I’ve recently been trying out an LG GCE-8480B CD burner (the 48x16x48x model) which here in the UK comes with Nero software and Mt. Rainier enabled. The drive is nicely styled (same as previous LG models) and operates quite quietly and smoothly.
The firmware of my example is 1.02, and it was built in July 2002. I’m rather surprised that, with the limited choice of 48x media available to me (TDK Speed-X and TDK D-View is all), the drive absolutely refuses to offer a 48x recording speed - or even 40x, with these - the choices are “capped” at 32x. I understand that though CDSpeed identifies these discs as manufactured by TDK, they could be from CMC and that this might have some effect on the drive firmware’s assumptions about their quality. I happened to have some Maxell CD-R80XL-S discs (32x rated) made by Taiyo Yuden, and in this case speeds up to 40x are offered by the drive in the drop-down speed menu of Nero. I have since tried a 48x test recording on the TDK Speed-X media with a LiteOn 48125W (since this is impossible to do with the LG drive) and it performed faultlessly.
I suppose all this is caution on LG’s part to avoid the risk of faulty burns (as advertised on its packaging), an equivalent of LiteOn’s Smartburn type of feature - but I can’t understand why it cannot be disabled when required, as it can with LiteOn drives. Similarly, I don’t understand why the buffer underrun protection CAN be disabled on the LG - why would one want to? Again, the opposite situation is true with LiteOn, and seems to make more sense to me.
CDSpeed also showed the LG’s self-imposed limitation of 40x read speed when accessing CD-Rs, as mentioned in a recent review. Strangely, its burst rate was very slow too, even on pressed data CDs - only 1MB/s maximum when the same discs tried on the LiteOn LTR 48125W connected in its place were at least 12MB/s, and even a Pioneer DVD-116 slaved on this port (I know it’s not an ideal setup!) managed almost 11 MB/s with these same discs. Here, I’m unsure of the reason for the LG’s lower performance.
When I asked LG in the UK about the recording speed limitations, they weren’t able to tell me much as only a relatively low number of this drive model have so far been sold here, they said. I asked if firmware updates might widen the choice of recording speeds but they said these generally appear only after a year or so.
Am I missing something here? It seems to me that (though I’m a beginner at all this and so have a lot to learn) buyers who simply go out and buy the LG drive without any intention of reading up about all the background information in forums like this, are going to be very disappointed to buy a 48x burner, feed it 48x discs, and only be offered 32x burning as a maximum, with apparently no way around it. I certainly find it frustrating - in real terms it probably makes little difference to the overall time but it’s not nice to be so aware that you have no choice in the matter!
Does anyone know if LG are addressing this limitation at all?