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As far as we’re concerned, the Blu-ray burner to beat these days is LG’s GGW-H20L1 (reviewed December 2007). Unfortunately for Sony, its BWU-200S isn’t the drive to do it. We pretty much knew this before we even began testing the drive—after all, the BWU-200S is rated for 4x Blu-ray write speeds compared to the LG’s 6x speed rating.
And true to form, LG’s drive trounced Sony’s in every Blu-ray burning scenario. What surprised us was how much slower the BWU-200S was compared to even its 2x predecessor, the BWU-100A that we reviewed in April 2007. Using the latest version of Nero CD-DVD Speed to test burn times, as we always do, the BWU-200S took a glacially slow 99:47 (min:sec) to fill a single-layer BD-R disc. That’s almost an hour and 40 minutes to write 22.5GB of data! Its 2x forebearer took less than half that time. Repeated tests with rewriteable and double-layer Blu-ray media produced similarly abysmal results. What gives?
A call to Sony provided the answer. By default, the BWU-200S’s defect-management routine is enabled for Blu-ray media. So every block of data written to a BD disc is simultaneously checked for errors, doubling burn times. The feature can be disabled, but only in the bundled Power2Go burning app—part of the CyberLink suite that is included with the drive. Once we did that, the BWU-200S’s burn times were more reasonable—45:38 to fill a single-layer BD-R, 45:17 to fill a single-layer rewriteable disc, and 91:13 for double-layer media—but these times still aren’t as good as those of other 4x drives we’ve tested (and we haven’t tested any other drive that performed better with BD-RE than BD-R!). The most impressive result came from burning 45.2GB of data to Sony’s prerelease 4x BD-R DL media. Burn times were literally cut in half when compared to burning to a 2x disc. We’re looking forward to using the faster media with a really good drive, like LG’s GGW-H20L1.
Decent burn speeds on Sony's new 4x media; handsome faceplate; SATA.
Abysmal burn speeds everywhere else; even with error-check disabled, performance is still pokey.
|LG GCC H20L||Sony BWU-200S ||Sony BWU-100A|
|DVD Write Speed Average||12.09x||11.23x||6.78x|
|DVD Read Speed Average||9.24x||11.73x||6.17x|
|Access Time (Random/Full)||99ms/192ms||155/305ms||130/317ms|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec)||21:23 ||99:47 ||42:19|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec)||39:38||297:5||93:13|
|Best scores are bolded. All tests were conducted using the latest version of Nero CD-DVD Speed and Verbatim media (except where noted). Our test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine using a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700, 2GB of Corsair DDR2/800 RAM on an EVGA 680 SLI motherboard, one EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS card, a Western Digital 500GB Caviar hard drive, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool PSU.|