Self-help message board
How to contact us
Web links directory
Tips and advice
Help Me, I'm new!
Fair pricing petition
Premiere 6 (trial)
Paint Shop Pro 7 (trial)
How to get started with
computer video editing
Join our ongoing campaign
Archos DEx DVD-RW
not a wide choice of available DVD-R/-RW/-RAM burners, and even fewer
that come in external USB 2.0 cases for easy plug-and-burn use, so there's
every reason to welcome the Archos DEx DVD-RW 2.
The Archos DEx DVD-RW
2 - despite its name - isn't just any old DVD-R/-RW burner, it's something
of a rarity. It adds DVD-RAM capabilities and, rarer still, is an external
unit that can be moved between PCs, connecting via USB 2.0.
USB 2.0 is 40 times faster than USB 1.1 and, in theory, offers even
faster data transfer than standard (IEEE 1394a) FireWire - 480Mbit/sec,
rather than 400Mbit/sec. But, in most real world tests, FireWire usually
beats USB 2.0. However, although USB 2.0 is relatively new, it's probably
fitted on a greater number of the Windows desktop PCs on sale today
than is FireWire, though the gap isn't large, and FireWire 2 (IEEE 1394b)
- with a data rate of 800Mbit/sec - is now starting to become available
(pioneered on the Apple Mac platform).
Although the name Panasonic is synonymous with all things DVD-RAM, the
ATAPI/IDE drive inside the case, a GMA-4020B, is made by LG. The Archos
supports reading and writing to DVD-RAM at 2x speed, as does Panasonic's
latest LF-D521 MultiDrive (review, May 2003, p40). DVD-RAM allows large
amounts of content to be stored on removable media, but very few PC-based
DVD-ROM drives or set-top DVD players can handle DVD-RAM discs.
The DEx DVD-RW 2 is not a high-speed burner. Unlike, say, the Pioneer
A05 or multi-format-burning Sony DRU-500A (reviews, March 2003, p38
and p32), it doesn't support 4x DVD-R or 2x DVD-RW media. Instead, it
only writes at 2x to DVD-R and at 1x to DVD-RW. For CD, write speeds
are 12x to CD-R and 8x to CD-RW.
The Archos drive comes with a selection of Roxio Windows software for
the creation of video or audio CDs and DVDs on a small scale - Easy
CD Creator 5 (Basic version) and VideoWave Movie Creator.
Our tests show that Archos's USB 2.0 burner does support DVD-R,
DVD-RW and DVD-RAM, as well as CD-recordable media. But they also highlight
the fact (not peculiar to this product) that media matters - as does
the type of USB card. We had major problems with Princo DVD-RW discs
and with the Viatech USB 2.0 PCI card originally installed in our PC.
Roxio's bundled software suite was very easy-to-use, but the lack of
authoring control and the restrictions in Movie Creator's VideoCD/DVD
Maker authoring wizard are likely to mean even newcomers are soon searching
for better software. One solution is to upgrade to Easy CD & DVD
Creator 6 for just £35, but those who want a more professional
product may want to consider Ulead's DVD Workshop, with which the Archos
drive worked well.
The Archos drive costs only £25 more than the Panasonic LF-D521
MultiDrive, and that's not a lot to pay for the benefit of having an
external drive that can be moved from PC to PC and doesn't take up a
5.25in drive bay.
Read the full
review in September 2003's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in September's
Edition 5 Pro
Archos DEx DVD-RW 2
PowerQuest Drive Image 7
back in the race with G5s
War and peace
Adobe After Effects 6
Pinnacle buys Dazzle
Lite Storm 2
JVC MPEG-2 widescreen camcorder
Iomega five-way DVD burner
Four-way burning Sony laptops