QPS Que DVD burner (DVD-R/DVD-RAM review:

QPS Que DVD burner (DVD-R/DVD-RAM

  • 1
MSRP: $399.99
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Records on both DVD-Rs and DVD-RAMs; great DVD-playback software.

The Bad DVD-authoring software is clunky; slow DVD-R write speeds.

The Bottom Line By supporting two of the competing DVD-recording standards, the QPS Que DVD burner reduces the risk to early adopters. But like any emerging technology, the experience is far from polished.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

DVD recording has arrived but with competing (and incompatible) formats. DVD-RAM was the first out of the gate, but now two more formats--DVD+RW and DVD-R--are both up and running. No one knows who will win this race to become the standard, but investing in a hybrid drive such as the $549 QPS Que DVD burner, which works with both DVD-RAM and DVD-R media, is one way to hedge your bet. There are still bumps in the road for these emerging technologies, but the dual-mode QPS drive provides some insurance against obsolescence. DVD recording has arrived but with competing (and incompatible) formats. DVD-RAM was the first out of the gate, but now two more formats--DVD+RW and DVD-R--are both up and running. No one knows who will win this race to become the standard, but investing in a hybrid drive such as the $549 QPS Que DVD burner, which works with both DVD-RAM and DVD-R media, is one way to hedge your bet. There are still bumps in the road for these emerging technologies, but the dual-mode QPS drive provides some insurance against obsolescence.

Getting up and running
Installing the QPS Que DVD burner was uneventful. We slid the drive into a free 5.25-inch drive bay and bolted it down. After we attached all the power and data cables, we were ready to fire up our test system. No driver installation is required for the drive to be recognized. QPS provides a small printed installation guide, and the same document is on the software CD in PDF format. But even this shouldn't be necessary for those who've installed their own hardware before.

CNET Labs' tests showed that speed is not one of the QPS DVD Burner's virtues. Competing against Hewlett-Packard's DVD-Writer DVD100i (a DVD+RW drive) and the Toshiba SD-W2002 (a DVD-RAM drive), the QPS DVD burner brought up the rear on both the read and write tests. It came in second place on the DVD movie test, but only because the Toshiba DVD-RAM is unable to burn DVD-Rs. Don't write off the Que DVD burner just because it's a little slow, however. With current DVD burners rated at 1X to 2.4X, writing a full 4.7GB disc takes anywhere from a half hour to well over an hour. And converting your video files to a compatible format can add even more time. This isn't the same as modern, high-speed CD burning, in which you have your disc in a few minutes.

A trick up its sleeve
Although the QPS Que DVD burner ran significantly slower than the HP DVD100i, it does have one advantage over the faster drive. The DVD-R media that the QPS uses is recognized in many more DVD-ROM drives than the HP's DVD+RW media. While it's by no means certain that an older drive or player will recognize your DVD-R, the odds are better with DVD-R than with DVD+RW. It all boils down to this: If you're more concerned with speed than compatibility, go for the HP DVD+RW drive; if you'd choose greater compatibility over speed, the QPS hybrid is your drive.

Bundled bounty
Even the software bundle provided with the QPS Que DVD burner reflects the adolescent nature of the industry. Unlike the CD-burning category, in which mature applications such as Ahead Nero and Roxio Easy CD Creator rule, consumer-grade DVD-mastering software is still somewhat unpolished, with odd bugs and glaring holes in features and ease of use.

But the MedioStream's NeoDVD mastering software included with the Que DVD Burner is much better than the Sonic MyDVD option provided with other drives. You have less control over the fine details of your final disc, but the interface is cleaner and more intuitive, and the results are much more predictable. The software lets you trim the start and finish points of clips and automatically converts AVI, QuickTime, DV, and MPEG-2 files to a DVD-friendly format. File conversion is done in real time, though, so 2 hours of clips in various formats can take 2 hours to convert. And like MyDVD, NeoDVD can be slow to respond to the simplest tasks, such as importing a clip or clicking a button, and both programs spew cryptic Unknown Error Has Occurred messages when problems take place during burns.

Also in the bundle is CyberLink's superior PowerDVD 3.0 software for playing DVDs and other video clips on your PC. Rounding out the software offering is VOB's Instant CD/DVD 6.0, which may be the strongest part of the bundle. While this program is capable of creating disc-to-disc copies, video discs, and even music files, the backbone of Instant CD/DVD is a disc-burning interface similar to the venerable Easy CD Creator's, with simple drag-and-drop windows for selecting files to burn. A step-by-step wizard is available for neophytes. Also onboard with Instant CD/DVD is support for DVD-RW packet writing (for copying and deleting files from the disc) and a backup utility that's rudimentary but still a pleasant surprise.

The Que DVD burner comes with a standard one-year warranty. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, but it's a toll call. You can save by seeking support via e-mail. The support section on the QPS Web site is well stocked with downloads to help you with your drive. Aside from software manuals and a DVD-creation tutorial in PDF format, QPS has posted an update for Windows Me users, as well as a firmware update for the DVD burner itself.

Still a contender
While it's too early to call the race for DVD-recording standards, QPS's Que DVD burner is at least a viable contender. While its speed could use improvement, its performance is acceptable, and it has a useful--if slightly rough--software bundle.

Data write tests
Time, in minutes, to perform tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Write a 383MB file to DVD-RAM or DVD+RW media   
Write 500MB directory to DVD-RAM or DVD+RW media   
HP DVD-Writer DVD100i (DVD+RW drive)
2.6 
4.5 
Toshiba SD-W2002 (DVD-RAM drive)
5.3 
7.5 
QPS Que DVD burner (DVD-RAM/R drive)
5.8 
7.8 
 
Movie write tests
Movie files vary in size due to different compression rates, so write speed is measured in MB per second (longer bars indicate better performance)

HP DVD-Writer DVD100i (DVD+RW drive)
2.2 
Toshiba SD-W2002 (DVD-RAM drive)
0 
QPS Que DVD burner (DVD-RAM/R drive)
1.3 
 
Read tests
Time, in minutes, to perform tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Copy the 383MB file from DVD-RAM or DVD+RW to hard drive   
Copy 500MB directory from DVD-RAM or DVD+RW to hard drive   
HP DVD-Writer DVD100i (DVD+RW drive)
2.1 
3.3 
Toshiba SD-W2002 (DVD-RAM drive)
2.2 
3.4 
QPS Que DVD burner (DVD-RAM/R drive)
2.4 
4.1 
 
The QPS couldn't keep up with the faster Toshiba and HP drives. However, the QPS's speeds were acceptable, and unlike the Toshiba, it can burn DVD movies.

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