While Plextor drives tend to offer the best performance speeds, their high prices prohibit most DVD enthusiasts. And for those who are prepared to wait a few months, it doesn't take long for companies such as LG to put out a similar product, only at a much lower price.

This drive should cost around £35 for an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version – you won't get any software with it, but you can buy a copy of Ahead Nero from Scan for around £2. For your £35 you get some of the highest speeds currently on offer: the LG comes with 10-speed DVD+R DL (double-layer) facilities.

For anyone looking to move more than 4.7GB of data on to a disc, the 8.5GB capacity of DL discs makes them a very hot commodity – and this LG is a further sign that, soon, mainstream drives will work almost as quickly with DL discs as they do with single-layer media. This drive took just over 17-and-a-half minutes to copy 8GB of data, compared with the 19-plus minutes required of drives with eight-speed +R DL.

The DVD+R facilities in LG drives have always been excellent and the H10N was no exception. Single-layer discs required a mere five minutes and 41 seconds to copy data.

DVD-RAM has been a much maligned format for some time, but as a rewriteable format it's quicker and more convenient to use than DVD-RW or DVD+RW. The problem is that its real-world performance has lagged behind rival formats. The LG sees the rewrite speed boosted to 12-speed and, while it still can't compete with the other standards, the 19 minutes needed to copy 3GB of data is considerably faster than the 25-plus minutes required of older drives.

LG GSA-H10N: Specs

  • 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) 16x/16x/16x/6x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • 2MB drive buffer
  • average access time (DVD) 145ms
  • no software or cables provided
  • 1-year warranty
  • 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) 16x/16x/16x/6x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • 2MB drive buffer
  • average access time (DVD) 145ms
  • no software or cables provided
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

DVD-RAM is a nice extra. Ultimately, however, this drive is about excellent DVD+R DL speed, combined with LG's usual searing DVD+R pace. Add to this the appetising price tag and this is an impressive package.

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