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In House Review - BenQ DW1620 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

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In House Review - BenQ DW1620 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

Postby Ian on Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:26 am

CDRLabs kicks off the week with a review of BenQ's newest 16x DVD±RW, the DW1620. While affordably priced, this new drive features some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available. Thanks to Philips' new Nexperia chipset, the DW1620 is capable of 16x DVD±R, 4x DVD±RW and 2.4x DVD+R DL writing speeds and can read DVD's at speeds as high as 16x. On top of that, the drive includes features like 40x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds and support for technologies like WOPC II and Seamless Link.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the DW1620 and see how it compares to some of the other double layer DVD writers we've looked at. Does BenQ's new drive have what it takes? You'll have to read the review to find out.

[url=http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=245]Image
BenQ DW1620 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW[/url]

This is also the first of hopefully many reviews from the Digital Dolphin. If you have any comments or questions about the BenQ DW1620 (or you want to tell the Digital Dolphin what a great job he's done), please post them in the forum using the link provided below.
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Postby code65536 on Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:39 am

:D
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Postby VEFF on Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:23 pm

Very nice Ian!

I like the fact that they use Seamless Link for DVD burning now.
I had a Philips CD burner and Seamless Link was great - no need to worry about software buffer underrun support, since it was built into the drive's firmware.

The free 4X upgrade for DL burning makes this another contender!
If Dell doesn't have any good deals on the PX-716A, I may just go with the 1620A for a much LOWER price.

Hopefully they can resolve the following:
"Questionable writing quality with some common DVD±R media"
with future firmware upgrades.
Other than that, the only "issue" would appear to be speed as compared to some competing 16X burners; if it comes down to a choice between quality and speed, however, I will always pick quality, as I think most of us would.


Might I suggest modifying the DL-related pro:
from:
"Writes to DVD+R9 DL media at 2.4x"
to:
"Writes to DVD+R9 DL media at 2.4x (4X with free future fw upgrade)".
since this speed increase is a big plus IMO.
Burners only:
Pioneer DVR-115D
Pioneer DVR-111D
Plextor PX-716A TLA0304
Plextor PX-716A same TLA

LiteOn 52246S 52X CD-RW
LiteOn 52246S (another)
LiteOn 52327S 52X CD-RW
TDK 40X USB 2.0 CD-RW
TEAC CD-W540E 40X CD-RW
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Postby Ian on Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:32 pm

VEFF wrote:Very nice Ian!


Thanks, but I didn't write it.
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Postby Bhairav on Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:48 pm

Nice review,Dolph. Keep it up!
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:48 pm

VEFF wrote:
Hopefully they can resolve the following:
"Questionable writing quality with some common DVD±R media"
with future firmware upgrades.
Other than that, the only "issue" would appear to be speed as compared to some competing 16X burners; if it comes down to a choice between quality and speed, however, I will always pick quality, as I think most of us would.


I have no doubt that BenQ will continue to improve their drive with new and frequent firmwares. I have to admit a little frustration however, as I had to constantly test and re-test media as firmwares started droping in every week or two! The scores on Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD+Rs at 16x were probably one of the biggest changes from the first firmware I received, to the most current one I tested (B7K9).

VEFF wrote:Might I suggest modifying the DL-related pro:
from:
"Writes to DVD+R9 DL media at 2.4x"
to:
"Writes to DVD+R9 DL media at 2.4x (4X with free future fw upgrade)".
since this speed increase is a big plus IMO.


I did include a note about that in the second to last paragraph in the conclusion:

Even more exciting is the fact that BenQ has announced that they will be releasing a new firmware which will increase the drive's maximum writing speed for DVD+R9 media from 2.4x to 4x, at no extra charge! Another promised feature in the upcoming firmware is support for PI/PIF scanning through the popular tool DVDInfoPro, at testing speeds of up to 8x.
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Postby Wesociety on Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:09 pm

=D>
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Postby MediumRare on Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:09 pm

That was one exhaustive review! Well done, DD. (It took a while to load the 6+ MiB on a dial-up line, though :roll:).

I have one suggestion- while looking at the BLER scans, I kept scrolling back to the media tables to check the actual burning speed. Would it be possible to add the max. available speed to the captions under the KProbe scans? Example: Imation 8x DVD+R @ 16x

Looks like this is not the drive to use for writing/testing CD's. Although I'll hang on to my LiteOn LTR 48246S as long as it runs (it started out as "just a cheap drive" and has turned out to be a jewel), a lot of people will ditch their CD-burners when they get a DVD drive. The limited speed (16x for 74 min. discs :o) and missing C2-reporting are big drawbacks in my books. Furthermore, I don't really understand why 48x reading isn't available on a drive that handles DVD's at 16x. Mechanical and optical requirements are less severe for CD's.

From the actual burning times, its seems that the drive doesn't like CMC DVD-R's and, to a lesser extents, DAXON (=Acer Media!!) DVD+R's.

A couple of editorial/typographic problems:
- BIOS is Phoenix, not Pheonix
- There seems to be part of a sentence missing prior to the CD writing speed table:
rated at 48x, and some The results are below.


G
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Postby VEFF on Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:17 pm

Ian wrote:
VEFF wrote:Very nice Ian!


Thanks, but I didn't write it.


:)
Oops I thought I saw something about Dolph after I posted, but I was doing something else at the time and got caught up in work.

Nice review Dolph! :oops:
Burners only:
Pioneer DVR-115D
Pioneer DVR-111D
Plextor PX-716A TLA0304
Plextor PX-716A same TLA

LiteOn 52246S 52X CD-RW
LiteOn 52246S (another)
LiteOn 52327S 52X CD-RW
TDK 40X USB 2.0 CD-RW
TEAC CD-W540E 40X CD-RW
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:43 pm

MediumRare wrote:That was one exhaustive review! Well done, DD. (It took a while to load the 6+ MiB on a dial-up line, though :roll:).

I have one suggestion- while looking at the BLER scans, I kept scrolling back to the media tables to check the actual burning speed. Would it be possible to add the max. available speed to the captions under the KProbe scans? Example: Imation 8x DVD+R @ 16x


I'll keep that in mind for sure next time!! The problem is when I try to burn something at 16x, and it SAYS 16x, but then it slows down to 8x speeds (which was a problem for Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD-Rs before the latest firmwares).

MediumRare wrote:Looks like this is not the drive to use for writing/testing CD's. Although I'll hang on to my LiteOn LTR 48246S as long as it runs (it started out as "just a cheap drive" and has turned out to be a jewel), a lot of people will ditch their CD-burners when they get a DVD drive. The limited speed (16x for 74 min. discs :o) and missing C2-reporting are big drawbacks in my books. Furthermore, I don't really understand why 48x reading isn't available on a drive that handles DVD's at 16x. Mechanical and optical requirements are less severe for CD's.


Yeah, I was a little surprised by some of that myself... especially the 74min CD-R issue. I think the C2 error reporting may be firmware fixable... I've seen DVDInfoPro scans with C2 error reporting I think, but that was of a Beta firmware that I never received. So there is hope for this one :)

MediumRare wrote:From the actual burning times, its seems that the drive doesn't like CMC DVD-R's and, to a lesser extents, DAXON (=Acer Media!!) DVD+R's.


I was also surprised by the difference in burn quality between CMC DVD+Rs and CMC DVD-Rs... although it might just be the obvious lean of this drive towards the DVD+R camp. I'm fairly confident that future firmwares will fix this problem to at least some degree.

MediumRare wrote:A couple of editorial/typographic problems:
- BIOS is Phoenix, not Pheonix
- There seems to be part of a sentence missing prior to the CD writing speed table:
rated at 48x, and some The results are below.


G


Heh, I knew SOMEONE would find something :P But I never would have caught that Phoenix typo if my life depended on it :o I'll see about fixing those mistakes as soon as I can though.

Thanks for your support! As this is my first hardware review, every little comment means a lot! :D
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:50 pm

ok, Typo's *should* be fixed now :wink:
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Postby aviationwiz on Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:06 pm

Nice job Dolph!

Does anyone else think that much media testing is just slightly obssesive? :lol:
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Postby Ian on Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:15 pm

aviationwiz wrote:Does anyone else think that much media testing is just slightly obssesive? :lol:


Not any more obsessive than worshipping Plextor. :wink:
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:22 pm

aviationwiz wrote:Nice job Dolph!

Does anyone else think that much media testing is just slightly obssesive? :lol:


I'm sorry, was that a request for less media testing in the next review? [-X
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Postby pchilson on Mon Oct 18, 2004 9:36 pm

Nice review dolphinius_rex,
I'm glad to see you like the BenQ...
I like all the media tests, gives a more robust feel for what the drive can do.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:41 pm

pchilson wrote:Nice review dolphinius_rex,
I'm glad to see you like the BenQ...
I like all the media tests, gives a more robust feel for what the drive can do.


Although I can only speak for myself, expect it to be a lasting feature :wink: However this level and quantity of testing usually means it'll be longer in the making then other reviews... but I'm confident that the pro's outweigh the con's :D
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Postby raygay27 on Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:47 am

there have been reports on batches of benq drives of diff qualities.
there is an observation that batches before august seem to be unable to reach 16x burning consistently.
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Postby hjs on Tue Oct 19, 2004 8:44 am

dolphinius_rex wrote:I have to admit a little frustration however, as I had to constantly test and re-test media as firmwares started droping in every week or two!


This weekend is again a new firmware expected accourding to the author of dvdinfopro over at the cdfreaks forum :)

http://forum.cdfreaks.com/showthread.ph ... ge=2&pp=29
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Postby Ian on Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:10 am

It would be nice if BenQ sent the firmware out to testers instead of letting NicW leak it to the usual people. Oh well.. :roll:
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:44 am

Ian wrote:It would be nice if BenQ sent the firmware out to testers instead of letting NicW leak it to the usual people. Oh well.. :roll:


Yeah.... but in his defense, he is working directly with them in an effort to get their PI/PIF testing speeds up. Still, I would have liked an advance copy myself :wink:
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Postby Darth on Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:59 am

any differences between 1600@1620 and the real deal 1620?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:38 pm

Darth wrote:any differences between 1600@1620 and the real deal 1620?


Hard to say, I don't have a DW1600.
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Postby koszopal on Wed Oct 20, 2004 6:11 am

@ian
in performance thare are few labels (Verbatim DVD+R DL,DVD+RW) with
"OptoRite DD1205" shoudnt be "BenQ
DW1620" ?
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Postby Ian on Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:18 am

koszopal, that should be fixed now
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Postby Vanderlow on Sun Oct 24, 2004 12:54 pm

CDFreaks.com just reviewed the BenQ DW1620 and gave it an Editor's Choice award.

http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/159/1

NewEgg has them in stock for $67 and $69 (black).

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.a ... 14&order=1
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