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In our July issue, we reviewed OWC’s Mercury Pro 8x Blu-ray External and found the drive’s performance puzzling. In short, the Mercury Pro’s BD-R write speeds belied its 8x rating, with the drive taking nearly an hour to fill a 25GB disc with data, compared with the 22-plus minutes it took LG’s 6x GBW-H20L. It got us wondering whether the issues were more the fault of OWC’s external enclosure or the Pioneer 8x Blu-ray drive at its heart.
This month we were able to answer that question as we tested Pioneer’s BDR-2203, the same drive used in the Mercury Pro. We immediately cut to the chase, testing the BDR-2203’s BD-R write performance. While the Mercury Pro was incompatible with the Nero DiscSpeed app we use for our optical drive tests—forcing us to use Nero 8’s Burn Express instead—the BDR-2203 had no such problems. Using DiscSpeed along with 4x Verbatim media, the drive wrote 22.5GB of data to a BD-R disc in 14:56 (min:sec)—a Lab record!—maintaining 8x speeds through much of the job. With rewriteable media, the drive’s performance wasn’t quite as impressive. The BDR-2203 held a steady 2x speed when filling a 25GB BD-RE disc, for a time of 45:35, much like the Mercury Pro—and 15 percent slower than the LG GBW-H20L’s BD-RE write time.
With standard DVD media, the BDR-2203’s performance was pretty much in line with the Mercury Pro’s—and that’s not a bad thing. While neither drive toppled the GBW-H20L in DVD+R speeds, all three were virtually tied: Pioneer’s internal drive wrote 4.38GB of data to a single-layer disc in 6:06 compared with the external drive’s time of 6:16 and the LG drive’s time of 5:43. On the other hand, both the Mercury Pro and the BDR-2203 surpassed the GBW-H20L in our DVD-ripping benchmark, with scores that were 50 percent faster than the LG drive’s.
In the end, not only did Pioneer’s BDR-2203 prove that it wasn’t to blame for the Mercury Pro’s BD-R issues, it succeeded in unseating LG’s GBW-H20L as our Blu-ray burner of choice. After all, who wouldn’t want BD-R write times that are 30 percent faster for a comparable price, along with solid performance in all other areas?
Fastest BD-R writes; fast DVD rips; competitive price.
It's not the fastest at BD-RE writes.
|Pioneer BDR-2203 ||OWC Mercury||LG GBW-H20L |
|DVD Write Speed Average ||11.64x||11.52x||12.07x|
|DVD Read Speed Average ||11.93x||11.96x ||9.10x|
|Access Time (Random/Full)||173/365ms ||169/357ms ||100/175ms|
|DVD Ripping ||10:06||10:49||15:19|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec) || 14:56 ||52:17*||22:16|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-RE (min:sec) ||45:35||45:19*||39:35|