This drive is a good choice if you want a drive to both write ordinary DVDs and archive data to DVD-RAM (plain DVD-RAM discs not in a cartridge). Many old burning apps aren?t yet compatible with this Multiwriter. Firmware A104 as supplied, since updated to A300. Software supplied on CD: B's Recorder Gold v5.32 B's Clip v5.32 Neo DVD v5.0 BHA DVD-RAM driver Cyberlink PowerDVD XP player. The mechanism is smooth loading and quite running just like my other LG drive a DVD-ROM. I?ve had two CDRW drives fail ? both were noisy. The front panel does not have a headphone jack or volume control, so far I've never used these on any other CD drive so absence is no loss. The panel LED is green only, a flash pattern indicates record but as it also can flash while reading so the LED isn't much use except to show that the drive is doing something! I much prefer having a different colour to indicate record. The drive does not have a digital audio output (anyway, my soundcard's single digital CD audio input connector is already in use). Some other new recorders have faster burn speeds than the GSA 4040B with some DVD media, but the media may be the limiting factor for a while. Most DVD discs now on sale don't show a speed so are they just x1 ? Poor bundled recording software. B's Recorder Gold 5 is getting old and lacks features (such as multisession). The BHA DVD-RAM driver is somewhat incompatible being unable to read a UDF1.5 DVD-RAM disc written by InCD or DirectCD. It also has a few other slight bugs including drive size & space figures missing from My Computer. This driver can also format a DVD-RAM disc as FAT32. Some burning applications may remain incompatible until the GSA-4040B has been around a while longer. I flashed the drive bios from A104 as supplied, to A300 but this didn't help compatibility. I found that Ahead Nero Burning ROM v6.0.0
.19 and Pinnacle Instant.CD /DVD v7 worked (when drive type GMA-4020B selected), but not GearPro DVD6.05 or Roxio WinOnCD6-DVD. I use DVD-RAM discs for photo archiving because the DVD-RAM spec includes hardware error detection & correction and so should be more reliable than using DVD+/-RW packet writing software. InstantWrite UDF driver is now included with Pinnacle Instant CD/DVD. It can format to UDF 1.02; 1.5; 2 and 2.01 and is the only software I found permitting use of DVD-RAM Write with Verify. It took 3 times longer to write 100MB of data when verify was enabled. A Pinnacle recorder update file, available Nov 2003, adds registry entries for the GSA 4040B. I've yet to find any performance difference, perhaps Instant.CD/DVD will now select the correct drive itself. I found the UDF software Ahead InCD 18.104.22.168; Roxio DirectCD v22.214.171.124 and older VOB versions of InstantWrite were also compatible with the drive. InCD and DirectCD limit you to using UDF1.5. My software choice so far is Ahead Nero Burning ROM (without InCD) for data & audio burning, Nero's cover designer is clever, and Pinnacle InstantWrite (installed without Instant CD/DVD) giving UDF write with verify. nb UDF 2.0 is recommended for large a/v files and UDF 1.5 for smaller files. I've not got into DVD movie recording .... yet.