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LaCie d2 DVD+/-RW with LightScribe

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All current Macs can read DVDs, but not all Macs can burn them. If you’re suddenly feeling the urge to unleash your inner movie mogul, want to start backing up some important files to dual-layer discs, or just want a burner that does everything faster than your old internal optical drive, the easiest way is to add an external FireWire DVD burner like this one from LaCie. It does a great job at all of these tasks.

Though we’ve reviewed 16X DVD burners in the past (   ), this is the first drive we’ve tested that features 8X dual-layer burn speeds. In our testing, the drive was able to burn 8GB of data in just over 19 minutes, a task that took between 27 and 43 minutes with 4X DL burners. In other testing, the unit was able to burn a 4.6GB DVD+R disk in just over six minutes, and copying the same amount of data from a burned disc to our test system’s hard drive took about a minute and a half. Comparing these two results to the last seven drives we’ve tested, the LaCie came in at a very close second place in both the burning and copying tests.

This is also not the first burner we’ve reviewed to use LightScribe technology, which allows you to flip special LightScribe discs over after burning and etch custom labels directly onto them. It’s a pretty nifty trick, but it took about 20 minutes to print one of the included template designs onto LightScribe-enabled media—which cost about twice as much as non-LightScribe media.

LaCie’s software bundle not only includes the LightScribe Labeler software, which lets you design and burn labels, but also the full version of Toast 7 Titanium, an $80 value. Most hard drives that ship with Toast only ship with the Lite version.

To be clear, this drive does not support any high-definition formats (HD-DVD or Blu-ray). Very few devices now available can play these types of formats yet.

timed trials

16x +R Burn 6:02
DL Burn 19:16
DL Copy 655MB to Hard Drive 1:32

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the FireWire drives connected to a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 installed and 512MB of RAM. We recorded the time it took each drive to burn 8GB of data onto dual layer DVD+R Verbatim media using Toast Titanium 7.1, and also the time it took to burn 4.4GB of data onto 16x DVD+R Verbatim media. We then timed the copy of a 655MB file from a burned dual layer DVD to the internal hard drive.—Macworld Lab Testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung


Drive Mechanism Samsung SH-W162L
Connectors FireWire 400 (2)
Rated Burn Speeds DVD-R 16x, DVD+R 16X, DVD+R DL 8X, CD-R 48X
Included Software Toast 7 Titanium, Toast 6 Lite, LightScribe Labeler

Macworld’s buying advice

Whether you’re looking to add DVD burning capability to your system, looking for an easier way to copy optical media, or just want the latest and fastest drives for burning DVDs—even dual-layer DVDs—the LaCie d2 can easily and speedily handle all that and more. And if you want to burn a custom design onto the disc, you can do that too—but be prepared to wait.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

LaCie d2 DVD+/-RW with LightScribe
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