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Good things come in small packages: Waitec Action 8/ LiteOn 851S

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Firmware version: GSX1

Despite the box's home-made look when placed against more professionally styled packets from the Japanese giants, its interior features the latest technology and it comes complete with a competitive package. A new version of Nero 6 offers a whole host of functions for most common applications. A DVD±R and a conventional audio cable are included for this.

That said, the Action 8's uniquely tiny dimensions were a source of surprise. Only a few weeks ago, the MSI DR8-A we tested clearly undercut its rivals from Asus and Gigabyte as well as the models we tested last fall. LiteOn has gone the extra mile and with less than 17 cm depth is following the trend. The Waitec burner comes into its own when space is tight in small desktop cases or in mini PCs, and you won't get your fingers stuck when installing it.

Meanwhile, the specs of Waitec's Action 8 read like those of its competitors. DVD+RWs can write at 4x speed, DVD-RWs at 2x. At 4x DVD write speed, Waitec is up there with the best of them, as it is when writing and reading CDs (40x). CD-RWs can be written at 24x CD speed.

Almost square: Waitec Action 8 (aka LiteOn 851S in North America) compared to MSI's DR8-A.

In contrast to the burners already tested, the LiteOn refused point-blank to write at a higher speed. Instead, this depends on the information it can extract from the DVD medium. As a result, however, a 1x blank takes an absolute age to write.

Even if we advise against overstepping the default burn speeds in all serious areas of use, our experience shows that namebrand media in particular have no problems with this in the short term (weeks). For instance, we were easily able to burn a spindle of 25 Verbatim blanks, officially released for 2x speed, at 4x on a variety of burners. Data security on these hastily burned DVDs is of course impossible to judge by the user - you carry the risks.