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In House Review - Sony DRU-710A Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

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

In House Review - Sony DRU-710A Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

Postby Ian on Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:04 pm

CDRLabs kicks off the week and the new year with a review of Sony's latest double layer DVD burner, the DRU-710A. Along with support for the DVD+R DL format, the DRU-710A sports some pretty impressive specs, including 16x DVD+R and 4x DVD±RW writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. With the latest firmware, it can also write to DVD-R media at 12x and DVD+R DL discs at 4x. On top of that, it includes features like 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds and support for Sony's Power-Burn technology.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the DRU-710A and see how it compares to some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Can the DRU-710A deliver the performance and features that we've come to expect from Sony? You'll have to read the review to find out.

[url=http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=252]Image
Sony DRU-710A Double Layer 16x DVD±RW[/url]

As usual, if you have any comments or questions about this review or the Sony DRU-710A, please post them in the forum using the link provided below.
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Postby spryfly on Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:45 pm

Hey....how can you give this drive a 8/10??!!! This drive has some of the worst quality and transfer scans that I have seen on a new drive. Yet it got the same overall score as the nec 3500 and the Pioneer DVR-A08XL. I know that the overall score emcompases more that that quality scans but seriously.........

First pc world gives this drive top honors and now you guys give it the nod. I'm starting to thing that their is some grand conspiricy......

Whats up?
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Postby Ian on Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:56 pm

No, it's not a conspiracy. The drive is strong when it comes to features and consumer friendlyness.. but writing quality is where it falters. That's why it got a 7/10 for performance. When you average it all out, it gets an 8. That's why I say you should always read the entire review.. not just base your decision on a number.
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Postby spryfly on Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:09 pm

I know what you mean. I just just think that burn quality should count for more. What good are features is you can't burn decent disks? I was was just shocked to see the those quality scans. I feel for anyone who buys that pos.....lol
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Postby code65536 on Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:22 pm

For most of the world who are unable to even tell the difference between a 8x and 16x burn, burn quality is probably not the most important thing on their list. The priorities for people vary, and if your priority is write quality, then you can ignore all the other sections and make your decsion on just the performance score... at least that's what I do...
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Postby spryfly on Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:40 pm

But that's the problem. That seems to be the response everyone has. Those who know have the the responsibilty to educate those who don't. I beleive that the community does a disservice to the greater public by not stressing the importance of write quality. I know I am beating a dead horse, but I think it is time to step up. Imho, no drive should get the nod unless it writes at least ok to quality media. I turd by any other name is a turd just the same..... :D
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Postby Ian on Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:46 pm

As far as "getting a nod".. it didn't.. at least from me. I'm very picky about what drives get awards.. especially the "Editor's Choice".

You are right though about writing quality. Very few reviewers are aware of its importance.. and even less bother to test for it.

PC World's rankings rarely make sense to me. It usually seems to coincide with who has the best software bundle and/or running ads in their print mag that month. :wink:
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Postby spryfly on Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:03 pm

an overall score that compares with some of the best drives on the market seems like a nod to me......but on that we can agree to disagree :D

as to pc world, so their is a conspricy after all......lol. my subscription just ran out and i am not renewing it it because any mag that would give this drive top honors is either not indepentent or compentent enough to be considered a reliable source. if i didn't spend so much time reading this and other forums I never would have known. so thanks to cdrlabs and others for educating me and making me a more informed consumer/enthusiest. keep fighting the good fight!!!
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:50 pm

Hrm, I didn't hear too many complaints over my review of the LaCie 16x d2 DVD±RW drive, it received two 10's for features and installation, and a 6 when it came to writing quality, since the drive was so incompatible with so many discs (especially when it came to supporting proper writing speeds!!). The overall score works out to 8/10, but I think it's pretty clear from the conclusion that it is not a drive to choose for high quality burns. However I mention several times over the course of the review that drive is being marketed towards a certain demographic (business and home business users) who are more concerned with features and ease of use, which the drive excels at beyond comparison.

Basically, the number system being used has its' flaws, and we as reviewers here at CDRLabs are aware of this. It isn't going to be like this forever, but this is the system we have right now. Perhaps in time a system will be brought out where you will be able to look at the final score, and be able to base a purchasing decision off of it... but personally, I think that would be a step in the wrong direction.

just my 2 cents.
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Postby code65536 on Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:13 am

spryfly wrote:I beleive that the community does a disservice to the greater public by not stressing the importance of write quality.


That write quality is paramount is nevertheless still your opinion. It's one that I share, true, but that doesn't mean that you should try to impose that opinion onto other people. Unlike other reviews, this review actually has write quality tests. The tests are not obfuscated or hidden or inaccessible. And the tests even get a score of their own. It's out there. And people can look at it and make decisions for themselves. What more do you want? Anything more would be shoving that opinion of the write quality being all that matters upon people.

If Joe Sixpack has a 100-pack of 4x media that he doesn't see himself using up within the next few years and is horribly afraid of opening up computers, much less installing new hardware/software, I doubt that he's going to give too much of a hoot about write quality tests on this and that media and care more about things like the installation and having a good warranty or tech support.
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Postby spryfly on Tue Jan 04, 2005 8:56 am

code65536 wrote:
spryfly wrote:I beleive that the community does a disservice to the greater public by not stressing the importance of write quality.


That write quality is paramount is nevertheless still your opinion. It's one that I share, true, but that doesn't mean that you should try to impose that opinion onto other people. Unlike other reviews, this review actually has write quality tests. The tests are not obfuscated or hidden or inaccessible. And the tests even get a score of their own. It's out there. And people can look at it and make decisions for themselves. What more do you want? Anything more would be shoving that opinion of the write quality being all that matters upon people.

If Joe Sixpack has a 100-pack of 4x media that he doesn't see himself using up within the next few years and is horribly afraid of opening up computers, much less installing new hardware/software, I doubt that he's going to give too much of a hoot about write quality tests on this and that media and care more about things like the installation and having a good warranty or tech support.


Granted it is an opinion, but i disagree that joe six pack dosn't care....he just dosn't know. Why would anyone want to spend good money on a drive that makes poor disks that won't play properly? consider the following thought experiment..... (not specifically refering to any drive in particular)

John Smith is given the the choice between two drives. One drive is truly a beauty to behold. It has all the latest features, makes no noise and comes with a 10 year warrentee. The other drive is as plain as plain can be, has slightly outdated features, and makes alot of noise. Then you tell him that the first drive will only produce playable discs 20% of the time, while the other drive will create playable disks 95% of the time.

Would you agree that Mr. Smith would choose the plain drive? This is why write quality and education are so important. Granted that this is an extream example, but it properly phrases the issue. Its like buying a car that only starts some of the time.

So once again, while this is just my opinion, to say that the average Joe dosen't or wouldn't care about write quality seems a bit silly to me.

Furthermore, I never stated or implyed that write quality is all that matters, but it is by definition one of the most important, as we are talking about dvd writers. I might very well purchase a burner that only had average write quality if it had features that I needed and could not get anywhere else.

It is not "shoving" to stress the importance of write quality it is just due dilligence.

What more do I want? If I had it my druthers, those who reviewed drives would specifically recommend against purchasing drives with atrocious write quality.

Finally...lol....I am in no way disparaging or attempting to take anything away from those who give up so much of their personel time to bring us thesse reviews. The reviews are greatly appricated and are an invaluble source of information.
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Postby kirpen on Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:34 am

IMO the only write quality test that maters to most average people like myself is if the disc will play or not. The kprobe stuff is to complicated and theoretical for me. That's why I like the balance of the reviews
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Postby Scour on Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:20 pm

Hello!

Nice review of a very average writer.

Seems to be it´s again the last place for writing-quality, like all LiteOn-drives .

It don´t know, why Liteon build so many writers for OEM´s, maybe the price is absolut low, like the quality of it.
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Postby crakbak on Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:22 am

Actually, there is a new firmware out that claims...

"Firmware Upgrade Version BY02
Improvement: Writing performance and reliability improvements."

http://sony.storagesupport.com/dvdrw/dru710adwn.htm

I'd be curious to know if they have really addressed some of the problems mentioned.

Ian?
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Postby Ian on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:17 am

BY02 was actually released (leaked) before BYX2 and doesn't have the 12x DVD-R and 4x DVD+R DL upgrade. I wonder if Sony pulled BYX2. I'll have to ask tomorrow.
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Postby code65536 on Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:16 am

Weird...

Sony is still listing BYX2 on these pages; was the 710A USA page ever updated when BYX2 came out? I never visited that page until now, actually...
http://www.sonydigital-link.com/osd/fir ... e.asp?l=en
http://sony.storagesupport.com/dvdrw/drx710uldwn.htm

Strangely, though, LiteOn Americas seemed to have pulled mention of BS42 for some reason...
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Postby Ian on Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:27 pm

code65536 wrote:Sony is still listing BYX2 on these pages; was the 710A USA page ever updated when BYX2 came out?


Yep, it was. There must be a major problem if Lite-On also pulled their update. I still need to check if you can flash BY02 over BYX2. It would suck if you couldn't. #-o
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Postby code65536 on Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:14 pm

The only problem I know of is the -R leadin problem. But that seems to be an intermittent problem that kicks in only with certain software apps (not with Nero) and only some people are reporting it... aside from this problem (which is also present on all known CS0x firmwares), I don't know of any other issues.
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Postby unks on Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:39 pm

I recently purchased this drive and have found that it reads cds just fine, but whenever i put in blank media it does not recognize it. Nero wont recognize it nor will it show up as being anything at all. The funny thing is it will burn the test just fine with this 'non-existent' media, but wont recognize it anywhere. I have by03 firmware and was just wondering if anyone else had run into this problem also. I tried memorex media and platinum.

little help anyone?
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Postby crakbak on Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:35 pm

I just found out you can flash BY02 over BYX2. Everything seems to be working just fine, but I still don't know if this is an upgrade or a downgrade??? I don't have any DL media right now to check the speed, nor any way to test write errors.

Did you learn anything, Ian?
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Postby Ian on Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:01 pm

crakbak wrote:Did you learn anything, Ian?


No, everyone and their uncle is at CES.
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Postby code65536 on Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:39 pm

Ian wrote:No, everyone and their uncle is at CES.


Will you be going? :)
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Postby Ian on Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:15 am

Nope. Can't leave the wife at home alone.
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Postby VideoRoy on Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:55 am

I also flashed my 710a to BYX2 only to discover a week later that BY02 was on the website. My drive initially came with BY02. I have burned a number of 4x DVD-R only so far using up my old stock and it seems to be OK.

I was worried about the firmware which is how I found this thread. I started a live chat with Sony and the tech there told me that BYX2 was only for the 710UL external drive and BY02 is the latest for the 710A. Something stinks though because the FW download was clearly marked 710A_BYX2.exe when I got it and I still have the release notes and FW image to prove.

Either they posted it by mistake or the tech did not know what he was talking about (or did not want to say). He suggested that I leave it alone and not downgrade to BY02. I got cut off about then so I sent an email to tech support but I am not holding out much hope of getting an answer quickly. I have a big project to work on and I feel a little stuck now. I may have to go back and use my old DRU-500A.

Hopefully someone here can gets some answers.

BTW I was disappointed to read your review. I purchased the DRU710A based on my experience with the DRU-500A. I had one of the first drives and went through many FW updates and one drive replacement but once I got to the 2.1a FW it has been burning great for about a year.

I think the 500a was a Pioneer drive and I did not realize that the 710a was not of the same caliber.

Thanks for any help.
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Postby btiger on Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:43 am

Very strange, Sony US site on 12/3/04 released BYX2 and on 1/4/05 released BY02 for DRU-710A. Sony UK all along has the BYX2 a few months back.

I bought my DRU-710A late November last year and it came with BY01. I am very happy with the drive with BY01, it's very quiet and so far I've burnt about 50 8X DVD+/-Rs (@8X in less than 8 mins), 25 4X DVD+RW (@4X in less than 12 mins) and 50CDRs (@40X in less than 3 mins) flawlessly. My media:

Sony 8X DVD+R (code Sony 011/2) made in Taiwan
Maxell 8X DVD-R (code MXL RG03) made in Japan
Maxell 4X DVD+RW (code RICOHJPN) made in Taiwan

Sony 40X CDRs (made in Taiwan) and Fuji 48X CDRs (made in Japan)

I am not even bother to update the firmware as I don't think I'll ever use DL disc and even at 8X is fast enough for me. To me the quality of the burn is more important than the speed, a DVD burner that does 6X is equivalent to 54X CD-R/CD-RW drive! and the stock BY01 can do 16X on a DVD+R disc!
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