Admin - 2006-11-13 02:46:43 in Optical Drives
Category: Optical Drives
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: November 2, 2006
Price: $49.99


It wasn’t long ago that CD burners were the accepted standard in a PC and DVD burners were simply an expensive extra. The price of DVD burners has dropped faster over the last few years than CD burners ever did. There are now dozens of manufacturers and brands, though with often confusing features.

In an era where hard drives routinely exceed 300Gb, it would be ludicrous to expect to back up all of your critical files on CDs. Choosing a DVD burner can be difficult with conflicting marketing-driven claims, and many people have had bad luck with various brands. A continuing source of confusion is the existence of two standards, and not all drives work well with both DVD-R and DVD+R.

LG has been quietly building a reputation for high quality, low cost, no frills hardware. The measure of their success is the popularity of their televisions, DVD players, and other hardware.

LG is the new corporate image for Goldstar, a name that didn’t quite have the prestige they wanted. Based in Seoul, Korea, LG is a success story of epic proportions. Beginning in 1947 when Lucky Chemical made toothbrushes and toothpaste, then expanding in 1958 to become the first Korean company to manufacture radios under the name Goldstar, they quickly expanded into dozens of markets. Electronics has always been their strongest push, and LG’s flagship division, from a consumer standpoint, is LG Electronics.

Closer Look

I received an LG GSA-H10N for review, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been using a Plextor 716A over the past year, and with the Plextor reputation I was initially expecting an inferior comparison.

Well, right off the bat, I was wrong. This drive has a nicer look and feel, with a much smoother and quieter mechanical operation. But outward appearances don’t always mean anything, as the proof would be in its operation. Although this review is not intended to be a comparison between the LG GSA-H10N and the Plextor 716A, there will be a few comparisons made.

As is normal in an OEM product, the GSA-H10N came in a plastic bag along with a CD-ROM in an envelope containing PowerDVD, Nero Express, InCD, and Power Producer.

The utilities are handy, but I did my testing with the full version of Nero 7, DVD Info Pro, and ImgBurn. I’m not impressed with the “feature” of an automatic firmware updater that sits in the system tray consuming resources. If all is well, I expect burner firmware updates to be few and far between.

Let's hurry and move her into her new home!


Installation was as simple as expected. I simply set the IDE to Slave, screwed in the quick releases that my Sonata 2 uses, and plugged it in as a slave with my Plextor.




Read : (CD-ROM) Max 48x


: (DVD-ROM) Max 16x


Write : (DVD+R) 2.4x, 4x CLV, 8x, 12x ZCLV, 16x PCAV


: (DVD+R DL) 2.4x, 4x, 6x CLV, 6+8+10x ZCLV


: (DVD-R) 2x, 4x CLV, 8x ZCLV, 16x PCAV


: (DVD-R DL) 2x, 4x, 6x CLV


: (DVD+RW) 2.4x, 4x CLV, 6x, 8x ZCLV, (High Speed DVD+RW : 6x, 8x ZCLV)


: (DVD-RW) 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x CLV


: (DVD-RAM) 2x, 3x ZCLV, 3x-5x PCAV(Ver.2.2), 6x ZCLV,


: (CD-R) 4x, 8x, 16x CLV, 24x, 32x, 40x, 48x ZCLV


: (CD-RW) 4x, 10x,16x CLV, 24x, 32x ZCLV, (High Speed: 10x, Ultra Speed: 16x, 24x, 32x)


ACCESS TIME : CD: 125 ms, DVD-ROM 145 ms, DVD-RAM 175 ms


DATA TRANSFER RATE : CD: Max 7,200KB/s, DVD: Max 22.16 Mbytes/s


BUFFER SIZE : 2MB with buffer under run prevention technology




LOADING : Motorized Tray




Read/Write : Windows ME, 2000 Professional, XP Home Edition / Professional / Media Center Edition




Reads/Writes : Writes: DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD±R DL,




: Reads: CD-R/RW, CD-ROM Mode 1, 2 CD-DA


: Reads: CD-ROM XA, Mixed CD, CD-Extra, CD-Text


: Reads: Super Audio CD, Photo-CD, Video CD


MOUNTING : Vertical and Horizontal installable


FRONT PANEL CONTROLS/ : Open/Close button


INDICATORS : Busy indicator


REAR PANEL CONNECTIONS : USB Connector, Power Connector, Power Switch




MTBF : 100,000 POH


MPEG-2 Software : PowerDVD


SIZE (WxDxH) : 146 x 165 x 41.3 mm


WEIGHT : 750 g


LGE CANADA WARRANTY : One Year warranty


Testing setup

Running DVDInfo Pro yielded an impressive list of capabilities:

The key, and much awaited, feature for this drive which many people were eagerly anticipating is the DVD-RAM / DVD-ROM support. This is especially useful for certain brands of camcorders that record to DVD.

I have had several DVD burners over the past couple of years, and several of them didn’t work well at the beginning but eventually began working well. Unfortunately, these later stopped working properly and resulted in returns. This LG drive worked perfectly and properly the first time, as well as for every test I’ve run on it. Did I mention that it’s quiet and smooth?

A 4.7 Gb DVD burn yielded the following results:

This was using relatively low cost 8x DVD+R media, and demonstrates exceptionally smooth performance.

A read test on this DVD provided the following result:

After climbing smoothly to 16X and maintaining that throughput, the drive operated flawlessly. Did I mention how smooth and quiet this drive is?

Here’s the burn results from a 16X Memorex DVD-R:


I threw several brands and speeds of media at this drive, and in every case I got the same results. Even some discs that the Plextor had kicked out burned perfectly with the LG. I tried everything from 5 cent discount CDs to midrange Ritek and ProDisc DVDs, to brand names like Memorex, Verbatim, and TDK, and never had any variation in results. In every case this burner simply worked with no apparent difficulties. This was the first burner I’ve seen properly burn a Verbatim DVD+R Dual Layer at 10x.

Unfortunately, this makes for a boring review as I could not find any situation where the burner appeared to falter, lose its smoothness, or have extra difficulty on questionable media. All of the DVDs I burned were readable in my old Koss home theater system, Sanyo DVD recorder, and Polaroid portable DVD player, including the dual layer Verbatim media. A test burn of the Verbatim dual layer from the Plextor yielded discs that did not play on the portable or in the Koss.

DVD burners as a group have come a long way over the last few years, but in my mind this LG drive stands out. You would be hard pressed to find a better performer at any price. The drive was consistent, quiet and smooth, and the excellent tactile feel is almost a bonus. LG left me feeling very satisfied with their drive. I will definitely be a recurring customer. The performance is unbeatable for the price, and the drive is cheap enough that if it does fail, or something happens, it does not break the bank to replace it.