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The 12x DVD burn speed seems to be kind of inconvenient for developers of optical drives. Few manufacturers have released such models, the majority preferring to wait for 16x. Today I will discuss one exception – the SOHW-1213S drive from Lite-On is capable of burning DVDs at 12x speed.

Of course, I would also be glad to test the Sony DRU-540A drive, which is a twin brother of that model, but fate was merciless to it. It became available in shops only after the announcement of the famous Sony DRU-700A that ushered us into the era of dual-layer recorders, and thus gained little popularity. Notwithstanding the impressive speed formula (for that time), the resellers just refused to take this model arguing that no one needed a drive that cost about the same money as the DRU-700A, but could only burn single-layer media.

Well, they were right on the issue, although left us ignorant as to the capabilities of the DRU-540A. But now we’ve got the Lite-On SOHW-1213S, the prototype of Sony’s drive. This model is not the most advanced offer from Lite-On now, since there’s a dual-layer drive available from the company, and the 16x modification is coming up, but it’s anyway better to test a device later than never.

Closer Look

As usual, we’ve got the OEM version of the drive, without any accessories. The retail version comes with a pack of mounting screws, a blank DVD-R disc from Taiyo Yuden, a software bundle to watch and burn DVDs, and an audio cable (a real curio nowadays). I do wonder why some manufacturers don’t differentiate their retail and OEM products by reducing the cache memory amount in the latter, for example. The price difference between these two shipped versions isn’t often worth the accessories, save for the software. But I’ve got off the point. Let’s get back to the drive.

  

We’ve got a classic Lite-On here: the design of the front panel hasn’t been changed for a long time, only its shade varies slightly between different models. The controls and indicators are the same as in any other Lite-On device, too. By the way, Lite-On is among the few optical drive manufacturers who still put a headphones socket and a volume control on DVD-burners even.

 
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