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    OptoRite 40X12x40x CDRW

    *Note* Thanks to Directron for providing this product for review; you can buy it here.

    I never heard of the OptoRite drive before, but recently while looking for a new CD Writer, I saw the name popping up everywhere. After some research it seemed people were happy with the drive so I decided to get one to try out. First, of course, some pics of the drive (I really need a new camera):

    The drive looks pretty nice (nicer than you can tell in those pictures). Here's what else comes with it:

    The usual manual, audio cable, some screws, and the software is Nero 5.5. Note that Nero is tied to the that particular drive...you can't give it to your friends to use, unless they have an OptoRite drive themselves (in which case, they should already have Nero). No silica gel to snack on though.

    Installation was a snap (I'm not sure how it could have been difficult). Install the drive, put in the Nero CD, install, download Nero update, install, all done. I was worried at first that I had no serial key included for Nero, but it never asked for one. A couple of reboots later, and I'm ready to burn.

    It burns ok at 40x if you have good media, but if you're not in a hurry I'd recommend burning at 32x or lower instead, just to be safe. Not all "40x certified" media can really handle 40x, but the good stuff can. ExacLink is their version of Burnproof, so buffer-underruns should not be a major problem. To minimize any problems, I would put your CD/DVD and CDRW on one cable, and the hard drive on another. This way you can copy from CD to CDRW by creating an image on the hard drive first (just uncheck "on-the-fly" in whatever burner software you use), and from the hard drive to the CDRW fine. If the CDRW drive is on the same cable as whatever you are directly copying from, you will have buffer underruns. Ok so all drives can compensate for this, but I would avoid it in the first place.

    Here's what Sisoft Sandra had to say about the drive, though I believe performance is better than what it states:

    All in all, a good drive for the price. For a little more I might go with a Lite-On instead, but for general burner needs, the OptoRite performed fine.

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