The Lite-On iHAS324 is an internal DVD writer that uses SATA connectivity like a HDD rather than old style PATA ribbon cables for connectivity. The Lite-On iHAS324 features dual layer DVD recording, SmartErase, Smart Burn, vibration reduction tech, and more. It can burn DVD+/-R discs at 24x and CDs at up to 48x.
I installed the Lite-On iHAS324 into my test machine using SATA connectivity on my mainboard. I like the SATA connectivity rather than the older ribbon cable PATA DVD burners. The smaller SATA cables mean that there is less clutter inside your PC chassis and allows better airflow. The only downside when installing this drive in my taller than average Lian Li PC case was that the included SATA cable was a bit too short to reach. The cable should be fine for most cases.
To test the drive out I fired up the burner to write to some media. Nero has a nice little app called DiscSpeed 5 that looks at how fast the burner actually writes data. Lite-On rates the drive for 48x on CD writing and the drive averaged slightly more than 36x according to the app. I saw maximum burn speeds slightly under what the maximum rated speed for most media was, but this is common to most drives and the max speeds offered are not always attainable in the real world.
The good news is that not once did I have any issues with disc errors or buffer under runs during my testing. I will give up a bit of burn speed in exchange for discs that I know will be readable and usable after the burn process is complete. The Lite-On iHAS324 has a feature called SmartErase that is interesting. If you make a disc that has info on it -- like tax returns or medical records -- that you no longer need you don’t want to just toss that sort of info into the trash.
The SmartErase feature overwrites the data on any recordable CD or DVD with a bunch of random bits of data. After the process, the data that was originally on the disc will be unreadable. The disc does have to be rewritable media for the process to work.
Overall, I am very happy with the performance and ease of use that the Lite-On iHAS324 offers. The drive does exactly what it claims to do, and does it well. The supported SmartErase feature is a very nice addition to the feature set. The burner is bundled with Nero 8 Essentials, a SATA cable, and needed screws for install.
The Lite-On iHAS324 DVD burner performed very well, was easy to install, and did exactly what you want an optical drive to do -- burn error free discs.
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