Sony's latest Blu-ray drive pushes the limits of the Blu-ray burning at its physical limits. The new Sony BWU-300S Blu-ray Disc burner offers 8x recording for the latest 6x BD-R media, which means that you will be able to burn 25GB of data in less than 30 minutes. Compared to the previous generation of BD burners, Sony's new drive is significantly faster and as such, it could be more attractive to consumers as Blu-ray tries to establish itself as a successor of the DVD.
Though the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has not yet released the specifications for BD-R recording at 8x, the drive is capable of burning at this speed with specific BD-Rs specified for 6x. However, even 6x BD-Rs (both single layer and dual layer) are currently very hard to find on the market today. TDK/Imation and Panasonic were the first companies to offer such discs, followed by Taiyo Yuden (available soon), Moser Baer India, ritek and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (Verbatim brand, available in the summer).
Besides the limited availability of the 6x BDR discs, their price is also high for the end users. Let's hope that the situation will change in the following months as the media companies ramp up the production.
Let's now have a look at the Sony BWU-300S drive. Basic features include 8x burning for both single layer and dual layer discs (BD-R SL and DL), using the Partial CAV recording mode. BD-RE are burned at 2x for both DL and SL as well as the new BD-R LTH Type discs.
The drive can be also used as a Blu-ray movie playback device, as soon as your PC's specifications meet some requirements and of course you have the right BD playback software.
The drive also maintains compatibility with DVD and CD discs for both read and write.elow you can see the table of the specifications:
- Drive Features & Specification
The drive can be purchased online for approximately $300. The retail package is complete and includes a software package for Blu-ray lay back, as well as connection cables and user guides.
In the box you find the following:
- Screws (x 4)
- Quick Start Guide
- Product Information
- Software Disc (PowerDVD, Power2Go, PowerProducer, PowerDirector, PowerDVD Copy, PowerBackup)
- Serial ATA Cable (500 mm / 19 in)
- Serial ATA Power Adapter (4 pin to 15 pin)
- Warranty Card
- Tray Cover Replacement Guide
- Tray Cover Replacement Kit
The tray cover of the drive should look familiar to the owners of any of Sony's previous Blu-ray writers, the BWU-100A or the BWU-200S:
The rear panel is typical and has a power and SATA interfaces.
Let's take a look at the drive's internal board. It is recommended not to open the case of your drive since that would void the warrantee.
You can click on each picture for a larger view:
The drive is powered by the Panasonic MN103SG0KBA chipset, also met in the Panasonic SW-5584 and LF-PB371JD 8x BD burners, as well as the Panasonic's OEM BUFFALO BR-186FBS-BK model.
The drive was connected to the PC via its SATA interface and was recognized as "Sony BDRW BWU-300S" The current firmware of the drive at the time of the tests being performed, is the "v1.0b".
In the following pages we test the reading and writing performance of the Sony drive, compared with another new 8X BD burner, the Pioneer BDR-203BK.