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In House Review - Memorex F16 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

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In House Review - Memorex F16 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

Postby Ian on Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:29 pm

CDRLabs has taken an in depth look at Memorex's new double layer DVD burner, the F16. Based on Lite-On's new 16x DVD±RW, the F16 not only looks good, it features some of the fastest DVD reading and writing speeds available. The F16 is capable of 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R and 4x DVD±RW writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. More importantly, it's the first drive from Memorex to support the DVD+R DL format. The F16 also includes features like 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds and support for buffer underrun protection.

In this review we'll take a look at the features found on the F16 and then see how it compares to some of the other double layer DVD writers we've looked at. Can the F16 deliver the performance and features that we've come to expect from Memorex? You'll have to read the review to find out.

[url=http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=241]Image
Memorex F16 Double Layer 16x DVD±RW[/url]

If you have any comments or questions about this review or the Memorex F16, please post them in the forum using the link provided below.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:55 pm

Nice Ian!
Too bad it is pricier than the NEC ND-3500A and Pioneer DVR-108 16X DL burners.
Plus it can only write to DL media at 2.4X as opposed to 4X for the others.
Not being able to write 8X +R at 16X is also a shame, with the lack of availability of 16X media.
The bezel and blue LEDs are definitely a nice touch!
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Postby Noua on Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:02 pm

Those graphs on the DVD burn test didn't eimpressed me... :o
I was expecting a little more... It's still on the 4gb mark that the 16x is achieved. :(
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Postby Ian on Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:50 pm

Noua wrote:It's still on the 4gb mark that the 16x is achieved. :(


Yeah well.. it is using CAV. I don't think we're going to see too many drives that start writing at 16x before the 4gb mark.

VEFF, the NEC and Pioneer drives are OEM compared to the retail Memorex. If you'd compare the F16 to say the retail A08XL, the Memorex is cheaper. Then again, you can get a retail Lite-On for a lot less...

Personally, until more media is available I can live with 8x DVD-R writing speeds, but having 4x DVD+R DL would be nice.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:31 pm

Got you about the retail price, Ian.
That is true.
I usually buy OEM, when available, since I have all the software and even have extra (round) IDE cables and screws etc., so I forgot that this was retail and compared it to the prices of the OEM drives by mistake.

Yes, the lack of 4X DL would be the biggest weakness for my purposes.
Burners only:
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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 KenW on Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:54 pm

purely by chance I learned something that could make difference, It should be noted that the memorex box says this drive is ata-33 and it has 40 pin cable with it. If you check the liteon webpage on 1633 which memorex is an oem of you find that it too shows it as ata-33. But its not its ata-66 and if you use a 80 pin cable it will go UDMA-4 and not UDMA-2 as would with 40 pin cable, im my case I have an older i845 intel board my burst rate score on nero speed3 went from 22-24mbyte/sec to 32-34mbytes/sec on 80 pin cable at UDMA-4. Will this help your burns maybe maybe not, but its always nice to have little extra bandwidth on the bus, so your not right on knife edge of 16x speed.
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Postby MediumRare on Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:44 pm

Nice review, Ian. I read it with great interest to see what sort of potential exists in drives based on the LiteOn 3S series.
Ian in review wrote:The F16 ran into some problems with the the BWSA and BWSB firmware. While I was able to simulate a burn at 48x, the drive would not write to any of our test media at this speed, even with its write control technology disabled.

I found similar behaviour with my LiteOn SOHW 1213S, now flashed to 1633S (fw BS0C). It simulates CD burns @48x but actually writes only @32x PCAV. :o

I'm surprised that Memorex capped the reading speed for DVD+- media to 8x. It should be able to a lot better than that: the 12x LiteOn-based drives (like the the TDK 1280B) read 12x out of the box! And there are tweaks for reading +DL9 and +RW's at that speed as well.

The KProbe scan of the Memorex 8x DVD+R (CMC MAG E01) is awesome! I'll have to see if I can get some here (and overcome my CDR-based antipathy to CMC). But a lot of "bread and butter" media, esp. RICOHJPN R02 were diasppointing.

I'm looking forward to your LiteOn 1633S review!

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Postby rdgrimes on Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:56 pm

Another nice review, Ian.
Just curious, I know you have played with various FW versions. Did you flash this drive and burn with any other FW versions than the Memorex version?

Also, if so, what's your impression of the performance of the Memorex FW VS LiteOn versions?

One reason I ask is that we are seeing some rather interesting "learning" behaviour with these drives, and it appears that flashing different FW might affect the learned memory and calibration in the drive's EEPROM. If you did do any flashing, did you happen to save the original EEPROM? If so, try flashing back to that and see if burn quality changes.
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Postby Ian on Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:36 pm

rdgrimes wrote:Another nice review, Ian.
Just curious, I know you have played with various FW versions. Did you flash this drive and burn with any other FW versions than the Memorex version?


No, not really. However I did flash a 1633S with the Memorex firmware when diagnosing some of the CD-R burning problems.

Also, if so, what's your impression of the performance of the Memorex FW VS LiteOn versions?


Lemme put it this way, I've been less than impressed with Lite-On's firmware. If you compare Memorex's BWSB to Lite-On's BSOC, the Memorex firmware is better. It supports more media and the writing quality is better.

Memorex really pestered Lite-On to fix stuff and they're still on their case to improve it even more. For whatever reason, Lite-On doesn't seem to be applying this to their own firmware. It's really too bad.

One reason I ask is that we are seeing some rather interesting "learning" behaviour with these drives, and it appears that flashing different FW might affect the learned memory and calibration in the drive's EEPROM.


Interesting.. I was actually talking to Memorex about something like this last week. Unfortunately, I didn't save the EEPROM. It would be interesting to compare them and see though.
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Postby code65536 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:07 pm

Ian wrote:Lemme put it this way, I've been less than impressed with Lite-On's firmware. If you compare Memorex's BWSB to Lite-On's BSOC, the Memorex firmware is better. It supports more media and the writing quality is better.

Memorex really pestered Lite-On to fix stuff and they're still on their case to improve it even more. For whatever reason, Lite-On doesn't seem to be applying this to their own firmware. It's really too bad.


Interesting. I'll have to test BWSB one of these days to see. Too bad it doesn't support bitsetting. Hmm. BWSB supports the same number of media as BS0C. But BWSB's speeds are not as conservative; there are some media that appear as 8x in BWSB that appear as only 4x in BS0C.
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Postby rdgrimes on Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:06 pm

code65536 wrote:Interesting. I'll have to test BWSB one of these days to see. Too bad it doesn't support bitsetting. Hmm. BWSB supports the same number of media as BS0C. But BWSB's speeds are not as conservative; there are some media that appear as 8x in BWSB that appear as only 4x in BS0C.


I've compared them a bit, and found that the Memorex FW was only better on some media. It's certainly no better at 12x and 16x, in terms of getting a readable disc out of it.
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Postby Ian on Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:48 am

rdgrimes wrote:I've compared them a bit, and found that the Memorex FW was only better on some media. It's certainly no better at 12x and 16x, in terms of getting a readable disc out of it.


Yeah, good point.

One other thing to note, the Memorex firmware works with Ritek DL media, the Lite-On doesn't.. at least with Nero. It keeps failing on me.
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Postby code65536 on Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:15 am

In your review, you indicated that you have BWSE. Have you had a chance to try it out aside from the bitsetting? I just got it last night, and all I've done so far with it is test out bitsetting. Haven't had the time to try any burns yet.
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Postby Ian on Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:12 pm

Other than some CD-R burns, no. I haven't had time.
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Postby KenW on Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:57 pm

memorex has posted the new fw BWSE on the official download page now

http://downloads2.memorex.com/products/ ... e/BWSE.EXE
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Postby Ian on Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:15 am

Thanks KenW! I was waiting for them to do that.
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Postby KenW on Tue Sep 28, 2004 2:37 am

Ian:

I have to say of all the fw, sony 710a, mem f16, and 1633

This fw BWSE has shown the best burns I have had yet, I actually have the memorex model with blue led, and I got to say that blue LED is very bright.

I have not hacked the fw in any way and I have only burned 4x and 8x media. But compared to my 812 and my 812@832 this drive is a wonder.
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Postby alexnoe on Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:44 am

Normally, when testing with KProbe I use a Lite-On LDW-811S. Unfortunately, this drive is not able to recognize Memorex's Ritek manufactured DVD+R DL media. To get around this problem, I tested the writing quality using Lite-On's new 16x DVD±RW, the SOHW-1633S.

As you can see, the writing quality was very good with Memorex's DVD+R DL media. From start to finish, the PI and PIF errors stayed within acceptable limits, even during the layer change. On top of that, we didn't see any slow downs when reading the disc back with CD Speed.
In other words: The drive did the best it could when writing to these really, really bad discs.

BTW, you should use a Plextor 712 to test read speed. It can read verbatim dvd+r dl media at 12x...
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Postby Wesociety on Sat Oct 02, 2004 1:46 am

alexnoe wrote:In other words: The drive did the best it could when writing to these really, really bad discs.

You really despise Ritek DVD+R DL don't you? :P

alexnoe wrote:BTW, you should use a Plextor 712 to test read speed. It can read verbatim dvd+r dl media at 12x...

Or the Aopen 1648 DVD-ROM, which can read Verbatim DVD+R DL at ~ 15X Max.
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Postby Ian on Sat Oct 02, 2004 9:27 am

alexnoe wrote:BTW, you should use a Plextor 712 to test read speed. It can read verbatim dvd+r dl media at 12x...


Sure. If you buy us one. :wink: Unlike Plextor Europe, Plextor America doesn't let us keep their drives.
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Postby alexnoe on Sat Oct 02, 2004 9:33 am

Hihihi
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Postby Ian on Sat Oct 02, 2004 9:58 am

It's kinda odd. There are only like 2-3 drive manufacturers that don't let us keep their stuff... which in the case of Plextor is kinda dumb. I for one would use their drives all the time, but I'm not willing to shell out the money for one when I have stacks of freebies here.
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Postby alexnoe on Sat Oct 02, 2004 10:17 am

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Mh... expensive plextor drive on crappily expensive plextor taiyo yuden dvd+r...
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