Newcomer Artec appears to have gotten things right with their 16X DVD. The drive offers a combination of quick and quiet performance while reading CDs. In addition, DVD-ROM performance trails Pioneer's 16X drives only slightly when reading from data DVDs, and actually outdoes the Pioneers when reading DVD Video discs. Finally, the Artec offers above-average speeds and excellent quality when extracting digital audio.
The negatives are limited to slow read speeds with CD-RW media and jumpy performance when reading data DVDs. While the Artec trails the Pioneer DVD-116 in most performance tests, the differences between the two drives are small. Since there's no street price for this drive yet, it remains to be seen if it will be a better value than the Pioneer.
Overall, our recommendation of this unit hinges on what it sells for on the street. If pricing is comparable to the Pioneer's $75 street price, this drive makes an excellent alternative to the DVD-116 for those looking for quieter operation along with nearly equal performance.