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Nathan Edwards Jul 11, 2008

Lite On 4x Blu-ray Triple Writer DH-4B1S

At A Glance

Panda Bear

Not-so-outrageous price, decent DVD burn speed, SATA interface.

Pandemonium

Still too expensive, DVD burns could be better, BD-R burn speeds suck.

Lite On’s new drive may sport a faster 4x BD-R write rating, but it performs worse than its 2x kin.

It doesn’t matter a lick to us that Blu-ray has prevailed in the high-def format war if the hardware remains expensive and uninspiring. We have to admit, we thought the tide was turning when we reviewed LG’s GGW-H20L Blu-ray burner back in December. That drive represented a dramatic price drop (falling to $500 from its predecessor’s $1,200 price tag in a matter of months—and now settled at $400 MSRP), and its 6x rating for BD-R media resulted in burn times we could actually live with (22.5GB in a little over 20 minutes).

Sadly, Lite On has not followed LG’s lead. True, the company’s latest Blu-ray burner is cheaper than the Lite On LH-2B1S we reviewed in July 2007 ($450 vs. $600) and has a faster BD-R write rating (4x vs. 2x), but we’re not the least bit moved by these changes. For starters, the new DH-4B1S is still more expensive than the aforementioned LG GGW-H20L, and its “improved” BD-R rating has actually made burning to that media slower! It took us 48:00 (min:sec) to burn 22.5GB to a single-layer disc. Certain this was a mistake, we ran the test again—for a time of 48:14! (With the 2x Lite On drive, this very task took just 46:14.) The DH-4B1S was actually faster burning to BD-RE media—where it’s rated at just 2x—writing 22.5GB to a rewriteable disc in 46:12.

With such pathetic Blu-ray performance, it might seem moot to discuss the DH-4B1S’s other attributes, such as DVD burn times, but here you have it: The drive is rated at 12x for DVD+R single-layer discs; in our tests, it wrote 4.38GB of data to that media in 7:09 (min:sec). That’s a decent time, but LG’s GGW-H20L, which is rated at 16x, took just 5:40 to complete this task.

Like all the Blu-ray burners we’ve ever tested, the DH-4B1S comes bundled with a collection of CyberLink applications for backup, copying, playback, and authoring chores. We can’t hold the drive responsible, but we’d appreciate CyberLink’s software more if it weren’t so twitchy.

Aesthetically, the drive is pretty standard, although it does sport an LED strip across its front that signifies drive operation and whether it’s working with CD, DVD, or BD media. The DH-4B1S smartly sports a SATA interface.

We always expect technology to progress by leaps and bounds, but a drive such as this makes us feel like Blu-ray is at a standstill.

Benchmarks

Lite On DH-4B1S
LG GGW-H20LI
DVD Write Speed Average
8.99x
12.09x
DVD Read Speed Average
9.10x
9.24x
Access Time (Random/Full)
137ms/213ms 99ms/192ms
CPU Utilization (8x)
31%
23%
Time to burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec) 48:00
21:23
Time to burn 22.5GB to BD-RE (min:sec) 46:12
39:38
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 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.
THE VERDICT

Lite On 4x Blu-ray Triple Writer DH-4B1S

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