On the surface, OWC’s Mercury Pro Blu-ray external drive could seem appealing. The cabinet is attractive and sturdy; it offers FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and eSATA interfaces—including all the requisite cables; and it holds a Pioneer BDR-203 drive, which is rated at 8x for BD-R writes—the highest rating available—and 16x for DVD+/-R. Yet, after using the device, we’re unimpressed.
We first tried to test the drive with the eSATA interface but it failed to work with any of our test beds, which use the nForce 680i SLI chipset. It was recognized by motherboards using Intel’s P45 and X58 chipsets as well as those boards’ auxiliary Marvell controllers. However, we benchmarked using USB 2.0 on our standard test bed for continuity.
LaCie's newest Blu-ray burner might as well be called the 'Top Gun' model because the company obviously felt the need for speed when designing it. The newly announced LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive gooses the burn rating to 8X, or double the speed of its previous high-capacity Blu-ray drive.
"With the doubling of the speed to burn Blu-ray discs, video professionals will be able to spend more time creating content and less time on production," said Christelle Dexet, Multimedia Product Manager for LaCie. "And for those who need to safely store large quantities of information for extended periods of time on secure removable media, the LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is an ideal solution."
The external drive supports both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and can burn up to 50GB on a single dual-layer BD-R disc. DVD recording checks in at 16X, CDs at 48X, and dual-layer DVD at 8X.
LaCie's d2 Blu-ray burner is available now starting at $450 and comes bundled with Easy Media Creator 10 and Toast 9 Titanium software.
The external drive does have some limitations when used over a USB 2.0 connection – understandably so, and can only manage write speeds up to 6.5x. You should set aside anywhere between $350 to $400, if you want this drive. However, very few people might have a craving for a Blu-ray burner at this point in time. The prices are still uninviting, though gradually waning, and Blu-ray is far from inheriting the ubiquity enjoyed by its predecessors.