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Review: Lacie D2 DVD+/-RW External Burner
LightScribe 16x Technology

June, 2005



Lacie D2 DVD+/-RW External Burner
LightScribe 16x Technology



By David A. Saraceno

In a perfect world, a CD/DVD burner would be fast, reliable, Macintosh compatible, inexpensive, and would easily produce graphic/text labels. LaCie's LightScribe version of its D2 DVD+/-RW external firewire burner meets or exceeds most, but not all, of these lofty expectations. Unfortunately, the etching process is lengthy ­ about thirty minutes for complex graphics and text. And the burn speed for DL discs is slower than the non-LightScribe version. DVD-R blanks are promised, but not currently available. Finally, LightScribe DVD blanks are more expensive than ink jet printable blanks. On the plus side, LaCie promises a free firmware update to cut labeling time roughly in half. And discs are bound to drop in price.

HP invented the LightScribe technology that allows a disc, once burned, to be reinserted upside down in the burner and a monochrome graphic image etched onto the disc. LaCie has repackaged its DL 16x burner with this technology, and sells it for roughly $10.00 more than its standard burners. It supplies the necessary drive, a Win/Mac DVD Utilities disc with the labeling software, a full version of Toast, together with the drive, and power supply. The hardware is nicely packaged in an aluminum chassis. The external power supply is housed in a diminutive brick and connected to the drive using a s-video type power plug. The power button is not identified, and little difficult to use at times. Otherwise the drive is typically high quality LaCie.

The LaCie LightScribe Labeler software was recently made compatible with Tiger and is fairly intuitive to use. Text and graphic controls well laid out, simple to use, and are used to easily add a distinctive look to your label. You can adapt the supplied templates to limit the printable areas of a disc to speed the etching process. Or you can import a full-size background graphic element, and add and warp text to your satisfaction. I had a few issues when I imported additional graphic elements, but as I worked with the software, controls became much more clearer to use.

Print quality was very good, although as stated previously, is monochrome and printed slowly for complex graphics. DVD+R LightScribe discs are available at LaCie's web site for about $2.50 each. Verbatim has promised DVD-R blanks for some time now, but I've not seen any available on the web, or at LaCie's web site.

Performance/Capabilities. The mechanism is basically LaCie's D2 burner modified to provide LightScribe capabilities. Here are its specifications from LaCie's:

One thing you should note is that the LightScribe version of the D2 burns dual layer DVD+R discs at 2.4x, while the regular version burns DVD+R DL at 4x. The D2 is a nice implementation of a technology that is bound to improve and mature. And, of course, the D2 works with other media as well.

Copyright ©2005 David A. Saraceno

David Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane, Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines. David also moderates several forums on

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