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AnnandTech Test 8 - 16X DVD Burners

DVD-R/W, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM

Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:28 pm

I_Dzhugashvili:

You ask some good questions, and make some good points. Of course most of the average users on CDFreaks, CDRinfo, and CDRlabs, probably do not own all the burners they talk about.... however, *SOME* of the less average users just might! :wink:

Personally, I would love to tell you *ALL* about my feelings on the NEC 3500AG, which is the OEM version of the NEC 3500A.... but unfortunately, you'll have to wait until I'm done my review of it. I'm sure the same goes for Wesociety of CDFreaks, who is in a similar situation.

So, to answer your question regarding why people know things about DVD Burners, and you can't find a decent review:

Many people are very diligent about watching the forums of CDRinfo, CDRlabs, and CDFreaks. And many MANY people who own these drives post scans of media they have burned in them. So anyone following these threads will have some idea of how the drive performs on that media, as outlined by the tests being run and uploaded by the drive owners. HOWEVER, this also means that people commenting on the scans they've seen posted have no real world experience with how these discs really perform, relative to the scans done. This can be a big problem sometimes. I could upload scans of discs that look like the disc is of top notch quality, but the disc itself is completely unreadable in most drives. For this reason, when I do my reviews, I ALWAYS test the disc in multiple other drives, and give the results. But I degress. Properly done reviews are probably the best way of knowing the drive before you purchase it... Unfortunatly, the best drive reviews always take time. So patience is the best thing I can suggest.

Good luck! And I hope I helped at least a little :)
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Postby I_Dzhugashvili on Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:58 pm

Thank you for the replies, guys!

I don't want to whine, but on the other hand I AM getting very frustrated with my lack of ability to make a decision on which burner to get, and this is a problem that really needs to be resolved fairly soon. And my inability to find "real information" that will let me make an informed and intelligent decision is merely adding to my frustration. I would like to find enough information to be able to make this decision for myself but that seems not to be possible. I can spend money, but I can't waste money; that is to say, I could spend $150 on a drive if that were "THE" drive, but I can not spend $75 on a first drive, in order to find out that it does not answer my purpose and so have to spend another $75 on a second drive! That would be unacceptable!

So, give me YOUR opinions: Which drive do YOU consider to have the ability to buirn with the fewest errors, and - just as important! - on what is this opinion based?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:20 pm

My first choice at this point would be the Pioneer DVR-108. This is based off of tests and reviews I have seen on various webpages, as well as reviews from other locations (like the computer magazine C't).

My second choice at this point would be the BenQ DW1620(pro). This is based off of the review I did on it, as well my continued experience with the drive. To be quite honest, it's the best DVD Burner I've ever used, and I've never been more impressed with firmware support on ANY optical drive unit.
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Postby Ian on Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:38 pm

The 3500A, DVR-108 and DW1620 are all good choices if writing quality is your main concern. Of course, you also need to ask yourself what media you're going to use. Higher quality media usually gives better results where el-cheapo stuff doesn't... even if you have a very good drive.
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Postby FXMan on Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:31 pm

From what I read, the NEC 3500 seems to be the one to go with, but the Pioneer 108 is a very close second. They both suport C2 error checking for audio ripping and can burn at 4x in dual layer. I think the NECs better booktype capabilities out weigh the Pioneer reading DVD-RAM. I'm not going to read any DVD-RAM but I want my discs to work in any set top box.
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Postby Jim on Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:36 pm

FXMan wrote:From what I read, the NEC 3500 seems to be the one to go with, but the Pioneer 108 is a very close second. They both suport C2 error checking for audio ripping and can burn at 4x in dual layer. I think the NECs better booktype capabilities out weigh the Pioneer reading DVD-RAM. I'm not going to read any DVD-RAM but I want my discs to work in any set top box.


The Pioneer 108 now sets the booktype automatically for SL and DL using the Piodata firmware developed by Pioneer. The Pioneer is also a better reader than the NEC if you don't have a DVD-ROM for ripping. The NEC is marginally cheaper though at NewEgg.
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Postby FXMan on Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:57 pm

The one I want(ed) is the Plextor PX-716 since on paper it would seem to kick everybody’s @$$ (8xDVD+RW and 8MB buffer compared to 4x and 2MB buffer for everybody else) ... but the reviews I've been reading on CDFreaks and the fact that you can't get one except at Best Buy (and the availability of them there is dubious) have kind of put me off of getting one. The higher price is not an issue to me. Getting the best and most full featured drive I can get is. Bundled software takes a higher place to me than price … since my copy of Nero is 5.x
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Wed Nov 17, 2004 2:07 am

FXMan wrote:The one I want(ed) is the Plextor PX-716 since on paper it would seem to kick everybody’s @$$ (8xDVD+RW and 8MB buffer compared to 4x and 2MB buffer for everybody else) ... but the reviews I've been reading on CDFreaks and the fact that you can't get one except at Best Buy (and the availability of them there is dubious) have kind of put me off of getting one. The higher price is not an issue to me. Getting the best and most full featured drive I can get is. Bundled software takes a higher place to me than price … since my copy of Nero is 5.x


Umm, you haven't been following the huge discussions of people's disappointment with that drive have you? For starters, most of them were DOA to begin with, and the writing quality and media testing functions left a LOT to be desired!

As for the NEC being a better drive then either the Pioneer DVR-108 or BenQ DW1620, I've never seen anything to make me believe that. Both the Pioneer and BenQ have media testing abilities too (well, the Pioneer WILL have them when NicW releases his new DVDInfoPro version with the added suppport). The NEC can't do this at this time, but may be able to eventually (although contrary to popular belief, it is not certain to happen!).

The BenQ is also the only one of the 3 to offer automatic bitsetting on all three DVD+R media types (DVD+R, DVD+RW, and DVD+R9). Also... the BenQ DW1620 is the ONLY drive that lives up to it's full potential *WITHOUT* the need to hack it and void its' warranty. And say what you will, that's still an important thing! Especially for people who don't feel confident hacking their drives (or voiding their warranty).

Actually, if you want the biggest reason to buy a BenQ, look at all the posts I made about BenQ/Philips drives BEFORE I wrote my review on the DW1620, and then compare my posts afterwards. I did a 180 degree turn, simply because I gave the drive a chance. Although when I first got it, I expected it to be crappy... since then, I have learned I was very wrong!
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Postby FXMan on Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:01 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:Umm, you haven't been following the huge discussions of people's disappointment with that drive have you? ...


I said
FXMan wrote:The one I want(ed) is the Plextor PX-716 ... but the reviews I've been reading on CDFreaks ... have kind of put me off of getting one.


I'm still shopping and am not eliminating anybody at the moment. I'd prefer one that does 4x DL but for me finding a drive that does not choak no matter what job I set it to and one that has the most broad support for various features (ie booktype, C2 correction, mount rainier {good luck finding that} etc ...) is the most important.

And I would very much like to read your review on the BenQ. Could you link me to it?
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Postby Ciryadin on Mon Dec 27, 2004 11:08 am

masotime wrote:Image

How can the NEC 3500 possibly overspeed MCC003 media with official firmware???


What i find funny is, since DDW-163 is rebagged BenQ 1620 how on earth can u get nearly 1,5 points lower in dvd+r speed .. bad test imo :-?
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:29 pm

different firmware ?
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Postby Ciryadin on Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:45 am

Is possible, but shouldnt be the case.
Both drives can fit the same firmware.
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Postby alexnoe on Tue Dec 28, 2004 8:28 am

That website has made very "funny" reviews before ... if you want to see some media tests with some drives, look here.
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Postby Hef on Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:36 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:
FXMan wrote:Actually, if you want the biggest reason to buy a BenQ, look at all the posts I made about BenQ/Philips drives BEFORE I wrote my review on the DW1620, and then compare my posts afterwards. I did a 180 degree turn, simply because I gave the drive a chance. Although when I first got it, I expected it to be crappy... since then, I have learned I was very wrong!


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Postby spryfly on Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:28 pm

Ciryadin wrote:
masotime wrote:Image

How can the NEC 3500 possibly overspeed MCC003 media with official firmware???


What i find funny is, since DDW-163 is rebagged BenQ 1620 how on earth can u get nearly 1,5 points lower in dvd+r speed .. bad test imo :-?


Did not know that....very interesting.
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Postby Ciryadin on Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:20 am

Actually its pretty common known by now :wink:
But were still waiting for Ricoh to fine tune their 16x chipset, so untill
then DDW-163 is still BenQ rebagged version.
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