No CD or DVD burning suite such as Roxio’s Easy CD/DVD Creator 6.0 Platinum, or Ahead Nero 6.0, is complete without additional applications for creating the complete package. CD Jewel and DVD case cover designers are present and correct in both suites, offering simple DTP-like interfaces for creating attractive covers for your finished masterpiece. Nero Cover Designer offers a number of pre-sized templates for creating the most popular cover types. It appears to also integrate with a Nero project for adding track listings to your cover designs.
Nero SoundTrax and Wave Editor are available for manipulating audio files before burning to disc, with Wave Editor in particular a powerful application with a wide range of filters and effects for pre processing your audio. It integrates with Windows Media and DirectX to provide as much power as possible.
Finally NeroVision Express 2 for movies to be created and burned to DVD or CD, using Windows Media 9 technology. Think of NeroVision as Windows Movie Maker with added disc burning ability thanks to close integration with Nero and Nero Express and you won’t be too far from the mark.
Despite all the talk about ease of use and burning discs with the minimum of fuss, Nero 6.0 still has the power user features that have impressed since the 5 series.
Writing bootable discs, overburning (writing more data to a disc that it should normally accept), writing ISO images (files that contain all the data to be written to CD or DVD), mixed mode discs containing both audio and data, CD Extra and more obscure disc formats such as miniDVD are all there, accessible from the main Nero 6.0 application, should you wish to get your hands dirty.
Packet writing, being able to treat your DVD or CD drive as a hard disk, creating, copying and deleting files at will, with the drive appearing as a writeable medium with its own drive letter in Windows, is handled within Nero 6.0 by an application called InCD. InCD fully supports the UDF disc format to allow full packet writing ability with any rewritable DVD or CD media supported by your drive.
The simple test of performance to see if both Nero and Easy DVD Creator were able to take advantage of a modern DVD drive, was to create a 4.2GB data disc and a 3.5GB burn of a simple home movie, to standalone readable DVD Video format. Both packages performed within a negligible margin of each other in both tests, leading us to believe that the drive being used is the deciding factor when authoring non rewritable discs. Packet writing using a DVD-RW disc was different, with a copy of the same 3.5GB movie file taking some 35 seconds less using Nero InCD, versus Roxio Drag-To-Disc. However neither felt particularly slow, given the medium being used. Remember that DVD is much slower than hard disk or main memory.
With Nero 6.0 offering the ease of use of Roxio’s offering plus the power user features present in 5.5, along with some genuinely useful DVD centric additions like NeroVision Express, it couldn’t fail to impress. Nothing important is missed, UDF packet writing and the ability to burn ISO compliant discs and images are both there, and the whole thing is wrapped up nicely by StartSmart and Nero Express. The help files are concise and well written, with anything not intuitive due to the easy interface, easily found in the help system.
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The only thing missing is an Alcohol 52% like DVD/CD emulation system, for testing created images before burning, along with being able to make use of archived data from Nero’s image backup facility, without needing a physical burnt disc. As it is, it’s very nearly perfect for me, and probably perfect for the majority of people. Is it worth purchasing over a bundled simpler disc authoring system, or the packet writing system employed by Windows XP? Unless you do nothing more than archive data files with your DVD or CD writer, absolutely.
Excellent for the beginner or power user alike, with advanced features hiding just below the polished surface. With a price almost identical to Roxio’s offering Nero 6 has to be the disc authoring package of choice.