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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Computer Accessories

Hands on LG GGW-H10N: Super Multi Blue for Media Center

LG's dual-format, Blu-ray- and HD DVD-playing optical drive for PCs dropped through our tech letter box this morning -- here's how we got on

The tech stork dropped a sweet little package in our laps this morning -- LG's GGW-H10N dual-format optical drive. We previously waxed lyrical about the drive's ability to play both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, but this is our first opportunity to try it out for ourselves.

If all you want to know is whether it works, you can stop reading now: it does. But you may want to read about a few of the issues we came across before you fork over your £600.

You need to make sure every inch of your hardware is HDCP-compatible. You need an HDCP graphics card with HDCP graphics card drivers, an HDCP monitor with an HDCP-enabled DVI or HDMI connector, and a fast PC with an HDMI-capable operating system (XP is fine).

You need quite a beefy PC, too. We tried playing HD DVD and Blu-ray flicks on an ageing Athlon 64 3200+ desktop and it dropped frames all over the place. Luckily we had a Dell XPS 710 H2C gaming rig behind the sofa, and that was plenty quick enough. Both Blu-ray and HD DVD movies played just fine.

LG says you'll need a Pentium D 3.2GHz or Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU, plus an ATI X1950 pro or Nvidia GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB graphics card (or faster). This isn't ideal since you'll have to put up with a load of noise from the fans that cool these hot-running parts. Obviously a noisy PC isn't ideal in a Media Center setup.

Anyhoo, the drive will cost about £600, which is roughly £400 less than LG's standalone Super Multi Blue BH100 player. It's pricey, we're sure you'll agree, but it's possible to upgrade your current PC with a fast enough CPU and graphics card for about £400. Watch out for a full review soon. -Rory Reid