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HP DVD-Writer DVD100i

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  • Editors' rating
    7.0 Very good
  • $444.43

Pros

  • Burns video or data on rewritable media;
  • faster than competing DVD-R drives;
  • also writes CD-RW and CD-R media.

Cons

  • DVD+RW media are not compatible with older drives and players;
  • doesn't support forthcoming DVD+R media.

If speed were the only measure, Hewlett Packard's DVD-Writer DVD100i would have a clear lead among the emerging DVD storage technologies -- DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW. This jack-of-all-trades DVD+RW drive outperforms rivals such as Pioneer's DVR-A03 DVD-RW drive. It also functions as a 12X/10X/32X CD-R/RW drive and an 8X DVD-ROM drive.

At £549 (ex. VAT), the DVD100i debuts at a lower price point than the £699 (ex. VAT) Pioneer DVR-A03 did last spring, although Pioneer's drive is now available for under £500 (ex. VAT) on the street. Thus, the DVD100i is both costlier and less compatible than its DVD-RW competition. However, as we already mentioned, its performance is excellent. Based on specifications, the HP DVD100i writes to its native DVD+RW discs at a whopping 3.32MB per second (2.4X) compared to the Pioneer DVR-A03's 1.38MB/sec. HP's drive should also easily outpace the DVR-A03 (an 8X/4X/32X drive) at CD-related tasks.

The DVD100i's out-of-box experience seems better suited to experienced users than novices. The multilingual installation guide is barely enough to get you started, but there's a setup video on the software CD, and the software installation itself is painless. An IDE cable, a drive-to-sound-card cable and a single DVD+RW disc also come with the drive. Additional DVD+RW media are available at the reasonable cost of around £10 (ex. VAT) each.

The trouble with DVD+RW is compatibility. The media has low reflectivity, which means that it's not nearly as compatible with legacy DVD-ROM drives and DVD movie players as the high-reflectivity DVD-R media supported by competing DVD-RAM/R drives. This makes sharing data or movies with friends via DVD+RW potentially problematic. The DVD+RW developers group will be introducing a high-reflectivity DVD+R media that should be readable by more drives and players. However, the DVD100i won't be able to write to DVD+R without a firmware upgrade, which HP doesn't plan on providing. At least the company doesn't try to whitewash the compatibility issue -- it lists all the current drives and players that can read DVD+RW media on its Web site.

Unless you're planning on producing professional videos, the DVD100i's software bundle should take care of all of your video-capture and disc-creation needs. Sonic's MyDVD is provided for easy creation of DVD-movie discs. The program lets you storyboard your masterpiece by importing and converting files, capturing video and the like. It even lets you record directly to a DVD+RW disc from a DV source such as a camera. One caveat: MyDVD requires at least an 800MHz CPU.

HP provides RecordNow to take care of audio and data CD-mastering chores, while the company's Simple Backup program adds backup and disaster-recovery capabilities. The DLA (Drive Letter Access) program lets you use DVD+RW discs like floppies, randomly copying and erasing files via the standard Windows interface. PowerDVD is included to play DVD movies.

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HP offers the industry standard one-year warranty on the DVD100i, and you can get help via the company's well-organised support pages. Because the drive is new, there are few upgrades or patches, but you can find the usual drivers, applications, product manuals and troubleshooting information there.

If you don't care about compatibility with older DVD hardware, then the DVD100i is a great drive for backing up your system or creating DVD movies. But if you want to author DVDs for older drives or DVD players, you might want to opt for a DVD-RW drive or wait for the next generation of DVD+RW drives that have DVD+R capability.

Specifications

Optical Storage
Form Factor 5.25" x 1/2H
Form Factor (metric) 13.3 cm x 1/2H
Read Speed 32x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 12x (CD) / 4x (DVD)
Rewrite Speed 10x (CD) / 2x (DVD)
Supported Recording Modes disk-at-once, multisession, packet writing, session-at-once, track-at-once
Supported Media Formats CD Extra, CD-DA (audio), CD-I, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD
Buffer Size 2 MB
Access Time 125 sec
Media Load Type tray
Features headphone jack, volume control wheel
Media Included Qty 1
Compliant Standards CD-Bridge, CD-DA, CD-XA, CDi, Kodak PhotoCD, Video CD
Storage
Drive Type DVD writer
Product Type DVD+RW drive
Enclosure Type internal
Interface IDE
Power Device
Type none
Expansion / Connectivity
Free 1
Interface Provided
Gender female, male
Connector Qty 1
Type audio, headphones
Interface line-out, output
Qty 1
Connector Type 4 pin MPC, mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Miscellaneous
Package Type Retail
Color white
MTBF 120000 hour(s)
Mounting Kit included
Media Included Qty 1
Color Category white
Hard Drive
Type none
Video
Video Output none
Software / System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 SP5 or later, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
System Requirements
Min RAM Size 128 MB
OS Required Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 SP5 or later
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP DVD
Model 100i
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Interface Required
Connector Type 40 pin IDC
Gender female
Connector Qty 1
Expansion Slots
Type none
Dimensions & Weight
Width 7.8 in
Depth 5.8 in
Height 1.7 in
Weight 1.98 lbs
Bay Required
Total Qty 1
Type front accessible
Form Factor 5.25" x 1/2H
Form Factor (metric) 13.3 cm x 1/2H
Slot Required
Type none
Cable Details
Type IDE cable, audio cable
Included Qty 1
Software
Type Cyberlink PowerDVD, Drivers & Utilities, HP Simple Backup
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Location carry-in
Full Contract Period 1 year

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