- It was a reliable and quick performer in our tests, it has a SATA connection
- The fast burn speeds make it a fairly noisy drive
This drive has been on the market for a couple of months now, and it's definitely worth considering if you're after a new and fast DVD burner. It was reliable in all our tests, and best of all, it has a neat SATA connection.
Price$ 89.00 (AUD)
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On the whole, Pioneer's 12th generation DVD burner is one of the best devices in its class. Capable of writing single-layer DVDs at a rate of 18x, and double-layer DVDs at a rate of 10x, it's a very quick burner, and our lengthy test period showed it to be a reliable one, too. It read many scratched discs without any qualms, which means you'll no longer have to use CDs or DVDs as a coaster.
Perhaps the best part about the DVR-212 is that it has Serial ATA (1.5Gbps) data and power connections. It's Pioneer's first SATA-based DVD burner and it means users can finally rid themselves of those bulky, flat IDE ribbon cables. While having it plugged in to the JMicron SATA controller on a Gigabyte GA-N680SLI motherboard, we didn't have any problems installing Windows XP and Windows Vista with this drive. The motherboard detected the SATA burner and proceeded to boot off it.
However, using this controller, and once Windows XP was installed, the drive ran in PIO mode, which ate up plenty of CPU cycles and made life difficult when reading and writing to discs. (It stayed in PIO mode when we connected to the motherboard's nForce 680i SLI controller, too.) We had to update the JMicron drivers in order for the drive to work in DMA transfer mode. The same problem wasn't present in Windows Vista.
As for its write performance, the DVR-212 can burn a 70min audio CD in just 3min 06sec (at 40x). Our 8x TDK DVD-R discs were written at a rate of 16x, and it took 6min 03sec to burn 4.1GB of data to these discs. Using single-layer Verbatim DVD-R discs rated at 16x, the drive was able to write to them at a rate of 18x, cutting the total writing time to 5min 18sec. Double-layer Verbatim DVD-R discs rated at 4x, were burnt at a rate of 8x, where 8GB of data was burnt in 18min 12sec.
The drive read back all of our burnt discs without any major problems. Our 4.1GB single-layer burns were transferred back to our 7200rpm hard drive in 6min 11sec. Using iTunes, the drive took a swift 3min 02sec to rip 70min worth of audio files to 192Kbps MP3s (we tested on a PC with a 3.2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU). It took 19min 07sec to read back 8GB of data from our double-layer DVD-R discs, which is almost spot-on considering the drive has a read rate of 8x for these types of discs. However, the transfer stuttered at the halfway mark during this particular test, which was probably caused by the layer change.
When the DVR-212 is in full flight, the air that's generated by the spinning CDs and DVDs creates a very audible whir; it's definitely not a quiet burner. In our mid-tower ATX case, the drive was stable - hardly any vibration could be detected when the drive spun at its maximum speed.
As this is an OEM drive, it doesn't ship in any packaging (just an anti-static bag), and it may not have any software with it, depending on where it's purchased from. Our purchased test drive came bundled with Nero 7 Essentials burning software, and this is what we used for our writing tests. While our drive has a black faceplate, beige drives are also available.
This drive has been on the market for a couple of months now (at the time of writing), and it's definitely worth considering if you're after a new and fast DVD burner.
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