The LG GSA-H55N DVD writer comes kitted out with SecurDisc technology.

Today's ultra cautious PC user may be able to offer their machine plenty of protection through antivirus/spyware software, backup drives and uninterruptible power supplies, but there are still a number of areas that even the most paranoid of us simply can't reach. Take DVDs, for instance. The typical disc can be picked up and accessed by almost anyone passing by your desk. And should you be sent a DVD through the post, how do you know that it is what it purports to be? Well, the LG GSA-H55N is a DVD drive that has a few rather convincing answers for these and a number of other sticky issues.

The LG GSA-H55N comes kitted out with SecurDisc technology. Using the specially adapted version of Ahead Nero, you can switch on a number of features as part as the burn process.

As you'd expect, with LG GSA-H55N password protection can be activated – although one isn't needed to view the file names, you will need to know the password to access any of the files themselves. One nice touch is the way Ahead Nero assesses the complexity of your password – the more characters and digits you use (particularly where both types are involved), the harder it will be for anyone to guess the answer.

While you're safeguarding discs with the LG GSA-H55N, you might want to create a digital signature. This is saved as a file which can then be stashed away or emailed to any recipients of the DVD. If they want to be certain that the disc has come from you, they can get the DVD to check itself against the signature – should there be any differences, it can be assumed that data has been changed and that the disk is a security risk and should be disposed of accordingly.

But the LG GSA-H55N isn't just about keeping your data safe. You can also protect the disc from being duplicated, while the integrity check feature lets you assess media to see if its quality is deteriorating. Should the data on the disc be in imminent danger of getting corrupted, you then have advance notice so that you can move the contents to safety. These features are nice, but they aren't without cost.

With all of the SecurDisc settings turned to on, we found that the LG GSA-H55N took almost double the time to burn 3GB to a disc – although the more you burn to disc at one time, the smaller this gap should become.

It helps that, even when used as a normal DVD writer, the LG GSA-H55N is exceptional. Its 20-speed DVD-R/+R facilities are exceptional, and when you combine these with 12-speed DVD-RAM and 10-speed DVD-RW/+RW, this is clearly a fantastic product.

LG GSA-H55N: Specs

  • Formats supported DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM
  • Interface Type EIDE
  • Max CD speeds 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • Max DVD speeds 16x/20x/20x/10x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • Max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • Drive Buffer 2MB
  • Average Access Time (DVD) 140ms
  • Ahead Nero SecurDisc version (check this comes with it)
  • 2-year warranty
  • Formats supported DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM
  • Interface Type EIDE
  • Max CD speeds 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • Max DVD speeds 16x/20x/20x/10x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • Max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • Drive Buffer 2MB
  • Average Access Time (DVD) 140ms
  • Ahead Nero SecurDisc version (check this comes with it)
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

You're in effect paying a £5 premium for the security features on the LG GSA-H55N, but even if you never use any of the SecurDisc facilities, this remains a very impressive model. As a means of securing your privacy and keeping tabs on the quality of your DVD media, SecurDisc is extremely good indeed. And you'll only need it to work its magic once, and you could well find that extra cost proving priceless.

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