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Sony DRU-500A Review 203

An anonymous reader writes "Just found a nice review of the Sony DRU-500A" This looks to be damn solid DVD burner. It's amazing how much prices on these things have come down. It might be time for me to make my epic film starring CowboyNeal, Samzenpus and Hemos in a moving story about Love, Friendship, and Growing Up in the Face of Adversity. I probably should write a script or something before I start filming. Or not.
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Sony DRU-500A Review

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  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:17PM (#4590821) Journal
    Unlike CD burners, DVD drives will never catch on, much like zip drives never did.

    DVDs were created to be obsolete, and within a few years, when Blu-Ray technologies are creating 30GB+ disks, a DVD burner will be one of those devices that will make someone say "You bought an expensive computer 4 years ago, and that device was overpriced crap", much like we view zip drives today.

    Compared to what capacity we truly need for video and storage, DVDs are weak, and their burners and discs are too expensive, incompatible, and slow to be of any practical use in the near future.

    CDs at least are dirt cheap -- almost free with rebates -- and I got my 32x burner used for $15. There are never any compatibility problems, and they're a universal format for both audio and video.
    • by umStefa ( 583709 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:27PM (#4590889) Homepage
      I agree with you statement that DVD burner's will be olbsolete in a couple of years but disagree that DVD burner's will never catch on. This is because most people (especially computer geeks) only expect their hardware to last a few years.

      DVD burner's will be used extensivly for the next few years when the will be replaced by something better. Just like CD's are now being replaced by DVD's
    • by Issue9mm ( 97360 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:29PM (#4590901)
      I don't agree. I have a DVD-burner that I use for nightly / weekly backups. The amount of data that I back up routinely surpasses the capacity of a CD-ROM drive. Yes, another hard drive might serve my needs better, but I wanted something I could take offsite in the event of a hard drive failure.

      Plus, it's handy to take my videos of the daughter and move them to DVD, allowing me to send them to my father across the country.

      • Why I love my dvd burner:

        xbox + modchip + dvd burner + blank dvd's + nntp feed == hours of fun and joy for my son

        DVD Burning forums at []

        Latest XBOX cd/dvd images/rips []
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Why I love my dvd burner:

          xbox + modchip + dvd burner + blank dvd's + nntp feed == hours of fun and joy for my son
          + growing up without any respect of other people's property.

          i can't imagine my father not only letting me steal things, but stealing them for me...

      • Is one guy using them a proof of success?

        A lot of people used ZIP drives too...
        (including me, a few years ago)

        Then CD burners and media got real cheap and they just disappeared.
    • For data, perhaps.

      I'm a filmmaker. 2 years ago, video was the best format availible to me. Now, I distribute on DVD.

      Until a technology comes along that replaces DVD (and HD-DVD tech will hopefully be backwards compatible), I'm in business.

      So there. :-P

      • "I'm a filmmaker. 2 years ago, video was the best format availible to me. Now, I distribute on DVD."

        I'm just wondering... Can you take a DVD you've burned and make it into a pressed CD? Partly I'm being curious, and partly I'm being provacative, since I remember reading that consumer-grade general DVD writers do not let you mark it as a 'master' copy, as opposed to a studio grade drive which would allow you to create a 'professional' disc. (Not to say that you are unprofessional or doing unprofessional work! :-)

        I'm just curious, because the article below is the only place I've heard it mentioned.

        Check out What's Wrong With Copy Protection by John Gilmore in the even that you haven't read it many times already. :-)

        • DVD-R for "authoring" does exist. Theoretically, one can create a glass master directly from a DVD-R Authoring disk.

          However, in practice, all the major houses just dump the data to a machine and create the master from that.

          As a result, it doesn't matter what format the disks come in (Generic DVD-R, special brand, some DLT format or even FTP/hard drive).

          However, I just burn generic copies of my disk, by hand. I've never messed with getting a large run done, which generally requires 500-1000 copies to be made. Which that much capital outlay, you worry about such things a little more.

    • Zip format is controled by one manufacture - result : Cost per meg -100- -times- Higer than CD (And yet some morons still buy it)

      DVD - many manufacturers. Disk prices now BELOW CD's per megabyte for some formats.
    • DVDs were created to be obsolete, and within a few years, when Blu-Ray technologies are creating 30GB+ disks, a DVD burner will be one of those devices that will make someone say "You bought an expensive computer 4 years ago, and that device was overpriced crap", much like we view zip drives today.

      Everything was created to be obsolete.

      DVD-Burners will catch on, regardless of a new, better technology that may be around the corner.

      How many people have CD-RW drives right now? A lot, even though there are DVD burners. DVD (re)writeable units just need to get faster (4x is WAAAAAAY slow, especially since there's more space on a DVD than a CD) and cheaper, and people will buy them like flapjacks.

      It's the same principal with blu-ray devices. Sure it will be the superior audio/video/backup medium, but until prices drop to the point that your average consumer can afford it, people will continue using DVD burners.

    • As soon as someone comes up with a simple program that a casual user can use to burn DVD movies in their entirety (with menus/extras/etc) as easily as it is today to copy an audio CD, DVD-burners will grow in popularity and probably stay that way until they're made obsolete.
    • I've seen it useful for pirating DVD movies. My cousin rents them, then burns them. I know that the DIVX Codec has some very awesome ramifiactions, but you need to have the software and a computer to really run it. I think the DVD Burner is needed to make really useful "backups" of DVD movies.
    • by Snafoo ( 38566 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @07:46PM (#4591289) Homepage
      Weird... you just took me back to grade 9. I remember advising a friend that he not buy a computer with a CD drive on the advice of MacWorld, which claimed that CD-ROM was a technology which had already peaked; with production overhead ostensibly too high, sizes too small, read-speeds too slow and writing impossible, the technology was surely just a way-station on the road to magneto-optical floppies.

      The weird bit is that every point MW made was correct -- and in a world devoid of network effects, the market for CDROMs would've wasted away. But we all know how that one went...

    • DVDs were created to be obsolete, and within a few years, when Blu-Ray technologies are creating 30GB+ disks, a DVD burner will be one of those devices that will make someone say "You bought an expensive computer 4 years ago, and that device was overpriced crap", much like we view zip drives today.

      I do not view zip drives in this way. Yes the zip drive is expensive. Zip media is also expensive. However Zip disks are very reliable. I have been using Zip disks for over 6 years and never had a problem with one. I have some rather old Zip disks that are still in perfect condition. OTOH, I have had CD burners for only a few years, and have had quite a bit of trouble with media quality and reliable writing. I have had several disks fall apart after a couple years. I am phasing out Zip Disks, but still know people who use them.

      For some data, it is worthwhile to spend some money to buy reliability

      • I have been using Zip disks for over 6 years and never had a problem with one.

        Sorry, my friend, but you are the exception, not the rule.

        NONE of my zip media has survived. Neither of my Zip drives function properly. I have had to physically opena zip disk and GLUE (!) the medium back to the metal spindle (using a toothpick and nerves of STEEL, let me tell you). It worked just long enough to recover the data and die on me again.

        I used to think Zip Disks where awsome, especially when, for the first time ever, I could walk around with 100MB in my pocket! Now, however, it's CD-RW or bust. I have beat on burned CDs more than any Zip disk and the worst I've had to do was use the Skip-Doctor disk repair machine on it.

        I took good care of my Zips, they stayed in their cases and they're still all bad, and for that I dont' prefer Iomega products. :-\
    • I don't think the analogy is correct. Zip drives suck in large part because you can't exchange them -- they are only a useful exchange medium in a small number of circles.

      CDs of course are hugely better -- you don't need a CD burner to read a burned CD, and you it opens you up to another medium and set of hardware (stereo components).

      The same is true of DVD. If they served a purpose equivalent to a Zip drive, then they'd suck. But lots of computers are being sold with DVD readers at very reasonable prices, and there's a very large set of non-computer readers.

    • At $1,500 AUD ($750 USD) for our external firewire DVD-R, DVD is still a *massive* improvement in every respect on 8mm DAT for our purposes:
      - Cheaper
      - Most PCs have DVD drives (most don't have Exabyte)
      - Random access (convenience!)
      - Longevity (unread tapes degrade)
      - Robustness
      - similar capacity

      And I'm not goin to wait "a few years" years for Blu-Ray and then a few more years for the price of Blu-Ray to drop to a reasonable level, by that time I'll need boxes of CDs to backup my 50 Tb hard drive.

    • CDs at least are dirt cheap -- almost free with rebates[...]
      You, sir, are a troll. Nobody ever actually cashes in on those rebates. :)

      Honestly, though. I've done the rebate thing six or seven times, for a grand total of one lousy $20 check. I can't be alone in this.
    • Wow... I remember when only a few years ago my CD burner cost $200 (Yamaha 8x4x24) and I was paying up to $3-4/blank CD. Good thing nobody bought those! They where too expensive and slow to be of any practical use in the near future!
      • Odd times that you recall, with your $3-4/blank assertion. In an attempt to aid the accuracy of this historic record, I submit the following:

        When I bought my 8x Plextor CD-R (note lack of W suffix), for ~$400, within hours of it hitting the distributors' warehouses, there was only two other 8x burners on the market: One from Smart & Friendly, and another from...some other high-end competitor to Plextor whose name escapes me. Yamaha, IIRC, took several months to catch up.

        By this time, media was already into the $1 range for generic blanks, and a bit more for higher-quality media. Even Kodak 8x media -- the only 8x-rated media at that time -- sold for $2/ea in jewel cases. I also distinctly recall the sting of paying for 150 very dear TDK "any speed" media, spindled, at $1.50 each, a couple of months later.

        Nevermind that it wasn't until a few more months after that (say, a year after the I picked up the Plextor) that 8x writers landed in the $200 category. By that time, media was commonly 50 cents.

        It's been years, though. Times have changed.

        Now, it's all quite silly. I recently paid $17 for 100 generic, unbranded blanks at a local department store, and each of these $0.17 discs seem to work as well in testing as the few remaining $1.50 TDK blanks I have around. I've been putting them into 128-disc Caselogic folders, which I picked up on sale at the same store for $7 each.

        DVD-R media is currently under $2. I suspect that within the next year, that price will halve. At that time, you'll begin seeing both drives and media begin to fly off of the shelves.

        It won't be long after that before you'lll notice places like 7-11 replacing their peg-hook of 3.5" floppies with DVD-R media, right next to the CD-Rs which have already been there for years and the 3-packs of dusty condoms, as just another staple of modern life.

    • actually ZIP drive cought on quite well in the graphics arena... the pig device you speak of is the JAZ drive... $100.00 to $200.00 USD disks, you cant write to the last 20 meg of the drive no matter what you try to do and the disks die easily and are very very VERY unstable.

      DVD drives are the same.... nobody gives a care about the DVD+R.. everyone wants DVD-R because 99% of the DVD burner purchaser's are looking to put their movies on DVD and DVD-R is the onlty format that is the most compatable. so again this is a drive / medium for graphics/video. The general Joe will NEVER need anything past a CD burner... and you cannot beat the price of 0.09USD per disc right now for CD blanks... hell it's to the point that CD-RW disks are a stupid thing to buy. (they always have been stupid to buy in my opinion)

      Anyways... DVD-R burners and DVD burner's in general are hot for graphics and video because of one thing.... Consumer DVD players.... that is it... the only reason any DVD burner is desireable.. Hell DVD as a format/storage would have died 2 years ago if they never released a consumer home video playback device using it.
    • At least here (in Switzerland) you get DVD+R for about $3 (DVD-R is somewhat more expensive). This makes the per MB price already equal to CD-R price per MB. Soon more price drops are expected (currently DVD+R are only sold in jewel case, not yet as spindle) then DVD+R will actually be cheaper.

      In a matter of months most people who buy a new drive shall rather buy a DVD+R(W) instead of CD-R.
  • Re the film, one word:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oo oooooo!
  • Reads DVD-R at 2x. (Score:3, Informative)

    by WittyName ( 615844 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:18PM (#4590828)
    Title says it all.. Burns them at 4x (if the media is available), and reads them at 2x.

    CD Burning speed of 24x is nice tho.
    • DVD reading @ 2x is not the same thing as CD reading @ 2x. As a general rule, if you multiply dvd speeds by 7 you get the equivalent CD speed. Thus 2x DVD speed is about 14x CD speed
    • 154&page=Features
    • CD Burning speed of 24x is nice tho.

      But nothing to really shake a stick at...there are CD burners that write CD-Rs at 44x now.

      I don't think I'll be buying a DVD writer any time soon. The prices are coming down, finally, but it's pretty rare that I need that much space on one disc.
    • Hmm. Good argument, except for the fact that the 'x' speeds of CD writers and DVD writers are different. For CD writers, each 'x' is equivalent to 150KB/sec; so if you have a 4x burner, it'll burn 600KB/sec, and so on. For DVD writers, each 'x' is 1353KB/sec; that means each DVD-writer 'x' is approximately 9'x' on a CD burner.
      • Yes, I know... They are different formats with different data rates. One is for audio, and one is for video. Video needs higher data rates, in general. So anyway, the Sony drive in question can not read media as fast as it writes. I know of no other data storage mechanism that has this problem. Furthermore, 24x CD burning is quite good for a DVD drive. Most others do far less. Even NEC's upcoming 4x DVD burner only burns CD's at 16X.
  • by wherley ( 42799 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:19PM (#4590829)
    Conclusion of review here []. Highlights:
    • "Sony has done a nice job with this drive."
    • "The software that came with the drive works, but i would suggest an other recording program. RecordNow is way to limited"
    • "The bad side of the drive are the DVD read speeds. 2x DVD"
    • "For this moment, I can suggest this drive."
  • What is it that was so hard about creating and sell slash?
  • Crashproof? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:21PM (#4590850) Homepage Journal
    I was actually waiting for this drive, but mainly because of this story [] and others about Sony's dirty tricks with DRM, I'm waiting for another drive.
    I don't care about copying CDs or DVDs, but I do care when my system hangs when I want to listen to a CD/see a DVD while (in between) working...

    Is anyone aware of drives like this from other vendors?
  • by Dunark ( 621237 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:21PM (#4590858)
    Isn't Sony one of the big content producers that has their knickers in a knot over piracy? I wonder what kind of content protection features this drive might have that Sony isn't anxious to advertise.
    • by ender81b ( 520454 ) <`billd' `at' `'> on Sunday November 03, 2002 @07:12PM (#4591148) Homepage Journal
      Probably none, it would be suicide. Listen, big companies like Sony have these divisions - music, hardware, whatever. 10-1 odds that each division has no idea/say in what the other does. I would imagine that there would be an epic fight for the music/whatever division to include some sort of DRM on a burner like this. Why? Because it would (most likely) attract alot of negative attention and possibly cause the drive to not sell well. Therefore, the hardware division isn't going to allow for DRM without alot of pressure or the big guys upstairs telling themt too.

      Also, it would be curious to see which division of Sony makes the most money - the media or the hardware. If I where a betting man I would say the hardware, ergo they have more say.

      Shrug, just my .02 cents.
    • I agree that the FUD factor for buying any new consumer device caused by the manufacturer's undisclosed DRM policies will significantly affect the price that consumers are willing to pay for any new consumer device.
      The consumer electronic device manufacturers(sp?) will find to their dismay that people will start to buy new equipment only after its DRM parameters have been established by early adopters.
      Smart consumer device makers will hire a third party trusted source (like Consumer Reports) to inspect their source code and report exactly what does and what doesn't work with any new device.
      By promising for a year that DRM would be in every new device within a year the consumer electronic device makers have created this mess for themselves!
  • here is the review (Score:3, Informative)

    by thopo ( 315128 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:26PM (#4590873)
    omg only 7 comments and their server is already choking!

    here is the review since this will be /.'ed in 5 minutes or so:

    Sony DRU-500A DVD-R/+R review

    DVD recording is gradually catching on with consumers, but confusion over the two leading formats, DVD+RW and DVD-RW, has hampered sales. Analysts say potential buyers don't want to buy an expensive device--often costing upwards of $500--that could soon become a market also-ran.

    Sony's solution is simple: the consumer electronics giant will sell an internal and an external PC drive that reads and writes to DVD+RW/+R and DVD-RW/-R discs.

    Now, the drive is available... and time to be tested.

    The specifications for this drive (source:

    2.4X max. DVD+R Write; 2.4X max. DVD+RW Write; 4X max. DVD-R Write; 2X max. DVD-RW Write; 8X max. DVD-ROM Read 4X, 12X, 16X, 24Xmax. CD-R Write; 4X, 10X max. CD-RW Write, 32X max. CD-ROM Read Random Access Time:
    DVD: 200ms
    CD: 160ms
    Buffer Memory: 8MB
    Buffer Underrun Protection Technology
    Supported disc format: DVD-ROM, DVD R, DVD RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM (XA), Video CD, Photo CD (multi-session), CD Text, CD Extra and others.
    Software Contents:
    Veritas RecordNow: Recording Software
    Vertias DLA: Packet Writing Software
    Sonic MyDVD: DVD Authoring Software
    Cyberlink PowerDVD: DVD-Video Playing software
    Vertias Simple Back-Up: Back-Up and Disaster recovery software
    MusicMatch Jukebox: Play, Record, and Organize your personal music.
    System Requirements:
    Pentium III 400 Mhz (MyDVD: Pentium III 700 Mhz) or faster PC recommended.
    Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP Home or Professional
    64 MB of RAM (MyDVD: 128 MB) and 1 GB (MyDVD: 5 GB) free HDD space is recommended.

    But how is this drive really? Does it perform as promised? Does it write any media? Does it read discs well? We will see in this review if Sony has done it!

    I just received the drive (finally!). My drive was ordered from Retail Express (Resellers only).
    The drive comes in a retail box. This box includes the drive (duh!), an Sony DVD+RW disc (4.7Gb), some paperwork (Quickstart guide, both drive and software, a user guide of the drive, some information about specific OS versions / DVD media and some warranty information.) Also included is an IDE flatcable, and some software. The software comes on 2 discs, supporting many languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch and on the second disc: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Swedish, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese. I couldn't find any mouning screws...... For me not a problem, i have many of them, but maybe i'm just unlucky and will they usally with the drive, i don't know.

    On the front of the drive there are off course the symbols of the standards the drive can write: DVD R/RW, Compact Disc Rewritable (high-speed) and a DVD+RW logo. There is only 1 button on the drive: Eject. A very light push is enough to eject the tray.
    There is 1 led on the front, and an emergency hole. (to open the tray by hand). No headphones or volume or whatever, just plain basic.

    On the back of the drive the connectors: a power supply connector, an IDE connector,the usual master/slave jumpers, a digital output, and an analog audio-out. Nothing new, just as any drive. The recorder does not have any specific cooling. (no fans like the Pioneer A04 for example)

    The inside of the drive looks also just simple, like any drive ;) (I couldn't resist it to open the case ;)

    Sony DRU-500A - Software

    The drive comes with some Recording software and tools. All software is bundled with the retail version of the recorder and supports multiple languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch and on the second disc: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Swedish, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese.

    These include Veritas Record Now, Veritas DLA, Veritas Simple Backup, MusicMatch Jukebox, Sonic MyDVD and Cyberlink PowerDVD. Also contains the disc both software manual and user guide in HTML format. Online manuals and guides are also in multiple languages.

    VERITAS RecordNow
    RecordNow is the main CD/DVD mastering program included with the DRU-500A. Along with the ability to make backup copies of CD's and DVD's, this program allows the user to starting creating their own custom discs within minutes thanks to some easy to follow wizards.
    The version of the included program is 4.50

    Sony will allow users to download a free upgrade to RecordNow DX sometime in November.

    VERITAS Simple Backup
    Simple Backup is a fast and easy way to backup your computer. The interface allows you to backup and restore your entire system thanks to its easy to follow wizards.
    The full system backup protects your computer's data and registry at the click of a button. If you don't need to backup everything, you can manually select the files and folders you want to protect through the custom backup. Simple Backup also offers more advanced backup features like compression and spanning. With the built in compression option, you can fit up to 1.2GB of data onto a CD.

    Arcsoft ShowBiz
    For video editing duties, Sony has included Showbiz from Arcsoft. ShowBiz allows you to drag and drop your video footage directly onto the editing timeline. From here you can add transitions, background music, special effects or custom text.
    Once you're done you can customize the sample rate and frame size and export your video to AVI or MPEG format. You can also turn it into a QuickTime or Windows Media movie to get it ready for internet streaming. Otherwise, you can export it to a MyDVD project for further customization.

    Sonic MyDVD 4.0
    MyDVD allows you to create your own VCD's and DVD's quickly and easily. Sonic has revamped the interface for version 4.0. Right from the start, MyDVD gives you a variety of options including the ability to create a DVD, a Video CD or edit video.
    The main interface is very different from what we saw on earlier versions of MyDVD. The "toolbar" is gone and has been replaced by a much nicer layout. The main functions of MyDVD are still easily accessible. From here you can start new projects, open existing projects or save the one you're currently working on.

    Adding movie clips to your current project is as easy as drag and drop. MyDVD lets you take any MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI or QuickTime video clip and add it to your project. Of course there is a trade off here. Even with a fairly fast computer, MyDVD can take a good amount of time to convert the clips into a usable format. MyDVD also allows you to make your own custom menus and will even let you add your own pictures, icons and sound effects. Unfortunately, version 4.0 still doesn't let you place the menu icons where you want them.
    Need to capture some video clips from your VCR or other video source? No problem, MyDVD can do that too. You can also start the record direct-to-Disc wizard from here. This wizard allows you to easily transfer video directly from a DV camcorder to disc if you have the right hardware.

    MusicMatch Jukebox 7.1
    This is a popular utility to create, manage and organize all sorts of multimedia audio files, including MP3s. Once you've created the perfect play list they can then be burned to CD.
    Unfortunately the number of burns is limited to only five. Once you've gone beyond this, you will need to upgrade to MusicMatch Jukebox Plus.

    CyberLink PowerDVD 4.0 XP
    CyberLink's PowerDVD is one of the more popular software DVD players on the market now. PowerDVD offers a complete set of navigation commands, including advanced features like multi-angle viewing, multi-language and subtitle selection, digital zoom and even parental control. As the name might suggest, version PowerDVD 4.0 XP fully supports Windows XP. It is also compatible with files created by Microsoft's Windows Media products.
    The PowerDVD version on the disc is for Sony only. It won't install on a system without a Sony DVDRom

    Sony DRU-500A - Installation

    The drive is easy to install, just like any CD writer or DVD player or whatever. Simply set the master/slave jumper, and connect the power and IDE cable, and optionally the audio connector(s). The testsystem (Gigabyte 8IDML, Intel Celeron 1700, 256Mb, 30Gb 7200rpm, WinXP Pro SP1) recognizes the drive as a DVD-R station. Windows accepted the drive without problems, and automaticly turned on DMA for the drive. Next step: Run Nero Infotool (1.03.2) to see what the drive supports. As you see, the drive seems to support overburning also. We will test this later.

    As you can see, the drive supports almost all functions ;)
    Nero (version is installed on the test PC.

    The Veritas Recordnow software recognizes the drive also offcourse (it's bundled with the recorder). The program works, but I won't recommend to install it. It only can copy 1:1, and make a new complilation. That's all, only the very basic functions.
    I prefer Nero. The latest version ( does support the Sony DRU-500A.

    Sony DRU-500A - Reading CDs

    Now its time to do some tests. How does this drive perform while reading a normal CD? I used Nero CD speed to do this tests.

    Pressed CDs

    The first test: Read a pressed CD (the CD that came with the drive, containing the software)

    As you can see, the drive performs very good, at the end the 32x speed is reached. The avarage speed while reading is 24.44x as you can see. This is a little slower than the Philips DVDRW228 (as tested on However, using CAV, the drive is able to reach it's maximum speed of 32x, while the Philips couldn't get >28x.

    The seek times have been tested also:
    Random seek: 193 ms
    1/3 seek: 211 ms
    Full seek: 268 ms
    The spin-up time of the drive is reported at 2.93 seconds. Spin-down time is 3.37 seconds.

    The load-eject test:
    Eject time: 1.46 seconds
    Load time: 1.32 seconds
    Recognation time: 7.16 seconds

    Recorded CDs (CD-R)

    The same test as above. This time using a CDR disk. (A new Platinum 80-min, with a fresh-burned NFS HP2 ISO, recorded on my 12x Sanyo writer)

    As you can see, the drive reads without problems and does perform simular to a pressed CD.

    Audio CD (DAE)

    What does this drive do with an audio CD? How does extract audio cd's? Time to test!

    The read speed of the drive is very good. It is faster than the Philips 228 DVDRW, and faster than the Pioneer A04. The Pioneer A05 performs almost equal at this point. The drive does not support reading CD Text, however, i'm not sure about it, since the CD which is used in this test didn't have CD-Text on it. (i couldn't burn it with nero cdspeed).

    The read speed of an audio CD (an old MTV Audio CD, Pressed (but not legal ;)):

    Also here: Very good results. The drive reads audio cd at an avarage speed of 23.79x


    Reading CDRW is offcourse not a problem for the drive.

    Sony DRU-500A - Reading DVDs

    The drive should read DVDs at a speed of 8x. Now we will see if the drive really can do this.

    Pressed DVDs

    In this test i will try to read a pressed DVD. (Twilight 74)

    As you can see, the drive starts at 3.3x, and ends at 8.01x. So reading pressed DVD's is no problem for the drive, only the CPU load goes up to 80% @ 8x reading.

    Recorded DVDs

    Now the same test as above, but this time a recorded DVD (A copy of a MP3 Collection DVD. Burned on an Arita DVD-R with a Pioneer A03 writer)

    This is bad... As already mentioned on some forums, the drive seems to be locked at 2x max... It just won't read DVD-R above 2x. The drive can write DVD-R at 4x (with the right media offcourse) but can't read it that fast ;)

    Pressed DVD-Video

    Reading a DVD movie: Payback. Region 2, DVD-5 format (Single Sided, single layer)

    Also bad performance. The drive won't read above 2x. Enough for playing a movie, but way too slow for ripping or whatever. DVD-Video (pressed) has also been tested with SmartRipper, but also: 2x max reading :(
    Lets hope Sony will fix this issue with a firmwareupdate.
    For this moment (and maybe forever) an additional DVD-Rom is not a bad idea.


    The last DVD read test: How does the drive read a DVD+RW disc? (The one which is included with the drive)

    The drive reads DVD+RW disc at the same speed as it can write them: 2.5x. The error on the end is due to a bad record, i have screwed my DVD+RW and don't have another one to test it again ;). Don't blame the drive for that!

    Sony DRU-500A - Recording CD-R

    The drive has a recording speed of 24x. This is faster than the Philips, Pioneer, or any other DVD writer. Now the drive will be a real replacer for your current writer. The Pioneer for example records only at 8x, so you most likely will need/want an additional writer for the normal CDs. This Sony has solved this, by writing CD-R at 24x. Not as fast as the current recorders (40/48x) but most of the time fast enough.

    Recording CD-R

    Writing an image from the harddisk to a Platinum CDR (40x certified).

    Writing goes ok. Nero ( supports the drive. As you can see, the CD was finished in 3min 45.

    Recording CD-R - CLV speed

    See how the recorder actually records. (using Z-CLV)

    As you can see above, the Sony DRU-500A writer uses Z-CLV to record a disk. Starting at 16x, going 20x, and finish the CD at 24x.

    Recording CD-R - Overburning

    What does the Sony DRU-500A think of big CDs? 90min, 99min, and even 100min? This test will see what it does. I used some white-label 100min CD-R for this test. Nero CDSpeed identicates the media as "Plasmon"

    The drive is not good at overburning. As you can see, the Sony can only overburn up to 80.42.53... Not that much, but not a real problem.

    Recording CDRW

    The Sony is able to rewrite CDRWs at a speed of 10x using high-speed media.

    Nero rewrites the disk at 10x without problems. The full cd is written at 10x.

    Sony DRU-500A - Recording DVD-R / DVD-RW

    The drive supports both DVD-R and DVD+R standards. At DVD-R, Sony supports up to 4x write speed.
    Time to test the performance while recording DVD-R.

    All tests are done by burning about 4.3Gb from another data-DVD in a LG 16x DVDRom. (Twilight 76). No image file is used, recordings are on-the-fly

    The drive has a medialock. This means: The drive determines its max recording speed which should be used for the specific media. The Pioneer has also this lock, but with a hacked firmware you can force a recording at 2x, while the media isn't 2x approved. For the Sony... at the moment no hacked firmware.

    Thats Write! DVD-R Spindel

    As you can see, the drive detects the disc as a 1x DVD-R, and records it succesfully at 1x.

    Princo 1-2x DVD-R DVD-Box

    This disc is succesfully written at 2x.

    I did also test some other media:
    Nashua DVD-R
    Thats Write! DVD-R DVD-Box
    Arita DVD-R DVD-Box
    They all recorded at 1x.... For this moment, the Princo DVD-R is the only one which is able to record at 2x.
    I'm going to test more brands later this week, and hope to find some 4x media (if they are already available)

    Recording DVD-RW

    I don't have any DVD-RW disc at the moment, so this test will be added whenever i have them

    • conclusion (Score:2, Redundant)

      by thopo ( 315128 )
      forgot to add the conclusion, here we go:

      Sony DRU-500A - Conclusion

      Sony has done a nice job with this drive. As you could see, there are good results with the drive. The software that came with the drive works, but i would suggest an other recording program. RecordNow is way to limited.
      The bad side of the drive are the DVD read speeds. 2x DVD.... you will hate this if you try to rip a movie. If you just want to watch a DVD, than the 2x is enough. This low speed makes the drive very quit. However, i prefer faster reading speeds. Maybe Sony will come with a firmware upgrade. Till that time, i won't replace your DVD-Rom by this recorder and make sure you have an additional DVD-Rom when you need some DVD read speed.

      The other dark side is not really the drive itself, but the availability of high-speed DVD media. I have only 1 brand which supports 2x at the moment, and haven't seen (or tested) any 4x certified media yet.

      The CDR recording speed is good. At this point, the Sony is the fastest DVD recorder on the market with CDR speeds. The good-old Pioneer A04 records only at 8x, and the new A05 only at 16x. With it's 24x, the Sony wins this point.

      For this moment, I can suggest this drive. It is almost the same price as the Pioneer A04, which has not such results, and is slower. Also does the Pioneer not support DVD+R/DVD+RW.
      Maybe the new NEC combo drive will beat this Sony, but that will take some time, since that drive is delayed till somewhere in December or so.

      Concerning the media there are many questions and problems. Most media will work at only 1x (DVD-R). Older Verbatim 2x DVD-R discs are known to have problems with the Sony drive: See
      On the forum is a thread with some user experiences with various media.
      Meanwhile, Pioneer has released it's A05 drive. This one records DVD-R at 4x. The drive seems to be available in Japan now. (see Akiba). The drive has a price of 29800 Yen. (about $240).

      With this drive, Pioneer has also released 4x media (picture). This media is priced about 800 Yen, which equals to about 6,59 EUR. ($6,45). This price is found on a forum, so i don't know it for sure.
      Let's hope the 4x media will become mainstream now, so I can test it with the Sony drive!

      For all of you who already own this drive: At Sonic Japan you can register for a free upgrade to Sonic MyDVD as soon as it's available.

  • I have one. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:27PM (#4590887)
    Very nice drive, will burn a 4GB DVD+R disc in about 20 minutes, using about 5% CPU time on my Win2K Athlon 1700.

    Some problems:

    - the promised packet writing software (DLA) is not yet available.

    - the included burning software will not burn an ISO image

    - Using DVD-R media, I burned 3 coasters in a row. DVD+R has been 100% perfect so far.

    I would say this is a state of the art drive that is well ahead of the software available to run it. Expect many more of these types of drives that support both DVD-R and DVD+R.

    For $350, as a backup device alone, this thing is amazing.
  • I have one. (Score:5, Informative)

    by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <> on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:28PM (#4590891)
    I like it. I originally ordered one from Dell but they pushed my shipping date WAY back so I grabbed one at CompUSA three weeks ago. It works well and I've had no problems. I'm only using 1x media right now, except for the included DVD+RW disc.

    The only issue right now is software support. Most apps don't support this drive, yet, but they should have updates out any day. Definately a good drive to cover all your bases.

    I've used the discs in my notebook, XBox, and DVD player.
  • Figured as much (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Metalhead01 ( 587101 )
    While DVD burners have become much faster and much less expensive than they were a few years ago, they've still got a few rough edges to work out. DVD burners are still too slow and too expensive. And the multiple DVD blank formats don't help much, either. If DVD burner manufacturers don't get their shit together and bring their products up to snuff, they'll never take off.
    • Re:Figured as much (Score:3, Informative)

      by NetJunkie ( 56134 )
      Well, this drive negates the multiple format problem. Write whatever format you need at the moment. As for speed, these drives are much faster than the first gen drives. You have to remember, a full DVD is 4.7GB, that's a lot more than a 700MB CD-R. So, taking 30mins to write one isn't all that bad.
      • >>Well, this drive negates the multiple format problem.

        It lessens the problem, but doesn't negate it. You second sentence says it all: "Write whatever format you need at the moment." Well? How do you you decide which format you want/need? More to the point, how does average Joe decide which format to use?
        • how does average Joe decide which format to use?

          Joe average can't even set the clock on his VCR. All I care about is if I can figure it out. Since I already have, I've ordered one of these.

          • That wasn't the point of the original post; that point was that DVD burner sales would never "take off"; meaning be accepted by a large portion of the country. If average Joe can't even figure out what kind of media to buy, DVD writers won't suceed. At least with VCRs you go out and know what you buy: a big black boxey thing that says "VHS" on it; then you can put it into the VCR and press record. And, you can take that VHS tape and play it anywhere. What happens when people start using whatever format is least compatable (I believe DVD+RW, but I'm not wholly sure) and can't play it on their friends (or their own) player? They'll start bad-mouthing DVD burners and won't discriminate between "Oh, well you can but a DVD-R, but don't get a DVD+RW."
            • DVD burner sales would never "take off"; meaning be accepted by a large portion of the country. If average Joe can't even figure out what kind of media to buy,

              I imagine that sooner or later one format will win out, and then Joe average won't have to worry about his format choice. Me, I am not going to wait.

  • The DRX-500UL will give you the same specs in an external drive, with both USB2 and FireWire interfaces (you may be able to get the same by sticking a DRU-500A into an enclosure).

    With an external drive, you don't have to buy a new one with every new machine, you can move it between machines, you can put it in a more convenient location than the main CPU, and when DVDs become obsolete (as they will sooner or later), you can keep the drive around for a few more years without keeping a whole, obsolete computer.

    • you can move it between machines
      I don't know about you, but when I can move an internal drive just as easily as an external drive. It's not that hard.

      you can keep the drive around for a few more years without keeping a whole, obsolete computer.
      Just move it to the new computer...

      • you can move it between machines I don't know about you, but when I can move an internal drive just as easily as an external drive. It's not that hard.

        Internal drive: Unscrew case, open case, disconnect power cable from drive, disconnect IDE cable from frive, disconnect audio cable from drive, unscrew drive, remove drive, check jumpers, reverse process in new computer.

        External drive: Disconnect USB2/IEEE1394 cable from computer one, connect to computer 2.

        • Unscrew case, open case,
          Case is always unscrewed and open.

          unscrew drive,
          Drive is always unscrewed.

          check jumpers,
          Ever hear of cable select?

        • Internal drive: Unscrew case, open case, disconnect power cable from drive, disconnect IDE cable from frive, disconnect audio cable from drive, unscrew drive, remove drive, check jumpers, reverse process in new computer.

          Total time: about 5 minutes. Now how much extra did you say the external drive was?
  • Sony == no go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BESTouff ( 531293 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @06:34PM (#4590937)
    A certain Andre H. (who, at times, is the official Linux IDE maintainer) told recently not to use Sony drives because they have certain firmware "properties" which make them unsuitable to copy copy-protected material. It may seem funny or irrelevant to you, but this means they play dirty tricks with your data.
  • I know its my wild imagination, but the test results sure sounded like pr0n to me.
    Recognition Time 7.49 secs ( Time to know the gal)
    Load Time 1.32 secs
    Eject Time 1.44 secs
    Elapsed Time 0.12 secs

    Though I must say, the eject time is way too quick... I dont think this drive will find many female customers.

  • Sony tests well, writing CD-RWs faster than DVD-RW competition (it still burns DVDs slowly), and includes media viewing/burning software.
  • I just received my drive on thursday, direct from sony (which only took one day from sony's warehouse).
    It seems to be a fairly solid drive and i haven't had a bad burn yet. However i can tell you why i am so lucky and other people have had coasters...
    According to something i read on sony's website, they are really only supporting media from TDK and SONY. I happen to be using TDK DVD-R's so it works out for me.
    So only the expensive media fully works with this drive.
  • If it's anything like their CD burners, then I don't want one. I have a 24x sony CD burner that refuses to burn data on cheaper, lower quality media, while the slower, 12x LG burner never complains abouth anything.
    (no, I'm not trying to burn CDs at higher speeds than they were made for)
  • you gotta cut-down on the weed, man! /me puts new water in bong and pops "Slashdot: Raiders of the Lost Server" into his DVD. Or not.
  • owning a dvd burner is great, if you can afford the media. that's what's nice about this driving having the ability to burn dvd-r as well. you can pick up a dvd-r for less that $1 each, and use those until dvd+rw prices come down to an affordable level...
  • can't even show one language in a dialog box.
    It's english with Dutch (Ja,Nee).
    I hope the guy installed this software from his Twilight DVD (nice test :-) ).
  • Wh00t, the page is being slashdotted!

    The link is listed on the frontpage of
    Server won't like all this traffic, i'm working on it!

    We did it again...

    Although I wonder one today the "Sony is kewl, check out this bright shiny Sony object" day, or is this the "Sony is an evil member of the RIAA and the MPAA" day and we just forgot the schedule? :P

    • I say abandon the schedule in favor of a quick bit of logic to determine the status of sony's 'soul'.

      how about:

      if review == hardware then
      sony = cool
      sony = evil

      Of course I'm sure there are many who would retort, "I bought a sony and it SUCKED!" Still others might say, "I have sex with my aibo." I say they're both right.

      -not making sense since friday
  • What is 1x speed for a DVD-writer. Is it the same as a CD-writer (150KB/s). If so... it's still a looong time to burn a 4000MB DVD:
    • (2.4x) * (150KBps/x)=360KB/s
    • (1000 KB/MB) * (4000MB) = 4000 000 KB
    • (4000000KB) / (360KB/s) = 11111.11s
    • (11111.11s) / (60s/min) = 185.19 min
    • (185.19 min) / (60 min/h) = 3.09 h
    Remember, this is a max speed (probably calculated on the outer ring?), chances are that your DVD is going to take longer to burn than optimal estimates.

    Also, is 1x different for DVD-burners than CD-ROMs (1x=150KB/s), somebody please correct my 150KBps and recalculate.
    I've always wondered why they have to use 1x, 2x etc instead of just putting the KB/s rating anyways.
    • Re:Burning times (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      DVD at 1X is equivalent to CD at 9X
      DVD at 2X is equivalent to CD at 18X

      and so on.
    • Re:Burning times (Score:5, Informative)

      by bedessen ( 411686 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @07:53PM (#4591319) Journal
      What is 1x speed for a DVD-writer. Is it the same as a CD-writer (150KB/s). If so... it's still a looong time to burn a 4000MB DVD:
      Did you even read the article? The theoretical rate for DVD 1x is 1380 KB/s, so 2x is 2760 KB/s and 2.5x is 3450 KB/s.

      In his testing, he burned:

      4.26 GB DVD-R at 1x in 59:13 (1257 KB/s)
      4.21 GB DVD-R at 2x in 29:31 (2492 KB/s)
      4.21 GB DVD+R at 2.5x in 27:58 (2631 KB/s)
      4.25 GB DVD+RW at 2.5x in 22:10 (3351 KB/s)

      So, the effective rates are somewhat less than the theoretical (probably because of extra time to write the TOC or close the disk) but they come fairly close. In any case, it's nowhere near 3 hours.

      Remember, this is a max speed (probably calculated on the outer ring?), chances are that your DVD is going to take longer to burn than optimal estimates.
      That only applies when accessing a drive using CAV, the burning here is done with CLV, so the rate is constant throughout the whole disk.

  • ok, I finally gotta troll here. Does anyone else recall SONY's affiliations with the *AA's? Not that it really matters to me; I use Plextor :)

    (In other words, I voted with my wallet... and was a happy customer.)

    Furthermore, I don't own -any- DVD's and the count of movies I have on VHS that were actually worth paying for (IMO) in the last 30 years can be done on one hand.

    And ya know what? The reason for all that is the fact that I actually -DO- have a life instead of sitting around on my ass watching movies regardless of the medium.

    'Nuff said
  • I probably should write a script or something before I start filming

    will you be using perl or applescript?
  • that they are not near as widespread as CDs are. By the time as many people have them they probably will be obsolete.
  • Linux???? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by attobyte ( 20206 )
    Does it work under linux. I would like to get this drive but I can't find any doc on if it works under linux or not.

  • by Boone^ ( 151057 ) on Sunday November 03, 2002 @07:33PM (#4591242)
    is here from []
  • First buy the toys.
  • DVD media (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eekDude ( 412992 )
    I don't know much about DVD technology, but I was under the impression that prerecorded DVD movie disks have a capacity of ~9GBs. If this is correct, when will we be seeing recorders (and disks) that will reach this recording capacity?
  • CowboyNeal, Samzenpus and Hemos in a moving story about Love, Friendship, and Growing Up in the Face of Adversity.

    This is NOT to sound like a troll, but really, can someone (anyone please) fill me in exactly w/r/t which of the Editors of /. managed to do the BIG DOT.COM cash-in? With all this talk of "adversity" and stuff im a little curious.

    also, it would be interesting to know in order to contrast the content of the editorials && which stories each /. editor chooses post...

  • I have one of the Sony DRU-500A drives back ordered at Dell (ughhh). I haven't had a had chance to R&D the specs on the new Pioneer drive. Does anyone have any opinions about the merits of one drive vs. the other??
  • It might be time for me to make my epic film starring CowboyNeal, Samzenpus and Hemos in a moving story about Love, Friendship, and Growing Up in the Face of Adversity.

    If this is gonna be a porno, I am poking my eyes out now before it is too late.

  • Prices here [].(from 379 incl. VAT).

    An alternative would be the also brand-new NEC ND-1100A: prices []. Here's a news item at [] (German, translated by Google [])

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.