The DRU-700A Sony sent us was a pre-production sample. However, Sony assured us that there should be little, if any, difference between it and the production drives. Along with the drive, they sent us a CD containing a software suite from Ahead Software. This suite includes Nero Express 6, NeroVision Express 2, InCD 4, Nero ShowTime, Nero BackItUp, Nero ImageDrive, Nero MediaPlayer, Nero Cover Designer and the Nero Toolkit..

Physical Features:

The drive we received from Sony was manufactured in March of 2004 and had firmware version VYV3.

From the front, the DRU-700A looks very similar to Sony's other DVD±RW drives. This is primarily due to the silver colored tray. If white and silver aren't exactly your colors, you're in luck. Sony is also planning on including a black replacement bezel with the drive. As you can see, the DRU-700A also has its share of logos. Along with the large Sony logo, you can see a few showing support for the DVD-R/RW and DVD+ReWritable formats. Oddly enough, our test unit did not have a Double Layer logo. However, this might be due to the fact that it was an early sample.

It shouldn't be too surprising that the DRU-700A does not have a headphone jack or volume control. Like most manufacturers, Sony has cut costs by removing these little used features. Looking at the front of the drive you can see that the DRU-700A also has one LED. Itlights up orange whenever the drive is reading or writing.

The rear of the DRU-700A looks very similar to some of the other Lite-On based drives we've reviewed. By looking at the picture below you can see the drive's IDE interface, power connector and analog audio output connector.

Starting from the left of the IDE connection you'll see the jumper switch for master, slave and cable select. Next to the jumper block is the analog audio connector. The connector on the far left is the digital audio output.

Technical Specs:

The specs below have been taken from Sony's website and the documentation that came along with the drive.

  Sony DRU-700A 8x DVD±RW
CD Write Speeds 40x (CAV)
32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 8x (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speeds 24x (Z-CLV)
16x, 10x, 4x (CLV)
DVD Write Speeds 8x, 6x (Z-CLV), 4x, 2.4x (DVD+R)
4x, 2.4x (DVD+RW)
2.4x (DVD+R DL)
8x, 6x (Z-CLV), 4x, 2x, 1x (DVD-R)
4x, 2x, 1x (DVD-RW)
DVD Read Speeds 12x Max (DVD-ROM Single Layer)
8x Max (DVD-ROM Dual Layer)
8x Max (DVD-R/RW)
8x Max (DVD+R/RW)
6x Max (DVD+R DL)
CD-ROM Read Speed 40x Max
DAE Speed 40x Max
Buffer Size 2 MB
Random Access Times
160 ms (CD)
200 ms (DVD)
CD Formats CD-DA
Video CD
Photo CD
CD Extra
CD Recording Modes Track At Once
Session At Once
Disc At Once
Packet Writing
DVD Recording Modes Random Access Write
Sequential Write

More Features:

By looking at the Nero screenshot below, you can see that the drive is identified as a "SONY DVD RW DRU-700A".

Nero also shows that the DRU-700A has a maximum CD writing speed of 40x and a 2048KB buffer. This buffer is also backed up by Sony's Power-Burn buffer underrun protection. According to Nero, the DRU-700A can write CD-Text and overburn.

Here is a screen shot from Nero's InfoTool. This program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. InfoTool had no problems detecting the DRU-700A's maximum reading and writing speeds, recording modes, buffer underrun protection and 2MB buffer. The only things Sony's new drive doesn't support are DVD-RAM and Mt. Rainier.

InfoTool also shows that the DRU-700A is a RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The drive's region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore.

While InfoTool gives us a quick glance at the DRU-700A's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities. By looking at the screenshot above you can see that Sony's new drive can both read and write DVD+R DL media.

Now that we've taken a look at the Sony DRU-700A, let's see how it performs when writing to DVD+R DL discs.