Tech & Work

Lite-On 40X/12X/48X offers budget-friendly, state-of-the-art technology

For cutting-edge CD-RW speed at a low price, this 40X/12X/48X-rated drive from Lite-On delivers with few frills and few compromises. It's a good budget buy for consumers and small businesses.


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.

Figure A
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.

Performance chart
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.

Write tests

Table A
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)


Audio-extraction tests

Table B
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)


Read tests

Table C
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (Shorter bars indicate better performance.)


Complete specs
Click here to check the latest prices for the Lite-On LTR-40125S.
Table D
Product specifications
General
Drive type CD-RW
CD/DVD enclosure type Internal
CD/DVD interface type IDE/EIDE
CD/DVD read speed 48x
CD/DVD write speed 40x
CD/DVD rewrite speed 12x
Average access time 80 ms
Cache size 512 KB
Expansion/connectivity
Port(s)/connector(s) required 1 x storage DMA/ATA-33 (Ultra)/40 pin IDC female - 1
Bay(s) required 1 x internal - 5.25" x 1/2H
Cable(s) included 1 x IDE cable - internal, 1 x audio cable - internal
Media
Supported formats CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, CD Extra, CD-DA (audio), CD-I, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-G (Karaoke CD)
Media load type Tray
Formatted capacity 700 MB
System requirements
Min operating system IBM OS/2 Warp, Microsoft Windows 95/98, Microsoft Windows 2000/NT4.0, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft DOS 6.0 or later, Microsoft Windows XP
Min processor type Intel Pentium 166 MHz
Min RAM size/Min hard drive space 128 MB
Physical characteristics
Width 10.7 in
Depth 7.6 in
Height 1.9 in
Weight 7.1 lbs to 7.7 Ibs
Enclosure color Black
Environmental parameters Temperature: 41 °F - 95 °F Humidity: 8 - 95% / 40 dB
Voltage required AC 110/220 V ± 10% ( 50/60 Hz )
Warranty
Service/Support One-year warranty
Disclaimers

Hard disk:
The unit "GB" represents 1,000 million bytes of hard disk capacity.

Speed of CD-ROM drive:
Data transfer rates and transfer speeds will vary, depending on a variety of factors.

This review was originally published by CNET on June 4, 2002.

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