So your DVD burner is getting a little long in the tooth and you’re ready for an upgrade, but you’re not all that keen on adopting next-gen tech. And who can blame you? Even the falling price of hardware doesn’t make up for the relatively slow burn times, costly media, and compatibility issues that plague Blu-ray burners (and the same would be true of HD DVD burners if you could even find them!). Trouble is, you’ve got a brand-new 27-inch LCD that’s just begging to display high-def movies. What’s a consumer to do? Well, you could buy a combo drive—one that lets you read next-gen discs and write data to fast, friendly CD and DVD, like the two models we review this month.
With Asus’s BC-1205PT you get to read high-def discs, but only if they’re of the Blu-ray variety, so you’ll want to have a strong affinity for that format (and its affiliated movie studios) to take the plunge. Because while you do save money by forgoing the ability to write to Blu-ray, the BC-1205PT still isn’t cheap. It’s a couple hundred dollars more than a high-performance standard DVD drive, and its DVD burn performance is far from top-notch.
The BC-1205PT is rated at 12x for DVD+/-R write speeds—a good deal slower than today’s top DVD burners, now at 20x, and not surprisingly, burn times take a hit. It took us 7:12 (min:sec) to fill a single-layer DVD+R with the BC-1205PT, compared to the 5 minutes flat it took our favorite drive, Samsung’s SH-S203B (reviewed October 2007). Burning to a double-layer DVD, the Asus drive maintained a 3.96x average speed and filled the disc in 27:09, more than twice the time it took our Samsung. Only when burning to DVD-RW media did the Asus and Samsung perform on par, writing 4.38GB to a single-layer disc at 15:07 and 14:31, respectively. When reading data from all of our test discs, Asus’s drive had notably slower seek times than both the Samsung and the LG GCC-H20L reviewed here.
Middling performance aside, the BC-1205PT offers a SATA interface, the CyberLink BD Solution suite for playback and burning chores, and a simple, black face plate.
Next-gen disc reads, standard-DVD convenience.
No HD DVD support, so-so DVD performance.
Asus BC 1205PT
LG GCC H20L
DVD+R Write Speed Average
DVD+R Read Speed Average
Access Time (Random/Full)
DVD+DL Write Speed Average
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, two EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI mode, a Western Digital 150GB Raptor and a 500GB Caviar hard drive, a Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard, and a PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad PSU.