Pioneer is carving a name for itself as a manufacturer of quality, sensibly priced drives. The recording speeds on offer here are an improvement over previous products, making DVR-112 an excellent upgrade choice.

The DVR-112 reads and writes DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, R/RW and CD-R/ RW formats. Buffer under-run protection for CD/DVD ensures that your discs are finished correctly and with Pioneer's Performance Adjusting Firmware, the device will automatically optimise the disc's rotation speed depending on your application. For example, if you're watching a movie or listening to music, the disc velocity is reduced to keep background noise to a minimum.

The writer does well to write once at 18x for DVD media (DVD-R and R), and 10x to write once for Dual Layer/Double Layer (DL) media (DVD-R DL and R DL). We also liked the multi-effect Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator, which further improves recording and playback characteristics. To aid recording, Ultra-DRA (Dynamic Resonance Absorber) technology suppresses vibration caused by imbalanced discs.

The fact that this burner is a writer and DVD-RAM drive makes it a winner. It's a great, all-in-one drive that covers all the bases of an optical drive. DVD-RAM is considered to be a highly reliable format these days because the discs have built-in error control and a defect management system. Drives like this are recommended for traditional tasks such as data storage, backup and archiving.

Avoid colour fading

We reviewed the cream-coloured version of the drive, which tends to look dirty and faded as soon as you use it. Thankfully, it's also available in black, so you should be able to purchase one that suits your system.

Whatever version you choose though, make sure that the 5.25-inch drive is securely fixed in your PC's case. If you allow the drive to vibrate in an improperly secured drive bay then write speeds will be affected slightly. You may have to tweak the drive's physical attachments for best results.