Disc burning can be a delicate process: it’s safest to minimize your computer activity while burning to avoid ruining a disc. This, of course, spells out downtime while waiting for your disc to burn. With blazingly fast maximum burn rates, Sony’s external DRX-830UL-T won’t leave you twiddling your thumbs for too long.
is a very fast external CD/DVD rewritable drive, with the capability of burning at a maximum rate of 18X on 16X single-layer DVDs. In my testing it took five and a half minutes to burn a 4.6GB single-layer DVD at 18X. Burning speed for double-layer DVDs wasn’t shabby either. At a rate of 8X, the DRX-830UL-T took roughly 19 minutes to burn 8GB of data onto a double-layer DVD+R disc. Copying 655MB from the same double-layer disc onto our test system’s hard drive took one minute and 45 seconds.
The DRX-830UL-T has an attractive silver enclosure. The button to eject the disc tray, located on the enclosure’s right side, is easy to locate and press. The burner’s disc tray is concealed by a door-like cover, which opens when you press the eject button. This cover not only makes the drive more aesthetically pleasing; it also protects the device from dust.
The DRX-830UL-T’s included software for Mac users pales in comparison to the Nero Essentials software bundle provided for Windows users. The only included Mac application is Roxio’s Toast 6 Lite, which is sufficient for your basic burning needs, but if you wish to take full advantage of the DRX-830UL-T’s capabilities, you’ll need
|18x +R Burn
|8X DL Burn
|DL Copy 655MB to Hard Drive
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
How We Tested: We ran all tests with the rewritable drive connected via FireWire 400 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 the drive to burn 8GB of data onto double layer DVD+R Verbatim media using Toast Titanium 6.0.7, 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 double layer DVD to the internal hard drive.–Macworld Lab testing by Brian Chen.
||FireWire 400 (2), USB 2.0
|Rated Burn Speeds
||DVD-R 18x, DVD+R 18X, DVD+R DL 8X, CD-R 48X
||Toast 6 Lite
Macworld’s buying advice
Fast, speedy and well-built, the DRX-830UL-T consistently produced reliable media even at its fastest burn rates. Whether you’re backing up data or mass-producing your independent movie, you can’t ask for much more from a CD/DVD burner.
Brian Chen is an assistant editor for