So, how do those specs equate to real world performance? Well, the LG turned in some very respectable times. The DVD+R DL times were similar to the NEC ND-3520A, and definitely a huge improvement over the 2.4x performance of the last LG model. In the DVD+R tests, the LG proved to be faster than both the NEC and the Asus, while it remained fairly competitive across all the remaining DVD based tests. When it came to CD media, the LG raced ahead of the Asus, which had problems with CD-R media. Even when writing to CD-RW discs, the LG remained comfortably ahead of the Asus. That said, the Asusâ€™ overall time is still considerably lower than the LGâ€™s, due to its lightning fast dual layer performance.
Like Asus, LG chose to send a full retail bundle in, and like the Asus, itâ€™s a pretty good bundle. Besides the drive, you get the ownerâ€™s manual on CD, a paper manual for the bundled software, an IDE cable, an audio cable and a set of mounting screws. The software bundle consists of Nero Express, Nero BackItUp, InCD, Cyberlink PowerProducer Gold and Cyberlink PowerDVD.
Considering the media flexibility and the retail bundle, I expected the LG GSA-4163B to carry a bit of a price premium, but how wrong I was. Looking around the web I was able to find the retail box version of the GSA-4163B for the incredible price of Â£41.19 including VAT! Taking into account the fact that this drive supports every DVD format out there and that itâ€™s amazingly cheap, I canâ€™t help but recommend it.
I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever done a head 2 head before where both products win an award, but these drives are both excellent for different reasons. The Asus is, without a doubt the fastest drive Iâ€™ve ever seen, despite its media issues, but the LG offers ultimate flexibility, and decent performance at a truly bargain price. Which of the drives is right for you is down to your personal needs - Iâ€™d go for the LG because I use DVD-RAM, but if you donâ€™t need DVD-RAM support and speed is paramount, the Asus will be more attractive. Whichever drive you decide is right for you, one thingâ€™s for sure, you won't be disappointed.