important data from your hard disk. CD-R discs burn at 40x, while CD-RW media is written at 24x – just like the Asus.

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