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LG GSA-2166D & GSA-2164D External Super Multi Writers
Optical Storage | First Looks
Fri 16 Sep 2005

Sexy, Speedy and Versatile

  "When speed, versatility and design converge, you meet the latest LG external Super Multi DVD Writers"

The LG GSA-2166D and GSA-2164D Super Multi Writers laying flat and standing respectively.

Interlocking grooves on the tray and drive ensure a tight seal preventing entry of dust particles.

Both writers have the exact same rear layout; from the left:- USB 2.0, power connector and power switch.

External DVD writers often serve as an indispensable backup unit for multiple PCs in a concentrated environment, and are equally beneficial for off-site use since they are portable. However, you can never be too sure what read/write formats you require when you need to leverage on the portability factor of these external writers. That's why LG is among the rare few companies whose DVD writers are designed for multi format compatibility. Branded under their Super Multi series and thanks to their strong marketing, LG is the most prominent name that comes to mind when it comes to such drives. Super Multi drives are capable of reading and writing to DVD+/- R discs, DVD+/- RW discs and to DVD-RAM discs – the latter being the most important differentiator from other normal drives.

What's New

We have very recently reviewed LG's GSA-4167 Internal Super Multi DVD writer in detail, but the external GSA-2166D and GSA-2164D writers actually sport better specs than it. In addition to having write speeds of 16x DVD+/- R, 8x DVD +/- RW, 6x DVD-RW, 5x DVD-RAM and 4x DVD-R DL, both of these units also support a much faster 8x DVD+R DL write speed. This compares favorably to LG's GSA-4167 that manages DVD+R DL write speeds of 'only' 6x. Though this means a time saving of a couple of minutes in real world use, it should only be of utmost concern for those who can afford the expensive speedy dual layer media. Of course, whether you use it or not, these specs would certainly position the drives in a positive light. A point to take note is that the drive's 8x DVD+R DL speeds are not out of the box (yet) and would require you to update the firmware to facilitate this. This should wrap the performance aspects of both the external drive units.

Scribing with Light

Where the LG GSA-2166D differs from the LG GSA-2164D is that the former comes with LightScribe technology, allowing you to 'print' labels directly on to the media. Apart from that, both drives sport very similar specifications. Interestingly, none of LG's internal Super Multi drives sport the same set of specifications as these external units. They either compromise slightly on the DVD+R DL write speeds or CD-ROM read speeds, which places both the LG GSA-2166D and the LG GSA-2164D as the company's best ODD offerings at the moment.

Drive Design

Finished in glossy black with silver accents, the latest pair of LG external Super Multi drives are quite attractive (and they invite smudges too). The sturdy plastic case has thick rubber feet that allow the drive to operate either horizontally or vertically according to your preference and neither will affect the read/write capabilities of the drive. To prevent dust from entering the drive during use, the mouth of the drive and the drive tray are lined with interlocking grooves to form a tight seal. The housing of these external Super Multi drives aren't fused together with a power adaptor and it is supplied separately in the package. For the curious, the adaptor operates at both 100V and 240V specs to adapt to different regions.

The drive's rear is kept clean and only has the USB 2.0 transfer interface, power connector and a power switch – quite standard. Unlike some of LG's external optical drive predecessors, the two new versions featured here do not sport the FireWire interface. This is not really a downside considering how much more widespread the USB interface is and in fact helps to reduce costs instead of having both interfaces.

Final Words

LG has once again successfully leveraged upon its Super Multi feature to bring consumers a far more updated external drive unit, which in a few ways are speedier than their own internal drive products. Both the LG GSA-2166D and the LG GSA-2164D are well built external drive units that not only look fashionable and come with an impressive software bundle, but also sport some really impressive read/write performance specs that's bound to interest those who require fast turnaround time, if one does not mind the added cost of the more expensive media required.

Finally, if you need an external drive with DVD-RAM read/write support, there's no further reason than to adopt one of these LG Super Multi DVD writers for all-round media compatibility. The LG GSA-2166D is additionally a LightScribe enabled drive and that's something to note if you fancy a neat labeling system.


Product Specifications

  • Read Performance: 16x DVD-ROM max, 48x CD-ROM max
  • Write Performance: 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 16x DVD-R, 6x DVD-RW, 4x DVD-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 48x CD-R, 32x CD-RW Write.
  • Buffer Size: 2MB
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 160 x 230 x 50mm
  • Weight: 1.26kg (approx)
  • Software Bundle: CyberLink PowerDVD 5.0, CyberLink PowerProducer Gold, Nero Express, InCD 4.3, LightScribe 1.4.27