The Sony BWU-100A offers every possible optical-media support except for HD DVD, of course. Its sleek, transparent-black faceplate would make it an attractive part of your living room media center's PC. Unfortunately, Blu-ray drives are still very expensive--this one costs $700. Though Blu-ray burner prices have and will continue to fall, they haven't fallen far enough for the average consumer. Keep in mind, too, that as prices fall, read and write speeds will continue to ramp up. The BWU-100A is a bit slower with its non-HD tasks when compared to a non-HD burner, but given all that this drive can do, we think it's not a bad trade-off. If you have the $700 to burn, the BWU-100A is a good choice.
- Drive type: Internal Blu-ray multidrive
- Supported media: BD-ROM, BD-RE (25GB and 50GB), BD-R (25GB and 50GB), DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-Video, DVD+/-R DL, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, Video CD, Photo CD, CD Text, CD Extra, CD-R, and CD-RW
- Max write speed: 2x BD-R, 4x DVD+/-R DL, 8x DVD+/-R(8x), 24x CD-R
- Max rewrite speed: 2x BD-RE, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 5x DVD-RAM, and 16x CD-RW
- Maximum read speed: 2x BD-ROM, i8x DVD-ROM, and 32x CD-ROM
- Buffer memory: 8MB
- Dimensions: 5.75 inches wide by 7.48 inches deep by 1.63 inches tall
- Notable design features: None
- Connection options: IDE (ATA/ATAPI)
- System requirements: Pentium IV 3.0+GHz, 512MB RAM, 30GB HDD
- OSes supported: MS Windows 2000 Pro (SP4)/XP Home or Pro (SP2)/Vista (all)
- Software included: CyberLink Blu-ray Software Suite, including PowerDVD, Power2Go, PowerProducer, PowerDirector, PowerDVD Copy, PowerBackup, PhotoNow, MediaShow, LabelPrint, and InstantBurn
- Any additional features: Supports 8 or 12cm discs
- Service and support: One-year limited warranty; toll-free phone support; live chat; e-mail to tech support; site includes FAQs, tutorials, and software/driver downloads.
We did have a few gripes with this drive. It was a bit finicky when it came to compatible media brands. We had no problems when using Sony's recommended media brand (Verbatim), but it wouldn't recognize discs from RIData, a huge multivendor supplier.