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Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner review: Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner

Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner

Ryan Belonga
3 min read
Sony BMU-100A

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.


Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner

The Good

Supports all major optical-media types; non-Blu-ray task speeds are acceptable; extensive software package.

The Bad

Still very expensive; IDE-only; slow to rip commercial Blu-ray discs; finicky with media brands.

The Bottom Line

The Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray burner is still priced out of range for most users, but if you have $700 to spare, it's a good choice for its range of media support and acceptable task speeds.

  • 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.

In the CNET Labs, the Sony BWU-100A performed as expected of an early-generation product--with an IDE interface, no less. Keeping in mind that Blu-ray discs are large-capacity media, one must accept that its BD write and read times are quite long. Its performance with all other non-high-definition tasks was acceptable. Ripping an 8.46GB commercial DVD movie took 23 minutes, 15 seconds. Burning that image to a DVD+R DL took 26 minutes, 51 seconds. A 4.48GB mixed-data file took 10 minutes, 22 seconds to burn. Ripping a 746MB commercial CD took 4 minutes, 13 seconds. Burning the same CD image to a CD-R took 4 minutes, 37 seconds. Burning a BD-R with 23GB of mixed data files took 1 hour, 40 minutes, 11 seconds. The drive disappointed when ripping that same file: it took a pokey 5 hours, 2 minutes, 22 seconds. Compared to other dedicated DVD multidrives, the Sony BWU-100A is on the slow side, but considering all the drive is capable of, we think it's an acceptable sacrifice.

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.


Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray Burner

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 5Support 7