For the next review in our PC Build series, we have the LiteOn Blu-Ray/DVD reader and writer, which is an internal PC drive. This Blu-Ray drive is one of the cheapest internal Blu-Ray readers on the market, especially considering its very impressive specifications. We, today, are talking the drive under our test bench and giving our analysis. Read on for more…

To begin, I’d like to say a few words about LiteOn. LiteOn (who are associated with Plextor, who also make optical drives and SSDs) have been on the Blu-Ray and DVD Drive scene for quite some time, and have very reliable products. The brand may not (yet) be a household name, but their brand oozes quality, reliability and fantastic value. Their iHBS312-31 is an new model of their previous iHBS212-32, but little has changed.

So, in terms of speed performance, the iHBS312-31 can write BD-R (25GB) discs at an impressive 12x speed (which isn’t actually easily available via consumer media yet), while BD-R dual layer (50GB) discs can be written to at a rate of 8x, which is also very impressive as, again, the media is not easily available on the market to support such speeds yet (4x and 6x discs can be found). In terms of re-writable discs, the drive supports 2x speed for both single and dual layer BD-REs. If you are concerned with read speeds, the drive can manage 8x on all formats other than BD-RE dual layer (50GB), which can be read at 6x.

The drive is, of course, backwards compatible with DVD and CD formats. For those of you who will also be interested in reading and writing DVDs, the drive can write to DVD+R and DVD-R at 16x speed, to DVD+R9 and DVD-R9 at 8x, to DVD-RAM at 12x, to DVD+RW at 8x and finally, DVD-RW at 6x. The drive is also capable of reading all DVD formats at a standard rate of 16x. For anyone who still makes use of CDs, the drive has the capability of reading and writing from any types at 48x speed.

Now that we have the speed specifications out of the way, time to talk about the design. This drive is designed at standard, a black front with the drive tray, eject button and indicator light, with the back of the drive containing the usual SATA data and SATA power connections. The iHBS312-31 is quite light, weighing less than 0.65KG and measuring up to fit in a standard 5.25″ bay at dimensions of 146mm x 41.3mm x 170mm. The drive has a buffer size of 8MB and supports both Windows and Linux officially.

Now it’s time for some BENCHMARKS:

Blu-Ray Real Usage Tests
These tests were conducted using Nero DiscSpeed to burn data to blank discs of varying specification from randomly selected brands. We used discs from two different brands in each test, and we got the average of the results from both of these discs.

22GB Write to BD-R Disc at 6x speed – 13 minutes, 10 seconds
22GB Write to BD-RE Disc at 2x speed – 44 minutes, 06 seconds
45GB Write to BD-R Dual Layer at 6x speed – 31 minutes, 02 seconds
45GB Write to BD-RE Dual Layer at 2x speed – 90 minutes, 48 seconds

As you can see, the iHBS312-31 completes its writing tasks in very impressive times, some of the best among consumer drives on the market today. We could only manage to locate BD-R discs of up to 6x speed, and BD-RE discs of up to 2x speed.

DVD Real Usage Tests
These tests were also carried out using Nero DiscSpeed to burn data to blank DVD discs of varying specification. Most DVD discs, at this point in time, are extremely similar, so, we only carried out tests on discs by one single brand, however, we did each test either two or three times (varying by test) and got the average result.

DVD-R/DVD+R Write – 12.23x speed (rated 16x)
DVD+RW Write – 7.57x (rated 8x)
DVD-RW Write – 5.71x (rated 6x)
DVD Read Average – 12.89x (rated 16x)

The DVD speed performance for the iHBS312-31 rates higher than many drives in this product’s price range, even if only by a fairly small margin. It is clear however that LiteOn has pushed the absolute maximum performance out of this drive, and that both the BD and DVD speeds are fantastic across ALL tests.

VERDICT
Available at present for £77.80 on Amazon UK and $74.99 on Newegg (US), the drive is excellent value – being a very close price to other drives on the market. Very few other drives support the speed ratings above, which allow this drive to be completely future proof. The high quality expectation, excellent performance and reasonable price lead me to give this product a GOLD AWARD.