Panasonic (Matshita) UJ-845

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.

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Mediagate MG-25

The advent of digital content has opened up new markets for devices that play them back. DVD players now support DivX, Microsoft is pushing the Media PC platform, and media extenders and wireless streaming products are appearing rapidly. These are all attempts to bridge the gap between consumer product and PC, and the Mediagate MG-25 is no exception.

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