DVD Rewritable Drive Double Layer

It’s a great to be able to burn DVDs, either for home movies, or for storage and archiving.

But the 4.7GB capacity is only a fraction of what is possible. Now LaCie is the first to market with the latest double-density DVD burner technology.

Seeing double
Now the sky’s the limit for your creative urges with this 8.5GB format. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that to use the LaCie burner to make a DVD video you’ll need DVD Studio Pro – as iDVD supports only internal Apple DVD drives.

Double-density DVDs have been around for ages – most commercial DVD movies are on this format. All DVD players, including DVD-ROM drives, can read them. The frustrating thing has been the fact that DVD burners that are available to mere mortals like us have only been able to burn single-density 4.7GB discs. Any hopes you may have had of creating your own blockbuster movie, with hours of extra content and special features would have been dashed with such a small space.

If movies aren’t your thing but you want a decent archiving and backup solution, DVD may still be the solution to use. Data DVDs are ideal for archiving because so many machines are capable of reading them. The format isn’t yet as widespread as CD, but it’s only a matter of time.

So while dual-density DVDs may look appealing, it seems like the kind of thing that would only really be on the wish list for high-end movie makers. Looks, however, can be deceiving, because the price belies the power of this drive: it sells for just £138 including VAT. Even more unbelievably, there’s a USB 2.0-only version for just £97 including VAT. With prices like these, I expect most Macs to be shipping with dual-layer DVD drives within the next 12 months.

With a massive 8.5GB capacity, burning is understandably slow. In our tests we copied a 7.28GB file using Toast (which is supplied). It took around forty minutes to burn it, and would have taken another forty to verify. The burn speed is 2.4x on double layer media, 8x on 4.7GB single-layer media and plain old CDs at 32x. Yes, it does CDs too; in fact, there’s hardly a format that this drive can’t handle.


For movie makers, this is a no-brainer: the ability to make a fully featured DVD with almost unlimited capacity is very appealing. The fantastic price makes it a great option for anybody looking for a little extra capacity for archive or backup. The media is still a pricey at £9.99 per disc, and it would be nice if iDVD supported it, but these things are out of LaCie’s hands. I expect media prices to fall in September as availability improves, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Apple to make iDVD more compatible.

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