bluestreak wrote:so my questions are:
why are the average buffer levels lower on the benq 1640(89%) than the
pioneer 108 (98%)
One reason that the buffer levels may fluctuate more is that the BenQ drive is UltraDMA 2 whereas the Pioneer is UltraDMA 4. I noticed this with my BenQ1640 and my Lite-On SOHW-832S (also UltraDMA 2) compared to my NEC 2500A (UltraDMA 4).
The UltraDMA 2 drives have their buffers fluctuate a lot during the writing process if you do something else during the burn. Both my Lite-On and BenQ drives do it. The NEC drive never did it.
Defragmenting your hard drive should definitely help, as well as making sure you don't have a lot of background programs running, especially those that might be accessing the hard drive (such as virus scanners that scan in the background all the time, or the Office FastIndex - I think that's what it's called - feature).
bluestreak wrote:why did the pioneer burn at 12x compared to the benq's 8x?
(i figure this has something to do with media compatibility)
Probably. The BenQ 1640 firmwares don't really allow for any media to be written at faster than rated speed. The newer firmwares add support for more media, but I would recommend the following:
Install firmware BSLB and run QSuite to set the ability to overspeed. You should be able to write most 8x media at 16x, though your results may vary. I prefer writing 8x media at 12x because its only about 20-30 seconds slower than 16x and the write quality is more consistently good.
bluestreak wrote:and does burning at 12x (6.5min) really cut down the burn times to more
than half compared to 8x?(14min)
When I burn at 8x on the BenQ, it takes about 8.5-9 minutes to write a full disc (4.37 GB). At 12x, it takes about 6.5-7 minutes. (Note that I mostly use DVD+R media. DVD-R media might be slightly different.)