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Well, what does it all mean?

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

Well, what does it all mean?

Postby I_Dzhugashvili on Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:40 pm

Good morning!

Okay, it's like this:
I knew that that big review at Anantech was in the works, so I patiently waited for it, with the idea that that would be enough for me to decide what to buy.
The article is published, and I come over here, and what do I see???
I see this:
http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=18064

This is not funny, guys.

I need to decide which burner to buy. My needs are simple: it must be able to burn DVD's as RELIABLY as possible and with as few errors as possible, and it must have the widest possible MEDIA COMPATIBILITY. These, by the way, seem to be difficulties which CD burners have overcome YEARS ago!

Now, there are lots of hardware sites with plenty of reviews of lots of burners. But of course, each site uses different benchmarks and so you end up with one set of numbers for drive A, and a second set for drive B, and a third set for drive C, etc etc ad nauseum. Anandtech does one thing, and CDFreaks does another thing, and CDRLabs does something else! Every site seems to want to be UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL in their testing methodology and so it turns out, that in spite of all these reviews on all these sites, you can not really compare two drives unless they have been reviewed by the same site and the test suite was the same. This greatly reduces the utility of the reviews. Most people really do not want to know the benchmarks; they want ( and need) to know the benchmarks in comparison with the benchmarks of competing products. But that seems not to be available to any great degree.

:(

And then! I read the abovementioned thread on this forum and it turns out that the article that I was waiting for, the article that I expected to be MOST HELPFUL in helping me make a choice in an area of technology that I consider still immature.... In short, the article on Anandtech, according to the opinions of some people here, is worth NOTHING due to faulty methodology.
I will not presume to judge methodology, but how do the people here rate and compare drives?

Thank you!
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Postby Halc on Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:41 am

I feel your pain.

Such is the state of optical recording reliability on dvd format.

There is no (afaik) single burner that burns quality burns on all media, even the crappiest discs.

Further, it is not easy to test burn quality as there are so many different media, different revisions of them, faked media and many different readers (both computer dvd and hifi set top dvd).

Also, Anandtech reviews do lack in understanding of media compatibility and burn quality of burners. This is unfortunate, but true.

The best places to find out about these things are indeed CDRLabs, CDFreaks, CDRInfo and some few selected magazines (like c't magazin from Germany) and some few selected personal dvd review sites (too many to mention them all).

Based on the above, my guesstimate as to the MOST COMPATIBLE BURNER (not always the fastest, not always with best features otherwise) would be:

- Nec ND3500A
- LG GSA-4160B
- Pioneer DVR-108 (or DVR-A08XLA if you want a more quiet version)

(all of the above with the latest firmware).

I know you would have liked to get one recommendation only, or "the best burner" so to speak. I can't tell you that, I'm sorry.

Also, take note from the people who burn a lot: it pays off to buy a little bit more for quality media, unless you really want to spend half of your time in forums like these, fiding out about what media burns well, why it doesn't, can you fix it, what's the latest firmware, yadda, yadda, yadda :)

I'd suggest Plextor (made by TY) and Verbatim (made by MCC) discs, as they seem to be very safe choices. I'm sure others will recommend other safe media to consider.

I hope that helped you more than confused you.

Best of luck in your choice.

regards,
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Postby Ian on Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:59 am

Halc wrote:Based on the above, my guesstimate as to the MOST COMPATIBLE BURNER (not always the fastest, not always with best features otherwise) would be:

- LG GSA-4160B


I have to disagree here. The GSA-4160B can write to a good amount of +R media at 16x... but very little works at 12x. Even less than the A08 and 3500A.
Last edited by Ian on Sun Nov 14, 2004 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby I_Dzhugashvili on Sun Nov 14, 2004 1:22 pm

Hi guys, thanks fror the replies!

I know that there is not "one best burner" in the sense that no single burner surpasses all others in all benchmarks and real world uses, but the problem is that the wide diversity of different benchmark suites makes it impossible to ascertain the best burner in any given category of performance. A way to remedy this, to a degree, would be for, let's say, CDRLabs, CDRinfo, and CDFreaks, to agree on a standardized core set of tests, and enter those tests in some sort of database, which would show the results of all tested drives, arranged in categories, and within the categories, arranged from lowest to highest scores. Each site would be free to add more tests to the standard core set, but as long as the core suite were always performed, results would be "portable" between sites, and the results would increase geometrically in utility.

From a more personal view, here is what I THINK is the case:
The Pioneer 108 is the best for error-free recording;
The Pioneer 108 is the best for media compatibility;
The NEC 3500 is a close second for media compatibility;
The Pioneer's lack of bitsetting is a serious problem for some people but for others has no significance whatsoever.

Now, based on what I have read - and the big Anandtech review plays a BIG role in this - I think that for MY purposes and from MY point of view, (error-free burns and then media compatibility) the Pioneer 108 is the best. From what I have read, the new Pioneer A08 seems to be a step backwards.

If anyone would like to dispute my conclusions, I will be interested to see what is to be said. Also, if anyone has links to particularly good reviews, I would be glad to look.

Thank you again!
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Postby pchilson on Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:32 pm

Two reviews. Two conclusions.

Pioneer DVR-A08XLA

BenQ DW1620A
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Postby Halc on Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:01 am

Thanks for the correction Ian.

I've tried to read all the reviews and media compatibility tests and to me LG looked like fairly compatible. At least more so than my BenQ 1620 :)

But I haven't counted all the media that are incompatible, so I wouldn't be surprised if LG wasn't quite as compatible.
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Postby Hef on Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:50 am

I somewhat understand this "it must have the widest possible MEDIA COMPATIBILITY", but you also open yourself up to the widest variations in quality possible too. You should home in on what media is consistent good quality and then what burners do that media the best.
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Postby zebraxor on Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:29 am

I_Dzhugashvili wrote:The Pioneer's lack of bitsetting is a serious problem for some people but for others has no significance whatsoever.


That is actually a now defunct statement. The Piodata kernel [1.10] and f/w allow the drive to bitset with OEM vendor commands.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:49 pm

Ian wrote:I have to disagree here. The GSA-4160B can write to a good amount of +R media at 16x... but very little works at 12x. Even less than the A08 and 3500A.

i don't understand.

do you mean "The GSA-4160B can write to a good amount of +R media at 12x... but very little works at 16x" ?
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Postby Alejandra on Tue Nov 16, 2004 6:30 pm

That is actually a now defunct statement. The Piodata kernel [1.10] and f/w allow the drive to bitset with OEM vendor commands.


What are OEM vendor commands?
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Postby ETP on Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:29 pm

Wow, nice pic :evil:

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