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TDK Indi DVD 840G review: TDK Indi DVD 840G

If you're experienced with installing an optical drive, you'll have no problem setting up the TDK Indi DVD 840G; just open the computer case, slide the drive into a free 5.25-inch bay, secure it with screws, and attach the cables. TDK's copious and exceptionally well-written documentation, including a great Shockwave animation on the Help Materials CD, should give even newbies enough confidence to tackle what otherwise can be an intimidating task.

8.7

TDK Indi DVD 840G

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Writes DVD+R at 8X on 4X media; great overall performance; quiet media tray; comprehensive software bundle.

The Bad

No drive-to-sound-card cable.

The Bottom Line

TDK's Indi DVD 840G uses the same underlying hardware as the excellent Plextor PX-708A, with similarly solid performance and features.
With its 8X multiformat Indi DVD 840G burner, TDK pushes DVD+R writing to state-of-the-art speed. In many ways, the Indi DVD 840G matches the performance of our Editors' Choice, Plextor's , right down to its ability to write at 8X on 4X media. The reason? The Indi DVD 840G is that drive; TDK's 8X burner is built on Plextor's hardware. TDK's drive offers users an out-of-box experience second to none, with copious and exceptionally well-written documentation, and the company even throws in two free pieces of 4X DVD recordable media. The Indi DVD 840G and the Plextor were neck and neck in most of our tests, and both drives deliver solid performance. So if you can't find the PX-708A anywhere, don't sweat it; TDK's Indi DVD 840G is just as good.

TDK ships the drive with two blanks discs (one 4X DVD+R, one 4X DVD-R) as well as mounting screws and an IDE cable. There is, however, no drive-to-sound-card cable--the only omission in an otherwise complete package.

Setting up the Indi DVD 840G's software was fairly straightforward and uneventful in our tests. Still, we wish there was an option to install all of the included software in one fell swoop, instead of one app at a time.

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TDK's setup procedure makes things easy enough for newbies, but there's no option that allows you to install all of the applications at once.

The Indi DVD 840G's black front panel includes a headphone jack and volume control--features that some competing drives, such as Sony's DRU-530A, lack. The Indi DVD 840G's front panel also has the usual eject button, emergency-eject port, and power/busy light. On the back of the drive, you'll find the standard array of IDE and power connectors, digital and analog audio ports, and drive jumpers, whose functions are explained in a label on top of the drive. The Indi DVD 840G's black tray mechanism is one of the quietest we've tested.

TDK bundles Roxio's CD/DVD Creator Basic 6.1.1.7 with the Indi DVD 840G. The latest version of the venerable software suite is a great improvement over the slow and buggy 6.0 release and includes Roxio's Easy CD Creator Classic mastering application, Drag 'n' Drop packet-writing program, DVDMax DVD movie player, and Photosuite LE image-editing program. All in all, a solid suite of software.

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Roxio's DVD Builder is easy to use and powerful enough for most DVD-authoring tasks.

The Indi DVD 840G turned in solid results in all our official and anecdotal tests. In addition to CNET Lab's test results, displayed in the charts below, we watched the drive write an entire DVD movie disc in just more than 8 minutes, faster than both Sony's DRU-530A and Plextor's PX-708A; it also ripped a full movie in less than 8 minutes. Best of all, like the Plextor, the Indi DVD 840G can write at 8X with 4X-rated media; there's no need to run out and get new, more expensive DVD discs.

A note to speed freaks: to rip at higher speeds, you must disable the Indi DVD 840G's SpeedRead function, which throttles down the drive to 2X when a movie disc is detected. To do this, "--="" rel="nofollow">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=ftp%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Etdk%2Ecom%2Fsoftware%2FDVDRW840G%5F104%2Eexe" target="_blank">upgrade to the latest firmware, and with the media tray empty, press and hold the eject button for approximately 3 seconds.

Movie-write test (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a movie to write-once media  
Plextor PX-708A (8X DVD+R) *
6.22 
TDK Indi DVD 840G (8X DVD+R)
5.90 
Plextor PX-708A (4X DVD-R)
4.08 
TDK Indi DVD 840G (4X DVD-R)
4.02 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+R)
3.96 
Sony DRU-530A (4X DVD-R)
3.48 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD-R)
3.15 
Sony DRU-530A (8X DVD+R)
N/A 
Note: Compression rates vary depending on the drives' bundled software.
* Plextor drive tested with 4X DVD+R media.

Data-write tests (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a 383MB file to rewritable media  
Write a 500MB directory to rewritable media  
TDK Indi DVD 840G (4X DVD+RW)
5.39 
5.02 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+RW)
5.21 
5.25 
Plextor PX-708A (4X DVD+RW)
5.20 
4.17 
Sony DRU-530A (4X DVD+RW)
5.08 
4.19 
TDK Indi DVD 840G (2X DVD-RW)
2.72 
2.55 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD-RW)
2.64 
2.61 
Sony DRU-530A (2X DVD-RW)
2.62 
2.64 
Plextor PX-708A (2X DVD-RW)
2.53 
2.52 

Data-read tests (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy a 383MB file from rewritable media to the hard drive  
Copy a 500MB directory from rewritable media to the hard drive  
TDK Indi DVD 840G (2X DVD-RW)
5.47 
3.16 
Sony DRU-530A (4X DVD+RW)
5.32 
3.78 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+RW)
5.28 
3.80 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD-RW)
5.26 
3.16 
Plextor PX-708A (4X DVD+RW)
4.93 
5.03 
TDK Indi DVD 840G (4X DVD+RW)
4.87 
3.68 
Plextor PX-708A (2X DVD-RW)
3.99 
2.83 
Sony DRU-530A (2X DVD-RW)
2.68 
2.12 

Unless otherwise mentioned, all write tests are run with "--="" rel="nofollow">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Everbatim%2Ecom">Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed. Find out more about how we test optical drives.

TDK backs the Indi DVD 840G with a standard one-year warranty and toll-free phone support from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT, including weekends. Online help at the company's Web site is both comprehensive and easy to navigate and includes e-mail tech support, firmware and software updates, FAQs, manuals, and even the how-to videos that ship on the installation CD.

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Reaching out to TDK's tech support is easy--just fill out the form and click. You'll get an answer within 24 hours.
8.7

TDK Indi DVD 840G

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 9Performance 9Support 8