Inside the Box

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2003-01-23 Print this article Print

: Pioneer DVR-A05U"> The DVR-A05U ships with a software bundle consisting of:
  • Roxios EZ-CD Creator Basic, , for burning CDs.
  • Sonics MyDVD 4.0 for simple DVD authoring capabilities
  • ArcSofts Showbiz, a simple movie editing package
  • Pinnacle InstantWrite, a packet writing driver and UDF management tool
Manuals are on disc, in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format.
The drive itself is fairly unassuming, with a stock beige bezel. The rear panel has the usual connectors for the parallel ATA cable, ATA master/slave jumper, analog audio and power. No S/PDIF connector graces the back panel, though an unlabeled 4-pin connector is present. The drive also has a headphone jack and volume knob, spiffy features when you just want to pop a CD in and listen to music, though it seems oddly anachronistic in todays digital music world. The drive performs very well in its primary task of authoring DVD video onto DVD-R/RW media. In addition, it seems to be a speedy CD-ROM and DVD-ROM player, but its CD-RW capabilities are modest next to todays high speed dedicated CD burners. Still, the capability is there if you need it. However, we wouldnt recommend this drive for data backup, especially if you plan on using packet writing, drag-and-drop capability. The Pioneer takes an eon to formate a packet-writable disc, and write times are quite long.
Company: Pioneer Electronics
Product: DVR-A05U DVD-RW recorder
Pro: Significant improvement in DVD-R/RW write performance.
Con: Only 8x CD-RW writing performance; extremely long format time for packet writing prep.
Summary:       If youre a DVD-R/RW shop, this is your drive. But its not an optimal solution for data backup.
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Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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