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. You might want to invite a tech-minded friend over for dinner if you're unsure of how to install an internal drive. 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'd be these two.
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 40/12/48. The Lite-On also packet-wrote a 400MB 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, 17 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 40/12/48. But if bang for the buck is your bottom line, then this drive's a good value for home or business.
| Write tests |
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
| Audio-extraction tests |
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)
| Read tests |
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)
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, 17 seconds to extract a 27-minute track. For anything other than audio ripping, however, this is a capable contender.