Essentially a dressed-up LiteOn IT SOHW-1633S, the recorder both delights and disappoints. Most impressively, it writes DVD+R discs at 16X maximum speed. The D2's full 6.7X to 16X CAV potential (12.01X average) is aptly demonstrated by Nero CD Speed, taking a mere 5:47 to write a complete 4.7GB disc. Equally welcome is 48X (CAV) CD recording (for only 2:38 per CD-R) and fast reading of prerecorded DVDs at 16X (CAV), DVD±R/RW at 8X (CAV), and prerecorded CDs and CD-Rs at 48X (CAV). More conventional is DVD±RW writing at 4X (CLV) and CD-RW at 24X (ZCLV). Backing up these talents is the ubiquitous, yet capable, Nero suite from Ahead that includes Express 6, Vision Express 2, InCD 4, Backup, ShowTime, Recode 2, Toolkit, Cover Designer, and PhotoShow Deluxe.
Regrettably, these attractions aside, the D2 already may be behind the curve given its unfortunate market timing, falling as it does at the end of the writing-speed cycle for a couple of its supported formats. For example, some competitors already employ 16X DVD-R while the D2 offers relatively slow 8X (ZCLV) operation (for 9:28 to write a full disc). In all fairness, a minute or two might be considered quibbling, so more significant is the D2's 2.4X double-layer (DL) writing speed which already lags behind 4X-capable units now hitting the streets. Here, the difference is meaningful, with 2.4X taking 43:42—roughly 18 minutes more than 4X—to write an 8.5GB disc. Additionally, the recorder won't write 8X media at 12X or 16X speeds. Thus, it will be stuck in low gear for quite a while since true 16X blanks (such as the Verbatim and CMC employed in this evaluation) are hard to come by.
Generally speaking, while the allure of 16X writing may seem powerful, it really doesn't deliver significant time savings for most applications. By itself, it may not be sufficient to entice many potential buyers to upgrade from existing 8X or 12X units. Those needing a recorder immediately shouldn't go wrong with Memorex's D2, but might want to look at the bigger picture of the reading and writing speeds for all formats and investigate the alternatives.
Beyond speed concerns, the test unit proved unable to write DVD "plus" discs with the prerecorded ROM code (industry experience confirms this is especially important for improving the playback compatibility of written DVD+R DLs). Memorex indicates that while this recorder is capable of making the switch, the software upgrade necessary to do so isn't yet available.
System requirements: 800MHz Pentium 3 (1.8GHz Pentium 4 or higher recommended) running Windows 98SE/Me/XP/2000; 128MB RAM (512MB recommended); DirectX 8-compatible video and sound card; 600MB free HDD space for software installation; 10GB free HDD space for dual-layer DVD creation.