Pioneer DVR

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2004-05-25 Print this article Print

-A07XLB"> Of the three drives based on the Pioneer A07 mechanism, the Pioneer-branded drive is the most expensive. Pioneer has also opted for a different software bundle, which includes the complete Ulead suite, including the DVD MovieFactory 3 authoring package, Video Studio 7 video editing, a DVD player and Burn.Now disc burning tool. Pioneer also includes a copy of NovaBackup 7.1 for backing up data from your hard drive to the optical disc.
You also get a bit more performance than the Asus and Memorex drives. Although the Pioneer drive was running the same 1.12 firmware, we noticed better DVD read performance and slightly improved burn performance. Still, the only real difference was the higher outer track transfer rate. The drive still only sports a 2MB buffer.
The bottom line is that you get a different software bundle and slightly elevated performance. The black bezel of the unit we tested was certainly more attractive but not particularly exceptional. With a $160 price tag, you end up paying a $20 premium for the Pioneer name.
Product Pioneer DVR-A07XLB
Web Site
Pros Reliable Pioneer mechanism; good write performance; Ulead Software Bundle; slightly faster transfer rate than other Pioneer-based drives
Cons Slow DAE access; Most expensive Pioneer-based unit
Summary Its pricey, but looks good, moves data a little faster, and comes with a different bundle than the other drives based on this hardware.
Price $160, check prices

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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