LGE's GSA-4040B is the first and only optical drive on the market to support writing for all five of the DVD flavours: DVD-R and DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM. Not for long, though: Iomega has announced its own multi-format DVD-RAM-writing drive, which is due out in August.
For DVD-RAM fans, who have been largely neglected by all of the major storage players except for Panasonic, the GSA-4040B represents the chance to finally get in on the multi-format DVD-burning act. The GSA-4040B may be the most versatile burner around, but at $299 in the US (~£186), it certainly isn't the cheapest multi-format option on the market. Also, 3X DVD-RAM media won't be available until the autumn. Users who don't anticipate a need for DVD-RAM burning may be inclined to stick with a less expensive four-format drive. The flexible-format approach should give DVD-RAM purveyors reason to rejoice. Home DVD-RAM players and recorders have been few and far between, and with the GSA-4040B's fast 3X DVD-RAM support, users of this niche media can at last join the multi-format party.