Pioneer DVD-R/RW DVR-103 9/10
have released the new DVR-103 IDE drive. It writes to DVD-R, CD-R and
also to CD-RW and DVD-RW. What is different is the price. As you can see
it looks like any other DVD drive or CD drive. The small DVD-R/RW logo
is the only sign that this is a special drive. At £600 (cheaper
in some places) it is far cheaper than the previous model at nearly £2500.
This drive is also being bundled on many computers, including the Apple
G4/733, where it is known as the "SuperDrive".
If you are
buying the drive as an upgrade, it is simple to install, especially if
you are replacing your current IDE CD drive. Just make sure you don't
tamper with the jumper settings, before installing it, because in most
cases the DVR-103 will install will install with the default jumper settings.
I changed the jumper position and I ended up spending three times longer
than I should have, installing it. I was continually trying different
jumper settings until I put it back to the default position and then found
Windows immediately recognised the drive.
comes with several CD-Rs, 2 DVD-R and two software packages. The write
speed on CD-R is 8x and on DVD-R Pioneer quote 2.8 MB/s (2x usual DVD
speed and quicker than most DVD-RAM drives). I already own a DVD-RAM drive,
so you might be thinking why get this drive. The reason is simple DVD-R
can read on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Also the price per megabyte
of DVD-R is cheaper. Essentially DVD-Rs look like CDs and are write-once
just like CD-Rs. The side to be written on by the drive is purple, unlike
the blue or green usually seen on CD-Rs. For £40 (inc. VAT) you
can buy a five pack of Apple 4.7 GB DVD-R discs, compared to £30
for one 9.4 GB double sided DVD-RAM. Also with DVD-R looking to become
widespread the price of the media will drop over time (unlike DVD-RAM
whose price seems to have stayed static). The DVD-RW discs are currently
only made by Pioneer and they are around £20 - and can't be read
on as many devices. The drive itself will be able to read 9.4 GB and 17
GB DVDs when they become available (like most DVD machines) but won't
be able to write onto them, since a narrower laser is required to burn
on to them.
two software packages are average. Instant CD/DVD is like Easy CD Creator,
but also lets you write onto DVD discs, as well as CDs. If you want to
write to CD-R or CD-RW you can use Easy CD Creator, provided you are using
version 4.02d or greater. The drive is also compatable with later DirectCD
programmes. It performs well when writing CDs and this is crucial since
it means you don't need to buy an additional CD-Writer. DVD-RAM drives
can't write onto CD-R/RW!
package, MyDVD lets you create a DVD for playing on an ordinary DVD player
complete with menus that you see on most film DVDs. It is basic and if
you plan to make such DVD-Videos often, it's worth buying a proper package,
the interface is quite cool though! There is also a DVD software player,
but most users probably already have such a programme.
think most users will end up using this device for cheap backup of data,
music etc. (like myself), with maybe a few dabbling in making DVD Videos.
This is a groundbreaking product, but at £600 it is still expensive,
but thankfully with the DVD-R format taking off, because of the huge number
of compatable reading drives, it should drop in price significantly. Hopefully
this and similar drives will drop below the £300 level (the price
band of DVD-RAM drives). There is still however uncertainty with respect
to the rewritable DVD format (DVD-RW) supported by this drive with many
rival standards, like DVD-RAM, DVD+RW etc.