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In House Review - Sony DRU-500A Dual RW DVD±RW

DVD-R/W, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM

Postby Ian on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:24 am

Today CDRLabs takes a look at Sony's highly anticipated "Dual RW" DVD writer, the DRU-500A. Sony's new drive has gotten a lot of press lately due to its ability to write to DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW media. The DRU-500A does this at some of the fastest speeds available and includes features like a huge 8MB buffer, support for Sony's Power-Burn technology and 24x CD writing speeds, the fastest available on a DVD writer. In our review we take a closer look at some of the features found in the DRU-500A and then see how it performs. Is Sony's new drive the fastest DVD writer around? You'll have to read the review to find out.

ImageSony DRU-500A Dual RW DVD±RW

If you have any questions or comments about the review or the Sony DRU-500A, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
Last edited by Ian on Mon Oct 28, 2002 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby coolestnitish on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:24 am

Awesome review Ian!!! I didn't know that you had this drive and a review was coming so soon. I remember you said it'll take time before you get this drive. Anyways, its here and looks like a promising drive. I am thinking of buying one only after faster media is available. But Sony sure has a winner here!! No Mt. Rainier support? Maybe in the new firmware :roll:
If I had extra cash lying around to be spent nowhere, I would buy this drive. :lol:
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Postby Ian on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:24 am

Yeah, I wasn't expecting to see a DRU-500A for awhile, but Sony offered us one of the first ones. I wasn't going to complain.

Even without Mt. Rainier support the DRU-500A is going on my Christmas list.. along with a 48/24/48/16 combo drive if they're out by then.
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Postby Tolyngee on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:24 am

I'd like to thank Ian for his review.

Frankly, I was highly considering buying this drive (about ordered it from Dell weeks ago), but decided to wait for some specs and reviews. Glad I did.

Thanks to the specs, and the verification of such in reviews, I have made the informed choice to NOT buy this drive...

Ian, sorry to question you, but you really feel this drive earned a "performance" of "8"?

Or is that just because it can't currently be compared to anything else you've reviewed?

"Unfortunately"?

I really did want to buy this drive. :(
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Postby Ian on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:24 am

The drives primary use is to write DVD's and it does that well. Reading DVD's.. that could have been better, but the drive's specs made this pretty clear so this should be a surprise to anyone.

When reading and writing CD's, its definitely not in the same class as some of the CD-RW drives out there. If you're comparing the drive's reading, writing or DAE speeds to one of those drives, the DRU-500A will be blown away every time. However, if you compare it to the current crop of DVD+RW and DVD-RW drives, its performance definitely earns an 8.
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Postby Tolyngee on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

I dunno, this drive has that distinct foul odor of a product that was put out just in time to be bought by people who didn't want to wait another month for a much better product from other manufacturers...

besides, its main "high" of 4x DVD-R/2x DVD-RW isn't a factor right now as the media isn't available. When the media is available, well, the other [better] drives will then be out. Being early with an out-of-date product just to (UGH!) CAPITALIZE on its earnings' potential isn't what should drive me to want to buy a Sony...

Those low points will soon enough be lower...

Unfortunately I see its only good point as being the 8MB buffer...

Pretty obvious why it was available from Dell for 40% off retail... But offering a drive initially at just its true worth looks bad...


Can't understand no 4x +R/RW support...
Can't understand no Mt. Rainier (though the above partly explains it... they ignored this area...)

And is there really a logical explanation about the capability to write at 4x on DVD-R but only capable of then reading it at 2x!? :o

Sniff... Sniff... WHEW!!!! :o :o :o

That foul stench of an over-priced, out-of-date, rushed-to-market product!!! :roll: :roll: :roll:

I do want to buy a Sony, but I will try to wait until their next DVD burner comes out...

But they probably have lost a sale... :(
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Postby Kennyshin on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

Simply the fact that Sony was able to release a DVD writer that can write to both DVD+RW/+R and DVD-RW/-R is impressive. Since this is practically the only 4x DVD writer on the market and the only writer that can write to both formats, 8 of 10 sounds like a bit conservative to me, but then, it did have some lagging points like the unhappily slow DVD reading speed.

It was also the first DVD writer with 8MB buffer (at least four times as much as what any other drive has had so far). Such innovations are really worth many things.

Anyway, it was an excellent review like every other CDRlabs review.

Sony revealed its dual format components for desktop DVD writers and notebook DVD writers a few months ago - which was reported by Impress then. Sony's must be working on the latter as well.

Since there is practically no 4x DVD-R and no 2x DVD-RW media anywhere (except at some labs), the drive itself is ahead of our times. ALL Taiwanese DVD recordable media manufacturers have begun DVD-R media volume production this year, about six months to ten months ago. It may not be easy for them to mass produce 4x DVD-R and 2x DVD-RW media in a few months considering it usually takes at least three months or so to upgrade the equipment and processes. And I wonder: is making 2x DVD-RW media more difficult than making 2.4x DVD+RW media (Ritek of Taiwan has been producing 2.4x DVD+RW media for a quarter by now)?
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Postby Kennyshin on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

Tolyngee,

There's no Mt. Rainier DVD+RW drive yet. The first DVD+MRW drive is probably going to be released by either Philips or Ricoh. (Or already announced but no significant existence on the market, yet.)

As for 4x DVD+R/+RW writing, the same. Does a hardware manufacturer always have to wait for a few months in order to add a few more features and enhance performance in a few more points?

It's a classic example of chicken and egg problems. Drives and media. Chipsets and CPU. Serial ATA controllers and Serial ATA HDDs. DVD players and DVD titles. Internet lines and Internet contents. It does not help anything to blame the ones who make it first rather than waiting for the others to do it and then "capitalize" on the already-established markets.

Is $300 +/- $50 that high to be called overpriced? At launch time, Pioneer's 2x DVD-R/1x DVD-RW DVR-A04 was much more expensive and Ricoh's 2.4x DVD+RW/DVD+R was similarly priced (around $600) while those were lower than those of previous generations DVD-RW/DVD+RW drives.

1x DVDR Authoring: Over $10,000
1x DVDR General: Over $1,000, later under $1,000
2x-2.4x DVDR: $800 - $600 (now $150 - $400)
4x DVDR: $350 - $300
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Postby coolestnitish on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

i thought i might drop a line in too about what i feel about this drive. i think this is the perfect drive for a person who shoots a lot of video on dv, and wants to keep the high quality, or for a person who likes making "backups" of dvds.
I like the specs. The media will be out soon to support the higher speeds, but still according to me its still too slow. Also Sony is famous for its copy protection products. I donno how well this performs in that section.
I am sure if Sony can make a product then Pioneer, Philips, or Yamaha can make such a drive too.
What this drive needs is some competition, NEC is coming, itll be interesting to see how it performs compared to that. 8)
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Postby Dartman on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

A friend bought a generic 2X dvd writer and made me a perfect backup of Hackers that he owns, Dobly digital sound, menues, all of it. Of course it is a small movie, size wise, so it fit the blank he used. We are still supposed to be able to make backups of anything we legally own so I really want to get a burner now that he proved to both of us it can be done.
I really like your review and I think I'll wait till x-mas and see how things shake out (and I get my bonus :) ) Plus by then even if I get the Sony it should be on good sales localy by somebody.
It will be nice to do large backups of data of the puter here too. My 4/8 gig tape is REALLY slow and tapes get spendy too. The CD burner is too small and 20 spanned disks gets to be a bit much :o
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Postby VEFF on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:25 am

Nice Ian!

The irony; I finally get a DRU500A today, but my review is no longer needed lol.

I am about to burn some DVD video and MP3 DVD-Rs.
Just unpacking the drive as we speak.

I don't think the Stomp RecordNow Max update is out yet right?
Burners only:
Pioneer DVR-115D
Pioneer DVR-111D
Plextor PX-716A TLA0304
Plextor PX-716A same TLA

LiteOn 52246S 52X CD-RW
LiteOn 52246S (another)
LiteOn 52327S 52X CD-RW
TDK 40X USB 2.0 CD-RW
TEAC CD-W540E 40X CD-RW
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Postby BoGMan1a on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

Great review!! I can totally see this drive residing in my box, but I really don't see all the complaining about reading speeds and DAE speeds. If I spend $300 on a drive, you can be pretty sure that I will use it for burning DVD's only. CD burning as well as DVD reading are to be left for the $50 DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives that are flooding the market. Heck, if you can't fit them in your case, grab a USB 2.0 or Firewire card and an enclosure. My set-up will probably look like this around X-mas :

Pri master Seagate 80gb hdd
Pri slave WD 80gb hdd
Sec master Sony DRU-500a
Sec slave Toshiba SD-M1612
USB 2.0 WD 40gb hdd
Firewire Lite-on LTR-52246S

I only lack the Sony at the moment, and I can't think of anything else I'd need after I get that. Of course, I am sure that there will be something by then though :lol: .
Main Computer:
ASUS A7N8X deluxe
AMD Athlon XP2500
1Gb PC3200
6600GT AGP
BENQ 1620
NEC 3500AG
Lite-on 52246S
Lite-on LTC-48161H
1 Tb of internal HDD space
750+ Gb external storage
Dual Boot Win2000Pro/XP Home
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Problem with DRU-500a

Postby wildpig on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

Well, i love that review too. Though i can't really confirm a lot of things. since i haven't been able to have any error free dvd yet. i couldn't verify copy any of the discs i burn, even though none of them gave error during the burn. even with the dvd+rw media included, i still couldn't read what i burn on it totally. The dvd might mount on a dvd-rom but it would not be totally all readable when you try to copy the whole dvd back to hd. Someone please say that i am wrong about this. I am going to wait for best buy to get more in stock and exchange this. But so far my experience with this drive is nothing like my trusty liteon cdr which burn virtually any media with no problem. I recommend everyone not take it for grant that their data burn correctly to the dvd. I highly recommend that everyone should verify that it was a good burn by test copying all the data on the just burnt dvd back on hd and see if the dvd is totally readable. anyway, will let someone reply to my posting now......
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Postby aponeurosis on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

Like everyone else, I too thought your review was great! I just have one question. Did you try to burn a dvd movie with using nero's latest version (5.5.9.14)? I used a memorex dvd+r media to burn a video_ts folder containing my home movie to the disc. Everything goes well until the end when nero gives me an error closing the disc (some type of disc-at-once error).
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Postby gianniz on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

my question is where did you guys get NERO 5.5.9.16!!!!!
its not out yet :) i want it now
can you send me the link
gianniz@mbox.com.au
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Postby chon_wang on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

aponeurosis wrote:Like everyone else, I too thought your review was great! I just have one question. Did you try to burn a dvd movie with using nero's latest version (5.5.9.14)? I used a memorex dvd+r media to burn a video_ts folder containing my home movie to the disc. Everything goes well until the end when nero gives me an error closing the disc (some type of disc-at-once error).


You are not the only one. I've tested Sony DVD+R's and had the same problem as yours (can not finalizing at the end). I haven't done much test as im patiently waiting for the new nero update.

ps: Ian, do you have that problem with nero 5.5.9.16? I wonder if ahead fixed this problem already.
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Postby gianniz on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

some of you people are so stupid.. seriously nero never claimed it can burn with this new burner. and until burner is fully supported by nero (in their documentation we cannot expect it to work so wait until nero officially releases it or bugger this ian guy to send it to us :)
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Postby dpajur on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:26 am

are there any issues when copying dvd-video titles? except for the fact that the drive reads them at 2x?

i was thinking of using my pioneer 104s to copy on-the-fly, do you think it would work? also, does the new nero release support dvd-video copying with this drive?

so many questions, so little time, i know :) still hoping for an answer.
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Postby aponeurosis on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:27 am

Yes, I am aware that nero 5.5.9.14 does not support the drive. However, at one point on their website it did list this sony drive. Then, I rechecked the website a week later and it no longer list this drive. I am also curious about nero .16 version
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Postby Kennyshin on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:27 am

gianniz wrote:some of you people are so stupid.. seriously nero never claimed it can burn with this new burner. and until burner is fully supported by nero (in their documentation we cannot expect it to work so wait until nero officially releases it or bugger this ian guy to send it to us :)


Who are you? A spammer?
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Postby Shreder-X on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:28 am

Media to use with the new DRU500a mine is going to arrive in two days and i have yet to purchase any media i will mainly just use it to back up movies (divx) and the occasional dvd. What type of media is slated to work best with this drive? and if possible can anyone reccommend a good deal on the media? The review says the 4x and 2x media will be hard to come by :(
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Postby Kennyshin on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:35 am

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MEDIA

Postby DVDepressed on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:35 am

You are all talking about the neat features on the DRU-500A

None of you are talking about the DRU-500As incompatibility and failure to work with all brands of media except sony, tdk and kodak

THIS DRIVE IS REALLY NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME :(
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Re: MEDIA

Postby Kennyshin on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:35 am

DVDepressed wrote:You are all talking about the neat features on the DRU-500A

None of you are talking about the DRU-500As incompatibility and failure to work with all brands of media except sony, tdk and kodak

THIS DRIVE IS REALLY NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME :(


That's why the incompatible media prices are falling rapidly.
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Woohoo! Nero 5.5.9.17 works with Sony DRU500A

Postby aponeurosis on Thu Jan 01, 1970 6:39 am

I am posting an update on this drive with the latest patch from Nero (5.5.9.17). Even though, this update does not list the support for this drive, I was able to finalize two discs that were previously coasters. BTW I am using Memorex DVD+R

Results using latest Nero:
HP DVD+RW & Sony DVD+RW - works great
Memorex DVD+R - works good (no coaster with 4/4 burn)
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