The LG GSA-H62N
The LG GSA-H62N
Looking at its specifications, the LG GSA-H62N is the SATA version of LG's existing burner, the GSA-H42N, so if you're not on SATA yet, that would be the alternative. Both drives are rated at 18x write speed for DVD write-once media, which is no longer cutting edge nowadays, since all the major vendors have released optical drives capable of 18x and above. The H62N's biggest advantage over some of its peers is its 10x write speed for dual layer DVD media, which should work out to valuable time savings since dual layer speeds are still stuck at only 8x. The only problem we foresee is the media itself. LG did not include any dual layer media in its retail box and we're not sure which brand of media would be suitable. As for 18x DVD media, LG's user manual recommends three brands, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media, That's and Maxell but even then, it's not a sure thing since there are no detailed Disc ID information given.
The physical drive itself does not draw the eye and it comes in black with an extra ivory front bezel for those with non-black enclosures. The drive is commendably quiet and the lack of noise dampeners for the tray and bezel door did not matter. Some of you may find it a trifle loud when the tray opens or closes but that is a minor quibble. Since this is a SATA drive, the back of the unit is refreshingly empty, with only the two slim SATA connections (power and data); none of the troublesome jumper settings required on an IDE drive and its snaky cable.
For those who are interested, the internal chipset of the LG GSA-H62N is the Renesas R8J32022HFPV, which is also used in the LightScribe variant, the GSA-H62LI. What we are testing today however is the vanilla version with no LightScribe support, though LG has bundled very decent applications, including a fairly full featured Nero Express suite together with CyberLink's authoring and playback software like PowerDVD and PowerProducer. There's also a set of SATA power and data cables. For users who are interested mostly in archival purposes (including us), they would probably appreciate the software applications more than the more costly LightScribe feature.