Nathan Edwards Jun 25, 2008

LG Super Multi Blue GGW-H20LI

At A Glance

Orange Crush

Fast, versatile, pretty; SATA interface; reads Blu-ray and HD DVD; good Blu-ray and HD DVD burn times.

Pieces of Blue

No HD DVD burning. But really, who cares?

It’s no surprise that high-def optical drives are getting less expensive while their specs improve—that’s the trajectory of all emergent technologies—but we are still taken aback by the dramatic strides LG’s GGW-H20LI represents. Just a few months ago, in our September issue, we reviewed this drive’s predecessor, the GGW-H10NI , and not only is its follow-up better in every respect, it’s half the price!

Granted, at $1,200 the earlier model was priced out of the stratosphere—consumers paid a premium for its unique ability to read both HD DVD and Blu-ray media (while writing to just the latter). The GGW-H20LI also offers this convenience. Plus, it offers a welcome speed increase for Blu-ray burns. Rated at 6x for BD-R media, the GGW-H20LI took 21:23 (min:sec) to write 22.5GB to a single-layer disc in our tests. That’s a 6-minute savings over this drive’s 4x predecessor. (Frankly, we were expecting to see more savings, since the 4x drive nearly halved the times of its 2x competitors, but we’ll take what we can get.) We saved just about 6 minutes when writing to rewriteable media as well, with the GGW-H20LI filling a single-layer BD-RE disc in 39:38.

But really, given the high cost of Blu-ray media ($12 to $15 per single-layer disc), not to mention the still-lengthy burn times, this drive’s DVD performance matters as much or more to most users. Rated at 16x, the GGW-H20LI took 5:40 (min:sec) to fill a single-layer DVD+R, while its predecessor took more than 10 minutes. Even dedicated DVD burners aren’t much faster—the Samsung SH-S203B, our pick for “Best of the Best” (see page 46)—took 5 minutes to complete this task.

Its reign might not last long, but for now the GGW-H20LI is the fastest, most versatile high-def optical burner available and made all the more attractive by its handsome façade and SATA interface.

DVD Write Speed Average 12.09x 6.67x
DVD Read Speed Average 9.24x 7.61x
Access Time (Random/Full) 99ms/192ms 190ms/374ms
CPU Utilization
23% 30%
Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec) 21:23
Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec) 39:38 45:11
Best scores are bolded. All tests were conducted using the latest version of Nero CD-DVD Speed and Verbatim media. Our test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine, using a dual-core 2.6GHz Athlon 64 FX-60, 2GB of Corsair DDR400 RAM on an Asus A8N-SLI motherboard, an ATI X1950 Pro videocard, a Western Digital 4000KD hard drive, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 850 PSU.

LG Super Multi Blue GGW-H20LI

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