When we last looked at DVD drives, the top write speed for DVD+/-R media was 16x. Lite-On’s LH-20A1S bests that (as well as today’s prevailing 18x speeds) with a 20x burner. What does that 20x net you when only 16x media currently exists? Well, if you’re using fancy—and hard to find—Taiyo Yuden media, which is what shipped with our drive, the LH-20A1S indeed excels. It wrote 4.38GB of data to a single-layer DVD+R disc in a speedy 5:06 (min:sec), with an average speed of 14.66x (the drive peaked at 19.06x). Using Verbatim media, however, Lite-On’s drive was on par with our old fave, Plexy’s PX-755SA, with an average write speed of 12.07x and a 5:49 write time. What struck us as unusual in tests with both types of media was the drive’s 88-percent-plus CPU utilization during 8x disc reads (the highest our Nero CD-DVD Speed utility reports on). This is more than double what most drives report.
The LH-20A1S is rated at 8x for double-layer media, and it took 17:56 to write 7.96GB of data to DVD+R DL—not the best time we’ve seen, but respectable. The drive comes bundled with Nero 7 Essentials and offers LightScribe for direct disc labeling, DVD-RAM support, and an extra bezel (white), so your drive can change outfits.