***Bottom-Line***: The **HP DVD Writer 640i **with LightScribe technology is an outstanding bargain and a must have for any aspirating small business owner who needs to burn CD's for clients. I burn a lot of CD's, both for myself and for clients. Most of the CD's I burn for myself are personal in nature (data, and or music), but those I burn for clients are professional; e.g. patches, software updates, virus signatures, structure backups, and other data. Over the years I tried all matter of labeling systems in a (vain) effort to lend some professionalism to the CD's, I hand out to clients, but products were always too cumbersome, or messy; there is nothing like a sticky label stuck in your inkjet printer to ruin your day! So I switched to a black marker, and while my penmanship is neat, the outcome was not always consistent, nor was it as professional as I'd like. **The LightScribe** **HP DVD Writer 640i** In all respects the** LightScribe** **HP DVD Writer 640i **is a DVD burner with *LightScribe* technology integrated into the drive. The **LS** **HP DVD Writer 640i **is Dual Layer (can store up to 8.5 GB of data or music), fully functional CD-R/RW & DVD+R/+RW drive, however it is also compatible with single-layer DVD's (4.7 GB storage). The **LS** **HP DVD Writer 640i **can burn data at speeds of up to 16x (single layer) and a CD writing speed of up to 40x. At this time it is the only commercially available LightScribe enabled DVD drive offered by HP. **Installation** The **LS** **HP DVD Writer 640i** fits in a standard 5.25 inch external drive bay and connects to the motherboard with a standard 40-pin IDE flat ribbon cable. I just happen to have another DVD-R/RW player, in my computer (Plextor), on the secondary IDE channel set as master, so I set up the **LS** **HP DVD Writer 640i** as a slave drive. Once powered back on, Windows XP detected the drive without much fanfare, and I then proceeded to install the included software: *Cyberlink PowerDVD, ArcSoft ShowBiz, SureThing CD Labeler, and Sonic RecordNow.* I must admit however that the only package I really use is *SureThing* *CD Labeler*, which of course is used to create and customize the labels that are to be burned to the LightScribe discs. Since I already had a DVD player installed, the rest of the software represents functionality I already had up and running on the computer, or software I was not interested in utilizing. **LightScribe Technology** Hewlett Packard's LightScribe technology allows you-the end-user-to burn data to a disc (CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVD-RW), flip the disc over and scribe or etch, or burn, if you will, a label onto the opposite side. With LightScribe there is no longer a need to print a separate label, or use awkward press-on gadgets to label your discs. The LightScribe etching is indelible and the results are professional-grade. Using specially gold-coated discs and a LightScribe drive you can go far beyond just labeling discs, you can create your own custom designs using templates, text, backgrounds, and photos that you can import into the software that ships with the drive (more on that below). The drive then laser etches the design onto the CD. Imported digital photos or backgrounds can also be burned directly onto the LightScribe discs from your favorite graphic-design software. And already etched discs can be labeled with new information by clearing the information from the original design using the LightScribe-enabled software, add the new label information (text, graphics etc.), and burn (etch) the LightScribe label again. And for a more prominent label, you can re-burn the original design to achieve a darker color, but as I stated above the burning process produces indelible results; in other words, labeling information cannot be removed once burned onto the disc. LightScribe currently burns at only 1X speed, although HP is working on a firmware upgrade that will boost the speed to 2x. On average it takes 30 minutes to render a disc label with complex graphics, however, simple titles such as track listings take only about 5 minutes to complete. True color labels are not possible because of the dusty-gold surface of the LightScribe discs, but that's something I can live with given the output. **My Viewpoint ** I love this drive! The burning speeds are more than respectable using *Easy CD Creator Platinum 7.0*, and it didn't even require a program upgrade to use the drive. Equally impressive is burning files through *Windows XP Professional* native burning applet. When I entered the testing program, HP shipped me some twenty LightScribe CD-R discs to label and I have since used them all, etching disc for family, friends, and clients. I have since purchased more discs by Verbatim, and they work just as well. The *SureThing* *CD Labeler* program ships with special LightScribe templates and background included, and I take full advantage of them, though as I stated above labels will not be in color. However they will be dark, sharp, crisp, and permanent. The program allows you to customize the labels will all manner of special symbols that give them a very professional look and feel, which is what I needed most of all. Of course the **LS** **HP DVD Writer 640i** also plays movies, though I rarely if ever use it for that functionality. Overall, the **HP DVD Writer 640i **with LightScribe technology is an outstanding bargain and a must have for any aspirating (or seasoned) small business owner who needs to burn CD's for clients and want to give them that professional touch. Though I got mine for free, I would not have a problem paying the asking price for the drive considering what I get as a return on my investment.