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TDK Dual Format +/- 4x DVD Writer
By Aaron Yip
Category : Optical Storage
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 3rd June, 2003
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars  


With the DVD industry in the midst of deciding which format to adopt and standardize, it's going to be a while before we see either the +R or -R formats coming tops over the other. While some vendors have already jumped the gun and stuck to either one format, others have decided to make things less confusing for the consumers by coming out with dual format DVD writers. As the name implies, such drives come with the capabilities to write on both +R/RW and -R/RW DVD media. Today we shall take a look at one such drive from TDK - the DVW+A040212N, which can write at 4x on both +/-R write-once DVDs, and 2.4x and 2x on a Plus (+) and Minus (-) re-writable DVD media respectively. That's not all, because as with most other DVD writers that have CD-RW functions, the TDK Dual Format drive also comes with a 16x10x40x CD-RW terminology.

The drive's faceplate sports a very unique look here.

The drive's rear may bears an uncanny resemblance to some of the other DVD+RW drives to some readers.

Out of the Box

The TDK drive comes with a sleek and shiny black faceplate with a "crater-like" depression in the center, giving it that cool Zen look which is a match made in heaven for those with black casings. The only slight teeny weeny gripe we have here is that the Eject button is a tad too flushed against the surface of the faceplate, and can be an irritant for users with big fingers. Also, due to its "glossy" surface, smudges and fingerprints can be very apparent on the faceplate after a while especially for those with damp fingers.

Inside the box, TDK have bundled the DVD drive along with a TDK 4x DVD+R media, an emergency eject pin, the usual quick install poster as well as the standard cables for installation. Perhaps the most surprising bundle of the lot is the inclusion of a full version of Pinnacle's Instant CD/DVD (also includes Instant Copy) software at the expense of Nero Burning ROM. Now that's not a bad thing because unlike other vendors that ship their drives with lackluster software, Pinnacle's Instant CD/DVD is an exciting all-in-one complete suite of CD and DVD authoring tools for data management and disc creation.

A look at the interface of Instant CD/DVD.

Like Nero, Instant CD/DVD also allows you to create your own music and burn MP3 mixes, or build digital scrapbooks onto video CDs and DVDs. The best thing about Instant CD/DVD is that it delivers one of the most complete set of tools available we've ever seen. Simply put, it gives users the command over any file format on any media type. As a bonus, the software also includes Instant Copy that allows you to burn true 1:1 copies of DVD content, transfer DVD content to Video CDs and make perfect bit-for-bit copies on any CD media. Instant Copy is also powerful enough to be able to burn a 9GB, dual layer DVD video onto a standard 4.7GB recordable disc. That and considering that the retail pricing for Instant CD/DVD is US$99.99 (Instant Copy is available separately at US$49.99), it's hard to not give TDK the thumbs up for bundles with exceptional value.

The powerful Instant Copy is also included in Instant CD/DVD.

* For those naughty readers out there already rubbing their hands gleefully, please take note that Instant CD/DVD and Instant Copy cannot be used to copy CSS-encrypted discs - for obvious reasons. (Ed. - However, there are ways of getting around it, but that would be illegal and we don't recommend it. Buy originals, guys. Don't be a cheapo!)

With that said, let's take a look at the specifications below before we move on to our benchmarks in the following pages.

TDK Dual Format +/- 4x DVD Writer Technical Specifications
  • ATAPI / E-IDE UltraDMA/33
  • Data Capacity
  • DVD+R/RW 4.7GB (SP: 120min.)
  • DVD-R/RW 4.7GB (SP: 120min.)
  • 800MB (90min. Disc)
  • 700MB (80min. Disc)
  • 650MB (74min. Disc)
  • 210MB (24min. Disc)
  • Writing Speed (DVD)
  • 2.4x, 4x (DVD+R)
  • 2.4x (DVD+RW)
  • 2x, 4x (DVD-R)
  • 2x (DVD-RW)
  • Writing Speed (CD-R)
  • 16x
  • 12x
  • 8x
  • 4x
  • Writing Speed (CD-RW)
  • 10x
  • 8x
  • 4x
  • Reading Speed
  • 12x max. (DVD-ROM)
  • 40x max. (CD-ROM)
  • Access Time
  • 200ms (DVD), 180ms (CD-R)
  • Data Buffer
  • 2MB with SMART-BURN Buffer Underrun Protection
  • Writing Methods (DVD)
  • Disc at Once
  • Incremental recording
  • Multi-border recording
  • Loss-less Linking for DVD+RW
  • Writing Methods
  • Disc at Once
  • Track at Once
  • Session at Once
  • Packet Writing
  • Multisession
  • Supported Write / Read Formats
  • CD-DA
  • CD-ROM
  • PhotoCD
  • VideoCD
  • Super VideoCD
  • CD-I
  • CD-Extra
  • CD Text
  • Software
  • Pinnacle Instant CD/DVD 7.0SE
  • Pinnacle Instant Copy
  • Pinnacle Expression
  • InterVideo WinDVD4
  • Price
  • S$499
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