The SHOW-812S arrived with a barebones software package consisting only of Sonics MyDVD and PowerDVD XP DVD viewing software. At $85 for the OEM version, this might seem like a good deal, especially if you already own DVD / CD burning software. The 812S ships with a 2MB buffer.
However, burn performance turned out to be on the slow side. Even after we upgraded to the latest firmware revision (US0J), the DVD-R burn performance was the slowest of the bunch. If you compare the DVD-R burn curve to the DVD+R burn curve, you can see why.
As you can see, the DVD-R burn curve remains at the mid-plateau for a longer period. Other drives, like the Sony DRU-530A, exhibit something similar, but they still boost the burn rate to 8x speeds sooner than the Lite-On.
On top of the performance issues with burning, the 812S seems fragile or at least, the unit we tested seemed fragile. We accidentally dropped a handful of drives about a foot onto a tabletop. All survived, except the 812S, whose drawer became jammed. This may simply have been an issue with a single drive and our unintended drop test was certainly not scientific.
The bottom line is that the Lite-On SHOW-812S has relatively slow burn performance and very solid DVD reader performance. If you want a unit that will mostly be used as your primary reader and to burn the occasional DVD, the 812S may be a good choice.
Performance as a DVD-ROM drive is pretty good, too, right up with the Asus and Memorex drives. The Lite-On also had the best DVD-ROM average seek time of all the drives.
|Pros||Speedy DVD read performance; low price|
|Cons||Relatively slow DVD burn performance; limited software bundle|
|Summary||The 812S has few amenities, but wont cost you an arm and a leg.|