Mar 28 2012 - The old IDE interface has pretty much been phased out and been replaced by the new SATA connectors. With DVD burners becoming such a basic component, the performance between most drives ends up being dictated more by the media used than the drives themselves. Because of this, I've put together a list based on my research and experience of recommended SATA DVD burners by how they will be used.
If you are looking for a drive that writes fast to just about any format on the market and also supports Lightscribe media, then the LITE-ON iHAS424 is the drive to get. It supports CD-R media up to 48x, DVD recordables at 24x and even dual-layer media at 12x. Access times are also very speedy for the performance levels the drive offers. Priced around $26.
Lightscribe is the most popular of the two different directly labeling systems on burners. With performance between the various drives so close these days, those looking to burn labels directly to LightScribe media are best served by going with a drive from the company that primarily backed the format, HP. The HP 1270i offers some solid performance with 24x recording speeds for both DVD+R and DVD-R formats. CD formats are also quite speedy with 48x recording and playback speeds for CD-R and 32x for CD-RW. Priced at $35.
Most people who burn data to CDs and DVDs consider them disposable because they are so inexpensive. The problem is that the data once recorded to the media isn't easy to erase, especially with the one time recordable media. Plextor is one of the companies that has developed a utility called PlexErase that ships with their drives to help make data on previously burned CDs and DVDs inaccessible, effectively erasing them. So, if data security is highly important to you, the Plextor PX-L890SA drive is certainly the one to consider. The drive has good performance to with its 24x DVD+/-R recording speeds. It also supports burning to LightScribe compatible media. Priced just around $50.
Anyone who has used a computer with an optical drive can tell you how noisy the drives can be. This can be a major problem for someone that is putting together a computer system to be used in a home theater environment where noise is a major concern. Thankfully, GEAR HEAD has produced a competent product which also produces less noise than most. Performance is still good with 24x DVD+/-R and 12x dual layer recording speeds.