Notebooks are not usually big on upgrade potential. The parts are difficult to obtain, are generally more expensive, and people are nervous about opening up an expensive piece of equipment.
One of the few upgrades paths is the optical drive. Typically a notebook will have a CD burner, possibly with DVD reading capabilities. The latest notebooks will undoubtedly contain a DVD burner, but the great majority will be lacking this feature. Enter the Panasonic UJ-845!
Marketed as an OEM drive, the UJ-845 is unlikely to be found in retail stores. However it is easily purchased from any number of websites, and for a surprisingly reasonable cost, especially considering that is dual-layer, slot-loading, and supports DVD-RAM. That’s good going even by desktop standards.
For the purposes of this review, an Acer Travelmate 800 was used as the test notebook, replacing its standard QSI CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive.
Description & capabilities
The drive is a standard 12.7mm notebook unit that should fit most notebooks. It is also suitable for appropriate SFF PCs, and could be used in conjunction with the right housing to provide a slim line external DVD burner.
The official capabilities of the drive are:
- 5X Speed DVD-RAM Writing
- 8X Speed DVD-R Writing
- 4X Speed DVD-RW Writing
- 24X Speed CD-R Writing
- 16X Speed CD-RW Writing
- 8X Speed DVD+R Writing
- 4X Speed DVD+RW Writing
- 24X Speed CD-ROM Reading
- 8X Speed DVD-ROM Reading
- Buffer Under Run Protection
- +R Dual Layer Writing
Nero InfoTool gives the following report on the capabilities of the drive:
|Drive:||MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ-845S|
|Buffer Size:||2 MB|
|Read Speed:||6.0 X|
|Write Speed:||4.0 , 2.4 X|
|Read CD Text:||Yes|
|Return C2 Pointers:||Yes|
|Read DVD+R DL:||Yes|
|Read Digital Audio:||Yes|
|Write DVD+R DL:||Yes|
|Buffer Underrun Protection:||Yes|
|Modes:||Packet, TAO, DAO, SAO, RAW SAO|
|Region Protection Control:||RPC II|
Basically, the drive supports almost every format you could possible want! Note the difference in what Panasonic believe is the drive speed, and what Nero reports.