Recent | Online | Vintage | Modern | Win | Mac  OS9 | DOS | Amiga | Atari ST | Graphics | Midi io | Sequencers | Roland "MC" | E-mu | Ensoniq | Akai MPCs | Samplers | Akai "S" | Roland "S"Synths | VST Samplers | VST Synths | Roland "JV" | Modules | Drums | Mixers | Timeline | HackintoshArtists | Graphics

Welcome to! (Online since 2014) if you are human, Register & Login to gain more access to all boards here; Some guest permissions have been limited to reduce traffic from bots and encourage registration, while other Guest permissions have been added such as guest posting of attachments and guest responses to threads!

Author Topic: Panasonic LF-D521 DVD Burner II (March 2003) Multi-Recorder, DVD multi drive  (Read 6797 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline chrisNova777

  • Underground tech support agent
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 9656
  • Gender: Male
  • "Vintage MIDI Sequencing + Audio Production"
    • View Profile
    • | vintage audio production software + hardware info
supports DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW, as well as CD-R and CD-RW. but no DVD+R/+RW support

Panasonic is making a concerted effort to see DVD-RAM take off more widely outside Japan, where it has enjoyed huge success. DVD-RAM is one of the formats, alongside DVD-R and DVD-RW, that is supported by the 219-strong DVD Forum. The big advantage of DVD-RAM over DVD-R/-RW (and the DVD+R/+RW formats supported by the 55-member DVD alliance) is that it does not require special burning software: files can be dragged and dropped using any file manager utility. A second advantage is the durability: DVD-RAM discs can be rewritten up to 100,000 times -- in contrast to the 1,000 rewrites supported by DVD-RW and DVD+RW standards.

The major disadvantages of DVD-RAM are the high media costs, and the fact that home video recorders still do not -- for the most part -- support the format. Furthermore, until very recently, DVD-RAM drives have been relatively expensive. However, things are changing. Panasonic has now launched a home DVD player that can handle DVD-RAM media, and the launch of the sub-£200 (inc. VAT) DVD Burner II is the latest step -- only a year before this launch, the DVD Burner I was selling for over £500.

The RAM part of the DVD-RAM name stands for Random Access Memory, which means that the drive works in a similar way to a hard drive: content can be placed anywhere on the disc and is indexed. This means that video editors can cut, splice and edit video straight to DVD-RAM without having to worry about how the data is being laid down. This allows a far more flexible way of working than other formats such as DVD-RW. DVD-RAM is also robust. A disc can typically sustain 100,000 overwrites and Panasonic says that it has artificially aged DVD-RAM discs to 60 years -- although the standard media life is usually quoted at about 30 years. This, together with the ease with which a DVD-RAM disc can be overwritten, makes it a useful storage and archiving medium. The only drawback of DVD-RAM is that, in Europe at least, it is not widely supported by home DVD players: anybody editing home movies could use a DVD-RAM disc for the editing process, but would have to burn the final movie onto DVD-R for distribution to friends and family.

Setup & ease of use
The DVD Burner II is straightforward to install. The drive is a standard size and has the standard connections on the back. Our Windows 2000 test system recognised it immediately on booting, and -- once we had formatted the drive using the supplied formatting utility -- could write data to the supplied DVD-RAM disc with simple drag-and-drop operations. Despite its standard size, the drive has a hefty tray to accommodate DVD-RAM cartridges -- it can take bare discs too, but for data archiving in particular, the cartridge provides extra protection for the disc's surface. This substantial mechanism is accompanied by a fair amount of noise when the drive is searching for data, although when playing a DVD or CD the drive is quiet enough not to be a distraction.

The DVD Burner II is not the fastest drive available. CD playback is a mediocre 32X, while it can record CD-R media at 12X and CD-RWs at 8X. You could buy a cheap dedicated CD-RW/CD-R drive that would outperform Panasonic's drive -- but of course you would then need a separate DVD burner. The result would be a more expensive and less elegant solution than Panasonic's DVD Burner II provides. You should also ask yourself whether you really need a CD drive that fast -- few people really do. This drive records DVD-RAM and DVD-R media at 2X, and DVD-RW at 1X; DVD read speed is 6X. In our performance tests, the DVD Burner II proved adequate if not impressive at writing data to DVD-RW, but lagged behind 4X drives such as the Pioneer DVR-A05 and Sony DRU-500A when writing movie files. Read speeds were reasonable.

You get a DVD-R and a DVD-RAM disc in the box, together with a CD full of applications. Those interested in DVD-RAM for its archiving abilities will find the FileSafe utility useful. This archiving program allows scheduled backups of data with a degree of granularity that means you can mark for backup only those files that have changed over a given period. For the home user, DVD-MovieAlbumSE 3 can import video from a digital video camera over a IEEE 1394 cable or from a DVD or video cassette player, and allows simple editing -- including the creation of 3D titles. This package is supplemented by MyDVD3.5, which can be used to create DVD-Video discs (on DVD-R media), and which includes a menu-creation facility. A small program called WinDVD 4 is included for playback of videos, which worked smoothly on a moderate-spec PC with a 1GHz processor and MPEG 2 decoding. Two other applications are included for writing data: B's Recorder Gold 5 Basic, and B's Clip 5. The latter is a packet-writing utility that enables drag and drop recording to DVD-RW and CD-RW media, while Recorder Gold 5 Basic is for creating music CDs. Although its performance could be better, it's difficult to fault the LF-D521 DVD Burner II at the price.