By Jon L. Jacobi
Most cutting-edge technologies start out pricey, but the Lite-On LTR-40125S offers budget users a state-of-the-art, 40X/12X/48X-rated CD-RW drive for an astonishingly low price. And while you'll find few extras in this package, you'll get plenty of speed for most burning chores. Click here to check the latest prices for the Lite-On LTR-40125S.
Just the basics, ma'am
The Lite-On sells for about $99 on the street, and as you might expect of a budget drive, its accessories are minimal. The drive ships with the necessary audio cable and mounting screws but no EIDE cable or emergency-eject tool. Documentation consists solely of a single-sheet installation guide, which is well written but lacks troubleshooting info. The Lite-On is compatible with all versions of Windows from 98 on up.
The software bundle is also a no-frills affair, consisting solely of Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM for CD-mastering chores and the same company's InCD for packet writing. But if we had to pick the two programs we'd most like to see accompany a CD-RW burner, it would be these two.
|CNET Editors rated the Lite-On LTR-40125S an 8 out of 10.|
The good: Fast; rock-bottom price; satisfactory software
The bad: Slow digital-audio extraction; no weekend support
Fast in most tests
The Lite-On, with its Zone-CLV technology, performed well in most of CNET Labs' tests. The drive wrote our 43-minute audio image to disc in only 2 minutes, 13 seconds—a mere 3 seconds slower than the current champion, TDK's VeloCD 40X/12X/48X. The Lite-On also packet-wrote a 400-MB folder of files in 5 minutes, 36 seconds—only 10 seconds slower than the TDK. Installing Microsoft Office Small Business Edition took the Lite-On 1 minute, 32 seconds—about 5 seconds slower than the best time we've seen. The only test in which the Lite-On truly lagged was the digital-audio-extraction benchmark, where it took 2 minutes, 30 seconds to extract a 27-minute track. That's almost three times longer than the similar QPS Que drive took and more than 40 seconds slower than the next-slowest 40X/12X/48X drive. For anything other than audio ripping, however, this is a capable contender.
Lite-On's service and support policies for the LTR-40125S are typical. The company provides a one-year warranty for the drive. Tech support is available weekdays from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. PT, but it's a toll call—and you're on your own during the weekends. To its credit, Lite-On offers copious online support, including FAQs, software downloads, troubleshooting tips, RMA and service-request e-mail support, plus—believe it or not—a suggestion box. Whether Lite-On actually listens to your suggestions is anybody's guess, but it's a nice touch anyway.
Right on, Lite-On
If you measure your drive by its big software bundle, copious paper documentation, or pack-leading performance, you'll want to dish out a little more for a drive such as the TDK VeloCD 40X/12X/48X. But if bang for the buck is your bottom line, this drive's a good value for business or home.
The Lite-On, with its Zone-CLV technology, performed well in most of our tests. The only one in which the Lite-On truly lagged was the digital-audio-extraction benchmark, where it took 2 minutes, 30 seconds to extract a 27-minute track. However, it's a good choice for anything other than audio ripping.
|Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)|
|Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)|
|Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)|
Click here to check the latest prices for the Lite-On LTR-40125S.
This review was originally published by CNET on June 4, 2002.