dodecahedron: Well, I chose media that had generally good results, I could have choosen some 48x CMC media if you had wanted
And yes, there is about that much deviation between drives, and between media burns. You can see on my review for the Yamaha CD-Rs that the 3 CD-Rs I burned at the certified speed all deviated by about the same amount.
I think just in general that burner quality has increased significantly in the last year or so. If I had pitted a 16x LiteON burner against the 16x plextor, I have NO doubt that the plextor would have won hands down. Plextor and Yamaha were awsome manufacturers because they had the burn quality before anyone else, it's just that most manufacturers have caught up now (with a few still trailing). Yamaha tried to stay on top by branching out to cool features like Disc T@2, but in the end dropped the CD-RW line claiming they didn't believe they could continue increasing speeds on their drives while retaining the quality assisciated with their name. Personally, I think they just realised that they didn't have quite the monopoly on quality anymore, and they wanted to get a headstart on DVD Burners. Plextor also has gone the way of extra gimicks to keep them on top, such as Gigarecord, and Securecord. I'm SURE securecord will be big amongst the busineses! It *IS* a funky feature, and I'm glad Plextor released software to allow other drives to read the securecord burned discs. Gigarecord however is a little less cool, since it is not very compatible, and doesn't work effectively on 90min or 99min CD-Rs (which would have made it BLOODY AWESOME in my opinion). However, Plextor DID finally manage to figure out how to properly handle overburning up to 99min, so you can still make a nice compatible 99min CD-R if you want.
I'm expecting Plextor to bow out of the CD Writer market soon, simply since they have no where left to go. They can't compete price wise with the "regular" burners, and they can't increase their speeds any further really. Let's face it, there isn't even any 32x CD-RWs being made yet, and 24x CD-RWs are still tough to find!
Let's hope both Yamaha and Plextor work hard on ther DVD burners, since so far NEC's ND-1100A is supposedly the highest quality DVD Writer on the market so far! (With the LG GMA 4020B close behind).
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R
The Progression of Computer Media