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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Thursday, December 08, 2005

1. Introduction

The Lightscribe strikes back, with the release of the HP 840i Super Multi DVD Writer. The 840i (or 840b as it was recognized by our computers, probably a region identifier), is not only a Lightscribe enabled drive, but also a DVD-RAM reader and writer among other things. It is capable of all high speed writing such as 16X DVD±R and 8X/6X for DVD+RW and -RW media respectively. Last but not least, the drive offers 8X burning speed for DVD+R DL and 4X for DVD-R DL media.

Throughout these pages, we will see how this drive performs with all media formats, including DVD-RAM and Lightscribe media, the capabilities of which we will inspect thoroughly further on.

- Specifications

Model HP840i
Write Speed DVD+R 16X (CAV)
CD-R 48X (CAV)
Read Speed DVD-ROM 16X (CAV)
Sustained Transfer 1x CD = 150KB/s (data mode 1); 1x DVD = 1350 KB/s
Burst Transfer rate 33 MB/s max
Access time DVD-ROM (SL) 140ms
DVD-ROM (DL) 175ms
DVD-RAM 250ms
CD-ROM 160ms (typical)
Disc finalization time DVD<2 minutes at 4X (DVD+R SL)
CD<1 minute typical
Mean time between failures (MTBF) 100.000 POH at 20% duty cycle in room temp
Operating temperature 5° to 45° C (41° to 113° F)
Storage temperature -30° to 60° C (-22° to 140° F)
Operating humidity 10%~80% RH (Non-condensing)
Storage humidity 10%~90% RH (Non-condensing)
Power requirement +5V±5%; +12V±10%
Device write media compatibility CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, LightScribe CD-R, Lightscribe DVD+R, 4.7GB single-sided/ 9.4 GB double sided DVD-RAM (2.6 GB single-sided/5.2 GB double sided media not supported)
Device read media compatibility DVD-ROM, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD-Video, 4.7GB single sided/9.4 GB double-sided media not supported), CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA, CD Extra, CD-ROM (Mode 1 -Yellow Book), CD-ROM/XA & CD-I Ready (Mode 2/Form 2 -Green Book), Photo-CD (single and multi-session), VCD, CD-Text
Warranty 1 year limited hardware and software warranty from date of purchase

Below is the time needed for the drive to complete a SL disc with full label, divided into three quality types.

Unfortunately, being a Panasonic chipset based drive, it does not support region setting...

Below are the main specs for the drive as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- Nero InfoTool

- DVD InfoPro

- The Drive

The drive comes in a HP retail package with all the necessary tools and software to get the end user started.

The package contains the Internal HP840i DVD±R/RW drive, one software CD including the user's guide, Quick start placemat, Getting help guide, mounting screws, software including Nero OEM suite (for DVD Authoring, writing, editing and backup), SureThing (for LightScribe labeling) and CyberLink PowerDVD (for DVD playback). There is an optional, additional feature, a LightScribe enabled media which can be purchased separately as the manufacturer states.

- Front panel view

- Rear panel view

- Label

Notice here the Model description. The drive is actually an LG OEM drive, the GSA-4166B more specifically. Hence the Panasonic chipset.

One more time, we will be taking a quick look under the hood, to investigate the drive's chipset and drive mechanism. Opening the case renders the guarantee void (1 year guarantee provided by HP) so we strongly advise against it. Clicking on the image below will open a larger image.

From the manufacturing label, we see that the drive is regulatory model GSA-4166B, an LG OEM drive, and uses the Panasonic chipset found in all LG drives.

- Installation

The drive came to our labs with the latest firmware installed, version FF66, as seen in the screenshot below, taken from the Nero Properties page. The drive was identified as HP DVD Writer 840b under Windows XP.

For this review, we will be posting the results of the HP840b along with the results of the LiteOn 1635s and the Plextor 740A, both latest technology drives. So let's move on to the next page where we investigate the HP drive's reading capabilities.

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