Articles: Storage

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This speed race never stops. The manufacturers have long reached the maximum speed for write-once DVD+R discs, and now they have to pull the DVD-R format up to 16x and then… Well, there isn’t much work to be done after that. They can improve on the write speed for dual-layer DVD+Rs (the available 2.4x media already permit to be burned at 6x) as well as on the rewrite speed for the rewritable formats. As for the latter media, the available RW discs are rated for 4x speed at maximum, but new optical drive models support 6x and even 8x rewrite speeds. It’s not clear when the appropriate media appear, so users have to purchase the device for the future, i.e. they can’t yet use all of the new device’s capabilities today.

There’s another direction of progress the manufacturers have been following already – the introduction of the DVD-R DL format. The future of this format is vague, however, because it’s not clear when such discs are going to come to market, and at what price. The development of the dual-layer technology in general is problematic, by the way. The manufacturers themselves say we can’t expect a quick reduction of the price of such media since their manufacture is complex and isn’t yet fully perfected, and this leads to a low product yield and, accordingly, to high price on the finished product.

The disc makers aren’t willing to correct this situation because they view dual-layer media as a transient format towards high-density DVDs. On the other hand, some people do buy dual-layer discs even at their current price. And if the write/rewrite speeds are ever increasing in new optical drives, then discs rated for such speeds are sure to appear on market soon. And we, at X-bit labs, just go on keeping you informed about new products to make your choice of the optical drive just a little easier.

This article is dedicated to the new drive from LG – the GSA-4163 model – that came to replace the highly successful GSA-4160. It’s easy to guess, even from the numeric index of the new device, that it brings just minor changes, mostly concerned with the supported speeds. Particularly, the GSA-4163 brings the long-awaited 16x burn speed for the DVD-R format. The rewriting speed has also been increased for both DVD-RW and DVD+RW formats. The DVD+R DL burn speed has become higher, too. The other format, DVD-R DL, isn’t supported – this will probably be the main feature of a next model from LG.

But the GSA-4163 is surely an interesting piece of hardware if only because its predecessor earned a good reputation. The users put their confidence in optical drives from LG now, and the new model is selling well, so we’re going to see if this confidence is not misplaced. Is the new model better than the good-all-around GSA-4160, which we have already reviewed before (for details see our article called Three DVD-RW Drives from LG and Sony)?

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