Before you get too excited about LG’s combo optical drive, bear in mind that while the GGW-H10NI Super Multi Blue can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, it can write to only the former format. Still, this drive offers a degree of flexibility that no other next-gen drive we’ve tested has. You won’t be shut out of watching movies from studios that have allied themselves with just one of the high-def formats. Not surprisingly, this luxury doesn’t come cheap. At $1,200, the Super Multi Blue costs more than your average Blu-ray burner—by as much as $600.
But here’s something else that makes this drive special: 4x BD-R burns. The other Blu-ray burners we’ve tested have been capped at 2x speeds when burning to single-layer high-def media. In real-world terms, 4x amounts to a significant time savings. Using LG’s drive, we burned 22.5GB of data to our disc in 27:27 (min:sec). Granted, that’s hardly speedy, but it’s half the time it’s taken us with other drives. When burning to rewriteable media (BD-RE), the Super Multi Blue took 45:11 to fill a single-layer disc, while the competition typically takes more than 90 minutes to complete this task. (The exception is the Lite-On LH-2B1S that we reviewed in July, which lacks a data-verification feature commonly employed for BD-RE situations—see chart below.)
Like most of the other Blu-ray burners we’ve tested, the Super Multi Blue is spec’d for 8x DVD burns. Consequently, it took us 10:09 to write 4.37GB of data to a DVD+R disc. That’s not as fast as Lite-On’s burner, which is spec’d at 12x, but then again, Lite-On’s drive can’t hold a candle to LG’s BD-R speeds. That fact, combined with this drive’s dual-format HD reads and its future-proof SATA interface are the reasons we picked the Super Multi Blue for this year’s Dream Machine.
Mr. Blue Sky
Reads HD DVD and Blu-ray, writes Blu-ray faster than most other drives.
Expensive. Can't write HD DVD media.
DVD Write Speed Average
DVD Read Speed Average
Access Time (Random/Full)
CPU Utilization (8x)
Time to burn 22.5GB to BD-R (Min:sec)
Time to burn 22.5GB to BD-RE (Min:sec)
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.